Gordon McKern.

COMMUNITY stalwart Gordon McKern has been awarded Rotary’s highest international honour.

Mr McKern was acknowledged at a multi-district conference held in Melbourne, and was given a standing ovation by delegates when named the recipient of the Service Above Self award.

Less than 150 people are afforded the rare honour around the world annually, and a humbled Mr McKern said his life changed dramatically in 1976 when he relocated his family and his business from Melbourne to Eaglehawk.

“I was asked, almost immediately, would I join Rotary…. And that has changed my life, totally.”

Mr McKern has served as chairman of Coliban Water, president of Bendigo Regional Institute of TAFE, chairman of La Trobe University Bendigo Regional Advisory Board and as a member of the Eaglehawk Dahlia and Arts Festival.

He has been an integral part of the Bendigo Art Gallery board, the Ulumbarra Foundation, the Aspire Foundation and is also a former Rotary district governor.

Mr McKern was recognised with the Australian centenary medal in 2001, and was awarded an Order of Australia in 2009.

In 1986, he was recognised as Citizen of the Year in Eaglehawk; a feat matched in 2014 when he was judged the City of Greater Bendigo Citizen of the Year.

Mr McKern was also one of the founding commissioners of the City of Greater Bendigo following local government amalgamations.