Roma legend Ann Gibbes awarded OAM
“I would do it all over again, even picking up the rubbish on Northern Rd.”
With that, Roma legend Ann Gibbes showed why she chose to dedicated decades of her life to making her community a better place.
Ms Gibbes, 86, was the only Roma person to receive an Order of Australia medal at this year’s Queen’s Birthday public holiday last week.
The tireless volunteer and former Roma Town Council alderman who could regularly be seen picking up rubbish on her morning walk every day along Northern Rd is currently battling terminal pancreatic cancer.
Speaking from her daughter Annette Brennan’s house in Brisbane, Ms Gibbes said she was honoured to receive an OAM.
“I feel very honoured because I don’t thinking it’s handed out to everyone. It’s a great honour to me,” she said.
“The award is just a plus, but getting out and doing things has been one of my purposes in life.”
To try and list just some of the community groups, organisations and clubs Ms Gibbes had been a part of over her life would be an insult to her volunteerism.
But she said a personal highlight was setting up the Roma Rural Student Hostel in 1992 with Alf Golder.
“I believe my achievement in Roma was organising the Student Hostel, because I believe in education and I strive very hard to educate children from the west who wouldn’t have got an education,” she said.
“Might I say I did it very successfully. That for me is my highest achievement.”
Ms Gibbes was also a heavily involved with the National Party and the Roma Neighbourhood Centre, where she worked with women and children in low-income and crisis housing.
Ms Brennan said her mother made Roma a better place
“She enjoyed doing it and she wasn’t one to sit around having coffee – she wanted her life to mean something,” she said.
“She was able to get in and get stuff done, and I think she had an impact on other people’s lives.
“A lot of organisations were running well because she did their books.”