Marion Stott has been an integral part of the wider Mooroolbark community for more than 40 years, through her involvement with playgroups, history and community groups.
She’s been heavily involved with the Mooorolbark Community Centre since its opening more than 40 years ago, delivering Gymbaroo every week before the COVID-19 pandemic.
In June, Marion was honoured with a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the Queens Birthday Honours List, for her service to the community.
We spoke with Marion about the award and her involvement with the community in recent years:
What does it mean to you, to receive this award?
“All this is very humbling, but I’m also very proud that my mentors and peers nominated me.
“I gladly accept this honour on behalf of my forbears and everyone I’ve ever known who have influenced, inspired and encouraged me.”
How long have you lived in the Yarra Ranges?
“I came from a sheep property near Terang in the Western District and Lloyd from Rosanna.
“In 1974 we bought our first home in Mount Evelyn and had our first two children, then in 1978 we moved to Mooroolbark where we had our further three children.”
What sort of community work have you been involved with that led to this acknowledgement?
“At Mount Evelyn we met some lifelong friend through Nursing Mother’s Association Babysitting Club, Toy Library, Morrison House courses plus mini market.
“I was instrumental in beginning the Montessori Playgroup which ran in different venues for approximately 20 years and led to two preschools.
“We were one of the founding families of Village School at Croydon North and were continually associated with the School for 24 years.
“In 1984 I established the second Toddler Kindy Gymbaroo Centre for Children and Parents from over Yarra Ranges and Maroondah, at Mooroolbark, where we have operated for 36 years.
“Gymbaroo always participated in the Red Earth Festivals and Celebrate Mooroolbark Festivals, joining the committee for several years.
“We lost our little girl in a car accident and as we were supported, we also helped other bereaved parents.
“In 2009 I initiated the Mooroolbark History Group – we wrote our first book, Celebrating Mooroolbark, which was launched in 2012 and we are working towards creating it into an e-book.
“I have subsequently been the Mooroolbark representative for the Yarra Ranges Heritage Network and the Association of Eastern Historical Societies.
“In 2014 I was on the panel re the new Mooroolbark War Memorial and organised the Opening/Unveiling Ceremony.
“I have subsequently organised both our Anzac Day Service and our Sunday Service for Remembrance Day at Mooroolbark.
“As Mooroolbark does not have an RSL, so I am an associate member at Mount Evelyn RSL
“I have just recently become a member of the Victorian Boer War committee and I am a committee member of both the Mooroolbark Traders & Community Group – plus MUG – Mooroolbark Umbrella Group, our township group.”
What are your hopes for the future of the Mooroolbark community?
“We are about to experience the biggest change to our suburb of Mooroolbark since the Opening of our Railway Station building nearly 133 years ago.
“This will be due to the Manchester Road Level Crossing Removal, which is being replaced by a huge elevated railway line plus the new platform and station.
“Over the next two years this will be a massive interruption to our shopping precinct, so I urge everyone to stay loyal to our local shops and businesses, and just like this COVID-19 situation, we will all come through this upheaval together.
What do you think makes the Yarra Ranges community unique?
“As the Yarra Ranges covers such an expansive area, it would be the diversity of people and activities that takes place throughout the community, that makes the Yarra Ranges quite unique.
“We have an impressive Heritage Network of societies and groups with extensive knowledge of the evolution of the Shire. There is no future without honouring the past.”
Marion Stott, OAM, with Federal Member for Casey, Tony Smith.