LIKE many people who are recognised for their services to their community, Sorrento’s Suzanne Janet South said she was both humbled, but proud, to have been awarded an Order of Australia Medal for her service to community history in the Queen’s Birthday honours.
Just a day later, South – who is better known by her middle name Janet – was also awarded a senior achievers award by Mornington Peninsula Shire Council.
“I can’t say I was too surprised about the OAM because I knew I had been nominated, but I was still doubtful that I would receive one,” she said. “I was even more shocked to get two awards at once.”
South, 88, came to Australia from the UK as a “10-pound Pom” in 1961, not really expecting to stay, but just hoping to enjoy time in a warm country.
She and her husband Frank, 90, who instigated the artists’ trail, have spent their time here contributing to their adopted community.
Janet has spent 30 years with Nepean Historical Society, where she has been an archivist and research officer since 2001. She spent 1992 to 2020 on the committee and has been a life member since 2013.
Her love of Sorrento and the wider peninsula has led her to get involved in many projects, one being to edit the The Nepean, and another to author a book titled George Selth Coppin Father of Sorrento: A Brief History, 1994.
She has also been active with the Nepean Conservation Group, the Sorrento Seaside Singers and now the Southern Peninsula Choir.
As a founding member of the Southern Peninsula Indigenous Flora and Fauna Association, South has helped to raise awareness of the importance of the peninsula’s indigenous plants and animals.
Having moved around a lot in her early years, including moving to Australia, South said she often wondered where “home” was, but the awards had “made me feel I belong”.