Cobargo’s trio of tireless servants

AMONG the Order of Australia recipients at Saturday’s morning tea was a trio with a rare claim to fame.
Nanjing Night Net

Beryl Schaefer, Kevin Cole and Mary Cocks were all born in Cobargo, delivered by the same nurse – Nurse Hadget.

Mr Cole said they also all joined the Bega Valley Shire Council together upon its amalgamation in 1980.

Mr Cole and Ms Cocks served the new shire for 12 years, while Ms Schaefer remained on the council for a further four-year term.

On top of that, they were all “fortunate” enough to receive an Order of Australia, Mr Cole said.

“At the time, Brian Ayliffe, the ‘mayor of Cobargo’ challenged any other town in Australia with less than 300 people to match that achievement,” Mr Cole said.

Mr Cole said his work to attract Federal Government drought relief to the area played a part in his receiving the award.

“After the 69-74 drought, $7million came in to subsidise fodder, transport, water cartage and so on,” Mr Cole said.

“We set a precedent for drought relief and others were coming here to find out how we did it.

“It was the first time in Australian history Federal Government assistance came into an isolated rural area,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ms Schaefer is widely known for her tireless work for the Royal Agricultural Society, the Country Women’s Association and Landcare.

“Beryl is the Royal Easter Show – it can’t go on without her,” Ms Cocks said.

“Beryl is one of the most deserving people [of an OA] I know,” Mr Cole added.

Ms Schaefer said it just a matter of “helping wherever you could”.

Coordinator of the Order of Australia Association’s NSW regional groups Ron Sharpe said it was stories such as these that made his role so satisfying.

“You can see why I love travelling to these gatherings,” he said.

“Great stories and great people.”

At the Order of Australia morning tea on Saturday are (from left) Beryl Schaefer, Kevin Cole and Mary Cocks.

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Posted by at 19/05/2018
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