Australia Day honours: Robert Bowring, Henry Jones recognised

TWO men of the river have been recognised in this year’s Australia Day honours list.
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Robert Bowring has been awarded an Order of Australia Medal for his efforts to preserve the River Murray’s heritage.

Robert Bowring OAM

More than 25 years of dedicationto maritime historypreservation and helpingimprove the local communityhas earned a Mannum man oneof Australia’s most prestigioushonours.

Robert Bowringhas been awarded theOrder of Australia Medal forhis commitment, as a volunteer,to establishing theMannum Dock Museum,recommissioning the PSMarion, restoring the PSMayflower, having input intothe PS Oscar W and reviewingthe PS Ruby.

He has also been a movingforce on a wide range of committeesincluding sportingclubs and school councils, andis the current chairman of theMannum Dock Museum Board,Council of the Inland RiverAssociations, and SA HeritageVessels and PS Marion committees.

Despite being one of themain forces behind the scenes,Mr Bowring does not ask forpraise.

He said he was pleased tohave received the award, but itwas something he had neverset out to do.

“I’m quite humble really,” hesaid.

“I really just started with theMarion and it all just snowballedfrom there.

“If I get my hands into something,I don’t like to do it halfheartedly.”

Still shocked by theannouncement and trying toease out of the limelight again,Mr Bowring said the awardalso belonged to the team ofpeople involved with preservingMannum’s maritime history.

“This award is recognition oftheir efforts as well, it wouldn’thave happened without them,”he said.

“I really want to thank thepeople that nominated me andthe people that acted as referees.”

Growing up in Mildura andliving at Renmark, Berri andMannum is not hard to realisewhere Mr Bowring’s maritimepassion stemmed from.

“In the whole of my life, I’veonly ever lived away from theriver for two years,” he said.

“I think I’ll always have apassion for the heritage fleet.”

The late Henry Jones, pictured receiving the River Murray Medal from Di Davidson, has been granted another honour: admission as a member of the Order of Australia.

Henry Jones AM

River advocate Henry Jones has beenposthumously appointed a member of theOrder of Australia for his significantservice to the conservation of the LowerMurray and the community.

During his lifetime, the Clayton Bayresident and fourth-generation fishermanwas a president of the SouthAustralian Fishing Industry Council andSouthern Fisherman’s Association, councillorat Strathalbyn-Milang and captainof the Clayton Country Fire Servicebrigade.

He came to national prominence in the2000s when he helped shape a world firstenvironmental management planfor the Coorong and Lakes fishery andadvised the Murray-Darling BasinAuthority on the formation of the BasinPlan.

In 2013, he became the first communityrecipient of the River Murray Medal in160 years.

His family celebrated his life onceagain today, quietly but proudly, andhis daughter Julie said he would havehonoured by the recognition.

“He was an extraordinary man for thetireless work he did,” she said.

“He had one great passion and resulthe wanted in the end: to keep the RiverMurray sustainable.

“He never lost sight of that.”

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