ONE of the district's most prominent Aboriginal elders has been honoured for her selfless work for her people.
The Order of Australia Medal will be presented to Esther Kirby for her ongoing service to indigenous people in Victoria.
Aunty Esther is a tireless campaigner for the health and well-being of Aboriginal people, both locally and further afield, and has played a key role in local reconciliation efforts in recent years.
She is also an artist and emu egg carver.
The Queen's Birthday honour has stunned the Kerang resident.
"I nearly fell over when I found out. I'm still coming to grips with it," she said.
"It's not something you look for; you just get in and do it."
Aunty Esther is a Barapa Barapa clan elder and is the Aboriginal liaison officer at Kerang District Health and co-facilitator of the Bush Kinder Program.
She has been a member of the Kerang Elders Committee at Mallee District Aboriginal Services for the past 17 years, is a member of the Swan Hill Region advisory group and a former board member and has chaired the Kerang Elders Group since 2013.
Aunty Esther also chairs the Kerang Local Education Consultative Group for the Victorian Aboriginal Education Association and is a life member and Honorary Elder of the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Centre at Melbourne Museum.
For more of Aunty Esther's story, pick up today's edition of the Gannawarra Times.