Moree’s Reg Jamieson named in Queen’s Birthday Honour List

MOREE community stalwart and all-round good bloke Reg Jamieson has been recognised on the Queen’s Birthday Honour List – an accolade he cherishes but says is bittersweet.

Mr Jamieson was on Sunday gonged with a Medal of the Order of Australia (General Division) for his tireless work in the Moree community.

But, sadly, the man that lodged the nomination is not here to celebrate with Mr Jamieson.

“I was overwhelmed when l found out I was receiving this prestigious award and I am forever grateful to Ron O’Mullane for nominating me just before he passed away,” Mr Jamieson said.

Ron O’Mullane, a local legend who stands proud and tall among Moree’s pantheon of legends, died in October last year.

But he made sure the name ‘Reginald Joseph Jamieson’ was sent off to Queen Elizabeth for her stamp of approval.

“I am devastated Ron is not here to see me get the OAM, and I’m just so grateful he thought of even nominating me for such an honour,” Mr Jamieson said.

Mr Jamieson has good reason to feel proud.

He 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.

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

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

Moree RSL sub-branch president Reg Jamieson (left) with NSW National Servicemen’s Association and Affiliates assistant secretary Alan Drinkwater at the Nashos’ Reunion in Moree. Mr Drinkwater presented Mr Jamieson with a hand-crafted carving that features a 1952 penny to commemorate the year Mr Jamieson did national service (Image: Bill Poulos).

“I feel very privileged and proud of my achievements . . . and the milestones in my life,” he said. 

Good mate Darryl Brady, Moree RSL Sub-Branch secretary, says Mr Jamieson’s addition to the Queen’s Birthday honour list is well-deserved.

“Reg is a young 86 and is still full of energy and vitality as he keeps himself – and me – busy meeting commitments and staying abreast of his obligations,” Mr Brady said.

“He is the type of bloke who is not happy unless he is helping somebody or taking time out to make everybody laugh. The OAM is worthy recognition of a man who has dedicated much of his life helping others reach their goals.

“Reg is an integral mover and shaker and was instrumental in getting our military museum up and running so we can officially open on Remembrance Day later this year.

“Reg hides his own disappointments and carries on in true Aussie spirit and is a very worthy recipient of this award . . . it is a well-deserved honour for a deserving man,” Mr Brady said.

Over the years Mr Jamieson has been a rugby league referee, RSL sub-branch president, North-West National Servicemen’s Association president, and Moree Car Club member and enthusiast.

From Left: Moree’s Johnny Sweeney, Eric Johnstone, Tommy Cain and Reg Jamieson during their rugby league refereeing days (Image Supplied).

Back in the day he pioneered a two-way radio club and also enjoyed building and racing mud-bombs – and he splashed through many victories over the years.

He is also part of the 2Max FM community radio family at Narrabri.

“Reg talked me into joining the 2Max family – he has been a member for years,” Mr Brady said.

“We often travel down to Narrabri for the RSL district council meetings and always drop into the radio station to say ‘hello’.”

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’s vision – even at 86 he still doesn’t need glasses – is to see the annual reunion continue to grow in size and stature.

“We’ve had the reunion for three years now and it is getting bigger and bigger each time,” he said.

“We are getting a couple of hundred visitors from sub-branches throughout NSW and Queensland and further afield, and they all book in for the three days at our local motels, hotels and caravan parks, which is great for the Moree economy, especially in these severe times of drought.”

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.

Mr Jamieson arrived in Moree from Cunnamulla, Queensland in 1954, and quickly embedded himself in the local community – especially the town’s sporting community.

He played club football for East Moree as well as A-grade and reserve-grade for Moree and for many years was ground manager for Moree Junior Rugby League Club.

“I could never get anyone to referee the games so I did it myself – it was the only way we could get the games started,” he smiled.

Mr Jamieson began refereeing in 1979 at the age of 45 and, amazingly, ran up and down the rugby league paddock each weekend for the next 30-odd seasons.

He retired in 2010 – he was well into his 70s – after travelling eight to 10 hours most weekends to referee 80 minutes of football at far-flung places like Bourke, Goodooga, Brewarrina and Nyngan as well as towns and villages closer to home.

The rewards were a pittance – it was the love of the game that kept him pulling on the white jersey season after season.

“Noel Blewitt coached several of us to become referees and we chartered a plane and went to a referees’ camp at Narrabeen for a week where I got my ticket,” Mr Jamieson recalled.

“After becoming accredited, several of us couldn’t get a game to referee in the Group 5 competition but referees were needed in Group 15 out at Nyngan so we went out there to gain experience.

“Sometimes we would charter planes and, one Saturday, I drove from Moree to Bourke to referee two games,” he said.

Mr Jamieson is still active at home matches, despite his 86 years.

Along with a few fellow volunteers, Darryl Brady among them, he mans the gate and helps pack up afterwards, but still manages to keep an eye on the game – and the referee.

“We do the gate for the Moree Boars’ home matches and sometimes when I’m watching a game I think to myself, ‘that referee should’ve went to Specsavers’,” he winked.

Words and Image: Bill Poulos

Related article

THE late Alf Scott was known in Moree as Mr Rugby League.

But he was much, much more than that.

And now his community spirit – especially his spirit – continues to glow ever so brightly.

Mr Scott, 94, was on Sunday posthumously named in the Queen’s Birthday Honour List with a Medal of the Order of Australia (General Division) for his tireless charity work and community service in Moree for more than 70 years.

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