The Clarence Valley Women Incorporated held a morning tea at Maclean CWA hall on Saturday to honour Clarence Valley’s ‘Hidden Treasure’, Marea Buist.
The ‘Hidden Treasure’ honour roll is an annual initiative of the Department of Primary Industries Rural Women’s Network, which recognises the outstanding efforts of women volunteers in rural communities.
Member of the Clarence Valley Women Incorporated Robyn Weatherlake, nominated Ms Buist for this year’s honour roll.
Marea was born and grew up in Orange. She lived there until her marriage when she moved to Griffith, and then Dorrigo, before arriving in Yamba 17 years ago. Wherever she has lived, Marea has been involved in volunteer work such as the P&C, sporting organisations, Meals on Wheels and her local Church.
Since coming to live in Yamba, Marea has been involved in, and extremely committed to, the Port of Yamba Historical Society. She was Curator of the Yamba Museum between 1999 and 2006 and President until 2015. Marea is now Museum Manager and Curator.
Marea estimates that she would spend 40 hours per week on work for the Museum and nominates her greatest achievement as working with and training Museum volunteers as well as introducing digital technology to the organisation. The Museum now has 60 volunteers including many who have come from Centrelink and stay long after their required time. There are 25 different roles within the Museum and Marea takes particular care and pride in matching volunteers’ skills and interests with their role.
The Yamba Museum often hosts special exhibitions. One of these was the Vision4Change Exhibition which came about through Marea’s involvement with the local Indigenous Community, in particular the Yaegl Elders. Other exhibitions include Ghosts of WW1 and Beneath Gallipoli.
Marea is also involved with many other local organisations. She is Museums Australia Far North Coast Chapter Co-ordinator and a Member of the Museums and Galleries NSW Volunteer Reference Committee.
A humbled Ms Buist was presented with a bouquet of flowers at Saturday’s morning tea.
“For the last 51 years, I have been fortunate enough to be a professional volunteer,” said Ms Buist.
“I’ve been lucky to live in small communities and if you live in a small community – you give back to that community.
“You don’t do it for the recognition; it’s just what (everyone attending the morning tea) we all do.”