Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Order of Australia Medal recipient honoured by award

Benalla's Peter Tallis was thrilled to receive an Order of Australia Medal for his service to agriculture and education.

RIAHN SMITH June 11, 2014 3:17am

Peter Tallis and his wife Mary.

Agriculture and education have been long-time passions for Peter Tallis, and after a lifetime of service he’s been recognised for his efforts.

The Benalla man, 81, was awarded a Queen’s Birthday Order of Australia Medal on Monday, and was touched by the honour.

‘‘(It) was just absolutely amazing, it’s just incredible,’’ Mr Tallis said.

‘‘I’m terribly honoured, it’s meant a great deal to me.’’

Mr Tallis and his wife Mary retired to Benalla almost a decade ago after a life on the land at Dookie.

The sheep, cattle and crop farmer spent half a century working with Dookie College and was chairman of Dookie 2000, a committee designed to diversify the learning institution and re-imagine its future in research and development.

‘‘I used to have students come to my property on a regular basis. At least once a month I’d take them around and show them practical things about farming and agriculture,’’ Mr Tallis said.

‘‘I lived next door and I thought I could offer something.

‘‘I just became more and more involved and more and more in love with the place.’’

In addition to his education responsibilities, Mr Tallis was also keenly involved in local environmental groups including Landcare, the Grasslands Society, the Dookie Land Management Group and Sustainable Grazing Systems.

‘‘If you’re a member of one of those groups you become terribly involved, it becomes the most important part of a farmer’s life,’’ he said.

‘‘We wanted to be leaders in the race to have better soils and to improve the outcomes for the farming community.’’

Even now, into his ninth decade, Mr Tallis is still contributing to his community — he continues to be involved with the Benalla Art Gallery and has engaged with Benalla’s Tomorrow:Today Foundation.

‘‘It’s to give back,’’ Mr Tallis said.

‘‘We’ve had a good life, and we want to give back.’’

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