COMMUNITY | 17 “I’m not interested in slowing down. There are a lot of things I still haven’t done that I would love to do.” – Gwenda Allgood
EXPERIENCE CRUCIAL A
rarat councillor and former mayor Gwenda Allgood is too busy to even consider slowing down.
In fact, while she probably deserves to take a well-earned breather after 32 years as a municipal representative, it is the furthest thing from her mind. “I’m not interested in slowing down. There are a lot of things I still haven’t done that I would love to do,” she said. “Whether it be in local government, local sport or anything. As you get older you have to keep active and put yourself out there. I don’t do everything right in life but I always keep trying and the reality is that when one door closes, another one opens.” Cr Allgood, 72, said there was no point for anyone when they retired from work to also retire from life. She agreed the older generation had plenty to offer
society, especially through experience and knowledge. “Older people have a key role to play. I would love to see more people like myself get more involved and engaged in the community,” she said. “In my time in local government I’ve seen issues go full circle and become quite repetitive and that is where knowledge or understanding is invaluable. “We should never fall into a trap of thinking that knowledge based on experience is not worthwhile. And, of course, you never stop learning.” Cr Allgood was a successful businesswoman in Ararat before joining the Ararat council where she had five terms as mayor. She started her first job in a drycleaning business as a 14-year-old and her
declaration at the time that she would one day own the business came true. She ended up buying a second dry-cleaning operation and ultimately ran the business for more than 50 years. “When you are working you’re thinking about what you will be doing the next day and putting a lot of pressure on yourself. When you get older and retire you can pick and choose what do but you must stay active in mind and body,” she said. “I’m also lucky that my grandchildren all live locally and I get a real buzz out of that.” Cr Allgood said being a community representative and being involved in community activities meant she had to constantly interact with people and to deal with a variety of issues, which in turn forced her stay mentally engaged. “It’s a great time of life. You can be highly
Ararat Rural City Councillor Gwenda Allgood, far right, at an Ararat Wind Farm information session earlier this year.
engaged in the community and still have time to spoil the grandchildren,” she said. “By constantly talking to and engaging with people, you stay in touch with everything. I know for example that the latest generation is growing up in a highly competitive and difficult world and in some regards I had it pretty easy.” Cr Allgood said she took pride in her involvement in the many municipal projects she had seen unfold. “From developments with the public pool, a new building at Alexandra Oval, netball courts, Green Hill Lake development and the bridges around town. There have been some big wins we’ve achieved as a group,” she said. Cr Allgood said she hoped to continue her role as a community advocate with Ararat Rural City Council.
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