HUMBLED: Long-time community volunteer Shirley Bishop was named on Australia Day as an OAM awardee.
HUMBLED: Long-time community volunteer Shirley Bishop was named on Australia Day as an OAM awardee. Tanya Easterby

Shirley's medal of honour: A love of country and people

DAY in, day out Gympie woman Shirley Bishop has been a hard working volunteer in our community.

The hours she has given to others are not something she thinks too much about; they're just part of her life.

A big part. But somebody out there has given thought to Mrs Bishop's hard work; enough to nominate her for an Australia Day Order of Australia.

Along with the surprise news of Mrs Bishop's OAM nomination was a long list of her history as a volunteer, and the time for her to give some thought to her own life's work.

Mrs Bishop said the detailed list brought about an unexpected time to reflect.

"It makes you realise what you have done," she said.

"Some things I read and thought, 'I forgot about that'."

When she first heard she was getting the award she was shocked..

"I was stunned when it all happened.

"It's very humbling but you feel very honoured to receive it."

For more than 30 years Mrs Bishop has been a member of the Gympie Show Society.

Her husband Bill is a former Gympie Show Society president and Mrs Bishop has organised show balls and dinners, the show princess quest as well as programming and timetabling.

From 1965-1975 she was the secretary of the Gympie committee for the Miss Australia Quest.

And she remains an important part of the Show Society today, giving her time to the recording of prizes among other things.

"I love the Gympie Show," Mrs Bishop said.

Time as a St Patrick's Parish council member, a volunteer at catholic schools, a charity centre volunteer, member of the Gympie Conference of the St Vincent de Paul Society and a volunteer with church debutante training have seen her put years of effort and dedication into the community.

It was when the youngest of her five children started school that Mrs Bishop's volunteer work really kicked off.

With more time on her hands, she was able to volunteer her days with Meals on Wheels.

She was recognised as a co-founding volunteer driver for Gympie Meals on Wheels and remained with the organisation for more than 34 years.

Today, Mrs Bishop spends her time as a Friend of the Court, a supporter the Rotary Club of Gympie and a welfare client interviewer.

She said it's her love for other people and her country-girl spirit that keeps her involved in the community.

"When you grow up in the country you know that someone has to help," she said.

"I love people - if I can be involved, I will be. I love what I do; it's as simple as that."