'Go-getter' Nancy Bates honoured as Citizen of the Year

NANCY Bates puts her contribution to the community down to her "love" of the Fraser Coast and on Monday, the region returned her affection by honouring her many achievements with the Citizen of the Year Award.

Best known as the former editor of the Fraser Coast Chronicle, she was the driving force behind the region's namesake and some of its greatest legacies.

Accepting the award with a "great sense of pride", the New Zealand native told the crowd that while her home town across the Tasman was dear to her, it was Maryborough that had her heart.

Nominated by former Citizen of the Year Carmel Murdoch, Ms Bates was recognised at Maryborough's Brolga Theatre, a venue she helped transform from a concept to a reality, as a "go-getter who has never sought to promote herself, only the community".

In 1996 she was Queensland Telstra Businesswoman of the Year.

Using "her skills as an author to promote the city", Ms Bates published a book about Maryborough's Mary Anne, the first steam train to be built in Queensland - a replica can often be seen running joy rides through Queen's Park - and is patron of the Proud Marys, a group which promotes Maryborough as the birthplace of Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers.

The group hosts the Mary Poppins Literacy Awards which, as a result of Ms Bates' promotion, attracts entrants from across the state.

The crowd heard that through Ms Bates' efforts, $60,000 was raised in six weeks to have the Mary Poppins statue built in Richmond St. She was also recognised for her current efforts in having a fitting memorial of Maryborough war hero Duncan Chapman, the first Anzac shore at Gallipoli, built in time for the Anzac Centenary celebrations.

Ms Bates said Australia and Maryborough had been "very good" to her and thanked her family for "putting up with an awful lot", acknowledging that once she had a project in mind, she did "tend to go a little overboard".

She also encouraged the community to love their region, take the time to see and explore it, contribute to it and "never forget to have fun while you are doing it".

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