10 June 2023

Right royal kudos as quiet achievers of country NSW earn King's Birthday Honours

| Edwina Mason
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group of Rotarians

Cliff Sheridan (far right) has been honoured for his service to the Young community in the 2023 King’s Birthday Honours. He is pictured with his beloved fellow Rotarians. Photo: Young Rotary Club.

Cliff Sheridan thinks he might have a few beers today to celebrate his Order of Australia Medal for Service to the Community.

When Region Media spoke with Young’s foremost accountant, modest as always, he had little in the way of words to describe how he felt when he received the news of the King’s Birthday Honour, but excited was one of them.

“I’m not sure how this happened. Someone must have put my name forward, and I’ll probably never know who it was, but it’s very nice,” he said.

Mr Sheridan’s contribution to the Young community stretches back some 50 years, starting with his prolific involvement with the town’s Masonic Lodge from the 1960s, which also saw him serve as a master and district inspector. In 1993, he joined the Rotary Club of Young first as a member, then served as treasurer, president, and now as a director and treasurer. His ongoing volunteer work at Mercy Health segued into his service on the Mercy Health Board and his current role as a member of the Community Health Advisory Group.

A justice of the peace since 1970, Mr Sheridan has also long volunteered his time to Young High School in adjudicating debates and acting as an exam reader.

He is also a former deacon and lay preacher with Young Baptist Church.

Other recognition for his community service includes the Paul Harris Fellowship Sapphire Award (2021); 50 Years of Service Award, Mercy Health (2019); the 50-Year Service Medal, Justice of the Peace, NSW (2018); and the Paul Harris Fellowship Award (2005).

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Perhaps the most telling of all is the acclaim from his townspeople – Mr Sheridan has been named Young’s Citizen of the Year twice, in 1979 and 2009.

“I do what I do just because it needs doing – I don’t do it for any other reason,” he said. ”And there are a lot of people I’ve worked with over the years who have just been fantastic – it’s not just me, you know.”

In other news, Anne Thoroughgood of Tumbarumba has been bestowed an Order of Australia Medal for service to the social history of women in rural areas.

Her dedication to the preservation of history and heritage can be counted in the 30 years in which she has been involved with the Glenroy Heritage Reserve as a committee member since 1980.

The reserve, a prominent local tourist attraction, is home to the Pioneer Women’s Hut Museum, the Heritage Museum and The Button Hut – counted among the best and most unusual small museums in Australia as well as Glenroy Cottage Crafts.

Mrs Thoroughgood has been a founding member and volunteer curator of each entity – each reflecting the ingenuity of women in finding solutions to the challenges of looking after a family in early rural Australia – since 1985. Her involvement with Glenroy Cottage Crafts dates back to 1978.

Her volunteer efforts extended to the National Quilt Register, which provides digital access to quilts held in public and private collections throughout Australia.

She was also the co-compiler of the book Memories of My Mother: Recollections of Everyday Life of Rural Women in the Tumbarumba District, 1850-1950 (1990).

Amid all this, from 1988 to the early 1990s, Mrs Thoroughgood also worked as a volunteer coordinator and driver for the Community Transport Initiative.

She is also a past member of Tumbarumba Golf Club.

four men with a sheep

The late Ken Karsten (left) has been honoured for his contribution to the Weethalle community. His involvement in the stud breeding of pigs and Merino sheep took him to shows all over the nation. Photo: Alex Karsten.

Another OAM recipient in the 2023 King’s Birthday Honours is the late Kenneth Gordon Karsten – formerly of Weethalle – who will long be remembered for his service to that small community west of West Wyalong.

Born in Temora in December 1924, Mr Karsten died in January 2023, but his Kiawarra Merino Stud, Weethalle, lives on through his grandson Alex.

He recalls the living room of his grandfather’s home was lined with photos of prize-winning pigs and sheep, decked out in championship ribbons at the pinnacle of the stud show scene – Sydney’s Royal Easter Show – among others.

Mr Kaster was described as having a deep love of the land, to the point where he questioned why anyone would ever go to the city. His involvement in the local community was profound in the simple but significant ways of the country folk: through the RFS, with which he served for 60 years; and the local showground committee where finessing and preparing the facilities was his forte.

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Alex said his grandfather would be happy to know he was receiving an OAM for all his hard work.

“He put together around 20,000 acres [8000 hectares] from the very humble, simple horse-drawn methods of farming way back then to building it up to what it is today, so I think he would be very appreciative,” he said.

”He worked a seven-day week and was happiest when he had his hands in the ground and covered in dirt, and it is very nice to know that all those years farming and helping out amounted to some sort of recognition.

“He wouldn’t have expected it, but it’s a pretty proud moment for us all.”

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