KEITH BARBER OAM
A driving force behind the Federation Bridge at Corowa is among this year's Australia Day honours recipients.
Keith Barber was awarded an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for service to the community of Corowa.
Having served on Corowa Shire Council (now Federation Council) for 27 years, Mr Barber said the Federation Bridge rated among the highlights of his local government tenure.
"The physical highlight was the construction of the Federation Bridge, I was pretty passionate about that," he said.
"When Tim Fischer secured the funding to build it, that was a magnificent day."
Raised at "Glengary"", Hopefield, before working his own property "Glenwood", Balldale, with his late wife Kathleen "Mary", Mr Barber said his grandfather had served on the Coreen Shire.
Mr Barber was the last shire president and the first shire mayor on Corowa Shire Council from 1989 to 1995, serving three years under each title.
"It was a self-imposed obligation to do something for the community," Mr Barber said.
Mr Barber was a chairman and member of Corowa District Health Service from 2004 to 2015, a former director and chairman of Murray Rural Lands Protection and a former member of the Rural Fire Service.
He joined the Corowa Saleyards Committee from its inception, serving as chairman.
"Seeing it develop into a weekly market due to the foresight of the agents was a highlight," he said.
"It really became a regional complex, sheep-wise."
The father of three and grandfather of five said his involvement in community groups came naturally to him.
"I was a very poor player of football and not much better at tennis but I always got involved in running the show," he quipped.
He has been a member of the Corowa District Historical Society since 2017 and is active on Corowa Men's Probus Club.
Not yet 17, Peter Crowe embarked on what would become a life-long career in forestry almost by chance.
"I had plans to do veterinary science and while walking through the bush my mother had suggested I might be interested in a career in foresty," he said.
Having gained a start with the NSW Forestry Commission in 1959, Mr Crowe did a five-year traineeship through Sydney University and the Australian Forestry School.
Following terms in Batemans Bay and Coffs Harbour, Mr Crowe was in 1984 the first forester ever appointed to Albury.
The regional office was responsible for the Tumut and Tumbarumba softwood plantations and the red gums and cyprus pines of the Murray and Murrumbidgee regions.
"The area covered almost the bottom half of the state," he said.
"In 2000 I was put in charge of hardwood plantations when they were amalgamated with softwood plantations."
Having been promoted to executive general manager in Albury by his exit from NSW Forest Service in 2006, Mr Crowe continued to work as a private forestry consultant.
Recognised with an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for service to the softwood plantation industry, Mr Crowe said there were two major highlights in his career.
As a director on the New Zealand Radiata Pine Breeding Cooperative for 15 years, Mr Crowe was pivotal in improving the quality of plantation species.
"I'm very proud to have played a major role in changing the genetic base of the main softwood plantation species, pinus radiata, to provide us with a far better form of high quality wood," he said.
"Secondly, I'm proud of the fantastic record we had with fire management. We burnt less than 1 per cent of the total plantation due to a great record of extremely quick responses to extinguish fires while they're small."
Having been instrumental in establishing National Foresters Grove in Albury, Mr Crowe said that was a notable project.
"We turned what was a wasteland in Lavington into one of the nicest and best used parts of Albury," Mr Crowe said.
The father of two and grandfather of four with wife Fay, Mr Crowe said his forestry career had taken him around the world.
"I've had a tremendous lot of experiences."
GRAEME MANSON OAM
When Wodonga ex-serviceman Graeme Manson went to Hume Veteran's Information Centre after battling a heart problem, it changed the course of his life.
So grateful for the help he got in the late 1990s, Mr Manson joined the team as a volunteer.
"I wanted to give something back to them for helping me," he said.
"I started on the front desk and ended up as one of the Level 3 Veterans Compensation Advocates. I have done cases for people all over Australia, one in America and some for really high-ranking officers in the army."
Now a volunteer for two decades, Mr Manson was humbled to be awarded an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for service to veterans and to the community.
"It's a great feeling when you can get a case up," Mr Manson said.
"It can be life-changing, like it was for me."
Having served in the Australian Army for 28 years, Mr Manson said there were many ex-servicemen and women living in the border region.
"A lot of people in this area are struggling with physical and mental side-effects of their service," he said.
"Mental health issues have grown bigger; from a tennis ball size problem to a pumpkin. People coming back from Afghanistan and Timor who might have kept their problems to themselves are now getting help from services like ours or Soldier On and Mates4Mates."
The father of three, grandfather of nine and great grandfather of four said he would continue his volunteer work for as long as his health allowed it.
"The team is like a big family to me," Mr Manson said.
SHIRLEY MILLER OAM
Former Corowa resident Shirley Miller (nee Whitty) has been awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in recognition of her many years of volunteering for the St Vincent de Paul Society.
Having wed Desmond Miller, of Corowa, in 1949, Mrs Miller settled in Sydney in 1967 after years of travel related to his naval career.
She still visits family at Corowa often.
"I feel very honoured and privileged to have been personally recognised in this way," she said.
"I would like to reflect on the wonderful work of all volunteers and recognise them."
A grandmother of seven and great grandmother of eight, Mrs Miller retired from volunteering at age 90.
"I thoroughly enjoyed the friendships I made when working at Vinnies and encourage anyone with a morning or afternoon to spare to consider volunteering," Mrs Miller said.
PAUL TALBOT OAM
When Paul Talbot moved to Mulwala in the late 1950s, infrastructure was thin on the ground and curbs and gutters were sparse.
"The town had a couple of old churches, the town hall had been condemned and there were only a few houses," he said.
"The fire brigade was in a tin shed and the town library was in a corner of the tin shed. There was a Ferguson tractor and trailer and that was the town's only equipment."
Inspired to help improve the town's facilities, Mr Talbot was elected to Corowa Shire Council (now Federation Council) in 1983, staying until 2008 and serving as deputy mayor from 1995 to 1997.
Mr Talbot said among the highlights were gaining the Mulwala Civic Centre and town library.
"I'm very proud to be behind the building of Mulwala," Mr Talbot said.
Recognised for his service to local government and the community of Corowa with an Order of Australia Medal (OAM), Mr Talbot grew up in a Wahgunyah family who was involved in public life.
Mr Talbot was instrumental in fundraising and gaining approval for projects the likes of Mulwala/Yarrawonga Swimming Pool, Yarrawonga-Mulwala Pioneer Museum and Yarrawonga residential aged care facility, Allawah.
Together with his late wife Pat, Mr Talbot has seven children and 13 grandchildren.
"My only regret is that Pat is not here to share this award," he said.
RONALD WEBB OAM
Growing up in the Victorian village of Campbells Creek, Ronald Webb knew his community like the back of his hand.
He rode his bike to school and looked up to his parents who were fully committed to their town.
"Mum and Dad were involved in everything from sports clubs to school committees to the fire brigade," he said.
"Dad was the committee person and Mum was the supporter, always baking something for a fundraiser."
By 15, Mr Webb was already volunteering for the fire brigade before he joined the Country Fire Authority six years later, launching a career that lasted just shy of four decades.
When Mr Webb and his wife Maxine made Wangaratta their forever home in 1998, the community had everything to gain.
Mr Webb founded the Lions Club of Wangaratta Swap Meet in 2000, he co-founded Wangaratta Relay for Life in 2008 and served on the Keep Australia Beautiful Victoria, Community Pride Committee from 2008 to 2015.
"When I came back to Wangaratta I joined the Lions Club and I'd seen these swap meets as I'd travelled around Australia with the CFA," Mr Webb said.
"It became a really big project and we would have raised $500,000 from swap meets over the years."
Having served as a Rural City of Wangaratta councillor from 2007 to 2012, Mr Webb said he also relished his time with the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues committee.
A father of four, grandfather of 13 and great grandfather of four, Mr Webb was stunned to gain an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for service to the community of Wangaratta: "You don't do any of these things for personal gain but it really is a privilege to be considered worthy of such an award."
Anyone can nominate any Australian for an award in the Order of Australia. If you know someone worthy, nominate them now at gg.gov.au.