Di and Doug Evans of Mulwala are the first husband-wife team to be awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) from Yarrawonga/Mulwala.
Their history-making achievement follows this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List, which includes Di as an OAM, for service to the community of Yarrawonga/Mulwala.
“I’m honoured but embarrassed,” the modest Di told the Yarrawonga Chronicle of her national award, an award bestowed upon Doug on Australia Day, 2014.
“There are so many other people who do so much work.”
Dianne service to the community of Yarrawonga/Mulwala began upon her arrival in 2003. But, for the last 54 years since her marriage to Doug, Di has provided strong and active support to her husband as ‘Dianne Mayoress’ in his capacity as mayor (1974-76) during his 12 years as councillor of Wangaratta City Council, and whilst an innovative member of that community in the 1970s and 1980s.
Di’s successful completion of a secretarial course before her marriage proved invaluable to Doug in his many local and state government functions. Di acted as secretary in the formation stage of Wangaratta Regional Development and assisted with joint action by three councils in building new saleyards at South Wangaratta. Di and Doug were instrumental in establishing the Wangaratta Young National Party.
With Doug’s other roles which included Wangaratta Hospital Board Chair and local Controller of State Emergency Services, there were always administration tasks requiring Di’s attention.
In 1990, the Evans (both now aged 75-years) moved to Melbourne to establish an exporting and distribution centre for products of Wangaratta industries, developing national and international business products.
The family business, which also includes their two sons Craig and Stuart, has retained property in Wangaratta (Wang components) and the Derwent Foundry and Distribution business. This has now been built into Derwent Industries and Derwent international.
It is a very successful manufacturing and distribution business of water pipe fittings, valves, hydrants and associated fittings for major water reticulation systems. Di is actively involved in the associated, substantial administrative role.
Since 2007, Di’s local substantial paper work has been as secretary/treasurer of Tunzafun Amusement Park Mulwala which is currently undergoing a major upgrade with facilities and rides.
Since 2015, Yarrawonga-Mulwala Strategic Planning Group has benefitted with Di as secretary.
A member of the Rotary Club of Yarrawonga since 2004, Di served as president for one term (2013-2014). As president and in conjunction with Yarrawonga Lions Club, she organised three days of working bees and catering for survivors of the tornado which ruined much of Denison Country Park (now rebuilt and known as DC on the Lake) in April 2013.
With Rotary, Di was International Director one year, public relations director for two years and bulletin editor for five years; she was actively involved in establishing the monthly Rotary market.
Her long and active association with the church in Wangaratta continued upon residency in Mulwala, with St Cuthbert’s Church Yarrawonga.
In nominating Di for an OAM, her brother-in-law Hon. David Evans AM said her lifetime of service spans more than 50 years, “the first stage in Wangaratta with strong support for her husband in which she brought up their two children, simultaneously providing necessary background support, sound advice and constructive assistance”.
“The second, and more recent stage in Yarrawonga/Mulwala has seen Dianne taking a leading role in a range of significant community initiatives, this outstanding contribution testified by leading citizens of her community.”