Plenty still to do for city’s newly decorated citizen

Kathy Furney and John O Brien observing the next part of the Tracker Riley Cycleway. 	Photo: AMY McINTYRE
Kathy Furney and John O Brien observing the next part of the Tracker Riley Cycleway. Photo: AMY McINTYRE

DUBBO'S 2013 Citizen of the Year hopes to one day see the city become one of the friendliest for cyclists.

Tireless volunteer Kathy Furney, secretary of the Orana Veterans Cycle Club and Dubbo Bicycle Users Group (BUG), was "speechless" when she was informed of her accolade.

"It was unusual, it doesn't happen very often," she said.

Recognition for devoting time to numerous organisations held the proud Dubbo woman in good stead and was an important achievement.

"By being recognised formally, there's lots you can do to promote the city, and learn a lot too," Ms Furney said.

"You get to meet different people - you can never stop learning, can you?"

Ms Furney dedicated time to volunteering after deciding to retire.

She had previously progressed through a career in the court system, first as an assistant clerk at Dubbo Courthouse and then head clerk at Tamworth.

"That was interesting, challenging, and I never failed to be amazed by human nature," Ms Furney said.

"Women wrote shorthand and were typists until much later, so it was a personal achievement (to progress as I did)."

When Ms Furney retired, she and partner John O'Brien became part of the cycling groups and involved in the process to extend the Tracker Riley Cycleway.

Ms Furney was instrumental in putting the request forward to Dubbo City Council in 2006, ending in the opening six years later.

"It was so satisfying. When it opened on that Easter weekend I was so gobsmacked," she said.

"Now you see so many family groups, it's somewhere kids can ride and be safe."

Family is something Ms Furney knows a bit about as the oldest of six children.

She and Mr O'Brien, he too an eldest child, each have a son, and as a grandmother of one, Ms Furney still likes to be in charge.

"Being the oldest instils in you that you are looked to in helping out," she said.

Her time is spent between the cyclist groups and others including the Dubbo Field Naturalists and Conservation Society and Dubbo Family History Library.

And the 65-year-old can't wait to get her teeth stuck into more.

"I like a challenge, I'm more busy now than what I was working," Ms Furney said.

"There's no reason to leave Dubbo, there's too much to do.

"I want to do more with the elderly because they're interesting and I enjoy learning about how they once lived."

Ms Furney also believed there was more to be done with Dubbo's cycleways as the profile of riding had lifted.

Next will be an extension of the Tracker Riley Cycleway going down Margaret Crescent, but there was another project in mind.

A bridge off the highway leading to Brocklehurst had caught the BUG's attention.

"It'd be good to get out to Brocklehurst, there are some good loops there," Ms Furney said.

Part of her ultimate vision of a great Dubbo would also involve improved medical services.


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