BERMAGUI’S Janette Neilson says she is “very flattered” to receive one of Australia’s most prestigious individual honours.
Ms Neilson was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for “service to local government and to the community of the Bega Valley”.
Ms Neilson said she was “quite surprised” to receive an OAM.
“I’m very flattered that people have thought enough to acknowledge my work,” she said.
“I hope I’ve done the Bermagui region proud – it’s nice that the area has been recognised.
“I am proud whenever someone from here is recognised for something, because it’s good for the area.”
Ms Neilson’s credentials are impressive.
Her involvement in the local community has included three terms as Deputy Mayor of Bega Valley Shire Council and Ms Neilson was a councillor from 1995 to 2008.
Ms Neilson was a founding member of the Bega Valley Shire Business Forum and has been secretary since 2000.
She has been actively involved in promoting the Far South Coast, including roles with Sapphire Coast Tourism, the Bermagui Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism, and Bermagui Tourism Association.
Ms Neilson has been a delegate on a range of committees.
These include the Bermagui Area committee, Bermagui Parks and Foreshore, Economic Development and Tourism committee, Main Road 272 committee and Bermagui Rural Fire Service.
Ms Neilson has been a zone secretary and state representative for the Caravan and Camping Industry of NSW, while she was also part of the Bermagui Sports Stadium Building committee.
Ms Neilson was an executive member of the Cobargo Show Society for 21 years and helped found Montreal Goldfields.
She has supported the Bega Valley Bush Fire Brigade for 40 years and was previously president of the Bermagui brigade.
Ms Neilson has a passion for horses, which is shown through her heavy involvement in the Zone 14 Pony Club Association of NSW.
She has also been an executive member of Cobargo Showjumping Club, Cobargo and District Pony Club and Wagonga Pony Club.
Ms Neilson will be a familiar face to Bermagui residents, having owned and directed the Neilson’s Mitre 10 Hardware Store.
Away from her community work, she is a beef cattle producer.
Ms Neilson said she was always keen to be heavily involved in the local community.
“My husband and I worked very hard when we came here,” she said.
“We achieved a great deal, because it was our way of saying thanks.
“I really appreciate the OAM – community means everything to me.”