Jeremy Johnson, a final year Parade College student of the Class of 1971 and the long-time chief executive officer at Sovereign Hill, has been named a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the recent Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Jeremy was honoured for his years of service to the tourism industry and Ballarat community as a whole.
He was unavailable for comment this week, but in an earlier interview with The Courier’s Greg Gliddon, the seventh generation Australian of convict ancestry was quoted saying: "These things come along unexpectedly and at the same time it's a great privilege".
"My ancestors would be amazed to think someone in the family has achieved such an honour,” Jeremy said.
“It's a great personal pride when something like this comes along and it makes me reflect on all the support I've received."
Jeremy’s involvement with local government immediately followed his final year at the Bundoora Campus, in 1972. The Sovereign Hill CEO from 2002 until his retirement last year, he has also served as president of the Victorian Employer's Chamber of Commerce and Industry (2008-10), president of the Australian Chamber of Commerce since 2017, chairman, Allocations Committee, Ballarat Sports Foundation (1996-2010) and the long-time chair of the Central Highlands Water Board.
He considers his involvement with Ballarat’s Arch of Victory/Avenue of Honour Committee as amongst the most personal.
"The Arch of Victory was a labour of love as my grandfather was killed in World War II," Jeremy said.
"I've always had a passion to ensure I could help in that area. The Avenue of Honour represents so much of our war history.
"My grandfather never met his eighth child. My grandmother had to bring up the whole family on her own, she did an absolutely incredible job. She instilled in us a sense of community and it's something I've lived with my entire life."
Despite growing up on a farm adjoining Tullamarine Airport in Westmeadows, Jeremy considers Ballarat very much his home.
He is also a life member and long-time vice-president of the Ballarat Miners Basketball Club and for 15 years served on the tribunal of the Central Highlands Football League. He was also the chairman of the Tourism Excellence Working Group with Tourism Victoria form (2004-2016) and a member of the Council of Australasian Museum Directors (2002-2018).
Jeremy acknowledged his wife Anne, four daughters and 11 grandchildren for their continuing love and support, and similarly commended senior members of the Sovereign Hill team for backing him throughout his professional career.