Tributes and condolences are pouring in and around Tumut with the news that popular long-time shire councillor Audrey McKenzie has died.
She was Tumut’s deputy mayor in the 1990s, and is being remembered for her tenacity and advocacy for the townspeople during her seven terms as a councillor with the former Tumut Shire Council, which later merged with Tumbarumba Shire Council to form Snowy Valleys Council.
Leading the tributes to Ms McKenzie was Snowy Valleys Council Mayor James Hayes.
He said that as a Tumut Shire Councillor, Ms McKenzie made considerable contributions to the region, serving her community for 24 years.
“That’s just short of a quarter of a century,” said Mayor Hayes.
“On behalf of council and the Snowy Valleys community, I wish to extend my sincere sympathies and deepest condolences to her family.”
Snowy Valleys Council Deputy Mayor John Larter also paid his respects.
“Audrey was tenacious, never afraid to take on a difficult issue or personality in pursuit of common sense,” he said.
“She always gave you a very honest appraisal, and was a wonderful contributor to public life over many years.”
Ms McKenzie first served as a councillor on Tumut Shire Council from September 1987 for the term ending in 1991.
She then went on to serve a further three consecutive terms from 1991 to 1995; 1995 to 1999, during which time she served as deputy mayor; and then 1999 to 2003.
Ms McKenzie stepped back up to support the Tumut region as councillor for a fifth term from 2004 to 2008, and again for her sixth and final term from 2008 to 2012.
According to Mayor Hayes, during those years she would have participated in a multitude of debates and decisions with her fellow councillors, and it is understood she was pleased to have been involved in the establishment of the Visy mill in Tumut, and the Murray Glen Retirement Village.
In 2001, Ms McKenzie was awarded an Australian Government Centenary Medal in recognition of her service to the community, and during her fifth term on council she received an Outstanding Service Award from Local Government NSW in recognition of her 20 years’ of service as a councillor.
She also held many interests outside of council, including being an active member of the Country Women’s Association (CWA) .
She remained interested in her community right up until her death.
“The Snowy Valleys Council recognises Audrey McKenzie’s years of service in local government, and her enduring interest in the community,” said Mayor Hayes. “We send our sympathies to her family at this sad time.”