For the past five decades, John Molesworth has been dedicated to the Ballan community and its sporting clubs. The 72-year-old is Moorabool’s 2017 Citizen of the Year.
What’s your connection to Moorabool?
I live on a property (in Morrisons) that’s been in our family for 102 years. I’ve been here since about 1952. Before that, we lived in Colvern, near Hamilton.
What’s your favourite thing about Morrisons?
It’s a good farming area, and it’s a friendly community and the sporting facilities are pretty good – there’s ample opportunity for young people to get involved in sports. One of the most important things in life is to have young people playing sport, and I think that would solve a lot of our mental health problems if it was compulsory for kids to be actively involved in sports.
What would you change about the area?
Getting more young people involved in sports … I don’t think you can ever have enough (sports grounds), but they need to be continually upgraded.
Where’s your favourite place to hang out?
I like the footy grounds – I go there a lot during winter. I’ve formed friendships, met new people and can witness young people actively being involved in sports.
How do you feel about being Moorabool council’s citizen of the year?
Initially, I was a bit embarrassed because I’ve never thought being involved in community activities needs to be acknowledged. You do it because you want to see people get involved – you just like seeing people involved in sports. It was also a bit of a surprise. When the person nominated me, I wasn’t that keen to accept the nomination because I prefer to be in the background. But the best part of receiving this award has been council’s acknowledgement of someone in sports.
Why is it important for young people to be involved in sports and clubs?
A lot of kids now are not taking the opportunity of playing sports. Sport is the greatest form of character building – you learn how to win, you learn how to lose and you learn to be in a team. My son went on school camp with 50 kids, and he couldn’t believe how many of them couldn’t ride a pushbike – that was never heard of 15 years ago. You learn a lot about life being involved in sport … and, like I said, I’ve made lifelong friendships.
What are your plans for the future?
Still where I am – still farming and working on the farm. I’m enjoying it, and as long as I enjoy it, I want to continue doing it. I don’t have plans to coach again, but I enjoy watching my grandchildren play sport, give them advice.
Mr Molesworth was nominated for his contributions to volunteer organisations, including Ballan Cricket Club, Ballan Football Club, Ballan Jockey Club, Ballarat Turf Club, Ballarat Agricultural and Pastoral Society, and the Morrisons CFA.