Sue Clarke initially suspected the email she received from the Governor-General's office of being spam.
All she could do for a few minutes after realising she had been nominated to be appointed a Member of the Order of Australia was exclaim in shock.
"I was just so taken aback," Ms Clarke said.
The 73-year-old is being recognised for significant service to community health in regional Victoria.
Her long list of achievements and community involvements includes 11 years as the head of Bendigo Community Health Services.
Ms Clarke has also been heavily involved in Bendigo Health throughout the years.
People might know her from her roles on a number of boards, including Ambulance Victoria, Heathcote Health, and Murray Primary Health Network.
They might also know Ms Clarke as the former chair of Haven; Home, Safe.
The mother of four was a member of La Trobe University Bendigo's regional advisory board for 10 years from 2004.
Ms Clarke was chair and founding member of the Community Foundation for Central Victoria, and sat on the board of the Central Victorian General Practice Association.
She has been involved in the board of the Bendigo YMCA.
In the 90s, Ms Clarke was a community development officer in the former Shire of Rochester and became manager of community services in Campaspe Shire after the amalgamation of local government.
She was the manager of child protection services in the Loddon Mallee region for the then Department of Human Services in the mid-'90s.
Current commitments include the Zonta Club of Bendigo, the boards of both Bendigo UFS and Central Victoria UFS, and the board of Bendigo Foodshare.
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An interest in people's health and wellness is at the heart of it all, for Ms Clarke.
"But I take it from a very broad perspective... it's really about the betterment of life," she said.
"I have a particular passion for children."
After initially training as a nurse, Ms Clarke went on to study preschool teaching and special education. She later completed a social science degree.
Ms Clarke said the Australia Day honours had given her an opportunity to reflect on her journey.
She was born in London and moved to Australia with her parents when she was five.
Opportunity, education and family were at the core of Ms Clarke's upbringing.
"Growing up in my family... giving and receiving were equally important," she said.
Ms Clarke's parents built their first Australian home in Altona. They bought the block of land, unseen, while they were in the UK.
"I had this wonderful freedom... of being able to explore and play outside and have fruit and vegetables from the garden," Ms Clarke said.
Moving with a family of her own to Bamawm Extension felt like something of a return to the lifestyle of Ms Clarke's early years in Australia.
"It wasn't a country life, but back in those days when we lived in Altona there were three houses," she said.
She and husband Graeme Clarke were dairy farmers for 14 years. They initially moved to Rochester, then to Bendigo, where they have been for more than 20 years.
"Bendigo was such a great central part of the state for us to live," Ms Clarke said.
She saw her Australia Day honour as an acknowledgement of the generosity of regional communities, particularly Bendigo's.
Ms Clarke said everything that had followed from her time in nursing was the result of an opportunity she'd come across or a passion she'd pursued.
She hoped her journey would help people realise they could make a difference to their community.
"We all have skills we can add to that story, whatever we're trying to look at or grow or change," Ms Clarke said.
"For me, the most important thing is that we recognise each other and we do it together."