Gympie community legends get highest honour in Brisbane
TWO selfless champions of the Gympie region have joined one of Australia’s most exclusive clubs in being awarded Order of Australia medals at Government House yesterday.
Tin Can Bay RSL Sub-Branch president Maureen Costello and Cedar Pocket community stalwart Henry Bath were each given an OAM in the General Division by Queensland Governor Paul De Jersey, two of 150 Queenslanders honoured in ceremonies between October 25 and October 30.
Ms Costello was recognised chiefly for her “service to veterans and their families as committee member, Veteran Welfare Officer and President of the Tin Can Bay Sub-Branch of the (RSL) of Australia, and as Secretary and life member of the Wide Bay and Burnett District Branch.”
She said she was flattered to be recognised for her decades of hard work and spend the time at Government House with her family.
“I’m very honoured to receive the award and was very privileged to be nominated for it,” Ms Costello said.
“I was very nervous leading up to it, but it was a very special moment. It’s something I will remember.
“I’ve been a welfare officer with the Sub-Branch for about 19 years now, and I find that very rewarding to do their home visits, their hospital visits. I’ve also been their president for a fair few years and on the District Board for the RSL, all up I’ve been involved for 21 years.
“My three sons have been here with me, one flew in from Sydney and he’s flying back this afternoon. On Thursday evening we’re going back to Government House for a formal dinner. It certainly meant a lot to have them here.”
A Greens Creek grazier with a lifetime of farming under his belt, Mr Bath was given the ultimate reward for “service … as chairman, area representative and advocate of the dairy industry in the Wide Bay region”.
He was also recognised for serving “the community of Cedar Pocket through leadership and membership of youth and education committees and initiatives (and) the Cedar Pocket and Greens Creek Rural Fire Brigade.”
“It certainly is a great honour, and to have my family of four here with me was a great occasion, there’s quite a few people who received awards today,” Mr Bath said.
“I’ve lived on the same dairy farm all my life, and over the years I’ve been involved in various things. It’s added up to many years and I’m still involved with some of these community groups today.
“I’m very honoured to think I’ve represented the Gympie area three times with carrying the Olympic Torch, and last year the Queen’s Baton.”