Goulburn's Queen's Birthday honours recipients give of themselves

“People are people. We all fail and need a hand to be picked up and helped. We all deserve that chance.”

The words come from Bungonia OAM recipient, Anne Wiggan, (pictured) who was honoured in the general division for her contribution to the Goulburn and Bungonia communities over many years.

For Mrs Wiggan it is about community, sharing, hospitality and service.

How else to explain why she throws open her doors to the homeless and vulnerable from a Kings Cross parish who travel especially to Bungonia by bus every year to experience the warmth of a friendly town?

Like her work in so many other spheres, it is this selfless and giving spirit that makes such a difference.

It takes a special person, for example, to spot the gaps in the disability sector and then to have the knowledge, compassion and persistence to follow it through to a tangible outcome.

That’s what helped Goulburn’s Abbeyfield House come about 10 years ago. If it were not for the efforts of people like Mrs Wiggan and Annemarie and Noel Athea, there would be nowhere for people with diabilities, capable of living in a semi-supported environment.

It has transformed lives and taken a weight off parents’ shoulders. In the process, it has been a model for the rest of Australia.

Goulburn is blessed to have such quality people working in the disability sector, whether in government organisations or elsewhere. 

It is about lifting people up and giving them every opportunity to thrive.

Politicians, like journalists, are not the most revered profession but most go into the sector hoping to also make a difference. John Sharp was well respected as the Member for Gilmore and then Hume, both of which covered the Goulburn district.

We congratulate him on his Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for his service to the area, the aviation industry and the community.

Many will also fondly remember Michael Barkl, the former Head Music Teacher at the Argyle College of TAFE. He also transformed lives with the wonder of music. Another OAM recipient, Dr Keith Beck was deeply respected for his compassion and commitment.

We can’t all be awarded in the Queen’s Birthday Honours but we can make a power of difference to the people around us by giving of ourselves. 

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