Numurkah man recognised at the Victorian Senior of the Year Awards

By Liz Mellino

Numurkah's Louis Hamon is known by many as a pillar of the arts and culture community.

Living in the Numurkah his whole life, Mr Hamon has dedicated countless hours to the Goulburn Valley's performing arts scene.

A pharmacist for 45 years and a longstanding volunteer with Apex, the Anglican Church and the Numurkah Australia Day Committee, Mr Hamon was recognised for his achievements last week at the Victorian Senior of the Year Awards.

The 81-year-old was the recipient of a COTA Senior Achiever Award, celebrating Victorians who support and inspire others through their volunteer work and efforts in the local community.

“It was a bit humbling but still very surprising,” Mr Hamon said.

“You don't do whatever you do for recognition, you do it because you have a passion for things you do and you enjoy it.”

Raised by "civic-minded" parents who contributed to their community, Mr Hamon said an appreciation to give back to the community in adult life was instilled upon him at an early age.

He served the Numurkah Scout Group for 45 years, assisting with Cubs in 1956 before becoming a Scout leader in 1962 and a senior Scout leader two years later.

Mr Hamon was appointed the assistant regional commissioner for Northern Region in 1975 before being appointed the regional commissioner from 1985 till 1997, completing a total of 45 years’ service to Scouting.

In 1968 Mr Hamon's contribution to the arts kicked off after being approached to help direct the Numurkah Singers’ production of Pink Champagne.

“I became a gopher, but at the end of the season run it became apparent the company expected me to take over producing and directing future productions,” he said.

“I took myself off and enrolled in a summer school at the University of New England in Armidale so I would have enough courage to front the company.”

For the next 30 years Mr Hamon produced and directed the annual Singers production, working alongside some "talented and amazing people".

Mr Hamon said a highlight was receiving the inaugural Ted Malloy Award at the Georgy Awards in Shepparton for outstanding contribution to musical theatre in the Goulburn Valley.

“I met some wonderful people who I worked with, and achieved goals you couldn’t achieve on your own,” he said.

“I've always been grateful for not only the company but the way they’ve accepted me.”

Mr Hamon has been an active member of many service clubs, including Apex, Rotary and the Art and Craft Committee; he served on the Numurkah and District Health board; was chairman of the Numurkah Town Hall Committee of Management; and treasurer of Moira Arts and Culture Inc.

He was also recognised as the Shire of Numurkah Citizen of the Year and received a Commonwealth Centenary Medal and an Order of Australia Medal.

“I have done a bit for the community over the years ... we do live in great communities — I think we should give back,” Mr Hamon said.

Mr Hamon received his Senior Achiever Award last Tuesday at Government House in Melbourne, with his family and nominators Moira Arts and Culture and Moira Shire there in support.

While he acknowledged times had changed and people's lives were busier, he encouraged residents to get involved with their communities.

Describing it as a humbling and rewarding experience, Mr Hamon said he hoped to continue his work with the community for as long as possible.

“I'll keep doing what I'm doing while I can,” he said. "Sometimes I think I have to learn to say no, but how do you retire from retirement? The only options are you either go back to work or pass away.

“I'll continue to do what I’m doing — it keeps me involved and keeps me young.”