A man with a nose for news and a love for his community is one of the latest recipients of a Queen's Birthday honour.
The Southern Highlands News founding editor MacKay 'Mac' Cott of Mittagong has been honoured with an OAM in recognition of service to print media as an editor and journalist.
Mac, as he is fondly known to many, was raised by his widowed mother, grandmother and aunts.
In fact he firmly believes that it is the positive influence of the women in his life who have made him who he is.
Mac and his first wife Shirley came to the Highlands in 1957 with two young children; Jennifer and Margaret, adding another daughter, Elizabeth and a set of twins David and Robert, to the family before Shirley's death from ovarian cancer at the young age of 32, in 1964, the twins were just six months old.
Mac's mother moved to the Highlands to help him raise the children, the older of whom were boarded at Santa Sabina in Strathfield, coming home on weekends to spend time with relatives while Mac worked hard to make a home.
In 1958 fellow Trinity College old boy, Colin Lord, then manager of the South Coast Times Newspaper, approached Mac to start a district newspaper.
The goal of the paper was to provide the community with a focus on local news.
Mac became the foundation editor of the Southern Highland News.
The paper was originally run from a small office in Mittagong, before relocating in 1960 to more suitable premises in Wingecarribee Street, Bowral.
The first issue of the Southern Highland News, with a cover price of sixpence, hit the stands in October 1958 and was a forerunner to Tulip Time, The Festival of Flowers celebration.
Mac met his second wife Freda, while working at the paper. Freda, who worked in advertising for the paper, had three children of her own, Ian, Graham and Trina. They married in 1971 merging the two families into one, becoming a wonderfully, lively and loving family that worked, travelled and laughed together.
The whole family travelled through Europe for 18 months during 1973/4 in an old Bedford campervan purchased in England and brought back to Australia.
One of Mac's mates, Michael Baume AO, was able to assist with letters of introduction to some interesting people and places. Freda home-schooled the children during the trip, knitting, making and repairing clothes on a Bernina sewing machine and cooking healthy meals with a pressure cooker while they camped along the way in some of the most historic spots for an education not to be missed.
Mac sent articles back to the paper about the travels while Freda kept an impressive journal taking colour slides to share the memories. Freda sadly passed away in 2008.
Mac became an employee of Rural Press, a division of Fairfax, in 1998 and he officially retired two years later.
"We had what was a great knees-up," he chuckled.
Mac continued to contribute a column until 2015.
He feels his greatest achievement is the young people he's been able to open the door for. Some of those young people have included author and Canberra political journalist, Ian McPhedran. Another was previously Wingecarribee Councillor Jo Gash. Ms Gash - former federal MP for Gilmore - said Mac had an enormous influence on her life.
"He shaped my life and my career," she said. "He is a man among men."
Ms Gash's favourite memory of Mac was his application of fairness in business and life. "He gives women a go. Most of his staff were women," she said.
Mac's elevation of women continued when he assisted his two eldest daughters, Jennifer and Margaret, who, with printer's ink in their veins, started the successful Sydney rock music magazine 'Drum Media' the first issue of which appeared on September 16, 1990.
In 1997, Country Press recognised Mac with the Sommerlad Award for column writing. He was Wingecarribee Shire Citizen of the Year in 1985.
"Some people said I only got the award for doing my job," he said. "But I did it 24-hours a day."
The Southern Highland News was a community paper, and Mac made sure it stayed part of the community.
"My whole mantra was, 'I'm here for the community," he said. "If I were to be remembered by the community in any way, it's for caring about the community."
Mac will be a recipient of 2019 Queen's Birthday honours award of an Order of Australia, in his 89th year.
Family member Lynne Moriarty said Mac's health would preclude him from being present at the celebrations.
However, she said there were many people within the Southern Highlands who wished Mac well and congratulated him on this deserved acknowledgement of a life of service to the community.
"He is the most wonderful human being and has been a true feminist, particularly for a man of his generation. There are several male grandchildren and now great grandchildren, in the family, who now carry the name Mac, a true testament," she said.