Former Fraser Coast Chronicle editor and OAM recipient, Nancy Bates.
Former Fraser Coast Chronicle editor and OAM recipient, Nancy Bates.

Veteran editor helped shape modern-day Maryborough

A WORLD class war memorial in Queens Park.

$60,000 raised in just weeks for a bronze statue that would start a chain reaction of Mary Poppins-inspired events, businesses and tourist attractions.

These are just some of the things that would never have happened if wasn’t for one woman who loved her Heritage City so.

Nancy Dawn Bates was yesterday named in the Governor-general’s honours list for her service to the community of Maryborough.

The former Chronicle editor of more than two decades and veteran journalist helped shape modern-day Maryborough and has been its number one advocate.

While her achievements are too many to mention they include being a patron of the Proud Marys – the group which promotes Maryborough’s connection to Mary Poppins author PL Travers, a former member of Wide Bay Burnett Regional Development Australia, former director at Wide Bay Water Corporation, charter member of the Zonta Club of Maryborough, former president of the Fraser Coast Show Society, chair of the marketing committee for the Brolga Theatre and president of the Tinana Kindergarten and preschool association.

She was previously named Telstra Businesswoman of the Year, Fraser Coast Citizen of the Year and her joint project with the late Toni McRae which brought a Butchulla language series to local schools through the newspaper earned a United Nations Peace Award.

Born in New Zealand and still proud of her heritage and beloved All Blacks, Nancy has always maintained that her adopted home is the best place in the world to live and raise a family.

Whether it’s using her writing talents to promote Maryborough through a book about the first steam train built in Queensland or campaigning for RV Friendly status she is known for turning bold ideas into a reality and is respected and admired by the politicians she has recruited to help along the way.

It was her vision for a fitting monument to the first man ashore at Gallipoli which not only led to the Duncan Chapman statue taking pride of place in Queen’s Park but also developed into the Gallipoli to Armistice War Memorial.

She remains the chair of the Queens Park Military Trail Committee.

Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour said Nancy’s ongoing commitment to the community meant she had never really retired.

“There would be very few people, and perhaps no one, who have made more of a positive impact on our community,” Cr Seymour said

“Every day I see things both physical and in the sense of community spirit that would not have happened without her guidance, hard work and inspiration.

Speaking to the Chronicle yesterday Nancy said the community spirit on the Fraser Coast was unrivalled.

“If I have achieved anything for the Fraser Coast, it’s because of the community spirit that has given me so much,” she said.

She said seeing the Fraser Coast come together as a region was a highlight.

“There’s a maturity, and Maryborough and Hervey Bay complement each other,” Nancy said. “Seeing that unity starting to grow and becoming a reality, that’s something I’ve long been ardent about.”