While Nymagee local Daphne ‘Dolly’ Betts may have been surprised to hear that she had been nominated for this year’s Australia Day Citizen of the Year and Services to the Community awards, it was no surprise to anyone who knows her.
Dolly said she was lost for words when Cobar Shire Council rang to advise her she had been nominated for the two awards.
“I couldn’t reply, I had the wind knocked out of me,” Dolly told The Cobar Weekly.
Dolly has contributed much in her 82 years of living in Nymagee through her involvement in the Nymagee Progress Association, Country Women’s Association, the Nymagee Rural Fire Service (for more than 55 years), the local cricket, tennis and football clubs and the community art group.
Dolly’s family (the Stanfords and the Betts) have lived for generations in Nymagee.
“Most of my male relations were woodcutters around Nymagee for the mine,” Dolly recalled of the family’s early history.
Dolly attended primary school and secondary school by correspondence in Nymagee and, after completing her secondary studies, she went straight to work.
“The first thing I did was teach sewing at the school, and I would also teach the Catholic kids scripture.”
Living and growing up in a small community, Dolly said when she was old enough, she joined various clubs and associations as a junior member.
“You name it, cricket, tennis, football, if there was a group, I was involved,” she said.
“I think I’ve belonged to every committee that was ever in Nymagee. It was somewhere to go and something to do, and that’s how I came to be in the Nymagee CWA.”
Much of her time with the CWA she has served in executive roles, including president (a position she currently holds) and she’s been involved with CWA’s annual flower show for as long as she can remember.
“Each year it’s got better, it’s just that the crowd of people aren’t around in the bush anymore but we certainly get the support from the community.”
She’s also edited a CWA book ‘Our Outback Home: Memories of Nymagee’.
“The CWA wanted to do a recipe book,” Dolly recalls of the project.
“I said I think everyone does a recipe book, why can’t we do a book about the stories of Nymagee? We got stories from everywhere and we’ve had to do four reprints of the book,” Dolly said.
If you need someone to organise resources and catering for hundreds of people at a clearing sale, then Nymagee residents will tell you that Dolly is the one to call to get things done.
Four years ago she took on the job as Nymagee Progress Association president as Dolly said “no one was taking on any jobs”.
Dolly’s said she was very happy with the association’s achievements which included: a new fence around the cemetery, the community hall update, fencing of the supply tank, new Nymagee signs erected, the library was relocated to the school, repairs were carried out at the school, a new sports shed was erected and a very successful 2018 ANZAC day ceremony, which was held for the first time in 50 years at the Nymagee Hall, and coincided with the unveiling of a new honour roll to honour Nymagee men and women who served in wars.
Cricket has always been big part of the Nymagee community and also in Dolly’s life.
“When we were kids, there was always cricket on Sunday and we all went to watch.
“Barry, my husband, he played cricket and when David our son was old enough, he played as well.”
Over the years she’s continued to be a dedicated club supporter which helped to earn her a Life Membership honour of the Nymagee Magpies Cricket Club.
Dolly’s also part of the Nymagee Community Art Group and loves craft of any kind. She claims she’s not much of an artist but admits that her skills have improved over the years.
Also among her list of civic duties, Dolly is a representative of the Hera Mine Community Consultative Committee.
Dolly’s community contributions have also been recognised in the past.
In 2014, she was indoctrinated to the NSW Department of Primary Industries Hidden Treasures Honour Roll.
“It was a terrific honour,” she said.
Dolly also received a ‘Contribution to the Community’ award as part of Cobar Shire Council’s International Women’s Day celebrations in 2011.
Dolly said it’s important to be involved in your community.
“You’ve got to work to keep your community going,” she said.
“It’s no good sitting down and saying ‘that wants doing and this wants doing’ and no one does it. If you don’t get in and have a go, well the place just dies,” Dolly said.