Years of dedication and international lobbying regarding women in sport has resulted in a Queen's Birthday honour for Merimbula's Leanne Barnes.
While the Bega Valley knows her best as the council's general manager, Ms Barnes is receiving a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her service to water polo.
Ms Barnes was a state rep and national team water polo player in the late 1970s, progressed through state and national coaching and managing roles, and then as a director of Water Polo Australia as well as chairwoman of the organisation's gender equity committee from 2004-2010.
In 2011 she was inducted into the Water Polo Australia Hall of Fame and currently serves as the chairwoman of the hall of fame induction committee.
Her current involvement with the sport also includes assisting with the implementation of a new cultural program within the high-performance sector of Water Polo Australia.
"I'm so excited - it came right out of the blue," Ms Barnes said of her OAM announcement.
"I'm very proud of all the stuff I did with water polo and with women in the sport."
Ms Barnes also said she was "so pleased to be getting the honour for something I'm not paid for", with a regular criticism of the annual honours list being that it highlights well paid public officials over the invaluable grassroots work of thousands of Australians.
Next year will mark 20 years since the women's water polo first entered official Olympic competition - 100 years after the men's event.
Ms Barnes was at the forefront in making that happen, sometimes at the expense of her family life.
She said in the five years following the birth of her daughter Amy, there were multiple overseas trips to lobby International Olympic Committee delegates, pushing against brick walls to get the women's sport recognised as worthy of inclusion.
Then at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, as the Australian women's water polo team entered the Olympic pool for their gold medal match, Ms Barnes stood poolside with John Howard on one side of her and husband Dennis and Amy also in the stands.
"She was old enough at that stage to understand what the situation had been, and she just had tears streaming down her face."
Ms Barnes has long been a trailblazer for women - in sport as well as administration.
After ending her playing career, she was the only female coach of the national team for a time, and the first - and only - woman on the Water Polo Australia board for 15 years (1996-2010).
"It's good that women's sport is taking off in so many areas now, with the Women's AFL and NRL competitions," Ms Barnes said.
"And there's a lot of work being done in creating better pathways for women in coaching, administration and officials."
There's still more to be done though, a situation made all the more clear during the recent furore over a photo of Women's AFL player Tayla Harris.
"You don't look at the amazing prowess of these women players and say 'they are amazing athletes'.
"For men, it's about how much of an athlete they are with no reference to their gender. It's not the same for women."
At a local level, Ms Barnes founded the Sapphire Coast Water Polo Club which saw great success at a state representative level in the early 2000s, while she also helped in coaching and development programs through local schools.
Becoming the BVSC general manager made that level of volunteer work difficult to juggle.
But despite the workload that comes with being GM of a large regional council, Ms Barnes stays involved in water polo at the national level as best she can - helping implement new programs and planning for next year's celebration of the 20-year Olympic debut anniversary.
"I enjoy it, it's a nice balance."
Queen's Birthday Honour citation
Leanne Barnes, Merimbula - For service to water polo.
Water Polo Australia
Chair, Water Polo Australian Hall of Fame Induction Committee, since 2019.
Inducted into the Hall of Fame, 2011.
Chair, Australian Water Polo Incorporated's Gender Equity Committee, 2004-2010.
Member, High Performance Management Committee for Men's Water Polo National Program, 2001-2004.
Head of Delegation, World Swimming Championships, 2007.
SOCOG IOC Relations and Protocol Manager, Water Polo, Sydney Olympic Games, 2000.
Junior National Team Manager, World Championships, 1999.
Member and Representative for Oceania, FINA Technical Water Polo Committee 1988-1992.
National Team Manager, 1983-1991.
Former State Coach, Victoria, 1990.
Former State Women's Manager, Victoria, 1983-1987.
National Player, 1978-1982.
State Player and Captain, Victoria, 1976-1983.
Chairperson, Beijing Athlete Program, Australian Sports Commission/Australian Olympic Committee, 2006-2007.
Chairperson, Olympic Women's Program and High Performance Committee 1997-2004.
Bega Valley Shire Council
General Manger, current.
Board Member, Far South Coast Regional Development Australia, since 2014.
Board Member, Health Panel Southern New South Wales Local Health District Pambula Hospital Review, 2012-2013.
Former Board Member, Eden Community Training Partnership-Ex officio adviser Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre.
Board Member, South East Arts New South Wales Regional, 2001-2007.
Bass Coast Shire Council
Vice-President, Phillip Island Aquatic Centre Project, 2000-2001.
Member, Local Priority Policing, Community Safety Committee Bass Coast, 1997-2000.
Member, Bass Coast Municipal Fire Prevention Committee, 1997-2000.
Chair, Bass Coast Stay and Play Safe Committee, 1997-2000.
Member, Economic Development Board, 1996-1999.