Australia Day 2019 honours: Peter Reid helps drive change in community

JANUARY 26 2019 - 7:00AMCourier masthead mainRochelle Kirkham


Peter Reid is wearing his Ballarat and District Soccer Association life member badge as he sits at the dining table in his Ballarat North home.

Looking at the badge, one may find it hard to believe he has never played soccer in his life.

20190125 Peter Reid OAMCOMMUNITY: Peter Reid OAM in the garden of his Ballarat North home. He admits he has always been a 'greenie', applying environmental principles to his engineering work, and is now taking a lead in BREAZE. Picture: Kate Healy

But after hearing his story the small blue badge becomes a symbol of his service to the Ballarat community and love of helping lead volunteer organisations to bring about positive change.

Mr Reid has been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM), a recognition of his outstanding service.
“It is a reward for me from all the effort other people have done,” he says with a laugh.
“It has all been teams, it has all been committees – none of it you do by yourself.”

Mr Reid speaks casually, humbly, with sincerity that shows the genuine enjoyment he finds in helping make change for people in the community.
The 73-year-old is now the treasurer of Ballarat Renewable Energy and Zero Emissions group (BREAZE), but has been volunteering his time on committees since he joined the Caulfield Technical School’s student representative council in 1968.
It has all been teams, it has all been committees – none of it you do by yourself.

On the BREAZE website’s ‘getting to know’ Mr Reid writes his hobby is ‘going on committees as crazy as that sounds’.
The list of Mr Reid’s involvement in committees is long, partly due to his belief in leaving an organisation after three to five years to allow new ‘blood’ and new ideas to come through.

“I am a great believer in people leaving to give other people a go because otherwise you can dominate an organisation which is not good for you and not good for them,” he says.

Mr Reid has been involved in the the Ballarat Economic Development Board, Central Victorian Farm Plantation Committee, Central Highlands Area Consultative Committee, Ballarat Begonia Festival Committee, Child Friendly Ballarat Community Advisory Committee, Ballarat Trades and Labor Council, Football Federation of South West Victoria, Ballarat and District Soccer Association and the Damascus College Energy Breakthrough Program, just to name a few. The list goes on, a representation of his belief in change – a factor that has been a major part of his career as a communications engineer. 

“By going on committees you are forced to change and it opens you up to new perspectives. Mixing in a broad social context keeps you moving and keeps you thinking,” he says.

“I think you have got to be careful not to throw out the good stuff of the past but you have also got to be aware that the world has changed.”

Helping to bring about the Ballarat Regional Soccer Facility has been a stand out memory for Mr Reid, and more recently he has enjoyed being a driving force of BREAZE’s social solar program and a facilitator for the Mollongghip Community Power Hub.

“It is fun and it is good to see communities come together and work to achieve something,” he says.
“It is about the people. It is never about the things.”

Mr Reid thanked his wife Dolores for supporting him to give up his time, and participate in committees.

The couple, who have lived in Ballarat since 1985, will celebrate their 50 year wedding anniversary next year with their three children and eight grandchildren.