OAM for Des Manwaring

Condobolin’s Des Manwaring was awarded a Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia on the Queen’s Birthday Honour List. KP

By Melissa Blewitt

Former long serving Councillor and Mayor of Lachlan Shire Council Des Manwaring, has been recognised with a Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia on the Queen’s Birthday Honour List. Mr Manwaring was awarded the OAM in the General Division for service to Local Government and the Lachlan Shire Community.
He still lives in the Condobolin area with his wife Jeanette, and they are both still part of a thriving family farming business, which has grown over many years.
His connection to Condobolin began in 1967, when he began share farming on 3,000 acres. He, along with wife Jeanette and his family, now own around 50,000 acres.
“You never do things for acknowledgment, but all I have ever wanted to do was to give a little something back to the community that has given my family so much,” he said in 2015, when he was awarded the Paul Harris Fellowship. It was the first time a Paul Harris Fellow has not been connected to the Condobolin Rotary Club itself.
“The first years were a bit rough, but Jeanette and I knew there was no other place like Condobolin, so we knew this was going to be home for us and our family.”
Lachlan Shire Mayor, John Medcalf, said the award was “very much deserved” and was acknowledgement of Mr Manwaring’s commitment to the local community.
“I want to say a big congratulations to Des, it is very much deserved,” he stated.
“He has long served his community with dignity and respect. He spent 30 years in Local Government advancing the causes of the Lachlan Shire and was a true gentleman. He truly has made an outstanding contribution to Condobolin and the Shire.”
Mr Manwaring became a Councillor in 1984, where he remained until his retirement from Local Government in 2016. He was mayor from 2006 until 2015, and held the Deputy Mayor’s position on two occasions – From 1997 until 2005, and then again in 2015 to 2016.
His other service includes: Member, Lachlan Senior Management Team, NSW Rural Fire Service, current; Representative to the Lachlan Service Agreement Committee; Member, Mid Lachlan Valley Team Bush Fire Management Committee, since 2007; Deputy Group Captain, Lachlan District, 2000-2003; Group Captain, 1980-2000.
He was the Senior Deputy Captain of Vermont Hill South, from 2004 to 2006, and has been a member since 1958. Mr Manwaring is a Master, Masonic Lodge Condobolin, Freemasons from 1989 to 1991, and has been a member of the organisation since 1984. He is a continued supporter of the Condo 750. He is current Chairman of Western Plains Regional Development Inc in Condobolin. Mr Manwaring has received the Emeritus Mayor, Local Government NSW, 2014; 30 Years Service, Local Government NSW, 2014; Long Service Medal and Clasps, 50 Years Service, NSW Rural Fire Service, 2014; 2015; and Outstanding Service Award for 20 Years Service, Shires Association of NSW, 2005.

Order of Australia for former Deputy Mayor

Four-time Deputy Mayor of Lachlan Shire Council, Noel Bennett, received an Order of Australia on the Queen’s Birthday Honour List on Monday.

• Noel Bennett, pictured in 2006 during his time as Deputy Mayor of Lachlan Shire Council, was awarded an Order of Australia on the Queen’s Birthday Honour List on Monday. KP

By Lara Pearce

Four-time Deputy Mayor of Lachlan Shire Council, Noel Bennett, received an Order of Australia on the Queen’s Birthday Honour List on Monday.

Mr Bennett was awarded the OAM in the General Division for services to local government and the Lachlan Shire community.

“I was thrilled, I was humbled, I was honoured,” said Mr Bennett of hearing the news. “I have always had a desire to make things better for people and if that is what I have been able to achieve, then I am very happy.”

Mr Bennett, who lives in Tottenham, was a Councillor from 1991 until 2008, serving four times as Deputy Mayor, as well as spearheading a plethora of community organisations.

“A couple of people approached me in 1990 and asked me to stand for Council,” he said.

“The roads in this area particularly were a key concern – we had never had a sealed road out of Tottenham. We fought hard. Now, we have all sealed access out of Tottenham.”

“I tried hard as a Councillor for all communities. If people came forward with a concern and were prepared to put some money or some time into it, I would support them.”

Lachlan Shire Mayor, Des Manwaring, worked alongside Mr Bennett during his seventeen years on Council and offered his congratulations on the announcement.

“It is very well-deserved,” he said. “Noel was a man who once he took something on, he got into it teeth and all and never gave up until he achieved what he set out to achieve for his community.”

“He is a great ambassador for Tottenham and the Lachlan Shire. Particularly in Tottenham, he was involved in nearly everything that moved in some way or another. It is a real credit to him.”

Mr Bennett was also responsible for starting the Lachlan Advisory Group based in Condobolin in the 1980s, serving as the organisation’s inaugural President.

“In the early 80s it was a very difficult time for people on the land,” he said. “This is when interest rates were up over 20%. 81/82 were drought years and some changes in income tax laws were having an effect.”

“I had some very, very sad calls from women who were in tears – when you start getting those phone calls, you know people are pretty desperate.”

“With Fran [Rowe]’s expertise and her continual negotiations with the Government, we were able to get some guidelines put in place for people with their finances.”

The Mayor commended Mr Bennett for initiating the group, which is still running today.

“Noel had seen that there was a great need,” Clr Manwaring said. “It was the first of its kind in NSW. His foresight there was spot on.”

Among the achievements Mr Bennett is most proud of is the new Tottenham Multi Purpose Service (MPS), which was built in 2009.

“I was Chairman of the local hospital board,” he said. “We worked to get funding to build a new MPS with allocated aged care beds. Before that, our aged care patients had to move towns, which is disgraceful. Now, there are six nursing home beds and four acute care beds and they are always full.”

At 76 years old, Mr Bennett remains an active member of the town’s Progress Association, the Tottenham Golf Club and the Tottenham Health Advisory Council.

He was a founding member of the Tottenham Tidy Towns committee in 1996. In 2008, he was named Tottenham Citizen of the Year.

Mr Bennett says that his one regret in accepting this recognition is that his late wife, Margaret, is not here to share it with him.

“I wish she was here,” he said. “I lost her two years ago and she was a terrific support to me. I just hope that she is up there looking down at this.”

He also offered his thanks to all those who have supported him over the years. “I have had a lot of support from the different volunteer organisations and the people who work on those organisations,” he said.

“I would also like to thank the people who nominated me, whoever they are.”

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