Murdoch, Mrs Carmel, OAM: Australia Day Honours and Awards – Speech in the Federation Chamber 12/02/2024

February 12, 2024

Hansard 12/02/2024  Federation Chamber

Mr LLEW O’BRIEN (Wide Bay) (16:38): Maryborough’s beloved cultural figure, Carmel Murdoch, has been honoured with a Medal of the Order of Australia, a well-deserved recognition for her significant contribution to the heritage city.

Over her impressive 23-year tenure, Carmel has embodied various iconic personas, including Mary Poppins, Mary Heritage and Mary Christmas, captivating audiences with her storytelling prowess and historical knowledge. As a dedicated tourism ambassador, she has enlivened Maryborough’s unique past, charming both locals and visitors alike with her infectious smile and authentic costumes.

Though officially retiring her multiple Mary personas, Carmel remains actively involved in her hometown. She manages the volunteer ‘flusher ushers’ at the Cistern Chapel, a popular tourist attraction, showcasing her ongoing commitment to Maryborough’s heritage. When I spoke to Carmel, she told me of her upbringing in Charleville and that she attributes her strong sense of civic-mindedness to her father, instilled in her at a young age. She is humbly accepting this award but on behalf of all the local volunteers; she emphasised that it’s a collective effort behind the community service. Congratulations, Carmel, for your exemplary dedication. In the words of Mary Poppins, you are practically perfect.


In the spirit of Australia, I acknowledge all citizens who contribute to making our nation the greatest on earth.

I acknowledge our defence force personnel, past, present, and emerging, for their service to our nation, and particularly those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the defence of Australia.

I also acknowledge the Australian taxpayers who, through their hard work, pay for the infrastructure, health, education, and emergency services that keep our proud nation healthy, safe, and prosperous.