Wattle Range senior of the year

SENIOR OF THE YEAR: Noel Boyle with, in the background, from left: Catarina Santos of the Wattle Range Council who was a major part of organising Celebrate Seniors Month, Noel’s proud wife Sheila, and Councillor Dennis Muhovics who presented the award last Friday.

NATURALIST, historian, author and former post office employee Noel Boyle was recently awarded Senior of the Year at the closing event for Celebrate Seniors Month at the Millicent Civic and Arts Centre.

Mr Boyle’s list of achievements were read out to about 100 people by Wattle Range Councillor Dennis Muhovics assisted by Catarina Santos, Council’s Environmental Health Officer who was one of the major organisers of Celebrate Seniors Month.

After almost 46 years of service at the Millicent Post Office, Mr Boyle retired in 2010 and has devoted even more of his time to volunteering ever since.

President of the South East Family History Group since the 1980’s and a member of the Millicent National Trust for more than 20 years, he has a bent for history and much of his volunteering achievements have come under the banner of these groups.

He also has a love of natural history and is a member of the Millicent Field Naturalists and his active membership of the Lake McIntyre Committee has him working countless hours there.

He also served 29 years in the Millicent Country Fire Service (CFS) from the age of nine. He retired from the CFS in the 1980’s and in his time was proud to serve alongside his three brothers and with them was active in fighting many fires including two of the largest being the Millicent Institute fire in 1964 and the Ash Wednesday bushfires in 1983.

This commitment, along with his work as an author of a number of short stories on the district’s history and personalities, assisting in the compilation of historical books including ‘School Days’ and ‘Through the eyes of Goyder’, and his efforts to plant trees in public areas and provide well researched advice on names for possible use on relevant roads in the district, was recognised with the 2011 Australia Day Millicent Citizen of the Year Award.

His work has continued since then including a number of particular projects this year.

With the help of a small band of volunteers he has been cleaning up the old section of the Millicent cemetery and this year he has begun installing name plaques on unmarked graves.

At the 170 year old graves at Gran Gran near Mount Burr, he instigated and was a major part of their restoration this year after they had fallen into disrepair.

Along with Kalangadoo’s Nick Hunt, Mr Boyle was a major part of having a sign placed on the roadside to mark the site of the first homestead on Kalangadoo Station, the Hunter Homestead.

He is also working with the Millicent Council to ensure the site of Millicent’s first cemetery is recognised with an informative marker on the site behind the current Millicent hospital.

On Millicent’s Matheson Road, Mr Boyle, along with other volunteers, has been clearing weeds and introduced tree species from a crown land reserve.

He is also in the final throes of writing a book on the history of post offices in the Millicent and surrounding areas – something he has been working on for more than 30 years.