John (“Tractor”) Ferguson, who began his career as a grader driver for the Bulloo Shire and later became its mayor, has been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).
Mr Ferguson was one of 12 serving or retired councillors who were recognised in the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours for their services to local government.
Born in 1951 in Broken Hill, NSW, Mr Ferguson grew up in the Channel Country before starting work as a grader driver with the Bulloo Shire Council in south-west Queensland in 1983.
Hornsby Shire Council Mayor and former long-serving federal MP Philip Ruddock was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for “distinguished service to the people and Parliament of Australia, and to local government”.
Cr Ruddock sat in the House of Representatives for 43 years from 1973 to 2016, becoming Australia’s second-longest serving MP in the process.
He became Hornsby’s mayor in 2017, claiming that “Of all the various positions I have held throughout my career, this is undoubtedly the closest to my heart”.
Melbourne’s Deputy Lord Mayor, Arron Wood, was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for “significant service to local government, to the environment, and to the community of Melbourne”.
Ron Alexander, a former mayor of the now defunct Strathfieldsaye Shire (centred around Bendigo) also was appointed an AM.
Bill McArthur, who spent 23 years as a Golden Plains Shire councillor and almost eight years as President of the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) was awarded an OAM.
Mr McArthur was also ALGA’s Vice President from November 2014 to October 2016 and a director and board member from April 2009 to October 2016.
Other Victorians awarded OAMs included David McKenzie (for service to community health, and to federal and local government), and Mayor Bruce Meyer (for service to local government, and to the community of West Wimmera).
Albury City Councillor David Thurley, a former national president of the Murray Darling Association was awarded an OAM for service to local government, and to the community of Albury.
Four other local government identities awarded OAMs were:
- Lyn Breuer: For service to the Parliament of South Australia, and to local government in South Australia;
- Tom Gilmore: For service to local government, and to the community of Mareeba, Qld;
- Cr Ian Miffling: For service to local government, and to the community of Collie, WA; and
- Noel Nancarrow: For service to local government, and to the community of the Murray Shire, WA.