From the farm to fame – Dec. 2019

On Friday 22 November 2019 the Weekly Times announced their six winners of the rural women Shine Awards. The Shine Awards to put the spotlight on the amazing but often silent achievements of women doing incredible things within their communities.

The winner of the Most Dedicated was Mrs Jean Beamish from Budgeree. Mrs Beamish was recognised for her 30 years of work within the community supporting the school canteen at Mirboo North Secondary College, volunteering in the canteen of the Boolarra Football/Netball club, as part of the Boolarra Red Cross and most importantly as the President of the Budgeree Hall Reserve Committee of Management. When there is a job to do Jean is always the first to put her hand up, roll up her sleeves and get to work. Said Leanne Potter who nominated Jean for the award: “It has been Jean’s unwavering commitment to community and leadership that has seen the Budgeree Hall go from an old unused building to the dynamic community space it is today”. Jean was also nominated by Amber Rhodes, who said she “felt safer knowing Jean was just up the road” and Carol Craddock who was inspired by all the things Jean does.

Mrs Beamish says she has been so thrilled by the award and never believed it would go this far. Last Friday, The Weekly Times treated Jean to a lunch in the grounds of Cruden Farm, former home of Dame Elizabeth Murdoch, with the other five winners, members of the Murdoch family, executives of News Corp, CEO of Harvey Norman, Katie Paige, and Chair of The Australian and Weekly Times, Penny Fowler. After lunch, Jean was presented with her award and a voucher for Harvey Norman. The speech by Camilla Smith, editor of the Shine magazine, highlighted Jean’s humble beginnings living in English Corner, with no electricity, being home schooled and working hard with her siblings to support the family and farm. It was this foundation in the importance of family and community that Jean has brought forward into everything she does.

One hundred and eighty amazing women were nominated across Australia in the Shine Awards. Eighteen semi-finalists selected. From these, six winners in the categories of Dedication, Grace, Belief, Courage, Passion and Spirit were selected. The Shine Awards commenced three years ago to put real women who are making a difference in their community, under the spotlight. Countless stories of rural women, despite facing the devastation of fire, drought and hardship have rolled up their sleeves and turned their attention to helping others. The Weekly Times described the stories of these amazing women as heartbreaking, but also hugely inspiring, demonstrating the courage, ingenuity, determination and hope intrinsic in rural women.

Mrs Beamish said she was “So excited to put Budgeree on the map and to be recognised nationally, however it is all those that she works alongside that deserve recognition. “ It takes a whole committee to keep things running”. Mrs Beamish went on to say, “I am so touched by all the messages and phone calls I have received congratulating me, some I don’t even know. I will collect all the comments (on Facebook) and keep them to look back on, thank you everyone”.

Leanne Potter