Coffs Harbour women named on ‘Hidden Treasures’ honour roll

Rosemary Hansen and husband Chris.

TWO women in Coffs Harbour have been named on the NSW Government’s Hidden Treasures Honour Roll for the important volunteer work they do in their local communities.

Through public recognition of women in regional, rural and remote areas this initiative aims to support and promote volunteering to enrich the lives of volunteers, strengthen local communities and ultimately benefit NSW.

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Longtime Lion Rosemary Hansen from Sapphire Beach and Red Cross Emergency Services stalwart Judy Jackson from Woolgoolga were amongst the 91 Hidden Treasures named across NSW.

Rosemary Hansen has been a member of the Lions Club of Coffs Harbour since 2020, playing an instrumental role
in the organisation of many of the club’s activities.

She is also a key member of the committee working to establish a Women’s Shed in Coffs Harbour.

A legend on the BBQ and in the kitchen at fundraisers, for the last two years Rosemary has also been volunteering her incredible cooking skills for Pete’s Place, the drop-in engagement hub in Coffs Harbour for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

Each week food prepared by Rosemary is delivered ready to be heated up to feed the many grateful users of the service.

Rosemary has been described by her nominator for the award as “incredibly consistent, reliable, and thoughtful in her meal choices”.

Rosemary has also organised donation drives of blankets, warm clothing and other resources to meet the needs of those using the services at Pete’s Place.

“It is people like Rosemary who, by supporting our most vulnerable, help to create a strong and thriving community,” her award nominator said.

Rosemary told News Of The Area she was “humbled” to be added to the 2023 honour roll.

“After reading through the list, there are plenty of outstanding women on this honour roll,” she said.

“I moved to Coffs Harbour to retire – I haven’t quite got there yet – but it was always in my plans that I would like to do volunteer work.

“I am using the skills I have and my love of cooking to do that.

“I hope I am making some difference preparing meals for Pete’s Place.

“It is rewarding knowing I am making some difference, even in a small way.”

Rosemary also paid tribute to her husband, Chris, saying she “could not do this” without his help.

The Coffs Coast’s other Hidden Treasures awardee, Judith (Judy) Jackson has been a committed Red Cross Emergency Services volunteer since 2012.

Judy now serves as the team leader for her local Emergency Services team at Woolgoolga.

Her roles, outside evacuations and recovery work, include ‘Pillowcase Presenter’, ‘CRT Champion’, and community engagement.

“Judy is very professional, organised, and enthusiastic in all she does for her community,” said Judy’s nominator for the honour roll.

“She supports staff and other agencies in their work and shares her connections and local knowledge willingly with new colleagues.

“During the bushfires in November 2019, Judy was told about the great need for help in Nymboida.

“Although she was in an evacuation centre in Grafton at the time, she referred this situation to her bosses and organised supplies to be taken into that community.

“She was in the first convoy – under Police escort – to get into the community and give them much needed help and support.

“There are many other communities such as Corindi Beach, Toormina and Iluka to name but a few, who have benefited from Judy’s input to be better prepared for any future emergencies.”

Judy exemplifies all the famous Red Cross values, going above and beyond to make a positive difference in people’s lives.

“It is meaningful to be nominated by your peers and to be recognised during Volunteers’ Week for the behind-the-scenes work that you do,” Judy told NOTA.

“Many rural women just go about their business of helping others because that’s just what we do, quietly taking small steps, making a difference in people’s lives.”

Judy described the Red Cross as a family of volunteers tirelessly and passionately engaging across rural Australia to reach people in need.

“I’m just a small member, but together we make a huge difference,” she said.

“The sum of the whole has achieved much over the past year.

“For example, 324,000 people being supported following natural disasters (nationally) and 250,000 hours spent knitting our beloved Trauma Teddies.

“So for me, this award exemplifies the true spirit of Red Cross volunteers who make the world a more compassionate and caring place.

“We are just ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

“I employ this recognition to thank all volunteers for their exceptional service, unwavering dedication and for being quiet achievers who communicate honestly, compassionately and effectively,” she said.

The Hidden Treasures Honour Roll is coordinated by the NSW Rural Women’s Network.

Nominations for 2024 are now open, visit


Judith Jackson.

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