Recognising Julie Dowleans, Victor Bartley, Gracyn Bowden and the Outback Opal Queens and Kings
Community Recognition Statements delivered in the Fifty-Seventh Parliament of New South Wales by the Member for Barwon Roy Butler on 29 February 2020.
Wee Waa's Julie Dowleans has been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for her service to the community. In Julie's family, taking time to volunteer has always been part of life and she has been involved in many Wee Waa organisations over the years including the Lions Club, Wee Waa and District Historical Society and Namoi Echo Museum, Garden Club, Wee Waa Community Care Service, 2MaxFM 91.3 Community Radio Station and Meals on Wheels. Julie also assists individuals who need help with daily tasks and is always looking to make their lives a little bit easier, helping people who needed transport to Tamworth for medical appointments, shopping trips or special occasions. I thank Julie for her service to the Wee Waa Community and congratulate her on receiving the OAM.
Wiradjuri man Victor Bartley says he had a profound experience as a soldier in the Vietnam War, with his time in the Army finally showing him what life would be like without racism. Growing up in Wellington and Bourke, Victor and his family were ostracised for their Aboriginality. Victor was 20 when Aboriginal people were finally recognised as Australian citizens but he still had to lie about his nationality to be accepted into the Army. As a soldier, Victor says he experienced life as an equal and without racial division for the first time, which changed the course of his life. Victor is now proud to serve on the Bourke Shire Council and as RSL president, and uses his experience in the Army to help others move past the stigma of racism and become the best version of themselves.
When six-year-old Gracyn Bowden found out a friend was diagnosed with brain cancer, she took the extraordinary step to raise money by donating her beautiful longhair to Hair with Heart Charity. Gracyn donated over 37 cm's of her waist length hair, which will be used to make wigs for children who have lost their natural hair through cancer treatments. This compassionate and courageous young lady raised $2,000 for the Variety Children's Charity, who help provide vital equipment and wigs to a child in need during their cancer treatment. This brave and selfless young lady from Bourke could teach everyone a lesson on compassion and thinking of others, without wanting anything in return. That amazing quality is aspirational and Gracyn is a true inspiration. I wish nothing but the best for this amazing young lady in all her future endeavours.
Outback Opal Queens and Kings
The Outback Opal Queens and Kings are a diverse group of opal miners and cutters from Lightning Ridge, who came together to share the beauty of the Opal during the COVID-19 lockdown. They've ethically sourced natural solid opal from the NSW Opal Fields of Lightning Ridge and surrounds to create an Opal Kit for purchase. Each kit contains a solid opal, sandpaper and felt polishing cloth. An online tutorial guides the owner through the technique of polishing the opal. In sharing their extensive knowledge of cutting and polishing the stone, purchasers are able to own a unique piece of beautiful opal. This is a not for profit initiative, where all the proceeds were donated to the team at Lightning Ridge Health One, to buy vital medical equipment. I give my thanks to community organisations, like the Outback Opal Queens and Kings, who continue to invent new ways to improve the lives of others in their communities.