Four women from across the Tamworth electorate have been recognised on the 2017 Rural Women’s Hidden Treasures Honour Roll Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson announced today.


Narelle Chaffey from Somerton, Margaret Dekkers from Manilla, Jo-anne Newberry from Tamworth and Margaret O’Connor, also from Tamworth have today been recognised for their years of volunteer work and contribution to our local community.


90 women have been recognised in this year’s Honour Roll for the valuable volunteer work they do across NSW.


Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson has congratulated the women who have been formally recognised for their hard work and dedication to others.


“These women provide an enormous amount of support and are true treasures in our community,” Mr Anderson said.


“They have been nominated by others who have seen first-hand how their important work has enabled those needing assistance or local groups requiring help to flourish.


“These four women thoroughly deserve this recognition and should be extremely proud of their nomination and in joining this roll of highly regarded rural women.”


This year’s nominees join a growing list of over 800 volunteers who have been recognised since the first Honour Roll was launched in 2010.


For more information visit:





MEDIA: Michael Hansen | 0405 167 861



**Full bio’s for the recipients are below.








Narelle Chaffey (Somerton)

Narelle (Nell) was born in Moree and spent her childhood on a farm in Gravesend. She completed her schooling at Gravesend Public, Calrossy and Inverell High School before continuing her teacher-librarian studies at the University of New England. Nell’s teaching career began in western Sydney, before moving to Gunnedah, Tamworth, Manilla, and finally Somerton. She currently works as a teacher-librarian at Oxley High School in Tamworth NSW. Nell has lived on a farm at Somerton for the last 35 years with her husband, raising four children.  Her interests have always been focused on the natural world, history, family and learning. Nell has volunteered in various capacities over the years. Her volunteering has been influenced by her interests and has included work within her school community, pony clubs, supporting a school in Kenya and being and active member of the local community group – Somerton Hall and Recreation Grounds. She’s also played a role in a number of Landcare groups for many years, and as a landholder and educator her contributions have been invaluable. Nell currently volunteers with Tamworth Regional Landcare Association (TRLA) for approximately 10 hours per month as Secretary. She’s also written units of work for teachers on Grassy Box Woodlands. Nell volunteers because she believes communities (both human and natural) are important. She likes to create opportunities, build networks and make the world a better place. We believe that she certainly achieves this.


Margaret Dekkers (Manilla)

Margaret Dekkers (nee Sinclair) was born in Warialda, lived in Sydney prior to her marriage, and moved to Manilla in 1968. She was a Girl Guide leader from 1964 in Sydney and then became a leader in Manilla. She was awarded the 20 year Long Service Award in 1992, after holding various positions in local guiding, and keeping the Association alive by filling various positions which needed her support and experience. She also held camping and leader training qualifications. Margaret was awarded the Association’s Banksia Award for meritorious service within a local area in 1996. As a parishioner she is involved in the activities of St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church – a Sunday School teacher from 1977-2000m Kids Club leader 2000-2015m as well as Youth Camp leader. She is on the Church Committee of Management, and for the past 12 years is a volunteer in the op shop. She has been a Meals on Wheels volunteer since 1969. She regularly visits the elderly and lonely. Since 2013, she has been a Court Support volunteer for people awaiting hearings. She was a scripture teacher 1980-2016 at the local school, reader/ writer for exams, camp helper, and worked on the canteen roster for six years. She was a Pony Club volunteer 1980-1989, and has been a member of the Country Women’s Association Manilla Evening Branch for 13 years. A highlight is her support for the education of children, particularly with reading and social skills. Since 2003 she has been part of Born-to-Read, a group that organizes three day experiences for local schools with well-known authors or illustrators of children’s books. She facilitates ‘reading corners’ at local events and arranges for books to be given to newborns. She’s also initiated a weekly children’s story reading group for children in the local library.












Jo-anne Newberry (Tamworth)

Jo-anne was born in Tamworth to Alf and Hazel Linton in 1955. She has a sister called Deneese. They lived at Duri until 1976 and she attended Duri Public School and later Tamworth High School. Her dad died when she was five. She left school in 1972 and held several clerical positions before marrying Richard in 1976. Jo-anne has two grown children, a son and a daughter who are both married, and she has five grandchildren. She’s been involved in children’s school activities, mothers club, school P&C and canteen activities, plus is an active member of the local Guide Dog Association. She’s a Justice of the Peace, involved in regular community service tables at the Couth House, and is also the current coordinator of Tamworth Public School student banking. She’s involved with Meals on Wheels kitchen duties through Tamworth Lioness Club, and is an active member of the Tamworth Services Club Fishing Club as Assistant Treasurer. She joined the Tamworth Lioness Club in 1998, remaining a member to this day. Jo-anne enjoys giving back to the community with her fundraising for numerous projects. She is enthusiastic about everything she does.


Margaret O’Connor (Tamworth)

Forever helping friends or family, Margaret (Marg) wanted to become a nurse, but due to ill-health was unable to fulfill her dream. Marg married at age 20, had three children and worked for 10 years at home. When the marriage fell through, as a single parent she became a volunteer at the Tamworth Women’s and Children’s Refuge. After much hard work, Marg and her fellow workers helped to found a new Refuge. After two years of volunteer work Marg became a paid staff member and worked there for the next13 years. She participated in other volunteer work, including school tuck shop and slow learners reading class, both at St Edward’s Primary. She volunteered for Riding for the Disabled for a few months, was Meals on Wheels driver for eight years and worked at St Vincent De Paul for nine years. Margaret joined St John Ambulance in February 1982. She then volunteered in the Emergency Department at the Tamworth Base Hospital for two years. She received a St John’s medals for 12 years, 17 years, 22 years and 27 years of service (Silver Bar, Serving Sister and Officer and of the Priory) and then a Gold Bar for 32 years of service in 2014. Margaret attended Officer Training, becoming Superintendent of Tamworth Division in 2007 and remains in this position today. She manages the adults and cadets who now make up the Tamworth Combined Divisions – this takes up[ many hours of her time. Marg has also received an Australian Sports Award, signed by John Howard and founded by Queen Elizabeth II, Margaret is a Tamworth girl born and bred, who always soldiers on.

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