Passion and energy go a long way for Rossarden resident Mary Knowles.
It needs to when she manages to be involved in everything from local government to domestic violence support to agriculture.
“If you’re passionate about something you make the time,” Mrs Knowles said.
Mrs Knowles has been recognised for her hard work with a Medal of the Order as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for her service to Northern Midlands community and to local government. After surviving an abusive relationship, she found community support helped her through.
“I was a bit blown away by the support that I got,” she said.
“I ended up in the little town of Rossarden … I couldn’t have ended up in a better place, the people were so accepting.”
It was there that she got involved in volunteering.
She started off as a volunteer ambulance officer, which she has continued since 1989, while also becoming involved in the Distance Education Parent Association, Tasmanian Women in Agriculture and the Family Violence Consultative Group.
This week’s award is not her first honour either.
In 2010, Mrs Knowles was inducted into the Tasmanian Honour Roll for Women.
“I feel passionate about making sure small communities are recognised. It’s one of the main reasons I stood for council.”
She has been representing the Northern Midlands district since 2009.
Domestic violence is an issue she wants to raise more awareness of.
“People on the street don’t see what’s going on behind closed doors,” Mrs Knowles said.
She did not think there had been a change in the rate of violence committed, and she is driven to do what she can offer support.
“I’d like to encourage all councils to do something. Some councils are doing a really good job, but I’d like all councils on board,” Mrs Knowles said.
“Health of the community is part of the role of councils, not just rates and rubbish.”
She has approached her council to use street signage to show their support for women experiencing domestic violence so they know they can get out and get help.
Even listening could make a difference, she said.
Despite her hard work, Mrs Knowles was quite surprised when her letter arrived announcing she would receive a Queen’s honour.
By being enthusiastic, she hoped to bring an energy which would encourage more people to donate their time to a cause.
It is not only her local community she helps, Mrs Knowles also travels to parts of Africa every second year to help out in orphanages and poorer communities.