An honorary Docklander

By Sean Car

Yarra’s Edge resident Keith Sutherland received a medal (OAM) in the general division of the Order of Australia in this year’s Australia Day honours, for service to his former hometown of Bendigo.

While he’s only lived in Docklands for three years, Keith has wasted no time getting involved with his new community having led an ongoing campaign against a tram bridge through Yarra’s Edge and is also a regular columnist for Docklands News.

But before he and his wife Karen’s move to Docklands, Bendigo was where they called home and Keith’s contributions to his former community are as inspiring as they are endless.

Having been heavily involved in Bendigo through business, local council, media and various community and sporting organisations, Keith helped fundraise more than $15 million for his local community.

While there were many worthy projects he helped raise money for across more than 300 fundraising events, he said his biggest achievement was as chairman of the New Bendigo Hospital Appeal, which raised more than $4 million for new hospital equipment.

In addition to chairman roles at a local primary school and of the “Citizens for New Bendigo” in the 1980s – the forerunner of the amalgamation of the City of Greater Bendigo, Keith forged a long career in real estate which he also leveraged for philanthropy.

As a former board member of First National Real Estate Group and chairman of its Victorian branch, he started its foundation and formed a successful association with the Red Cross.

With an interest in media, Keith also helped start the Bendigo Weekly newspaper and was a director of Bendigo IPTV where he had a program called Pointy End conducting more than 500 interviews with many politicians, councillors and celebrities covering stories of local interest.

Speaking of his Australia Day honour, he said it was a great surprise but something he was extremely proud of.

“It’s not something you expect and I’m grateful to those who nominated and supported me,” he said.

“Coming from a working-class family in Bendigo I learned from an early age the importance of giving back. Encouraged by my parents about work ethics and having attended a tech school and being elected a prefect, I learned responsibilities which I followed throughout life.”

“My journey has been long and one of great satisfaction and hopefully I have been able to help many along the way. Bendigo has been great to me and it really is a fantastic caring and sharing community and I have been lucky to get great support from many.”

“My wife Karen and I moved to Docklands three years ago to have a quieter life but so far that hasn’t eventuated as I’m passionately now fighting against a tram bridge. We absolutely love our new community and lifestyle and the people we have met.” •

Congratulations to 300 cladding winners!

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