30 January 2024

Australia Day OAM honours for Shoalhaven's most inspiring and colourful citizens

| Katrina Condie
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woman in funny hat

Margaret (Margie) Sheedy has received a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM). Photo: Harcourts Ulladulla.

Milton-Ulladulla residents say if you don’t know Margie Sheedy, you’re not a local.

One of the town’s most colourful and outrageous celebrities, Mrs Sheedy has received a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) recognising her decades of dedication to her community.

She is one of a swag of Shoalhaven citizens named on the 2024 Australia Day Honours List and, while the 84-year-old is battling cancer, she was as excited as ever to receive the accolade and burst into song while speaking to Region.

“Volunteering is so wonderful. I encourage people to do any little bit they can to help and inspire others,” she said.

“Just walking down the street with a smile on your face the whole time and knowing everyone is fabulous.

“I love our town, our beaches and Australia – my country. The whole town has inspired me. What a wonderful life I’ve had.”

From star of the stage to hospital fundraisers, Mrs Sheedy is a town icon who has been involved in dozens of organisations over the years and is well known for dressing up in dazzling outfits and handing out fresh flowers from her garden to shoppers and businesses.

READ ALSO Wayne Morris among dedicated Illawarra residents recognised with Australia Day honours

The great-grandmother was a founding member and performer with Milton-Ulladulla Entertainers and a long-time volunteer with the Milton Follies community theatre group.

Mrs Sheedy raised funds for the Yurana Cancer Kids Holiday Homes, the Milton-Ulladulla Hospital Auxiliary, Alkira Lodge at Wollongong Hospital and the Milton Cancer Outpatients Appeal.

She coordinated annual drama scholarships for local schools and was a vibrant member of the Ulladulla and District Garden Club for many years.

An avid South Sydney Rabbitohs supporter, Mrs Sheedy decorates her Ulladulla garden for a multitude of events including the NRL grand final, Christmas and Easter.

man in cap

Ray Dorsett OAM. Photo: Supplied.

Mollymook’s Raymond Dorsett has received an OAM for his years of service to hockey, as a player, coach, umpire, executive committee member and team manager for countless men’s, women’s and junior teams.

Mr Dorsett played outdoor hockey in NSW for 25 years and was the director of the Hockey ACT board from 2010-2015. He has coached the ACT Under-21 men’s and women’s teams, was Canberra’s Intensive Training Centre coach and the inaugural Australian Hockey Association regional coach for the ACT, gaining him the Rawlinson Shield from 1975-77.

During his time with Hockey Australia, Mr Dorsett was the team manager and high-performance manager for the Athens Olympic Games men’s program, team manager for the Australian men’s hockey team at the Manchester Commonwealth Games and team statistician at the Sydney Olympics.

He was also an adviser at the Australian Institute of Sport, a board member of the Queanbeyan Golf Club and coach at the Wesley South Perth Hockey Club and Old Canberrans Hockey Club.

Mr Dorsett retired from Canberra to Mollymook almost three years ago and said the OAM was both “humbling and most unexpected”.

“When I started my involvement with hockey back in 1968, I never expected an OAM for doing something that I loved,” he said.

“My greatest achievement is watching the development of athletes that I have had some coaching involvement with become better players but more importantly better people. I have made lifelong friends from these athletes; some are my closest friends.

“My proudest moments are being involved with the Kookaburras as team manager over a number of years, including the Sydney Olympics. Top of the list, however, is being the team manager and the team winning the gold medal at the Athens Olympic Games.”

Also from Mollymook, Mike Fitze has received an OAM for his service to the community through a range of organisations, including the Apex Foundation, of which he is an honorary life member, and the Apex Foundation Underprivileged Children’s Trust.

He has held various committee positions on the Apex Children’s Chalet, Shoalhaven Heads Apex Cottages for Kids and the Copper Coast Retreat.

He is also involved with Apex’s Cranio Facial Trust, Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Trust, Diabetes Trust, Autism Trust and Fine Arts Trust.

man smiling

Mike Fitze OAM. Photo: Supplied.

A Justice of the Peace, Mr Fitze has put his hand up for anything and everything, from Clean Up Australia Day and the Red Shield Appeal to Youth off the Streets and the NSW Government’s Disaster Welfare Service Functional Alumni Group.

Since moving to Mollymook, he has been secretary of the Ulladulla Probus Club and president of the Ulladulla Men’s Shed and he is a foundation member of the Monty Porter Memorial Sports Foundation.

Mr Fitze said he had always enjoyed working with and helping people, so volunteering just evolved naturally from his working career.

“I’m not that good at speeches, so I just get in and do what I can with the management skills that I’ve learnt over many years in the nursing, welfare, disability, and not-for-profit sector,” he said.

“Sometimes it just involves getting your hands dirty with a local fundraiser, counselling someone after a disaster, finding suitable resources for a group, or assisting with committee or board governance.

“Many people have encouraged me throughout life, so I like to do the same and give others a hand when they need it most.”

Lorraine Mairinger of Kangaroo Valley has also been recognised for her service to the community through a range of organisations, including the Lions Club International Foundation and Lions Fund Australia, Kangaroo Valley Show and the RFS.

Lorraine is a former chairman and director, as well as life member, of Lions Club International Foundation, and Lions Fund Australia.

She is a former president of Kangaroo Valley Lions Club, a former pool manager at Kangaroo Valley Swimming Pool, and is a life member of the Kangaroo Valley Agricultural and Horticultural Show Society and the local NSW Rural Fire Service Brigade.

Her husband Franz, who died in 2014, also received an OAM for his community service in 2003.

Man standing

Peter Moore OAM. Photo: Supplied.

An OAM has been given to Peter Moore of Bomaderry for his service to cricket in New South Wales. A life member of the Fairfield Liverpool Cricket Association (FLCA), Mr Moore was a capped player in the 1997 Martin Shield Competition and has held various committee positions at the club, including president, secretary, records officer and treasurer.

He has been an umpire and president of the Fairfield Liverpool Cricket Umpires Association since 2020 and has coached many junior teams at the Cabra Vale Diggers Cricket Club. He was also a senior player at the club.

He is a founder, coach and current president of the Hoxton Park Tigers Cricket Club and has umpired at the NSW Youth Championships and the Sydney Cricket Association. He has previously been recognised as a Member of the Order of Liverpool in 2020, and Fairfield City Council’s Volunteer of the Year in 2014.

Mr Moore relocated from Sydney to Bomaderry in 2016 and a proud moment was becoming a life member of FLCA and overseeing the association’s 100th anniversary last season.

Maria (Marysia) Nowak has received an OAM for her service to the Polish community, including the Polish Scouting Association of Australia, of which she has been the NSW Commissioner since 2015.

Mrs Nowak lives between Sydney and Shoalhaven Heads and is heavily involved in the Shoalhaven Heads Botanic Garden.

woman with waratah

Maria Nowak OAM. Photo: Supplied.

With a love of nature and the outdoors, she is a former National Girl Scout Commissioner, scout leader and cub troop leader and has organised more than 450 camps since 1987. She has been an Australian representative at the Polish World Scouting Jamborees and International Scouting Conferences.

Vice-president of the Polish Community Council of Australia, Mrs Nowak is the Ashfield Polish School principal, president of the NSW Polish Educational Society and a member of the Polish Education Commission in Australia.

She has volunteered at the Polish Festival at Darling Harbour and the Invictus Games.

Her dedication was recognised in 2018 when she became a Knight of the Order of Rebirth of Poland.

“I am delighted to have been put up for the OAM,” she said.

“I love working with children and young people. I get such a buzz from running camps and excursions, not to mention all the years of teaching and seeing the youngsters discover the magic and delight in the nature around them.”

Original Article published by Katrina Condie on About Regional.

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