Josie Black OAM

Josie Black led, shaped and enhanced the lives of people in Victoria's southwest regional community.

Honour Roll

With her hallmarks of energy and persistence, Josie regularly initiated and supported programs and projects that benefit her community and promote social justice. In addition to her professional working life as an educator, her influence has extended from community development initiatives, tourism, health services, arts and culture projects to rural counselling services and as a representative on many community forums and committees.

Josie organised activities ranging from festivals to leadership programs, and also mentored women and advocated for people who are socially and culturally marginalised or disadvantaged. She says this was shaped by her earlier experiences as an Italian immigrant and sole parent.

"I have witnessed what does and doesn't happen to people without the English language or adequate education who find it difficult to pursue and get their entitlements, or are afraid of appearing discontented with their situation," Josie said.

Establishing the Great South Coast Community Foundation, her work in adult education and community centres, and raising three sons who have become wonderful parents, are the achievements Josie cited as her most significant. In recognition of her community work, Josie was named Corangamite Shire Citizen of the Year in 1998 and received a Centenary Medal in 2003. She was also awarded the Order of Australia Medal in 2000 for services to education, particularly as Chairperson of the Corangamite District Adult Education Group and to the community. As a qualified teacher, Josie said that she had been "mainly providing opportunities for people to shape their own lives through education".

"It gives people a chance to be able to participate better in their communities," Josie said.