Williamstown’s Jenni Mitchell always wanted to bring the country to the city.
She has been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours with an Order of Australia Medal for services to the community and to women in rural Victoria.
During the 1980s, Ms Mitchell worked for the Office of Rural Affairs Victoria and helped develop the Rural Women’s Network.
“We spent a lot of time linking rural women, isolated or otherwise, with city services or regional services, and giving them a voice,” she said.
Ms Mitchell moved to Williamstown in the early ’90s.
Her award recognises her contribution to many local groups and programs, including as a founding member of the Hobsons Bay Refugee Network, secretary of the Williamstown, Newport and Spotswood Residents Association, and co-organiser of the Loom Room craft hub and Conversations for the Curious discussion sessions at Williamstown Senior Citizens Centre.
“I just think community is incredibly important and all levels of community need an opportunity to be with each other.
“I suppose everything that I’ve done … is based on a need for people across the community to spend time with each other.”
She described the recognition as humbling and overwhelming.
“I grew up in a country town in a big family, so I’m just really trying to repeat the country town wherever I am, whether it’s a suburb or an organisation.”