Gordon our Citizen of Year

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I’m just proud to be involved in everything I’m involved in - Gordon McKern

Award honours a life of acheivements

GORDON McKern says he is honoured to have been named the City of Greater Bendigo Citizen of the Year.

Mr McKern said while he did not seek accolades for his community and charitable work, he was still proud to receive the award.

“It’s an honour,” he said.

“I love Bendigo and it’s just nice to be recognised in this way.

“It’s also an honour and a pleasure to be associated with the (Young Citizen of the Year), Skye Kinder.

“She’s a very nice young girl.

“And it’s just nice to see the young people in Bendigo doing well for themselves with such great careers ahead of them.”

Mr McKern moved to Bendigo from Melbourne in 1976.

He set up a factory for his business, McKern Steel, in Eaglehawk, which he said was one of the best decisions he ever made.

“By stroke of luck I built a factory in Eaglehawk,” Mr McKern said.

“I didn’t know the place at all.

“I think coming from Melbourne where there’s no community spirit at all, to suddenly find myself in a place like Eaglehawk was just wonderful.

“I became part of the Eaglehawk community.”

Mr McKern was invited to join various community organisations which created a love of volunteer work.

“That’s where I learnt the value of communities, of volunteers, of doing things without thanks or fuss, just wanting to do things,” he said.

The 2009 Order of Australia winner has worked for the Bendigo Art Gallery, the Aspire Cultural and Charitable Foundation, Sandhurst Trustees, Coliban Water and Rotary.

He also played a key role in the amalgamation of the City of Greater Bendigo as commissioner.

“One thing led to another and it’s been a great 20 or 30 years,” Mr McKern said.

“My proudest moment was probably the Order of Australia, back five years ago.  

“Otherwise I’m just proud to be involved in everything I’m involved in.

“I love the art gallery, we’ve got some great things in store for the cathedral, I enjoyed my years at Coliban Water.

“Just a good life.

“Because of my age now and few health issues, I’m actually tapering off a bit.”

Bendigo mayor Barry Lyons said Mr McKern was a deserving recipient with junior winner Ms Kinder. 

He said the council sought people who would "stand up and be a role model for everybody else”.

“Gordon has shown a great commitment to the local community, particularly in regards to his support for local businesses, regional development and innovation,” Cr Lyons said. 

"We've got two really worthy winners of the awards this year."  

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