Woodville father of three Graham “Bear” Hudson receives the medal of the order of Australia for service to cricket and the community.
A school maths teacher by profession and a National Serviceman who toured Malaya on a peacemaking mission, Mr Hudson like many young, country men enjoyed his cricket.
But it went far, far beyond a casual interest.
He started with his home team, Gresford, in 1971 and by 1983 had taken on the role of secretary with the Dungog District Cricket Association. A role he held until 2012 – well beyond his last match in 1998. This would earn him a life membership.
Even before his own sons took up the game ‘Bear’ was well immersed in the administration of the game.
He credits this experience and training at teacher’s college as the building blocks of his long community service.
His involvement in the Hunter Valley Cricket Council began in 1983 when he joined he management committee. This included stints as vice president (1996-2007) and, to this day, president. Again, a life member.
This work dovetailed with his presidency of the Hunter Valley Junior Cricket Council from 1998-2016. One of the highlights, the formation of the Hunter Valley Cricket Institute, 1999. Make that another life membership.
“I grew up in the Gresford area and moved in with my grandmother to attend Newcastle Boys High,” he said.
“I’m fortunate that I had the background where I can get up and talk and fulfill these tasks. My father was also very community minded and liked to contribute. I thank my wife, Georgina, for the many times I had to go away for carnivals in particular. A lot of holidays coincided with cricket carnivals.”
Duty called again when Mr Hudson became a member of the Dungog Cricket Umpires Association in 1999, where he is the current president, and an active umpire.
Then there was coaching responsibilities when he lead the Dungog Colts from 2000-2005.
That was in addition to coaching duties at Gresford between 1990-2000, where he was also Gresford Junior Cricket Club secretary/treasurer, 1990-2007.
“I was just going to enjoy being a parent at the games until I got roped into coaching,” he said.
The community service component of his OAM stems from work with the Gresford District Agricultural Society as patron (since 2013), sponsor (since 2005), president (2007-2012), vice-president (1994-2006) and committee member (since 1993).
“Gresford doesn’t wait for handouts, they make things happen,” he said of the experience.
Mr Hudson has also been a member of the Returned and Services League of Australia, Gresford Sub-Branch since 1971, secretary from 2010 to 2017, remains a Delegate of the Hunter Valley District Council, and this year became president.
Bear also holds membership to the Dungog Branch, Hunter Legacy (since 2013). Not to mention membership to the Gresford District Bushman's Carnival Association with stints as president (1998-2008), vice-president (1996-1998).
His previous awards include being a recipient, of an Australia Day Sports Award, Dungog Shire Council, 2008.
Far from off the hook, he was last year called upon again to be president of the Gresford Cricket Club. This, as he stares down his 50th year in teaching at Toronto.
“There aren’t very many young blokes who want to put their hands up any more,” he said.
“It’s a worrying trend, whether it’s a lack of confidence, a belief they don’t have the time, I don’t know.
“My approach has been to give it a go: I say ‘if you don’t like what I’m doing, have a go yourself’.
“I feel content that I have given back. I don’t do it for the accolades but I do it in the belief that if you can, you should.”