Volunteer passion from the Hart

Local physiotherapist, dedicated firefighter and passionate swim coach Lyndon Hart’s leading voluntary roles in the community since the 1990s has resulted in him being awarded an Order of Australia Medal (OAM). Pictured with Lyndon on Monday is wife Fiona. Photo by Les_Garbutt

Yarrawonga resident Lyndon Hart’s leading voluntary roles in the community covering a diverse range of significant services since the 1990s has resulted in him being awarded an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in the 2022 Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Mr Hart’s association with Country Fire Authority (CFA), various sports’ involvement and Victorian Young Farmers qualified him for the national award “for service to the community through a range of roles” as announced on Monday.

Since moving to Yarrawonga in 2003, Mr Hart has carried on community service after moving from Donald.

“It’s an honour to have this award bestowed on me. Someone has taken the time and effort to put in the nomination and I thank the person as I believe there’s a lot involved in the nomination,” the OAM awardee, who turns 50-years-of-age on 12/12/22, said. “I love all the work I do, absolutely.”

Firefighter Lyndon was secretary/treasurer of the CFA’s Wilby Brigade from 2008 to 2016, is a state and group delegate since 2010 and brigade captain since 2016.

The Yarrawonga Group training officer from 2014 to 2021 has, since 2018, been 1st Deputy Group Officer and Group Communications Safety Officer.

Immediate past captain for 18 years of Wilby Fire Brigade, Craig Prescott said: "Lyndon’s involved 110 per cent. As captain, he's incredibly dedicated and is Yarrawonga Group Training Officer which is such a difficult job to fill. He's a very capable firefighter and so deserving of the OAM."

Qualifying as a Level 1 National Swimming Coach in 1992, Mr Hart has been a member of the Yarrawonga Mulwala Swimming Club since 2004 and an outstanding head coach since 2005.

Yarra-Mul Swimming Club President Dario Prighel described Lyndon as “the club’s guiding light”. "As a swimming coach, Lyndon is very good, technically very, very sound and probably the best I've seen in the O and M.

"It's not just the coaching. He does everything, is very committed to the club and a great club ambassador. Lyndon is very deserving of an OAM."

At the time of being awarded Godfather of the Year in 2018, he said: "I love the swimming club. It's a passion of mine. This year we have 73 swimmers which is good for a small club.

“We now have 93 swimmers – that’s the highest number in my time.”

A formidable coaching partnership and friendship was formed with Kevin White and the club has enjoyed some success at regional and state levels.

Lyndon studied Physiotherapy at LaTrobe University Parkville, then Bundoora. Throughout his senior schooling he taught learn-to-swim programs. During university he coached many different squads, a lot of which were private schools.

The Yarrawonga Outdoor Pool season is short, from November to March. However, for almost 20 years Lyndon has taxied numerous swimmers initially to Barooga, then Wangaratta, twice a week over the winter months for winter training and since last year, back to Barooga.

Numerous hours by Lyndon are spent at the computer writing and preparing training programs. He reads journals and attends seminars for professional development.

From November to March, he is at the Yarrawonga Swimming Pool three mornings and evenings per week and there is usually a Sunday Ovens & Murray Swim Meet.

Swimming and hockey were Lyndon’s sports of choice. He was a competitive swimmer, competing regularly at State Level.

Lyndon’s personal swimming claim to fame was beating Australian Olympian champion Kieren Perkins OAM in a race. “Granted it was in high-school, and backstroke!” he said. Nonetheless, beating someone who later became a four-time Olympic medallist and former world record-holder in three events sounds very impressive!

Before Yarrawonga, Lyndon was head coach of Donald Swimming Club in 2000 and 2003, chairman of the pool committee of management-Buloke Shire Council, Donald Hockey Club head coach in 2003 and a member of Donald 2000 Committee.

His Victorian Young Farmers history reads: Immediate Past President, 2001-2002; President, 2000-2001; Vice-President, 1999-2000; Chairperson, Review Committee, 1998-2000; Treasurer, Westernport/Dandenong District Council, 1994-1999.

In July 2003, Lyndon relocated his physiotherapy practice, Body Tech Physiotherapy to Yarrawonga and opened in Yarrawonga in July 2003. He provided on site physiotherapy treatment to the Yarrawonga Football and Netball Club.

"Lyndon did a marvellous job over several years and it was very much appreciated," former long serving club president Glenn Brear said.

"That involvement definitely contributed to the Pigeons being successful because if you don't have fit players, you don't stand a chance."

From 2019 to 2021, Lyndon coached Yarra Blue Team in the Wangaratta Netball Competition, narrowly losing a grand-final victory once.

Lyndon’s move to Yarrawonga has resulted in the town and district benefitting significantly.

“Lyndon is very deserving of this award, Wilby Fire Brigade secretary and nominator of Lyndon, John Schneider, said. “He’s a legend with everything he does.”