Lifetime service earns honour for David Pratt on Australia Day

David Pratt

David Pratt

David Pratt is still working hard to make the lives of people struggling a little easier. 

The Ballarat man has been awarded an Order of Australia medal for his decades of service to the community, which started when he was only a teenager. 

Now as a 79-year-old he is still on the Uniting Housing Victoria board and passionate about finding housing for Ballarat’s most vulnerable. 

He said there was still much to do in the field. 

“There’s a critical shortage of available and decent housing for people on lower incomes,” he said. 

"It’s not necessarily all’s people across the whole spectrum, who are in situations where either, one, they can’t get affordable, reasonable housing for their families, or, in many cases, don’t have permanent accommodation.” 

Mr Pratt – whose Ballarat roots go back to the Eureka Rebellion – said his drive came from his involvement with the Uniting Church, which he has attended since his mother took him to what used to be the Methodist church as a child. 

“I’ve had a lifetime interest in community affairs,” he said. 

This has included chairing the Begonia Festival committee in 1962 and bringing Lifeline to Ballarat in the effort that would see the future UnitingCare born in the late 1960s. 

David Pratt and Sons General Merchants was where the former art supplies vendor got his start, before going his own way after 14 years. He opened his Armstrong Street South shop a decade later and ran that until retirement in 2001. 

It was then he found himself busier than ever and still relying on the support of his wife. 

“Bev’s been a fantastic support and continues to be, in terms of what I have been able to achieve,” he said.   

Mr Pratt said the Order of Australia Medal came as a surprise but laughed and said he was experienced enough to deal with the bewilderment. 

“If you hang around long enough you never know what might happen,” he said.