Honour for Thompson

  • 10 June 2019
  • Lillian Allen, The Guardian Swan Hill

The Thompson family mantra has always been “if you live in the community, you should be a member of it.”

And it has been this mantra that Swan Hill resident James Noble Leslie Thompson believes has helped him receive an Order of Australia (OAM).

Mr Thompson has been announced in this year’s Queen’s Birthday honours list for his service to the Swan Hill community.

He will be presented with his medal later in the year at Government House in Melbourne.

“It’s a great honour to be awarded this,” he told The Guardian.

“It’s something that doesn’t happen for everyone.

“it reflects on the fact that I was able to be part of the community and contribute to the community that has made these achievements all that possible.

“Whatever I’ve done. I’ve always been supported by my wife (Esma).”

And his first reaction to finding our he got the award?

“You’re kidding,” Mr Thompson said.

“It’s taken a while to sink in.”

In the Australian honours system, appointments to the Order of Australia confer the highest recognition for outstanding achievement and service.

Mr Thompson was awarded the honour for services to the Swan Hill community.

The award recipient said he enjoyed two things about helping out the community, doing something to benefit the community and being a Freemason.

During his 45 years in Swan Hill, Mr Thompson has been part of the tourism industry, and then in conjunction with the then Chamber of Commerce, formed the Swan Hill Development Association, and became its first president. The body is now Swan Hill Inc.

He has also served on the board of the Pioneer Settlement, and the Regional Tourism Authority.

During his reign with the organisation, he was an early advocate for council’s special rate to promote the city.

He has also been a board member of Swan Hill District Health, a member of Rotary, during which time he convened the Castle Donnington Probus Club.

Being a member of the bowls club, has given him great pleasure, not only as a player, but as an administrator.

The recipients other main contribution to the community is through Freemasonry.

Having been a member for more than 50 years, he has been able to support many activities which are of a benefit to the district.

“I hope that this award will inspire others to become involved in any organisation they are passionate about,” he said.

“Now that I have received the award, I am not going to stop being part of the community.

“I’m just going to continue what I am doing for as long as I can.”

Mr Thompson said that once he received the medal, it would take “pride of place” on the mantlepiece at his Swan Hill home.

His granddaughter, Rachel Wynne, said she had no idea what the award was so she had to “do a bit of research.”

“But when realising what it was actually for, it was very exciting because it’s quite a high honour really, she said.



Mr James Leslie THOMPSON, Swan Hill VIC 3585

For service to the community of Swan Hill.

Swan Hill Masonic Lodge

  • Director of Ceremonies, current.
  • Past Deputy Grand Master, 2016.
  • Secretary, 12 years.
  • Foundation Worshipful Master, 1997-1998.

Other Masonic Involvement

  • Past Grand Inspector of Workings, Chapter Masonic Lodge, 2016.
  • Past Deputy Grand Master, Mark Masonic Lodge, 2012.
  • Past Deputy Grand Commander, Ark Mariners Masonic Lodge, 2012.
  • Assistant Inspector of Workings, Nyah Lodge, 1994-1999.
  • Assistant Inspector of Workings, Cohuna Lodge, 1990-1994.
  • Area Director, 1989-1999.

Swan Hill Bowls Club

  • President, 2014-2017.
  • Secretary Board of Management, 2006-2015.
  • Secretary of Men's Section, 2006-2014.
  • Treasurer, 2003-2004.
  • Member, 1997.
  • Selector, 8 Years.

Rotary Club of Swan Hill

  • Member, since 1978.
  • Chairman, Vocational Services, 1988-1989.
  • Chairman, International Services, 1997-1998.

Dairy Farmers Association

  • Member, 1968-1974.
  • Vice President, 1968-1969.
  • Secretary, 1969-1974.
  • District Council Delegate, 1969-1974.
  • District Council Vice President, 1973-1974.

Swan Hill Development Association

  • Inaugural Committee Member, 1975-1980.
  • President, 1976-1978.
  • Chairman Tourism Standing Committee, 1977-1979.

Other Service

  • Coordinator, Meals on Wheels, current.
  • Convener, 2nd Probus Club, 2009.
  • Member, Swan Hill Hospital Board, 1995-1997.

James Thompson with his wife, Esma, right, and granddaughter Rachel Wynne. All three are excited about the Order of Australia recognition. Photo: Lillian Altman.