Order of Australia a family affair for Christina Hindhaugh

CHRISTINA Hindhaugh might have had good reason to feel a bit left out. She’s one of four siblings and, until today, was the only one who did not have an Order of Australia citation.

Now she has joined the family, having been honoured with an Order of Australia Medal in the general division (OAM) for her services to the community of Balmoral and to women in agriculture.

Mrs Hindhaugh, who lives in Buninyong, is the executive director of the Glenelg River Rosemary Farm, the largest commercial rosemary farm in the southern hemisphere. She is the secretary of the Friends of Buninyong Botanical Garden, former president of Balmoral's Australian Red Cross branch and patron of the Balmoral Health Appeal.

Her eldest sister is Tamie Fraser, who received her Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) citation for her services to the nation. Brother Hugh Beggs was honoured with a Member of the Order (AM) for services to the wool industry, while sister Eda Ritchie also received an AM for service to education, government, the arts and health.

"I often pointed it out to them that I was the only one who did not have one, but they never pointed it out to me. It was just good-hearted family banter," Mrs Hindhaugh laughs.

"We are known as a very close family and we were brought up with a very strong ethic of community service. 

"I feel enormously humbled by it. I look around my local community and see people who also might deserve one more than I perhaps. I will dedicate the award to the community of Balmoral of which I am very proud to be a member. I am also very proud to be part of the Ballarat community and am delighted to be living in semi-retirement in Buninyong." 

In a sense, it is the second part of Mrs Hindhaugh's citation which she is most enthusiastic about – for services to women in agriculture. 

"I think people in Sydney have no idea about the lives of country women"

She says the role of women in the bush hasn't received the recognition it deserves, particular from those living in the large cities.

"I am proud to accept the award on behalf of farming women," Mrs Hindhaugh says.

"I have written books about what it is like to be a farming woman in the western district that was sold all over. I think people in Sydney have no idea about the lives of country women. I travelled all over Australia promoting the lives of farming women. 

"Women are often the backbone of the country in terms of running small communities. That role goes unheralded at times." 

Mrs Hindhaugh says she is approaching the age of 70 "as slowly as possible" and, while happily semi-retired, retains a passion for innovation in agriculture. 

Christina Hindhaugh OAM

Patron, Balmoral Bush Nursing Centre

Secretary, Friends of Buninyong Botanical Garden

Patron, Balmoral Health Appeal

Co-producer, The First Eleven documentary, ABC Television

Hall of Fame inductee, Southern Grampians Shire Council Business Achievement Awards

Order of Merit, Australian Red Cross, Western Region