Warragul resident Peter Rowse was taken completely by surprise when informed he was to be made a Member of the Order of Australia (OAM).
The award announced in the Queen’s Birthday honours list yesterday was for Mr Rowse’s service to the community through a range of church organisations.
He said it had “come out of left field” and was something he neither sought nor expected.
But Mr Rowse said he would never have been able to do what he did over more than 50 years without the support of his wife Marg.
It was a joint effort, Mr Rowse said, referring the backing he had from his family – his wife and three children – as he devoted large amounts of time spreading the Christian message and working on mission projects, including in Papua New Guinea.
He was a 12-year-old when his father and uncle bought a property at Warragul South to develop to develop as a flower farm – Rowse Bros Pty Ltd – that Mr Rowse later managed from 1972.
His local church was St Luke’s at Ellinbank, that closed earlier this year, but where he attended for 55 years and was a lay preacher and volunteer office bearer.