Former mayors recognised in King’s Birthday honours

Former Bendigo Mayor Margaret O’Rourke is among a distinguished list of former Mayors to receive a Medal of the Order of Australia for their services to the community in the King’s Birthday Honours List.

See the full list of honours here.

Margaret O’Rourke

Cr O’Rourke was elected Mayor in 2016 as a first-time Councillor and held the position for four consecutive years.

In that time she was instrumental in a number of significant community outcomes including the arrival of Qantas in Bendigo and advocating for the recently opened Galkangu – Bendigo GovHub.

Cr O’Rourke also led council and the community through the arrival of covid-19.

Former Grampians Mayor Mary-Ann Brown, former Tumut Mayor Suzanne Bulger, former Brunswick City Council Mayor Elizabeth Jackson, former Cardinia Shire Mayor Maxwell Papley, former Gladstone Mayor Gail Sellers, former Liverpool Mayor Wendy Waller and former Inglewood Mayor Evelyn White were also awarded medals.

Current Bendigo Mayor, Cr Andrea Metcalf, said Cr O’Rourke’s recognition was highly deserved.

“Marg has been an outstanding leader over more than 20 years,” she said.

“Marg has an undeniable passion for our community and the power of regional areas, and this has been evident over her two terms as a Councillor, which also included serving as Chair of Regional Cities Victoria and as a representative on the Local Government Minister’s Mayoral Advisory Panel.

“The City of Greater Bendigo joins with many others today in congratulating Marg on this wonderful honour.”

Cr O’Rourke is a long-time Bendigo resident and lives with her husband and two teenage daughters. She is a former manager of Telstra Countrywide and her current Board appointments include Deputy Chair at Bendigo Kangan Institute and Director at Goulburn Murray Water.

She is currently serving her second Council term.

Cr O’Rourke said she was humbled by the recognition.

“I was hugely surprised and not at all expecting anything like this. I am grateful to those who nominated me and really proud to have been able to contribute to my community, which has always been what has motivated me,” she said.

“The past eight years on Council have been a defining period for our city and region, building on the leadership of the past, and to have served as Mayor during that time was an enormous privilege given to me by my Councillor colleagues.”

She also said her time as a Councillor she was proud to have been an advocate for the First Nations and multicultural community.

“I’m really grateful for all the leadership opportunities I have had in my career and that I have been able to act as a voice for our community, but never did I expect to receive an honour such as this,” she said.

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