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John Meyers awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia

John Meyers' service to the community is being rewarded with an Order of Australia medal.
John Meyers' service to the community is being rewarded with an Order of Australia medal. Robyne Cuerel

IN 1990, John Meyers was given a 50/50 chance of surviving another two years.

Doctors had found two masses of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma cancer in the Maryborough man's abdomen, and tumours scattered throughout his bowels and arteries.

This kind of prognosis would stop most people in their tracks. But not John - he was only 50 and he simply had too much to live for.

Twenty-three years later the museum curator, successful businessman, Rotarian, philanthropist and over-achieving community member is cancer-free and as happy and healthy as ever.

And on Monday he is celebrating receiving one of Australia's highest honours - the Medal of the Order of Australia.

The Order of Australia recognises outstanding achievement and service and nominations come directly from the community.

"I had no idea it was happening," Mr Meyers said.

"It's not until you read something like (the nomination form) that you realise how much you've done ."

Described as one of Maryborough's most generous citizens in history, Mr Meyers is the founder of the Maryborough Military and Colonial Museum, a gift to the Fraser Coast community and a dedication to his two children.

In November 1982, Geoffrey and Karen Meyers were tragically killed when a semitrailer ploughed into Geoff's newly acquired, second-hand VW Beetle near Gympie.

Karen's boyfriend, Les Williams, was also in the car but miraculously survived.

"To this day I still consider him like a Clayton's son," Mr Meyers said.

The museum is today home to more than 7000 items of military and colonial memorabilia, including two Victoria Crosses, a Cross of Valour, a Star of Gallantry and a Star of Courage. He and wife Elsie have spent millions of dollars of their own buying exhibits over the years.

Before dedicating himself to the museum in 2005, Mr Meyers ran the Dale and Meyers Sawmill at Tiaro, which he established with Gary Dale in 1998.

"The business kept growing and growing and by the time I got out of it in 2003 I was CEO, we had about 300 employees and a turnover of about $50 million a year."

Mr Meyers said he and Elsie had had their share of ups and downs but, aside from the loss of their children, they were happy.

"As far as the museum is concerned, we couldn't ask for anything to be better.

"I only see myself as the representative of the museum volunteers.

"To me, the award is to all of them, I will just wear it on their behalf."

Topics:  medal of the order of australia



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