Nethercote’s Joanna Maul was “astounded” to be announced the 2012 South Coast Southern Inland Senior Volunteer of the Year last week.
She is one of an army of volunteers in New South Wales who do more than 235 million work hours each year and contribute an extraordinary $5 billion to the State’s economy.
Mrs Maul was recognised for her role in the restoration and revival of the once condemned Nethercote Hall at a ceremony in Bega on Friday.
A supportive contingent from the Nethercote Residents Association (NRA) was also present, including Carol Ahern who nominated Mrs Maul for the award.
“I feel Joanna deserves the NSW Volunteer of the Year Award because she has put so much of her own time into the refurbishment of our once condemned hall, she is not afraid of jumping through hoops to get to the desired result and she has been involved for the duration - since the decision was made to rebuild our hall,” Carol wrote in her nomination.
“I had a suspicion my colleagues may have nominated me for something,” Mrs Maul said on Monday.
“But I was quite astounded really.”
Mrs Maul became involved with saving the historic hall from demolition when she and her husband moved to Nethercote about 15 years ago.
She said the hall had been condemned in the 1970s and was in very poor condition.
Mrs Maul established a craft group to support fundraising efforts creating all manner of garden ornaments, calico bags with innovative designs, aprons, table cloths, plants, and the piece de resistance, a wire and papier-mâché throne the group now called the “celebration chair” which is decorated with minute multi-coloured and mirror tiles.
She would also supply and prepare morning teas at working bees, assist with grant applications and has held the positions of secretary, treasurer and the leader of many landscaping projects.
Mrs Maul said it was wonderful to receive the award but said it was through teamwork that the hall was rebuilt.
“When we came here we didn’t know anyone, we met people through the hall and committee,” she said.
“Now I have a wonderful group of friends and they were all there.”
This week she took a step down from the executive committee and is looking forward to “doing what I’m told” and supporting the many functions.
“It’s wonderful to see it today and to go to the events held there now - it’s just magic,” she said.
“It’s being used all the time and in–between functions like the produce markets and the music factory there are private hires.”
Pambula’s Loretta Fella was also recognised for her outstanding community work with the Australian Red Cross.
Ms Fella has been volunteering an average of 10 hours a week for more than three-and-a-half years.
Coming events: Nethercote produce market Saturday, October 27; Music Factory Saturday, November 17.