Locals honoured in Queen’s birthday awards

INDIGENOUS health campaigner and nurse Anne McGovern, who divides her time between Tuntable near Nimbin and remote aboriginal communities in central Australia, received an Order of Australia medal yesterday.

The Queen's birthday honour was awarded to Ms McGovern for her services to the indigenous communities of Mintabie and Mimili.

She worked as a nurse at the Mintabie Clinic, Frontier Services, in the early 1990s and cared for disabled and elderly members of the community in the remote towns between 1991 and 2011.

She was involved in the establishment of the Community Centre in Mimili and implemented health and welfare programs there.

Ms McGovern said she was "very happy" with the acknowledgement.

"I'm pleased about the fact that the community at large are coming to more of an understanding about the needs of aboriginal communities," she said.

"People are becoming aware of their needs, not just materially but spiritually."

Ms McGovern came to the Northern Rivers in 1973 and after visiting the remote South Australian communities in 1983 has continued to live between the two.

She identified members of the remote SA community with disabilities and notified Nganampa Health Council and has been a volunteer of the Mintabie Country Fire Service since 1999.

She still works as a remote community nurse when not living here.

Further north, Jim Banks of Pottsville also received an Order of Australia medal for service to veterans and their families, and to the community.

"I felt quite honoured," Mr Banks said.

Mr Banks enlisted in the Air Force when he was 18 years old. Today, a self-described "pacifist", he is passionate about helping veterans feel supported after returning home.

"I really think any wars we get into, it should be something worth fighting for," he said. "Helping out people is just the most rewarding thing you can do."

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