Two Kalaru residents have had a chance meeting with an Australian Hollywood superstar while accepting their Queen's Birthday Orders of Australia in Canberra.
It is the nature of country towns, because we often don't have the resources at our fingertips.Kalaru's Chris Sparks
Social welfare advocate Ross Williams and disability advocate Chris Sparks were among four local residents to receive the honours in June, and on September 13 a presentation ceremony was held by the Governor-General of Australia David Hurley at Government House.
"The whole day was a bit overwhelming. I was like a kid in a lolly shop. I know it sounds like a cliche, but it's just incredibly humbling. It is something I won't forget in a hurry," Mr Sparks said.
Among the 50 people presented with honours on the day was actor Hugh Jackman, who showed an interest in Mr Williams' work in the social cafe sector.
"In conversation with him he very generously said he wanted to meet me too, having listened to my citation about social cafes. I was blown away," Mr Williams said.
Mr Sparks said he "briefly" congratulated Mr Jackman, who was being acknowledged for his services to the performing arts and the wider community, in particular for his advocacy work aimed at poverty eradication.
"He was so humble. You couldn't meet a nicer couple," Mr Sparks said.
Mr Sparks said the Governor-General appeared to "know every award recipient", and was well aware of where he came from, and his wheelchair basketball background, which includes a Paralympic gold medal.
"We chatted about the challenge of holding the upcoming 2020 Summer Paralympics in Japan, because Tokyo is known for not being fully accessible," he said.
Mr Sparks said the fact a town with just a few hundred people could produce two recipients reflects on what he described as the "incredible volunteer ethic" in country towns.
"It is the nature of country towns, because we often don't have the resources at our fingertips," he said.