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Governor-General makes special trip to Moree to present OAM to Reg Jamieson

LIVING treasure Reg Jamieson on Saturday experienced arguably the proudest moment of his long and rewarding life when Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia and Chancellor of the Order of Australia David Hurley made a special trip to officially present the Medal of the Order of Australia to the well-known Moree resident.

Mr Jamieson, 86, was in early June recognised on the Queen’s Birthday Honour List for his tireless work in the Moree community.

However, because of failing health that has seen him in palliative care at Moree Hospital for nearly two weeks, Mr Jamieson is unable to attend the Investiture Ceremony at Government House in Sydney later this month.

Mr Hurley and his wife Linda flew to Moree by private jet on Saturday afternoon to present the award to Mr Jamieson at a ceremony in front of a small group of family members and close friends.

And Mr Jamieson has good reason to feel proud.

“It is an absolute honour to receive this medal . . . words fail me,” Mr Jamieson said.

Mr Jamieson is a life member of Moree Junior Rugby League Club as well as Moree RSL Sub-Branch – two organisations he holds close to his heart.

He has been sub-branch president for the past four years and president of the North-West National Servicemen’s Association since 2016.

Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia and Chancellor of the Order of Australia David Hurley (left) with Medal of the Order of Australia recipient Reg Jamieson at Moree Hospital on Saturday (Image: Reggie Jamieson).

Mr Jamieson was also named a non-aboriginal Moree elder in 2017, and says he is humbled and proud to be afforded an OAM.

“I feel very privileged and proud of my achievements . . . and the milestones in my life,” Mr Jamieson said when the award was announced on June 10.

In recent years Mr Jamieson, well-known and respected as a former rugby league referee with more than 40 years behind the whistle, has been heavily involved in the annual National Servicemen, ADF Forces and Families Annual Event in Moree – better known as the Nashos’ Reunion.

The reunion transferred from Bingara to Moree in 2017 and, under Mr Jamieson’s skilled leadership and unerring guidance, has grown to be one of Moree’s biggest events, drawing hundreds of visitors to the town each March.

Mr Jamieson did National Service in 1952 and has remained close to the many people he served alongside – his extended family.

“We’re all getting a bit of age on us now, but it’s good to catch up with all your friends from way back when . . . it is very emotional,” he said.

Nashos’ reunion co-ordinator John Tramby said the private presentation was very special.

“It is extremely special that the governor-general could fit this visit into his busy schedule – the award means a lot to Reg,” Mr Tramby said.

“Special trips like this are only done once or twice a year and the governor-general said that it was something he wanted to do.”

In an online statement Mr Hurley said the award recognised ordinary people who do extraordinary things for their local community and for Australia.

“Through the Order of Australia, Bravery Decorations and other awards we recognise and celebrate outstanding Australians,” Mr Hurley said.

“Perhaps the best part of the Australian system is that it is 100 percent nomination based. All people that receive awards have been nominated by their peers.

“This means that it doesn’t matter who you are, where you are from or whether you’re known to millions or just a few.

“If you have constantly put others ahead of yourself, served tirelessly and made a difference you can be nominated and recognised by a grateful nation,” he said.

Words: Bill Poulos

Image: Reggie Jamieson