A medal of the Order of Australia has been awarded to Margaret Ezzy of Mondrook.

In the kitchen: Margaret Ezzy has been awarded an OAM for her service to Taree.
In the kitchen: Margaret Ezzy has been awarded an OAM for her service to Taree.

Disbelief was Margaret Ezzy's first reaction to the news she would receive a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the Queen's Birthday Honours List for her service to the community of Taree.

"It's a nice honour, but I just think a lot of people deserve it as much as what I do and some a lot more than I do."

The Mondrook resident said she doesn't feel like she's done enough to warrant the recognition.

She even ignored the first two emails notifying her (they looked official but she said lots of emails do and she was wary) until she received an official phone call asking if she had received the emails and requesting she reply so they could submit it.

"After I did that, my husband Robert said he knew that it was coming. I felt really embarrassed and that they must be looking for people to do it.

"I don't think I do near as much as other people and over the years it just became part of things that I do it. I don't really think about it."

Margaret believes strongly in giving to her community, something that was instilled in her by her parents and something she has passed on to her children (she has two children and six grandchildren).

I don't think I do near as much as other people and over the years it just became part of things and I do it. I don't really think about it.

Margaret Ezzy, OAM

"It's just the way you're made," she contemplated. "If you're doing what you like, it doesn't matter.

"If everyone gave an hour a week to volunteer, it's surprising how many groups would be better off. I don't know how our country would survive without volunteers.

"I have instilled in my children that you're involved in a group, don't just go and complain, get in and do."

Margaret has been a volunteer with the Manning Valley Support Group of Camp Quality since 2004 and also served as president for a number of years.

In 2015 she received a Volunteer Community Service Award from the combined Rotary Club's of Taree North, Taree and Taree on Manning for her work with the group.

Margaret was the director (a paid position) of the Purfleet Aboriginal Community Preschool from 1967 to 1988.

She is the current treasurer of the Manning River Trefoil Guild (for older Girl Guides), a past leader of the Taree Girl Guides, and past craft steward for the Taree Show Society.

She also volunteers her time to support the Mondrook Public Hall Association, Tinonee Historical Society and Museum and the Taree and District Eisteddfod.

Her main contribution is through her cooking, mainly baking cakes, although she said she does "all different things with cooking".

She cooks for the eisteddfod for the adjudicators to have refreshments, or if the Mondrook Public Hall Association is having a stall or supper, she will cook.

"It's the same with the museum. I'm not on the committee, I just cook for them."

As for being a past craft steward of the Taree Show, Margaret is quick to say she didn't do much.

"Again, I'm just helping on the day of the show, both Taree and Wingham."

It's a big thing for me, if everybody just gave a little. You don't necessarily have to go to every meeting or physically helping out. It could be cooking, sewing, or even just give a little time for example; go and serve at a street stall.

Margaret Ezzy, OAM

"My perspective is, I'm just helping them out and there's a lot of people who do a lot of work.

"It's a big thing for me, if everybody just gave a little. You don't necessarily have to go to every meeting or physically help out. It could be cooking, sewing or even just giving a little time for example; go and serve at a street stall.

"I do what I can do and that's much slower these days."

She said she'll keep cooking until she can't and she enjoys doing it.

"If I'm feeling depressed I get a bowl out and I cook, and when you're finished you've achieved something. I put a dish in the freezer and if you have something on I can give you something to take."

Margaret also believes in keeping her commitments and ensuring she does something if she has said she will.

"If I've committed to something, unless I was in hospital, I would be there to do it. My mum and dad were like that too."

As an example, about 11 years ago she was involved in catering a wedding (a way to raise funds for Camp Quality) and in the lead up had a fall, resulting in a spiral fracture in her arm.

But she was committed and called in extra help from her daughter and, arm in sling, catered the wedding.

Catering has been a big fundraiser for Camp Quality, with the group catering for weddings, 80th birthdays, wedding anniversaries and also at the crematorium at Pampoolah until the tea rooms were built.

She said there is a strong core group of Camp Quality which has made it such a success.

"There's eight of us. With that many committed people it's surprising what you can achieve."

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