June 15th, 2020Queen’s Birthday honour for Judith Fawcett
SHE has just received a Queen’s Birthday honour for her services to the community of Clunes but really, Judith Fawcett isn’t one for all the fuss.
“Oh I was embarrassed, I think like most people,” she said about receiving the big phone call. “I’d rather be an Indian than the chief, if you know what I mean. I don’t like to lead, but I do like to help out where I can.”
It’s in that helping out that Judith has well and truly earned herself a bit of recognition.
When she moved to Clunes from Queensland, about 60 years ago, Judith set about making a busy life for herself with a husband, working on the farm and raising a son.
Judith has seen a lot of changes in the town over those past 60 years – and she’s been involved in a few of those changes, too – and when residents point out, with great respect, the amount of change and growth she must have seen in the beautiful country town over the years, Judith takes it all in her stride.
“You do see a lot of changes but you just take them as they’re happening, and I suppose if you’re doing something, if you’re volunteering or whatever you want to call it, then you’re part of that change and you don’t notice it.”
One of those important changes was the establishment of the Clunes CFA and, right from the beginning, Judith was out there doing her bit, taking part in roadside burns.
“That was back when it first started, in the 1960s. And now I still go to meetings, they probably think ‘what’s this old girl doing here’ and I don’t mind. You become friendly with them, it’s serious but it’s also a lot of fun.”
Judith is as warm as she is straight-talking and it’s possibly what has made her years of community service so successful.
She has also been on the Clunes Museum committee for more than 30 years, though, as she likes to point out, some have been on it longer.
It’s one of the places she has seen the most change, with the recent redevelopment of the site incorporating the library, information centre and meeting rooms.
Every week, as she has been for the past few years “it might be a couple more, it might be a couple less, I’m not counting”, Judith is in there cataloguing and archiving with the rest of the team.
“And making sure we change it, to keep it interesting, we have exhibitions as well.”
Judith has also been on the Homecraft Committee for the Clunes Agricultural Show since its inception – that was more than 50 years ago.
“Time just comes and goes, and you just do it, don’t you? And it’s something that I’ve always enjoyed. I’m working with people who have got the same interest, and they’re more than interesting – it’s not as if I’m leading, I’m working with them.”
A Queen’s Birthday honour certainly is quite a fuss. But after decades, and decades, and decades of service to the gorgeous community at Clunes, Judith deserves it as much for her philosophy on it all as her work.
“It’s something that you do just because it’s part of belonging to the town, it’s something you just want to help with.”
Words: Kate Taylor | Image: Neil Newitt
(This article is supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas.)