When former Rainbow Flat and Hallidays Point resident, Lucia (Lucy) Bokulic received an OAM in 2013 she said it represented her complete acceptance within the country she had chosen to call home.
Lucy, who was recognised in the Queen's birthday honours for her tireless commitment to the community, died in May this year.
Lucia (Lucy) Bokulic was born in Vienna in 1943 and spent the early years of her life as a gypsy traveller, with her noted circus-performing family.
The history of her family is held in a clown museum in Vienna.
Life in the circus meant that Lucy attended a different school every two weeks.
The challenge of assimilating into each new place meant Lucy was well equipped to make the adjustments required to create a new life on the other side of the world.
Lucy married at 17 and together the young couple migrated to Australia in 1962.
When they arrived at the Bonegilla migrant hostel near Albury on New Year's Eve, neither of them could speak much English.
Although they made the most of it, the tough times eventually took their toll and Lucy and her husband went their separate ways.
In 1984, Lucy moved to the Mid Coast with her second husband.
They were married for 30 years before he died in 1995.
After her husband died, Lucy threw herself into voluntary work with various community organisations.
She started with becoming involved with the Flair Fashion Awards, and not long after was presenting German language programs on 2BOB FM.
Lucy served as president of the management committee for Manning Valley Neighbourhood Services, and under its auspices began the Global Friendship Group to provide support for migrants in the Manning Valley.
She was a foundation member of the Manning Valley U3A from 1999 and was immediately elected as president of the steering committee, to then continue on to become president of the management committee. She remained president until 2004, and remained an active member of the committee until 2015.
She was made a life member of Manning Valley U3A in 2001, the organisation's highest honour.
Lucy also was president of the Manning Valley Senior Citizens Association, a member of the Multicultural Network, on the Manning Hospital's Multicultural Access Committee, was on the board of Taree Community College, and a member of the Greater Taree Social Development Committee.
She also served on the NSW Community Relations Commission advisory committee and the Hunter New England Consumer Health Forum. In 2000 and 2001, Lucy was secretary of Hallidays Point Tidy Towns.
Lucy received recognition for her community work with both the state and commonwealth governments. She received a Seniors' Week Award in 2021 for Advancing Learning for Life in the Mid North Coast, and was made a Member of the Order of Australia (OAM) on the Queen's Birthday Honours List in 2013.
Lucy was featured in a booklet, Strong Women of the Manning - no longer a secret, published in 2006.
"Lucy is an accomplished and witty public speaker. Her warmth, charm, social concern and energy are a wonderful gift from Vienna to the Manning Valley," concluded the entry on Lucy.
Those who knew Lucy also knew that she loved to call herself a "Wog" - a "woman of greatness", she always explained.
Lucy die in early May and is sorely missed by those who knew her.
Tributes flow on social media:
Victor Bokulic: Thank you for the article about my mum, I miss her wisdom, humor and most all her compassion.
Dr David Gillespie MP: Victor, your mum was an extraordinary woman who made an amazing contribution to our community.
Roz Britton: Such a strong, community woman.
David Freeman: Lucy gave an enormous amount to the community.
Caron Watkins: She was definitely a great woman or 'WOG' as she called herself.
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