On Australia Day we not only recognise this great land and our history, but we honour outstanding members of our community.
Take a look below and read their personal stories.
DIANNE McGRATH (OAM)
IT'S with a somewhat surprised tone that Dianne McGrath talks of being named an Order of Australia Medalist (OAM).
Ms McGrath has been awarded for her services to international humanitarian programs, notably her work with Ryder-Cheshire Australia which is a charity that supports homes in countries including India and Timor-Leste for people who are sick, have a disability or are destitute.
The current Ballarat president, state vice president and national board of directors member said the work she did could not happen without the team of volunteers involved.
"It all stems from my work here in Ballarat and I'm absolutely gobsmacked this has come my way," Ms McGrath said.
It's a shock and I'm also incredibly humbled and amazingly honoured.
"I'm just a person who lives in Ballarat who works with people to create support for each other.
"It's not me, it's me and the groups I work with. It's difficult to say, 'oh Dianne did that', no, I was part of what happened and it's basically stemmed from me being part of Ryder-Cheshire."
Ryder-Cheshire focuses on fundraising activities for residents in Raphael, Northern India and sponsors programs at Klibur Domin in Timor-Leste. Individuals, community groups and schools sponsor both these homes.
"We are a very active group here. We have 30 on our committee, but we also have sponsors, supporters and eight schools involved as well," Ms McGrath said.
"Some of those have been more than 50 years supporting Raphael. We are totally volunteer run, nobody gets any reimbursement for their work."
Ms McGrath is also a member of the Ballarat China Community Committee and a member of the Ballarat Friends of Ainaro Community Committee.
This award will be very much a sharing for volunteers for people who are suffering, people who have disability, people who wish to share with their children
"It's a recognition of the work that is done in Ballarat. I'm very proud to live in Ballarat.
"I believe in community, I believe in belonging and I believe in helping each other and looking out for each other."
KATE TORNEY (OAM)
State Library of Victoria chief executive officer and former Australian Broadcasting Corporation director of news Kate Torney has been named an Order of Australia Medallist (OAM).
Ms Torney has been awarded for her services to broadcast media and to the cultural sector.
Currently living in Melbourne, Ms Torney grew up in Ballarat and was Head Girl at Loreto College in 1985.
Ms Torney had a long career as a radio and television reporter and producer, was director of news at the ABC from 2009 to 2015, and was head of the Asia-Pacific News Centre.
In 2001, she teamed with Barrie Cassidy to launch Insiders, the ABC's flagship weekly national affairs program. She was also involved in establishing Offsiders and other programs for the ABC.
Ms Torney has been chief executive officer at the State Library of Victoria since 2015, is the former Chair of National and State Libraries Australia and former Chair of the board representing Australia's peak galleries, libraries, archives and museums.
Ms Torney has also served as a board member for the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas, a board member for The Conversation, a member of the Ministerial Council for Volunteers and a member of Chief Executive Women.
She is a former member of the Creative State Advisory Board, a board member of Circus Oz and a former board member of the Collingwood Children's Farm.
Ms Torney holds a Bachelor of Communication (Media) from RMIT.
MANFRED ZABINSKAS (OAM)
A man who devoted his life to caring for animals has been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).
Manfred Zabinskas, of Trentham, received the award after being nominated by Wildlife Victoria for his work in animal welfare.
Mr Zabinskas runs the Five Freedoms Animal Rescue in Trentham, an organisation he founded in 2007.
He was also the owner and operator of the Greendale Wildlife Shelter from 1997-2006 and the Blackwood Wildlife Shelter from 2007-2014. The East Trentham Wildlife Shelter has been running since 2014.
Mr Zabinskas has been known to go to extraordinary lengths in his dedication to animal welfare, known to even abseil down abandoned mineshafts to rescue stray wallabies in Bendigo.
He has been a life member of Wildlife Victoria since 2001.
DR ALISON SCOTT INGLIS (AM)
An honorary life member of the Art Gallery of Ballarat has been named a member of the Order of Australia (AM).
Dr Alison Scott Inglis has been awarded for her significant service to education, and to the museum and galleries sector.
Dr Inglis is an Associate Professor in Art History at the University of Melbourne. She has co-ordinated and lectured the Master of Art Curatorship Program at the university since 1995.
Dr Inglis has been director of Museums Victoria since 2015 and has been an Emeritus Trustee for the National Gallery of Victoria since 2010.
Dr Inglis was made an honorary life member of the Art Gallery of Ballarat Association in 2014 and was director of Heide Museum of Modern Art from 2005 to 2015.
She lives in Parkville.
It has been Australia's lost summer. Drought, hail, floods and, worst of all, bushfires have ravaged communities all over the nation. But the selfless actions of friends, family, neighbours, strangers, local groups and volunteer organisations have inspired us and strengthened the bonds of community. Please join us in saying thanks to the heroes of the home front by sharing your stories of gratitude. To salute a person or a group, please use the form below.