CONNECTING the Ballarat community is one of Margaret Robinson's greatest passions.
A former secondary teacher at Loreto College Ballarat, Mrs Robinson became involved with Rotary and Probus as a way to meet new people and discover different interests.
She was involved with Rotary for many years while her husband was a member before she joined Ballarat East Rotary Club in 2005.
She has held a number of positions there and has also been on a number of district committees. She enjoys social interaction and has met many new friends while fundraising for a variety of important causes through Rotary.
She strongly believes in the health benefits of being around like-minded people and continuing to develop interests after retirement, which is why she is also a member of the Ballarat Goldfields Probus Club.
I think if people can get out and just relax and laugh and be involved in their community, it has a terrific benefit.Margaret Robinson
There are 1700 Probus clubs in Australia - with about 130,000 members - of which Mrs Robinson has helped to form a few and continues to assist with managing 145 clubs across the district.
Probus Clubs are for retirees and involve a group of people participating in different activities from walking and gardening groups, to dining out and going to the theatre or going on day trips. The clubs are formed by Rotary and follow the same district; from Swan Hill to Border Town across to Mt Gambier and Geelong.
Mrs Robinson travels all over Victoria and even to Tasmania and South Australia to help clubs with managerial tasks so they can enjoy the fun and fellowship of being in a Probus Club, rather than worrying about the finer details.
"I travel to a lot of Probus Clubs. I'm fortunate because I was the Chairman of the Board on the Probus South Pacific so I get to know a lot of people, which I love. I suppose that's one of the best things about being in Rotary and Probus - I can do what I love and that's being involved with other people."
Mrs Robinson is being awarded a medal of the Order of Australia this Queen's Birthday for her service to the community of Ballarat.
She said she loved seeing how happy and engaged members of Rotary and Probus were and that's why she did it.
It is lovely helping people - it's the greatest thing I've ever done.Margaret Robinson
Mrs Robinson is a Paul Harris Fellow at Rotary - one of the organisation's highest honours for members and also received the Don Robinson Memorial President's Award.
The award was created in honour of her husband after he died and is given to members who have served above and beyond. The award was created in 2005 and Mrs Robinson never expected to receive it, but in 2015, she did.
Additionally, Mrs Robinson has been on committees at Ballarat and Clarendon College, where the Robinson family has a history extending back to 1883 and was the first to have five generations attend.
Have you signed up to The Courier's variety of news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in Ballarat.