OAM honour for David O'Dea

O'Dea family members.

O'Dea family members.

Canowindra's James 'David' O'Dea has been awarded with a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)

Included in yesterday's Australia Day Honours List, Mr O'Dea was awarded the medal for his service to the wine industry and to the community of Canowindra.

Mr O'Dea has played a significant part in the success of the region's wine industry establishing the first commercial winery in the district, Windowrie Estate Wines in 1959.

Planting Canowindra's first grapes, and starting the region's first winery, David's leadership and innovative viticultural practices using state of the art concepts, he created a very productive vineyard and winery operation.

He developed land for viticulture and pioneered wine tourism in the region. "Farming is a challenging and rewarding life job," David said.

"We have seen it all during the last 60 years in Canowindra and my hope is that future generations will be able to enjoy the land and farming albeit with the challenges it will present."

Mr O'Dea completed a degree in Agriculture at Hawkesbury University in 1961 and married his wife Wizz in 1964.

In 1967, he and a group of enthusiastic supporters started the Cowra Eagles Rugby Club, to provide the youth of the area an opportunity to play rugby.

He was its first president and was active in coaching and refereeing for many years.

David was the Chairman of the Canowindra Show Society for over 10 years and was very active before and after this period.

'My time working with the team at the Canowindra Show was the one of the greatest team efforts I have ever been involved with. Only playing football required more team effort in my memory," David said.

Mr O'Dea was also the inaugural Chairman of Lyndon House,which was a not for profit service for families battling drug issues.

Funding was always a problem, so a local board was formed to provide governance and fundraising.

Lyndon has since relocated to Bloomfield campus in Orange in 2015.

"If we can save the life of one young individual and the devastating effect this has on family and friends then it is all worth it," David said.

David worked with Artie Beetson and Jack Gibson closely at Lyndon

David was also a long time member of Canowindra Parish Council, often being called on for special support.