Our lead­ing lady earns top award

Gatton Star - - NEWS - Nathan Greaves [email protected]­ton­star.com.au

A BELOVED for­mer par­lia­men­tar­ian has been recog­nised for her ser­vices with the 2019 Life­time Achieve­ment Award.

Pre­sented by the For­mer Par­lia­men­tary Mem­bers As­so­ci­a­tion of Queens­land, the award was given to Beryce Nel­son in recog­ni­tion of her con­tri­bu­tion to the Queens­land Com­mu­nity fol­low­ing her re­tire­ment from the Queens­land Par­lia­ment.

“It was a lovely sur­prise, but also a bit em­bar­rass­ing,” Ms Nel­son said.

“I wasn’t ex­pect­ing it. I didn’t do all of that work with awards in mind.”

Ms Nel­son, 72, has left a long legacy of on­go­ing con­tri­bu­tions to the Queens­land com­mu­nity.

She be­gan her pro­fes­sional life as a ra­dio­g­ra­pher, and was one of the founders of Down’s Syn­drome As­so­ci­a­tion in Aus­tralia, serv­ing as pres­i­dent from 1978 to 1980.

She en­tered into pol­i­tics to fur­ther her cause of sup­port­ing the dis­abled, win­ning the seat of As­p­ley for the Lib­eral Party in 1980.

In 1983, she be­came the first woman to be ap­pointed to the role of Gov­ern­ment Deputy Whip in Aus­tralia.

Af­ter be­ing de­feated in 1984, she went on to join the Na­tional Party, and re­claimed As­p­ley in 1986.

In 1989, she was pro­moted to the front bench as the Min­is­ter for Fam­ily Ser­vices, and was the third woman ap­pointed a min­is­ter in Queens­land un­til her de­feat later that year.

Fol­low­ing her po­lit­i­cal ca­reer, Ms Nel­son com­menced her own com­pany again, which she man­aged from 1994 to 2001.

She also served on a num­ber of state and na­tional boards in­clud­ing En­ergex Ltd, Mu­sica Viva, and the Abused Child Trust.

In 2001, she re­turned to aca­demic life part-time and com­pleted her Masters in Man­age­ment, ac­cept­ing a po­si­tion as lec­turer at the Bris­bane Cam­pus for the James Cook Univer­sity.

Ms Nel­son re­tired from this role in 2010, when she moved to Too­goolawah.

Dur­ing her time in Too­goolawah she es­tab­lished a cul­tural her­itage project, and is cur­rently the Sec­re­tary of the Too­goolawah & Dis­trict His­tory Group, and spon­sor­ship of­fi­cer for the Som­er­set Arts So­ci­ety.

“It gives me a lot of sat­is­fac­tion, to be able to share in­dige­nous and colonial his­tory with the com­mu­nity,” she said.

She re­mains an ac­tive mem­ber of the FPMAQ, ful­fill­ing the for­mer roles of Pres­i­dent, News­let­ter Edi­tor and com­mit­tee mem­ber.

PHOTO: ROB WIL­LIAMS

TOP HONOUR: Beryce Nel­son has been recog­nised for her sig­nif­i­cant ser­vice to Queens­land.

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