President of the Port of Yamba Historical Society Marea Buist has been added to the \"hidden treasures\" honour roll this year. Adam Hourigan

Hidden Treasure: Marea's valuable history work recognised

MAREA Buist's history of service in the Clarence is well documented.

The 2016 Clarence Valley Council Local Hero has had her named added to the honour roll as a "Hidden Treasure" for her work with the Port of Yamba Historical Society, but says she's not sure why she is worth all the fuss.

"There's so many amazing women out there doing amazing things, I don't know why the attention is shining on me," she said.

Ms Buist said the challenge of running a historical organisation start with maintaining its membership base.

"We've been lucky in that regard, being able to maintain it at about 60, which is quite phenomenal," she said.

"And we do it on a shoestring budget; we're not supported by government apart from applying for grants for certain projects which we've been quite successful.

"We still have to maintain the buildings and the collection and do all the things with the little we have."

Ms Buist has been oft highlighted for modernising the historical society, and said that with that modernisation has created a greater responsibility for the group.

"It's a bit like feeding a monster, once you create this you have to maintain it, and with more people visiting us the expectations grow with it," she said.

"Although we are a not-for-profit organisation, we are still a business; we think it's important to maintain that professionalism and it's working."

And after taking a step back from the president's role last year, Ms Buist stepped back up again this year to the top job.

"To be honest when I thought about standing again, I became more enthusiastic again, and it feels like a new phase for me," she said.

"I like to be busy, and I like a challenge, and we've had such a wonderful response from the community not just from donations, but in the comments we get about the work here. The people who know the museum value it and are really proud of it"

Marea is heading the push to fund raise for repairs to their roof, and she said they had raised more than $24,000 of the $33,000 needed.

"Added to that we've had some very exciting things here, especially with back-to-back exhibitions in the Kirk," she said.

And when asked of why she felt she was seen as an inspiring figure for those who nominated her, Ms Buist answered with a humble deflection.

"I'm very lucky. I'm not sure why I get all the attention, I'm not alone," she said.

"I've got a great team of people, and I've got a wonderful husband as well. It makes a huge difference if you have that support."



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