June 22, 2024 4:04 AM

Freeman honour for outstanding service



Cr John Martin’s service to the district has been rewarded with one of the community’s highest honours – Honorary Freeman of the Shire.

IT was a quiet affair but one soon to be celebrated publicly for a well-deserving recipient.

Singleton councillor John Martin OAM was presented with Honorary Freeman of the Shire at the council’s May meeting with the announcement made during a zoom meeting, Cr Martin sitting at his trusty kitchen table to see and hear the news from his computer.

There were no fanfares or rowdy cheers and applause, all that has to wait until Covid lockdowns ease.

Hopefully that will happen in August and Cr Martin can receive the celebration this rare honour warrants.

He is the fifth person to receive the honour.  Those before him are Colonel (later Brigadier) AW Hammett (1984), Neil McNamara OAM (1999), Major General Peter Cosgrove AM MC (2000) and Lt Col Andrew Lowe (2011). 

Cr Martin’s 50-year service to local government is a record few other elected members anywhere in the country could claim but this contribution is just one of a number that were catalyst for the title.

Sixty years involvement including Life Membership of the State Emergency Service, founding member of Meals on Wheels and later Ourcare Services Inc. and before that Apex, Cr Martin’s involvement in the Singleton community is entrenched.

It comes after he and his late wife Jan were inducted into the Wambo Coal Singleton Hall of Fame last year.

Mayor of Singleton, Cr Sue Moore said John was most deserving of the honour.

“John is rightly recognised as one of our local legends, but he is equally regarded across the region and the State for his expertise in a range of fields, from flooding and emergency response to his representation of mining-related councils,” she said. 

Cr Martin said he was embarrassed by the attention.

“I believe in working for the community and helping the community. My wife and I did this together,” he said. 

“It means a lot to people in the community to recognise the work that’s been done for the community, and not just by me, but others including all the councillors over the past 50 years. 

“People do things for different reasons, and I class it all as just part of what we did – my wife and I, together – and I’ve been pleased and proud to have done all that. I will never retire completely from community service.”

*This story was published on Friday, June 19 2020.