The Love of community

Sue Love is pictured with her Community Spirit Award given to her last year by the Malmsbury Fire Brigade.

When Sue Love says she’ll do something, she always turns up.

It is this tenacity and commitment to serving her community of Malmsbury that has led her to receive a Medal of the Order of Australia in this year’s King’s Birthday Honours.

“If I say I’m going to do something, I stick with it and I do it, even when it’s uncomfortable and tiring. I don’t give up,” she told the Express.

Sue has volunteered for community groups since she retired as a teacher in the 1990s, first volunteering at the Collingwood Children’s Farm.

“I taught for 31 years and I was living in Melbourne and I thought the Collingwood Children’s Farm was a logical place for me to volunteer, so that’s what I did,” Sue said.

“I was involved with the very first farmers market in Melbourne, which was started at the Collingwood Children’s Farm.

“There were lots of flowers and herbs at the farm, so I started to making these posies called tussie mussies, and they became a feature at the farmers market and raised about $40,000 over the time of the market.”

Sue was also among a group of people who saved the House of the Gentle Bunyip in Clifton Hill, staging a 24-hour picket for more than a year.

“We saved it,” Sue said.

“Developers wanted to make townhouses right up to the footpath, overlooking the Darling Gardens, but ecumenical housing came in and negotiated with the government and it ended up being 11 affordable housing units for people in that area.

“It still looks like an 1850s house but it’s small units and sustainable for people in need.”

Since moving to Malmsbury in 2003, Sue has volunteered for the Malmsbury Town Hall Committee, Malmsbury Village Fayre Committee, Malmsbury Mail Committee, Malmsbury Farmers Market and the Malmsbury Advance Association.

She is also working with a community forum to develop ideas for the future use of the now defunct Malmsbury Youth Justice Centre.

“The Malmsbury Mail is leading a community forum to try to influence how the site gets used,” Sue said.

“We’d like to see a TAFE college there, a veterinary hospital, initiatives in manufacturing or an electrical resource centre of some kind.

“It’s a huge piece of land and it has huge assets.”

Sue said she had enjoyed the cooperative nature of the many community groups she had been part of in Malmsbury.

“The interaction of the committees I’ve worked with is pretty significant, they’re impressive in their cooperative nature,” she said.

“It takes a lot of give and take to run anything when there are so many differing opinions within a community.”