Malcolm Nicholson rewarded for dedicated service

Malcolm Nicholson, OAM, selling raffle tickets for the Blue Mountains Health Trust in Katoomba last week.

Malcolm Nicholson, OAM, selling raffle tickets for the Blue Mountains Health Trust in Katoomba last week.

From unemployed goatherd to door-to-door salesman to real estate agency owner, Malcolm Nicholson's life has been a varied one. But one thing that has remained consistent for more than two decades is his dedication to his community.

Mr Nicholson, who has been awarded a medal in the Order of Australia for his service to Katoomba through his volunteering, started with the Apex Club, which he joined shortly after moving to the town in the late 1970s.

He served as president on two separate occasions and was made a life member in 1986. He was also recognised with the Apexian of the year award in 1981.

Mr Nicholson and his wife, Moverley, came to Katoomba from Blayney where they had run a goat farm. He was the only unemployed goatherd in the Mountains, he said.

He first worked selling goods door-to-door "because I had nothing else to do" but then got a job with St George Building Society, as it then was.

"I stayed with them for eight years. We took it from a two-person branch to six people," he said.

He was then offered a position as a salesman with Raine and Horne and eventually bought the business.

In the meantime, he continued voluntary work, with Rotary, the Probus Club and Katoomba Golf Club.

He was foundation member and treasurer of the Blue Mountains Blue Light, which still runs movie nights for young people at The Edge cinema.

He was president of the Rotary Club of Katoomba in 2001-02 and treasurer for eight years.

Mr Nicholson said some of the work he is most proud of is with the Blue Mountains Health Trust, which was started by Mary Hammon, the wife of Harry Hammon of Scenic Railway fame.

"Mary Hammon gave $150,000 to start the trust. We can help kids with scholarships to study, we've bought a bus for respite tours and can supply specialised wheelchairs, scooters or walking frames for people who need them," he said.

Mr Nicholson has been the treasurer and trustee of the trust since 2002 and was hard at work at Woolworths in Katoomba last week, selling raffle tickets to raise more funds.

He paid tribute to his wife, who stood behind him all the way, he said.

"She's put so much time and effort into helping me do things. She's just worked her butt off."

The Nicholsons have two children, both of whom remain in the Mountains - daughter Kate lives at Blaxland and works with Chapman real estate and son Andrew, from Mt Riverview, is a special education teacher in Katoomba.

Mr Nicholson was delighted with his OAM but said he believed "you probably get more out of voluntary work than you put into it".

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