VOLUNTEER REWARDED: Elaine Madill has been recognised for her contribution to the Wondai community with an Order of Australia Medal.
VOLUNTEER REWARDED: Elaine Madill has been recognised for her contribution to the Wondai community with an Order of Australia Medal. Claudia Williams

Community volunteer receives national honour

FROM the first day Elaine Madill arrived in the South Burnett she has been making a difference as a volunteer.

The Wondai resident is being honoured for her contribution to the community this Australia Day with an Order of Australia Medal.

"It is a great honour to receive the award and I am very much aware of the fact that it is being given to me for my years of service to the community but I have always felt that I get more than I give," she said.

"From day one I felt like I belonged and I think that is just what Wondai is like.

"Wondai is a unique little community and it is because of that spirit of community we have and that ranges through from our churches to all our organisations working together for the betterment of our community.

"If there is some way I can use it for the benefit of the South Burnett I will."

Mrs Madill moved to Tingoora in 2001 and started volunteering at the Wondai Regional Art Gallery the next day.

This year marks her 13th as president, the second person to hold the role in the gallery's history.

"I am not an artist but I am an organiser," she said.

"I knew that is what I wanted to do because I was retiring and didn't have to look for work and that is what I wanted to do."

South Burnett mayor Keith Campbell has praised Mrs Madill's contribution to the community and said her recognition was very fitting.

"She arrived in the South Burnett and hit the ground running and has not stopped since she arrived," he said.

"Her passion and dedication for the work she does but her services extend beyond the art gallery and extend beyond the South Burnett."

Beyond the gallery Mrs Madill's biggest achievement include starting the Wondai Ladies Lunch which brings together up to 70 women across the region each month and she organising the inaugural Wondai Country Festival to life.

For Mrs Madill it all changed when she had a stroke in 2016.

"I was sitting in the lounge room, woke up and couldn't move," she said.

Following the stroke Mrs Madill moved to Wondai and is now living their independently while continuing to volunteer.

The experience brought to her attention a gap in the health service available to South Burnett residents and she is hoping she can use her OAM to make a change.

"There is no physio or occupational therapy at the Kingaroy Hospital on a daily basis where people can come after a stroke or a hip or knee replacement and get regular care," she said.

"I want more access for people who haven't got private health cover to access some rehabilitation through our public hospitals.

"I am hoping that it (her OAM) will be some use to get something done in the Kingaroy hospital."