The Southern Cross The Southern Cross

Read the latest edition. Latest edition

Helping others ‘good for the soul’


Members of the Victor Harbor/Goolwa parish were among many to congratulate long standing volunteer and local identity Pat Chigwidden, who was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in January.

Comments Print article

The award acknowledged the 88 year old’s service to local government as well as her input into the Victor Harbor community.

Since moving to the coastal town 23 years ago Pat has served as a volunteer for several groups, is an active member of the local Rotary Club and somehow also finds time to help organise the Sunday morning tea at St Joan of Arc Church and be a reader during Mass.

However, one of her biggest contributions to the community was her 18 years of service as an elected member of the Victor Harbor City Council.

“It was a very rewarding and stimulating experience,” she said.

“It gave me an opportunity to become more aware of the vast number of services and challenges councils face.

“I had no hidden agendas so I was really there for the betterment of the community.”

Major infrastructure projects completed during her time on council included a new boat ramp, the construction of the ring road and building new council chambers.

Being the South Australian representative on the Australian Coastal Council Association for eight years was also a highlight and “very educational”.

Her volunteering has extended to helping at the Visitor Information Centre, Penguin Club and the Town Pride group, which tends to the gardens and median strips to ensure they look their best for residents and visitors. Pat described being able to contribute to the community in this way as an “amazing” experience.

“When you are a volunteer you are working with such a lovely lot of fun loving, energetic people and they give so generously and dedicate their lives to helping others,” she explained.

“That’s very good for the soul and you make some life-long friends.”

Growing up on a property in the Mid-north of the State, Pat said her Catholic faith had always been an important part of her life and she attended Mercedes College as a boarder for four years.

Returning to Clare she met future husband Brian and the couple was married nearly 57 years ago.

Their two sons – Andrew and Nick – attended St Joseph’s in Clare and Pat was very involved with the school and supporting the nuns who worked there.

The family then bought Nulla Nulla Station near Wentworth, NSW, and lived there before relocating to Adelaide, where they became members of the Blackwood parish. In 1997 Pat and Brian shifted to Victor Harbor.

Describing it as a “great honour” to be nominated for an OAM, Pat said it had been a challenge to keep the award secret from the family – which also includes six grandchildren and five great grandchildren – until it was officially announced on Australia Day.

“Everyone has been amazing, people have been so warm and gracious and so encouraging (about the award). It’s been a great experience,” she said.


Show comments Hide comments
Will my comment be published? Read the guidelines.

More Local stories

Loading next article