Honours for North-West Tasmania churchwomen

Mavis Rowlands

Mavis Rowlands

When long-time Burnie Uniting Church member Mavis Rowlands was informed she had been successfully nominated for an Order of Australia Medal (OAM), her first instinct was to not accept it.

However, noticing how much effort had been put into preparing the nomination Mrs Rowlands agreed to accept the medal.

The recognition was for her service to conservation, youth and to the community.

Taking inspiration from her parents, Alec and Connie Scott, Mrs Rowlands said she grew up believing that people should always be willing to help others.

She and her late husband, Arthur, were ardent conservationists at a time when it was certainly not a ‘trendy’ pursuit in Tasmania.

“It is far more accepted now whereas once it was seen as anti-government and anti-jobs,’’ she recalled.

Mrs Rowlands said she was driven by a strong belief of the need for good stewardship of our natural environment.

She has also been the treasurer of the Burnie Uniting Church for almost three decades, an elder, Sunday school teacher, roster co-ordinator for Meals on Wheels and a member of the Presbytery of Tasmania.

Mrs Rowlands said assisting people on low incomes with their tax returns was the community service work that gave her the most reward.

“That gave me a lot of satisfaction,’’ she said.

Mrs Rowlands was one of two North-West Tasmania church identities who had special reasons to celebrate on 26 January.

Pam Ingram (right) with the Central Coast Mayor Jan Bonde

Pam Ingram (right) with the Central Coast Mayor Jan Bonde

Pam Ingram was named as the Cradle Coast’s Citizen-of-the-Year after dedicating much of her life to serving the small rural community of South Riana, near Penguin.

Mrs Ingram was described as a community icon by the Central Coast Mayor, Jan Bonde, for a life of service to community, the church and business.

An elder and leader of the South Riana Uniting Church for more than 30 years before it closed, Mrs Ingram was a school bus driver for more than 50 years. Her long list of accomplishments include life membership of the Riana Primary School Mothers’ Club, the Penguin High School Association and the Penguin Child Health Association. She was also a member of the South Riana War Memorial Hall Committee.

Mrs Ingram credits her involvement with the local Methodist and Uniting Church as being the bedrock of her life.

She and her first husband, the late Thomas Smith, established and ran a coach company and a travel agency. Mrs Ingram turned to community work to cope with loneliness when Mr Smith was away taking coach tours for about six months a year.

It also led to her meeting her second husband, Geoff Ingram. What began as a quick visit to drop off some homemade biscuits – which she did for many years to welcome new residents to the local community – eventually developed into a love story.

Mrs Ingram said she felt it was very important to be actively involved with one’s local community but admitted fewer people nowadays take on a role in community affairs.

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