Member of the Week – Val Gardiner
Though Tenterfield is renowned for its cold and frosty winters, our Member of the Week, Val Gardiner (pictured here next to Barnaby), is a stark contrast to her hometown.
With her sunny disposition and love for her local community, those who know her believe Val could brighten even the dreariest of days.
Val first became involved with the then Country Party through her father, CL Rose, who was a staunch supporter and branch chairman from 1949 to 1971. In 1965 he was made a Life Member of the Party.
Following her introduction to the Party in 1966, Val’s elevation was instantaneous. Reminiscing on her first meeting she recalls walking in as a new member and walking out as the secretary. The start of a long-lasting relationship with the Country/National Party, Val has consistently served in a position at her local branch or electorate council for the past 50 years.
Many who know Val talk about an unyielding commitment to her local community. After 33 years as a teacher at the Sir Henry Parkes Memorial School, Val’s retirement has been busy with involvement in multiple local organisations such as Quota, Red Cross and Meals on Wheels, just to name a few. To acknowledge her ongoing dedication, Val has been recoginsed multiple times for her generosity. Among her most distinguished accolades is Tenterfield’s 2000 Citizen of the Year. In 1990, her long-term dedication to our Party was acknowledged in the form of a Certificate of Appreciation, an award she says is close to her heart because it is “signed by the illustrious Jenny Gardiner!”
When asked to relay her fondest memories of the Party, Val speaks of all the people she has met along the way, including Ian Sinclair, former Leader of the National Party, who in Val’s opinion was “absolutely the best - an outstanding man.” She also describes Ray Chappell, former member for the Northern Tablelands, as someone who was “always there whenever you needed him.”
Other highlights during Val’s 50 years with the Party include her time as a Campaign Manager for Tim Bruxner in 1973 and what she describes as the evolution of political campaigns in 1976:
“It was very different back then to campaigning now. We did everything through pigeon post and via the phone. We didn’t have any of these emails or technologies that you do now, but it was a lot of fun and I was silly enough to say yes both times to be Campaign Manager.”
Although proud of what the National/Country Party has achieved in the past, Val is looking forward to what is to come:
“I think we’re on the rise, and with John Barilaro at the helm we will continue to keep rising to any challenges.”
Her advice to other members? “It has to be something you believe in. If you believe in bettering your life and the lives of others – you should pitch in and do your bit,” she says.