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Nowra IRT resident honoured with Order of Australia Medal

31 May 2023

IRT Greenwell Gardens resident Janet Hughes has been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her volunteering service to the community of Nowra.

Janet, who has volunteered in the Shoalhaven region for 60 years, says it was her husband Ian who encouraged her to get involved and she hasn’t looked back since.

“Ian belonged to an organisation and he said they’re looking for ladies to help them, and that’s how I got started,” Janet said. “Then one thing led to another and I just kept on going.”

Janet joined the Nowra Jaycee Ladies Auxiliary (the Jayceettes) in 1963, and in 1967 Janet became the inaugural President of the Ladies Auxiliary for Havenlee.

During her time with the auxiliary, Janet explains the group helped to establish Havenlee School, which provides education for students with an intellectual or physical disability.

“There wasn’t a facility in the area that offered this kind of support, so we started the school and I had a roster going for teacher’s aids, and that was quite a big job,” Janet said.

Janet has also been a member of the Nowra Quota Club and the Nowra Lions Club, which she continues to be involved with today.

When asked what she has done as a volunteer, Janet laughs and replies, “anything and everything!”

“I’ve managed an opportunity shop, helped establish music halls, worked behind the scenes for Relay for Life, donated many quilts to charity, and run group craft classes,” Janet said.

Janet was also part of the Mayor’s committee to raise funds for the installation of a linear accelerator for cancer treatment at the Shoalhaven Cancer Care Centre and continues to provide support for cancer patients and their families who need to travel to Nowra for treatment.

“The Lions Club puts together a little package of tea, coffee, lifelong milk and sugar for people who book into the Centre’s accommodation for treatment – it’s just a little thing to make them feel more welcome,” Janet said.

Janet says she finds volunteering incredibly satisfying.

“I love volunteering because of the appreciation that people show,” Janet said. “It’s like getting a pat on the back every time you do something.”

Janet attended the 2023 Investiture Ceremony at Government House Sydney in April to receive her Order of Australia Medal as well as a local afternoon tea for OAMs in the district held at the CWA Nowra Branch.


Media enquiries: Hannah Ellson 0429 361 627 |                   

General enquiries: 134 478


About IRT Group:
IRT Group is one of Australia’s largest community-owned, not-for-profit providers of retirement living, residential aged care and home care. With more than 50 years’ experience and locations throughout NSW, the ACT and South East Queensland, we employ more than 2000 people and play a significant role in promoting seniors as dynamic, influential and valuable members of society.


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