Service to the community has earned Laurie Barber an Australia Day honour.
The Rotarian, former Inverell Times editor, author and basketball enthusiast was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the Australia Day Honours List for service to the community.
Mr Barber, who now lives in Port Macquarie on the mid north coast, said he was surprised and humbled to be recognised for what he enjoyed doing.
He thanked his supportive family and those who thought he was worthy of being nominated. The Australia Day Honours List recognises 837 outstanding and inspirational Australians.
When Mr Barber, fresh out of school, reported for work as a reporter at The Inverell Times it was a Saturday in February, 1958. He was met by the boss, David Sommerlad, who handed him a pen and notebook and despatched him to the Inverell Show.
He finished at midnight and then worked all day Sunday.
On the Monday, he reported for what should have been his first day as a journalist - already with two days of overtime up his sleeve.
He went on to become managing editor of the Times and and regarded Sommerlad as the best boss he ever had.
Since his retirement from the media, Mr Barber's achievements include being named Port Macquarie-Hastings Senior Citizen of the Year in 2014 and Paul Harris Fellow recognition.
Rotary has been part of Mr Barber's life since he joined the community service organisation in 1971 while in Inverell.
He was a member of the Rotary Club of Inverell East for 11 years before joining the Rotary Club of Port Macquarie in 1982.
The past president of the Rotary Club of Port Macquarie and past district governor of Rotary District 9650 served on the board of Australian Rotary Health from 2013 to 2016.
Australian Rotary Health is one of the largest independent funding sources of mental health research in the country.
Tanna, an island in Vanuatu, beckoned in 2008 when Mr Barber spent time there with Rotary painting and repairing schools.
Mr Barber devoted almost five decades to journalism and worked at various newspapers since he started at the Times.
He has written a newspaper column, called My Word, since 1995 to encourage a greater appreciation of our language.
Mr Barber is a former deputy president of the Country Press Association NSW.