Two honoured with Order of Australia Medals

Legendary Great Western winemaker, Viv Thomson and Halls Gap Reverend Margaret Russell, have been honoured in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.

Legendary winemaker, Viv Thomson of Great Western.

Legendary winemaker, Viv Thomson of Great Western.

Reverend Margaret Russell of Halls Gap.

Reverend Margaret Russell of Halls Gap.

Both Mr Thomson and Reverend Russell have been presented with the Order of Australia Medal.

Mr Thomson was honoured in the awards for his service to the wine industry.

The tradition started for Mr Thomson in 1961, when he joined his family for his first vintage. He went on to undertake his maiden solo vintage in 1967.

A Roseworthy graduate, Mr Thomson completed his 50th consecutive vintage at Best's in 2010.

He was elected as president of the Victorian Wine Industry Association in 1982 and is a former chairman of the Grampians Winemakers Association. As well, Mr Thomson has been a national wine show judge for more than 20 years.

Being awarded the Order of Australia Medal is the icing on the cake for Mr Thomson, a previous recipient of a Distinguished Service Award, Victorian Wine Industry Association who was also appointed to legend status at the Melbourne Wine and Food Festival in 1996.

Reverend Margaret Russell, of Halls Gap was also honoured in the awards for her service to the community and to the Uniting Church in Australia.

Among her many achievements, Reverend Russell established a private ante-natal practice in Ballarat, involving Psychologists, Occupational and Speech Therapists, Dentists and Obstetricians in 1981.

Various appointments have included the Spastic Society of Victoria 1975-1979 and Senior Program Adviser, Specialist Children's Services, Department of Health and Community Services, Melbourne in the 1980s.

Reverend Russell was also vice-president of the Johnson Goodwin Village 2011-2013, is a founding member of the Donald Friends and Neighbours Society and inaugural chairperson, established the Toy Library, Lending Library, Drop in Centre (2005) and Food Bank and is a past member of the Ethics Committee at the University of Ballarat for four years.

Reverend Russell was also instrumental in the employment of a full-time Youth Services Worker, in conjunction with the Buloke Shire Council and organised the Community Youth Suicide Prevention Seminar.

She was ordained Minister, Synod of Victoria and Tasmania, Uniting Church in Australia (UCA) in 2008 and was a lay preacher since 2003. Reverend Russell has been Minister of St Andrew's Uniting Church in Donald, St Arnaud and Stuart Mill UCAs, since 2003, is a member of the Mission and Education Committee, Presbytery of Western Victoria and former chair and has been a board member of the Centre for Theology and Ministry, since 2011.

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