Rutherglen’s Frances Walsh can best be described as a community leader through and through.
From her roles as a past Indigo Shire Deputy Mayor (2007-2008) and Councillor (2003-2009) to organising Rutherglen’s entries in Tidy Towns (Keep Victoria Beautiful) awards, her involvement is always with the community in mind.
For these contributions to local government and to the community of the Indigo Shire she has been awarded an Order of Australia Medal in the Queen’s 2018 Birthday honours.
“The award came as a bit of a shock,” she told the Free Press.
“You don’t work for the community to be rewarded, or acknowledged or paid or anything like that. You do it because you want to be a part of the community and keep the community moving along.”
So it is not surprising then that she wanted to devote the award to the community.
“It’s not just for me, it’s a community award because you can’t do anything on your own. You have to have people helping you and people willing to assist in what you are planning, someone to bounce your ideas off,” she said.
Born and bred in Rutherglen, Ms Walsh was proud to say that she couldn’t see herself living anywhere else.
“We live in one of the most beautiful parts of Australia,” she said.
Her involvement in Tidy Towns came about during her time as an Indigo Shire Councillor when she worked alongside the late Don Chambers.
She wanted to use her moment in the spotlight to push the message about residents putting forward submissions for the awards.
“There’s always something that is worthy of nominating and you have to work out what that is,” she said.
“It would be so much easier if the community put forward suggestions as to what they think should be nominated because otherwise you spend your time going around and wondering what should be on the list.
“It’s a process we need to work on in Rutherglen, so that it doesn’t come down to just one or two people putting forward ideas.
“It’s good to see the town improving and not being left sitting the same, so there’s lots of movers and shakers in the town who work for the good of the community and when we all get together, anything can happen.”
Ms Walsh is a founding member of the Indigo Atauro Island Friendship Committee since 2008, as well as the founding member of the Indigo Shire Junior Council in 2003.
She was the President of aRTS Rutherglen (2012-2015) and founding member, since 2005.
These days she has a close connection with Indigo North Health’s Friends of Glenview Auxiliary where she is president and enjoys offering her time as a volunteer driver.
Ms Walsh also finds enjoyment in her role as a Civil Marriage Celebrant, conducting weddings since 2006.
Her other involvements in the community include Meals on Wheels.