Queen's Birthday honours to locals including Our Dawnie
THERE will only ever be one Dawn Fraser, Australia's greatest living swimmer, and she can now add to her AO and MBE honours the Companion of the Order of Australia.
Joining Ms Fraser as Noosa area locals to be awarded Queen's Birthday honours for 2018 are a man who has risked raging oceans to keep boaties safe, an RSL stalwart and a role model to women seeking to be leaders in the male-dominated construction industry.
Robin Hood, the former Coast Guard Noosa Flotilla Commander who is still the National Training Commodore, has been awarded an Order of Australia Medal, alongside Doonan's Jane Montgomery-Hribar who is also awarded an OAM. Noosa RSL sub-branch life member Ken Bridges was awarded a medal of Australia for service to veterans and their families.
"Our Dawnie” as Ms Fraser was affectionately known during a golden Olympic career, is recognised for "eminent service to sport” through ambassadorial, mentoring, and non-executive roles with a range of organisations at all levels, and to the community through roles in conservation and motoring associations”.
Mr Hood, who joined the Noosa volunteer Coast Guard in 1996, after moving to Noosa from the Northern territory, is honoured for "service to the community through marine rescue organisations”.
Mrs Montgomery-Hribar has been chosen for "distinguished service to the building and construction sector, particularly in the areas of project procurement and industry standards, through executive roles, and as a mentor of women”.
Ms Fraser amazed the world with her 100m freestyle gold medal feats at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, 1960 Rome Olympics and followed up by the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. She is one of only three swimmers ever to do this.
She was named the, World's Greatest Living Female Water Sports Champion in 1999 and Australia's Greatest Female Athlete in 2013. The former Balmain girl said she was as surprised as anyone to receive the nominations about eight weeks ago asking if she would be considered for the honour.
"I'd already had the one honour so I wasn't really expecting this,” she said.
One of her much-loved duties is to start the Noosa Triathlon every year and she is renowned for sticking around to congratulate the battlers across the line.
"I still like to keep involved, because it keeps me mentally active,” Ms Fraser said.
That goes for her support for two Brisbane-based swimmers who are aiming for selection at the Paralympics and she is always delighted to attend as co-patron of the Noosa Seahorse Nippers which allows kids with disabilities to learn about and enjoy surf safety. She has been an ambassador, athlete liaison officer and mentor to Australian Olympic teams.
Mr Hood, of Pomona, said he was very humbled a little proud to be recognised in this way.
"It's a great accolade, because the people who think the work that you do on their behalf is worth a mention,” Mr Hood said.
"Absolutely I'm still involved with the Coast Guard - up to my eye teeth.”
He first spoke to the Coast Guard Noosa members to learn from the experts how to safely make it across Noosa's "scary” river bar in his own boat.
"I thought what a great bunch of blokes, and I thought I'd join up.”
Mr Hood said his biggest enjoyment these days was in helping develop the skills of the volunteers, "helping them to achieve what they want to achieve”.
"They go away with a big watermelon smile on their face and you feel pretty good that you've been able to help them.”
Mrs Montgomery-Hribar facilitated development of the National Code of Practice for the Construction Industry and founded the National Association of Women in Construction.