By Danielle Kutchel
You might call Angela and Barry Long a ‘power couple’, so strong is their connection to the Dandenong community.
Over a period of more than fifty years, the pair has lent their time to various community groups, committees, charities and clubs, furthering their passion for Greater Dandenong. Mrs Long is also a long-serving Greater Dandenong councillor, representing the Red Gum Ward.
Mrs Long was recently presented with an award recognising 20 years of service as a Greater Dandenong councillor, and at around the same time, her husband received recognition for his 50 years of service with the Freemasons.
Together, the couple has served on a number of community committees and clubs.
“I think at one stage we were in 13 clubs and sat on nine committees between us – some of which we’re still on,” Mrs Long says.
The list is extensive: both are life members of the North Dandenong Cricket Club, with over 40 years of service to the club including time spent manning the canteen.
When their daughter took up dance lessons, Mrs Long did the books for the dance school and made costumes. When their son began playing soccer, they helped out that club too, as well as school holiday programs for children.
In addition to this, Mrs Long has volunteered for 50 years with the Royal Children’s Hospital, while her husband has done around 55.
Mrs Long has been involved with local Indigenous groups for just over 30 years and says it’s a cause that’s particularly close to her heart.
“I’m very lucky that I’ve been accepted into the community. Some of them even call me Aunty, which is a privilege.”
She currently co-chairs the Inter Council Aboriginal Consultative Committee, alongside an Indigenous man.
Meanwhile, Mr Long says being part of the Freemasons has helped to “widen the parameters” of his world, allowing him to meet new people and contribute to charitable causes.
“Being part of it is the biggest achievement. You don’t think of this as achieving, it’s just part of it,” he says of his Freemason commitments.
“And you don’t look for accolades; you’re in there to help,” his wife adds.
Asked how they have managed to fit so much into their lives, Mrs Long says it comes down to passion.
“I’ve always been heavily involved in the local community – always,” Mrs Long explains.
“If you’re dedicated, you dedicate time for it.”
She says she is proud to have watched Greater Dandenong grow, and of the city’s multiculturalism.
But even after two decades, she’s showing no signs of slowing down and in fact currently represents nine committees, organisations and industry bodies as councillor.
For his part, Mr Long jokes that he’s looking forward to his next fifty years as a Freemason – “once a Freemason, always a Freemason,” he says.
“There is still more to be done,” Mrs Long adds.