Cr John Martin recipient of Freeman of Shire medal

Published on 14 May 2021

Former mayor of Singleton and current serving councillor John Martin OAM has been formally presented with the Freeman of the Shire Medal at a special ceremony last night.

Cr Martin became just the fifth person to receive the highest civic honour Singleton can bestow for his outstanding and exemplary contribution to the Singleton local government area stretching more than 60 years, including life membership of the State Emergency Service (SES), 50 years as a councillor and as the area’s first popularly elected mayor. 

He was named as an Honorary Freeman of the Shire at a virtual Council meeting in May 2020, but a formal presentation was delayed due to COVID restrictions.

Mayor of Singleton, Cr Sue Moore said it was extremely important that the honour did not go uncelebrated.

“Only four other people have received the highest civic honour we can bestow, and John is a most worthy recipient,” she said.

“It was disappointing the announcement was made during the COVID lockdown when Council meetings were happening virtually, and a formal celebration was delayed until restrictions eased.

“It’s a pleasure and a privilege to present the Freeman of the Shire Medal to John, and I’m glad we could all come together to pay him the homage he deserves.

“With more than 60 years as a servant of our community, particularly in local government and with the SES, his dedication and expertise in a range of fields, from flooding and emergency response to his representation of mining-related councils, is unparalleled.

“I am often asked by politicians and senior bureaucrats from across the State to pass on their best wishes to John, and it was wonderful that many could be at the presentation in person.”

Cr Martin said this was a particularly special accolade, because it came from Council and the community.

“I am very humbled by this recognition. Back when it was first announced, I was really embarrassed. These kinds of things happen to other people – I never even thought that it would happen to me,” he said.

“I’ve known all the four previous recipients – they were all awarded while I was at Council. In fact, I presented the award to Major General Peter Cosgrove AM MC while I was Mayor.

 “It means a lot to recognise the work that’s been done for the community, and not just by me, but others including all the councillors over the past 50 years. 

“The fact of the matter is, I simply believe in working for the community and helping the community. My wife and I did this together, and this medal belongs just as much to her – it just happens to have my name on it.”

About the Freeman of the Shire

 From time to time members of the Singleton local government area demonstrate outstanding commitment and contribution to our community and it is recognised that this contribution should be acknowledged.  

 In these rare and exceptional circumstances, Singleton Council will award the title of “Honorary Freeman of the Shire of Singleton”.  The title of Honorary Freeman is the most prestigious form of honour or recognition that can be conferred by Council. 

 The Freeman of the Shire has been awarded on four previous occasions:

  •  Colonel (later Brigadier) A.W. Hammett – 4 December 1984
  • Neil McNamara OAM –  23 October 1999
  • Major General Peter Cosgrove AM MC – 17 March 2000
  • Lt Col Andrew Lowe – 9 December 2011
  • Cr John Martin OAM – 18 May 2020