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Arts Margaret River’s Anne Shepherdson awarded Order of Australia medal honour

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
Anne Shepherdson with the Friends of the Cape-to-Cape Track's Kevin Lange and Jane Scott.
Camera IconAnne Shepherdson with the Friends of the Cape-to-Cape Track's Kevin Lange and Jane Scott. Credit: Taelor Pelusey/Augusta Margaret River Times

Longstanding community member Anne Shepherdson was another of the region’s veteran residents honoured during recent Australia Day awards.

Mrs Shepherdson was “humbled” by receiving an Order of Australia medal for her services to the Margaret River community, and particularly its arts scene.

She and husband Lloyd moved to the region from Perth in the late 1970s and the tireless volunteer quickly threw herself into community life, integral to the Margaret River Primary School’s early parents and citizens committee and the budding Margaret River Arts Council.

Mrs Shepherdson was also a crucial advocate for the early Margaret River Community Centre, originally on Station Road, and later with a new lease of life after she and other residents banded together to save the old Margaret River Hospital from demolition.

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While raising three children of her own, Mrs Shepherdson “played mum” through Margaret River Rotary’s youth exchange, and in 2012 was awarded Rotary’s Paul Harris Fellowship — Rotary International’s highest acknowledgement.

She was also an advocate of the Cape-to-Cape Track, the Community Centre for Children childcare service which is thriving today, a member of Business and Professional Women Australia, and known to many through her work as a dietician.

She told the Times she believed many long-term residents would be worthy of the Australia Day honours.

“I’ve done it before for people and it’s a lot of work,” she said.

“A lot of people would be entitled to get it, but I thank the people who’ve put me forward.”

Mrs Shepherdson had numerous people in the arts community co-ordinate her nomination, reflecting the respect and appreciation from many in the arts sector and her time as a long-serving treasurer and also president of Arts Margaret River after helping transform the old arts council.

She told the Times the sense of diving in to help community projects was just “in the blood”.

“I came from a family of women who have just done things,” she said.

“It’s just in my blood that you just do it.

“We grew up with the arts in our blood, really. And I was interested in the community aspects of it.”

Dabbling in printmaking herself, she joined the early collective around which future arts organisations would grow, drawing inspiration as well from her mother who was a practitioner.

“I liked the aspect that Arts Margaret River was for the community, even though it is struggling a bit now,” Mrs Shepherdson said.

“As the community gets bigger, I don’t think people understand the importance of a group like that and what they’ve done.”

Mrs Shepherdson is still involved in the scene today, sitting on Arts Margaret River’s board and co-ordinating the Heart’s Foyer Gallery that supports local and emerging artists.

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