THERE would not be a person in the Outtrim and Korumburra communities today who would not be nodding their heads in approval and saying “thoroughly deserved” at the news that one of their own, Doug Close, has been awarded an Order of Australia (OAM) in the Queen’s Birthday honours.
But there’s certainly no issue about Doug keeping his feet firmly on the ground, despite being singled out for high praise.
“Just make sure you tell them he had plenty of help.”
That was the advice from his best supporter, wife Margaret, and it’s something Doug was keen to convey when asked what the honour meant to him over the weekend.
“There’d be 101 other people I have worked with who have done just as much or more than me. I don’t know where this came from but it’s nice all the same.
“I’ve enjoyed every minute of it (community involvement). You certainly get out of it a lot more than you put in and to see others carrying it on now is just great.”
Not that he’s scaling back. Even at 76, there’s still work to be done.
Doug is the epitome of the community volunteer and his record of service is quite extraordinary.
Here’s a snapshot.
• Korumburra Cemetery Trust: secretary/treasurer since 2000, also Outtrim Cemetery Trust
• Outtrim Recreation Reserve: committee member since 1963-2016, past president
• Korumburra Probus Club: tour director since 2014
• Outtrim Moyarra Kongwak (OMK) Cricket Club: president 1985-92, 1976-1977 and 1964-1974, committee member 1956-1993, life member, member 1956-2008, past coach
• Korumburra-Bena Football Netball Club: past president, committee 1990-98, life member, player
• Korumburra Amenities Complex Committee: president 1998-99, committee member 1990-2005
• Former member of: Outtrim Community Consultative Group, South Gippsland Shire Council Recreation Advisory Committee, Outtrim Primary School Committee and Korumburra High School Committee.
• Other awards include: Citizen of the Year South Gippsland Shire Council (2003)
Born on March 23, 1942, Doug came to the local district with his parents Mervyn and Jesse and their family after Merv bought a farm at Outtrim in 1945.
“He’d been a fitter and turner at the government’s ordnance factory in Maribyrnong but always wanted to get on the land.”
It was through Merv’s extensive community involvement, including as a Korumburra Shire Councillor for 18 years, and a former shire president, that Doug found the path to community service and volunteering himself.
“Mum died at a young age, only 36, when I was still at school. I played footy for Bena but I wasn’t much good, and after Mum died, I gave footy away to help Dad on the farm. I came back in my 20s but it was too late.
“But I thoroughly enjoyed my involvement in cricket. I always remember one of our best achievements we had was winning our first A Grade premiership after OMK crossed to the LDCA.
“They said we’d never do any good but I said I’d stay on as president until we got one and we did.”
Others have followed and OMK is consistently one of the best performing clubs in the competition for which Doug can take plenty of credit.
Doug previously played in an A Grade premiership in the Wonthaggi and District Cricket Association.
He spent over 50 years on the Outtrim Recreation Reserve Committee and he’s delighted to see it continuing as the centre of the Outtrim universe.
Other achievements include the development of the Korumburra Showgrounds Complex (reception area and grandstand), one of the best used buildings in the town.
There have been many others.
Since moving to Inverloch a few years ago, they’ve adopted the same approach to ‘community’ that they did at Outtrim, organising a street party to get to know their new neighbours, a tradition that’s continuing.
Doug is still the secretary of the Korumburra Cemetery Trust, his involvement typical of how he’s been recruited over the years.
“Someone just asked me to do it and I said ‘yes’.”
With wife Margaret, four kids Richard, Andrew, Fiona and Anna, their partners and eight grandchildren, they gathered around the new Inverloch home at the weekend to mark what was an important family and community celebration – thoroughly deserved Doug!