Barbara’s highland fling
Glen Innes in the New England region is not an area that springs to mind when you think of Scottish highland dancing.
But the fact the area is commonly referred to as the 'Celtic capital of Australia', is in no large part due to the work of Mrs Barbara Timmins, a passionate advocate and teacher of highland dancing.
Mrs Timmins has been a "small cog in the big wheel" of Glen Innes Public School community for more than 40 years.
In 1972 Mrs Timmins was the first teacher's aide appointed to the school and she still volunteers her time two days a week.
Her passion for highland dancing and for the local community was recognised earlier this year when she was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).
The OAM recognises outstanding achievement and service to the community and in Mrs Timmins' case her work as a teacher of highland dancing.
"I was so thrilled to be nominated for the award, it was an utter surprise," Mrs Timmins said.
"I am still so delighted to be teaching dancing in our local community and to be involved with Glen Innes Public School."
"Mrs Timmins is a much-loved and valued member of our school community - her passion for the school and the students is unparalleled. She takes great pleasure in teaching the children and is always proud of their performances," Glen Innes Public School principal Sue Belford said.
Mrs Timmins was also presented with a Public Education Week Award for community service in a school in 2012.
With Scottish ancestry, highland dancing is integral to Mrs Timmins' family life but so is education, with her two daughters working within the Department of Education and Communities.
Her children attended Glen Innes Public School, with daughter Lindy Hosegood now deputy principal at Moree Public School and daughter Casey Harris the school administration officer at Rose Hill Public School.
"I was inspired and encouraged to go into teaching by my mother and several of the teachers I had at Glen Innes Public School as they showed me teaching children is a most rewarding and vital profession," Mrs Hosegood said.
"Mum is quietly unassuming and blessed with a large serving of personal determination, dedication and perfectionism and it is lovely to see her celebrated not only by our community but by all."
Photo: Mrs Timmins, OAM, with Glen Innes Public School and dance students, Brielle and Annaliese. Photo by Suellen Slomczewski.