Berkeley Vale resident, Norman Strong, received an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in the 2019 Australia Day Honours, for services to rugby league.
A lifetime lover of the game, Strong was a first grade player for the North Sydney Bears Football Club for 15 years.
A Foundation Member of the Club, Strong would go on to be an avid supporter in his post player days, before turning his attention to the establishment of the Pitt Town and Districts Sports Club.
Then one of 27 locals interested in seeing a much wanted sports club delivered to the Pitt Town community, Strong was elected the inaugural President in 1980, and would work for the next seven years with the community and state and local governments to see the club fully realised in 1987.
In his grace years, Strong showed no signs of slowing down and after taking up weightlifting in his 70’s as a hobby, would go on to win two gold medals at different World Masters Games throughout the 90s.
Strong celebrated his 90th birthday in November, 2018, and according to his daughter, Lorraine McKeig, the nomination was quite the happy surprise.
“It was 90 or never.
“Dad was honoured to be nominated, and the whole family was overjoyed to learn of his OAM,” she said.
According to McKeig, the Strong family held a champagne celebration for Norman’s family and friends upon hearing the news.
Document, Jan 21
2019 Australia Day Honours List
Kaye Browning, Australian Honours and Awards Secretariat
Interview, Jan 31
Lorraine McKeig, Berkeley Vale
Dilon Luke, Journalist