By Tate Papworth and Ewen McRae

Keilor Park’s Claude Lombard has built an empire on one simple philosophy – you only receive when you give.

“When you go and buy yourself a present, you feel nice, but when you give someone a present, you feel a lot better,” Mr Lombard said.

That philosophy has led to Mr Lombard being awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia.

As co-founder of Lombard the Paper People, Mr Lombard has made a significant contribution to the printing industry and the community for 50 years.

He is an Australia Day ambassador, a member of the Australia Day Victoria Committee and a board member of the Melbourne Tourism Authority.

In 1980, he played an integral role in helping send a fencing team to the Olympic Games in Moscow under the International Olympic flag.

“All the Western countries boycotted the 1980 games in Russia,” Mr Lombard said.

“But I believe sport is not political and helped send a team of three people to compete in the fencing over there.

“If you don’t have a country, then you’re able to compete under the Olympic flag, which is what we did … a few months later I was sent an honorary Olympic medal, which was nice.”

Over the years, the Lombard business has continued to grow, surviving a fire that threatened to ruin the company 14 years ago.

“Not many companies could survive a massive fire like we had,” Mr Lombard said.

“Everything was wiped out on the Thursday night, but the following Monday we were back open for business.”

Mr Lombard credits the influence of his father for much of what he has been able to do.

“My father is my greatest teacher,” he said. “Most people are thinking about retirement at 64. He started the business.”

Keilor East’s Margaret Lonsdale has also been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia, for a lifetime of service to dance sport in Australia.

On top of a 22-year stint as the chief executive of the Australian Dancing Society, Mrs Lonsdale was a founding member of DanceSport Australia and has won three world championships in the sport. She described her latest recognition as a career highlight.

“It’s quite an honour and a surreal feeling,” she said.

“I’ve been fairly involved in all facets of community life and dance sport and trying to give back a bit. But you don’t ever think about receiving this sort of recognition. It’s a huge honour, because I’m quite patriotic and a royalist, so I’m thrilled to be recognised by my country in this way.”

Noela MacLeod rounded out the Brimbank honours from Government House, with the East Keilor resident appointed as an Officer in the General Division of the Order of
Australia.

Ms MacLeod was recognised for her lifetime of service to the Country Women’s Association, including serving as president, secretary, state archivist, treasurer, magazine editor and competition adjudicator of the Victorian branch. She has served on the national committee for a number of years, and published a number of books for the organisation.

She is heavily involved with the international arm of the association, helping empower women and children in communities around the world.