BENDIGO adventurer Linda Beilharz has been awarded an Order of Australia Medal for her service to the community and her polar exploration.
This prestigious award caps off a big week for Ms Beilharz who was also named Bendigo Citizen of the Year.
“I am pretty astonished,” she said. “It is an amazing honour.”
Ms Beilharz became the first Australian woman to trek across the world’s four largest polar ice caps.
The 52-year-old has travelled to Greenland and the North and South poles and has just completed a four-week trip crossing the South Patagonian ice cap in Chile.
Ms Beilharz said receiving the Order of Australia medal was a huge honour.
“It means in the eyes of the Australian community and the people who have made the choice to choose me as a recipient see that the sorts of things that I have done are worthwhile,” she said.
Ms Beilharz said getting the award on Australia Day made the award a lot sweeter.
“I have never really celebrated Australia Day specifically, but Australia means a lot to me,” she said.
Ms Beilharz said Australia Day was a special day on our calendar and deserved to be celebrated every year.
“I think Australia is a really amazing place a unique country, a unique landscape, a unique democracy,” she said.
“We have a lot of really good things going for us.
“We are certainly unique to what it looks and what it feels like to live here compared to other places around the world.”
Ms Beilharz has been the executive officer of Women’s Health Loddon Mallee since 2007.