Recognising our local heroes

Peter Dale

A musical theatre legend has been recognised as an honoured Australian for his distinguished contribution to the Ballarat arts community. 

Ballarat’s Peter Dale has been recognised with the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his service to the performing arts, and to the community of Ballarat.

Completely humbled by the recognition, Mr Dale said he has the efforts of everyone in the performing arts community to thank. 

“It is an honour to receive the OAM and I am very grateful to those who put my name forward and I would like to thank them very much,” he said.

“Any contribution I have made to the performing arts community has been in committees with many others and would ask to share this award with me.”

With music running through his veins, Mr Dale has followed in his families footsteps by continuing to make a significant contribution to the community and has been instrumental to many aspects of Ballarat’s artistic life. 

“Music has always been a part of my life, I grew up in a musical family and there was always music in our home,” he said.

A lifetime committed to theatre in Ballarat has seen Mr Dale help re-establish the Ballarat Symphony Orchestra while remaining predominant in numerous committees around town.

Mr Dale’s has shared his dedication with not only the community but with his family who have been his biggest support over the years.

“My daughter Claire and son Andrew are both talented musicians and my five grandchildren all play and love music,” he said. 

“Music is a necessity, without it our culture thirsts.”

Thomas Donohue

A local man has been recognised for his contribution to the community through social welfare organisations with an inclusion in this years Australian Honours List.

For years, Thomas Donohue spent much of his time lending an ear to the people of Ballarat, that today has been recognised for his input to the community with the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM). 

Mr Donohue said he never expected to be recognised for what he considers only a small contribution to Ballarat.

“It’s a real surprise for me, for a little person in the community like me to receive this, I am very grateful,” he said.

“You don’t expect things like this to happen to you and in a way I don’t feel I deserve it because there are so many people doing so many good things in the community.”

What started out as fortnightly visits to the local gaol, continued with visits to the local hospitals and eventually to aged care homes where Mr Donohue spent his time listening to those who rarely had anyone to talk to.

“You had to listen and not talk, I have met some beautiful people because of it,” he said.

Mr Donohue said he is humble to be part of a community like Ballarat and that it is the generosity of the townspeople that have made his award all the more worth it. 

“It gives me a great lift to know that someone has nominated me for this award and to receive it is even more gratifying,” he said.

“Ballarat is a great place, they talk about the beauty of the lake and the gardens but it’s the beauty underneath the people that counts most.”

Judy Verlin

Chairwoman of the Committee for Ballarat, Judy Verlin, has received the highest recognition for her significant service to the community of Ballarat.

Alongside three other Ballarat residents, Mrs Verlin has been made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the Australia Day honours announced today. 

Mrs Verlin said she was honoured to be a recipient.

“It has absolutely blown me away, it’s amazing,” she said.

“I feel really quiet humble to be nominated and to be actually awarded comes as a complete shock, there are so many worthy people for all their hard work in the Ballarat community.

“People who I know who have received an AM, I hold with high respect and never did I think that I would be seen to be in the same category, I don’t really see myself as worthy as them.”

Mrs Verlin said her passion for the community and love for volunteering have been a huge part of her career, but it has been the friendships and lessons learned that are the reason behind her devotion to the Ballarat community for so long.

“If you are passionate about the community and issues in the community, you respond to that,” she said.

“It has been great to work with a lovely range of groups and people over the years.”

Mrs Verlin said she has been proud of so many people making big contributions in Ballarat and was honoured to be one of the few recognised. 

“Ballarat has such a great community spirit that sets us apart, there are just so many ordinary people in our community doing so many outstanding things,” she said.

“You get far more than you give in satisfaction.”

Bruce Price

A Ballarat man has been  recognised with the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)  for year’s of hard work and dedication to the Ballarat community. 

Bruce Price has been recognised for his contribution to clubs, councils and commitees in the region. 

For more than 50 years, Mr Price has been an active member of the community. 

Mr Price said he never imagined being nominated for such a significant award.

“It just comes as a pleasant surprise,” he said.

President of the Ballarat Arch of Victory/Avenue of Honour Committee, Mr Price said it was the contribution of everyone involved that had helped him get where he was today.  

The award, he said, was as much his as it was everyone he had worked with over the years. 

Mr Price said he also had his wife to thank for all her support and encouragement during the late nights and time away from home during his career.

“I’m honoured and humbled by it, all the things I have been involved with have been a team effort so it is as much an honour to me as it is to those involved, and most importantly my wife,” he said.

Mr Price said he gained most from overcoming challenges that made his journey all the more worthwhile.

“On your passage through life, it is a path of things that lead to your success ... you don’t know what and when something is going to happen,” he said.

“When you do these things and get involved you receive more than you give sometimes,”he said.

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