Denise Rapkins has had a love for history and teaching others for as long as she can remember.
From studying the subject at university while raising her three children to being part of the Childers Historical Society while working in her role as librarian, Denise said history had always called to her.
“I’ve always been interested in history and I have even written a couple of history books,” she said.
“I like to educate people on the history of our town.”
Denise has been recognised in Bundaberg Regional Council's Our People Our Stories project for her passion in teaching others through her various roles within the community.
She began working with people early on in life after becoming a public servant at the Department of Immigration, Centrelink and more.
“I worked in lots of different departments,” she said.
“I’m a very methodical person and a stickler for the rules!
“A job then came up at the Childers Library and I applied for it and thought, ‘what the hell'.”
Last year Denise was named the Childers Australia Day Committee Citizen of the Year for 2020 for her work at the local library.
Through her innovative thinking and willingness to try new initiatives, Denise brought life to the library activities and programs that resonated with younger and older readers alike.
“I’ve missed decorating for Halloween and Christmas,” she said.
It was through this work that she was able to integrate her love for history.
“At the time I was also secretary of the Historical Society and we donated old photos through the library to be archived and kept as records,” she said.
“I loved it, finding out how people used to live and how they got on with their lives,” she said.
“It’s not the buildings, it’s the people who lived in them.
“People’s stories are the best.”
While Denise no longer lives in Childers, she said she had made many fond memories of her time in the small community and said it would be a place she would always feel connected to.
“Life carries on, we had no intentions of ever moving,” she said.
“With a daughter still in Childers and another daughter in Bundaberg, we will still always be part of the community.”