New South Wales

Jim Mein AM NSW Chairman

Dear Members,

I must thank the many members who have responded to my monthly Branch Newsletters, particularly with the thematic messages and Branch Committee updates. My biggest regret though is the continuation of the necessary pandemic social isolations. They have caused so many cancellations of Parliament House luncheons to celebrate new Order of Australia awardees’ achievements, both regional and Branch events, and my get togethers’ with you. Sadly, that has to continue. The alternative virtual getting together is fatiguing us all I am sure, as this seems to be the “new normal”.

Nonetheless, we have benefited very much from the brilliant afternoon Zoom meeting to celebrate the community service achievements of the twenty-five New South Wales High School leaders chosen under our flagship program “The Order of Australia Association NSW Youth Community Service Awards”.  The idea for having the ceremony virtually came from our Branch Patron, the Governor of NSW, Her Excellency, the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC. This was so special as she personally addressed each Awardee whose family then presented their child with the special plaque and Certificate on Her Excellency’s behalf.

The future of Australia is in very promising hands as each citation for these recipients was inspirational.  These young people are already showing strong, committed leadership, diversity of interest, and strong advocacy for those in the community. We applaud the three judges, the assistance from the NSW Educational Standards Authority, our virtual meeting host Martha Jabour OAM, the Official Secretary to the Governor Colonel Michael Miller RDF, and above all, Branch Committeeman Dr Frank Kelleher OAM who led the project through difficult Covid times. A memorable afternoon and thanks to Her Excellency, our superb Branch Patron for her invaluable contribution and for her excellent idea about conducting the awards ceremony virtually.

Agility is my theme this month. The new normal of the virtual world shows that with agility, we can still excel the current dilemma. This youth awards ceremony was another way of being agile in changed circumstances.

For me as an athlete who twice competed in the NSW State high jump finals in the 1960s, agility required countless hours of training to achieve power take-offs, aerial flexibility, aiming higher than the cross-bar if you want to clear it, and learning how to land safely on the way down. Agility and extreme fitness were paramount to success. Originally, it was physical agility, then mental agility. It was only much later that I learned much more about the mental side for adaptation to testing situations, to change and to relationship building.

Recently, a new dimension to agility was very much revealed to me by a young leader who charged me to be more agile in my thinking and decision making. My response to this charge was my concern to know the extent of her risk mitigation evaluation for the initiative she wanted the board to endorse: “Come on Jim! We need to make a decision. We have to act now!”

I love to be challenged BUT modern-day governance and leadership seems to increasingly be requiring substantial ongoing training and self-discipline to: 

  • intentionally listen (not just hear),
  • assess the current and future needs and impact (not let the past veto the future),
  • question (not automatically accept),
  • be “multi-” (-generational, -culturally sensitive and faceted), and
  • awesome (like the “oarsome foursome” as success best needs teamwork).


To me these are critical for modern day agility. It applies to us all.  In another way, this modern-day agility is well expressed by Madeleine Chapman who referred in her biography, “Jacinda Ardern- A New Kind of Leader,” to a “global trend of young people showing dissatisfaction with our political systems, and calling on us to do things differently. Why wouldn’t they when they themselves have had to adapt so rapidly to a changing world… as their reality changes, they expect ours too as well.”

Finally, your Branch Committee continues to meet virtually, and this month worked through issues such as: 

  • Membership value, care and contact with more events having to be cancelled.
  • Regional guidelines.
  • The forthcoming National Conference to be held in Canberra between 19thand 22nd May 2022. (See details in The Order, August edition).
  • The need for more member profiles/stories for our website and “The Order”. They never cease to amaze.
  • Planned Christmas function.
  • The “Young Australian Leaders” program being developed by some members to promote career development of young community leaders, arising out of the Branch’s Youth Community Service Awards to high school leaders.

Yours in the service of promoting outstanding Australian Leadership,





Jim Mein AM

NSW Branch Chairman and Branch Nominate Director on the National Board of the Association

1st October 2021

The Order of Australia Association NSW



Jim Mein AM NSW Chairman

Dear NSW Members,

I feel for each of you as we face yet another month of Covid lockdowns.

We are supposed to have more time at home because we are saving travelling time if we work, or we should have more to read and relax in our homes. For me, neither has been my experience.

I retired from paid work nine years ago but continued to serve various communities as a volunteer board member, and in other leadership positions. I had seen so many colleagues, relatives and friends suffer from boredom or too dramatically sudden change of lifestyle because they did not  stay involved in purposeful activity.

 Those varied activities have kept me going but not enough to prevent pondering anew about the NOW. Covid has also driven me to think beyond the NOWS of a pandemic and conflicts such as woeful Afghanistan.

 I have done little reading other than trying to keep up the political, social and economic now but I am a collector of what for me are wise sayings. The best of these for me living now I share with you:



  • “Parallel lines have so much in common. It’s a shame they never meet”.
      • Does this describe social distancing where we are missing our face-to-face time?
  • “Suffering is inevitable and universal. But how we respond to suffering differs”
      • So many are so diversly impacted by the pandemic. How are you personally feeling and are you keeping contact by phone or otherwise, with others, so we are looking after each other in some meaningful way?
  • “Freedom is about CHOICE- about choosing compassion, humour, optimism, intuition, curiosity and self-expression. And to be free is to live in the present.”
      • Do we have much choice in lockdown, a word which sounds incarcerating?
      • Can you be more aware that these measures are essential to freedom, and through that space to freedom of choice? 

 The latter two quotations come from “The Choice”, written by Helen Eger, a Holocaust survivor and another two of her gems connect the above three  NOWs for me to TOMORROW:

  •  “If you are going to live, you have to stand up for something.”
  • “Even in hell hope can flower.”

 Our members have missed almost all our traditional luncheons and other get togethers. There seems to be a new normal of change and the “virtual” world of social media platforms, ultimately risking being “zoomed out.” Even our annual Branch Youth Community Service Awards will be “virtual” this month. We very much thank our highly esteemed and supportive State Governor, Her Excellency, Margaret Beazley AO QC who will be presenting the awards to twenty-five senior High School students in this way this month.

 We are also greatly indebted to Branch Committee member Frank Kelleher OAM for surmounting the challenges of organising this high profiled event which had to be cancelled last year, and the three judges: Mrs Lynette Smith OAM, Mr Doug Donoghue AM and Professor Jim Pratley AM, as well as Margot Braithwaite and Mark Sullivan from NESA (the NSW Educational Standards Authority).

 I also thank the many members’ positive and helpful responses to the value of possible Association organised webinars. We need suggestions of themes and speakers so they will be well-supported.

Finally, I thank Committee member Chris Dunne OAM for organising last month’s key zoom meeting with the Regional Chairs and their nominees who  contributed so much to a very fruitful discussion as part of the Branch Committee’s resolve to bridge the gap between the Branch and our many regions. Another way of understanding and supporting each other in the NOW as we prepare for TOMORROW.





Jim Mein AM

The Order of Australia Association NSW

August 2021

PS:  Please note the official Order of Australia Association website is:

Jim Mein AM NSW Chairman

Dear NSW Members,

Fun, friendship and fellowship- the three “Fs”- has been the primary purpose and focus for many community service organisations, membership groups and activities with which I have been associated over my adult years in particular. However, the pandemic has greatly impacted each of us in varying ways and organisations such as our special Association membership. Activities and communications help us have those three “Fs” and long-term relationships help our well-being and future of our organisation.

I have been sharing with individual members and branch and regional leaders who too often have been frustrated with event and activity planning, including having to decide to abandon or re-schedule events and/or not even plan them at all.

The challenges which are in many minds include:

  • What can the Branch and the regions do to show that the Association cares for its members in an environment of social isolation which is being accentuated because we cannot meet face to face at a meeting, luncheon or dinner?
  • How can we attract new members?
  • How can we make events financially viable when there are gathering number limits?

As one service club leader summarised: “How can we plan the when and the where when we fear the risks of cancelling, crowd limit variables, or members unwilling to risk attending our meetings?”

Consider that you may have a working life of ninety thousand hours, how much of it is preparation for life achievements?

Good examples come to mind such as:

  • The athletes who invest far more hours in training, mind and body strengthening, and determining their event strategies.
  • The speakers who research, write and practice for a far shorter presentation time.
  • The chefs who plan the menu, order the components and cook for patrons who eat the creations in quicker time.
  • The axemen who spend so much more time building up their physical strength, practising to improve technique, and sharpening their axes.
  • This leads me to encourage us all to do these important gluing tasks for our membership:
  • The more we plan, the easier it is to hold an event and often the better the event result.
  • The more we touch base on an individual-to-individual basis, the more we strengthen relationships that help each other in times of trial.
  • The more we communicate with our members, like me to you by this monthly newsletter, or a regional newsletter, or an email, by zooming or videoing, the more we learn from each other the better the community wellbeing.

Shortly, the Branch Committee will be electronically conferring with leaders from our sixteen regions. The purposes include relationship building through sharing, keeping each other better informed about our organisational health, new ideas for activities, and Award and Association profile raising. Local contextual issues are also important as I have been increasingly conscious of community diversity, city centric thinking of governments, urban populations and policy making, and the challenges of social isolation and the “tyrannies of distance”.

We also wonder whether you would like to participate in a zoom social gathering or even a webinar with a guest speaker?  Please email me on to let us know.

We are scheduled to meet with Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC to discuss with her the plans for the NSW Branch and to give her some positive feedback from our members.

It has been wonderful to receive so many cards and letters from new recipients of awards from all over NSW, sharing with us the honour of receiving the awards and what it means to them. We look forward to welcoming them at our future functions.

Our Branch Committee members do some very worthwhile fundraising at the functions we hold so if there is a particular charity that you would like us to consider supporting, we would love to hear of your ideas and feedback.





Jim Mein AM

The Order of Australia Association NSW

August 2021

PS:  Please note the official Order of Australia Association website is:

Jim Mein AM NSW Chairman

Dear NSW Members,

I recall meeting the famous Lucky Starr at a luncheon where he was the irrepressible songster to entertain a large group of Senior citizens. He proudly sang his signature theme “I’ve been everywhere Man”. He even tagged its worth to him in a most unexpected way, calling it his geriatric test. The day he forgets any one of the multitude of towns in his lyrics, he needs help.

For me, he has many solid and challenging messages in both the song’s name and how do we measure whether we are with it or getting “withered”! Another message for me is travel to as many of the regional functions in the New South Wales to close the geographic gap between the Branch Committee and our sixteen regions.

I attended the OAA NSW Clarence-Richmond Regional luncheon in Alstonville early last month.  This was their first for some four years and what a vibrant and engaging group under the leadership of Grahame Gooding 0AM. I chaired the regional elections where Grahame was elected unopposed, succeeding the late Doug Johnson OAM. Five other members were elected to their Regional Committee and there is much promising energy in that group.

That reminds me that each region constitutionally needs a Regional Convenor and at least a supporting Committee of four to share the load and to provide seamless leadership succession planning. A committee of one is destined to flounder! All committee members must be financial members of The Order of Australia Association.

Covid is suspected to linger for a long while but I am so pleased to see how many regions have had, or have at least booked, a function date in 2021.  For me, it is critical that the Branch Committee is represented at these functions so that we can learn about you, your local challenges and for relationship building and in return, share what is developing elsewhere.

I want to be a “lucky” Branch Chairman building relationships across our branch, even though you may label me “Lord Lunchalot”. That was a name my partners gave to one of our fellow professional partners who was always out to lunch and looked it! Our Branch Regional Co-ordinator Chris Dunne OAM has a strong similar desire to have been everywhere but he has less chance of showing it. Invite us and see why.

Turning to the Branch Committee developments, we met again last month and key matters discussed were:

  •  To remind the regions of the availability of funding for Association profile-lifting schools prizegiving and other community projects such as New England Northwest’s successful honour board acceptance in Armidale. Please consider applying to the Branch Committee through Secretary Martha Jabour OAM,
  • The National Board’s project of a new approach to Branches for the OAA Foundation by participating in their fundraising for the tertiary scholarships.
  • The frustrations in Order of Australia Awards nominations now taking up to 27 months before announcements.
  • The next National Conference will be held in Canberra between 18th and 22nd May 2022. Melbourne will follow in 2023 and Sydney in 2024.
  • We still need a Branch Membership Officer. Name(s) suggestions please.
  • Our Annual Order of Australia NSW Youth Community Service Awards to High School students has yielded a large number of nominations. The programme was suspended in 2020 but Frank Kelleher OAM has been pleased to see quality in many submissions. We award 25 students each year with the Governor General of NSW, Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC presenting them at Government House. However, we need greater publicity to locally promote the achievements of the successful nominees. We will be asking for regional help.
  • Louise Davis AM still needs suggestions for the “Meet Our Members” initiative for our website, these monthly newsletters and for “The Order.” I find the stories fascinating and amazing as I am sure you do.
  • Our first Sydney sub-region get together happens in Balgowlah later this month and we need interested members to look after organising similar low-cost luncheon or dinner functions in suburban Sydney. Interestingly, the Western Australian Branch is doing the same in Perth.
  • Maria Hitchcock OAM’s work on the Affiliates project is evolving, we hope soon to submit a proposition to the National Board.
  • Deputy Chairman John Gullotta AM’s Archibald Prize guided tours were promptly filled and his events team has more in planning but we are being restricted by the impact of Covid social distancing regulations.  For example, there will be twenty plus investiture ceremonies with limited guests, for each of the Australia Day and Queen’s Birthday awardees.

As you can see, we have an actively involved Committee including as well, Branch Treasurer Gail Dunne OAM, Adrienne Cahalan OAM and Romano Di Donato OAM.

My closing message comes from Heather Ridout AO, our National President, who  challenges us all with these words as she closed this year’s Annual General Meeting:  The more we relate with members, the stronger the Association”. How true.





Jim Mein AM

The Order of Australia Association NSW

17 June 2021

Jim Mein AM NSW Chairman

Dear NSW OAA Members,

As I write this update on 25 April 2021, ANZAC Day, I am reminded of the importance of peace to community harmony and social inclusion. I am also emotionally reminded of the sacrifice of many. Then, even before, and too long after Anzac, there have been too many victims of winless wars because of the lifelong impacts of lives lost in battle, and also the survivors who were never the same personalities who left to serve their nation. Even those family members and friends impacted by the emotional and physical scars of war on their serving love ones. Will we ever learn as we remember those women and men? We will remember them. Lest we forget.

Having twice delivered the annual ANZAC Address at the end on the Sydney CBD march, I remember those who marched and I marvel that today’s schools’ education system has restored the historical and values education for theirs and all other ages. Will we ever learn there are no real personal winners?

I also received a remarkably moving tribute to Guyra resident, Ted Mulligan OAM, a 104 years old WW2 veteran, cricket tragic and a local legend. Ted epitomises what I believe each awardee should continue to do, if able, namely to continue investing their time and talents in community harmony, its relational development and well-being.

That leads me to our plea to all recipients of an Order of Australia Award, to continue to serve our local, regional and even our global communities as well as nominate individuals you know and know of who are making a positive difference around us. Nominate any or more of these possibilities:

  • Local heroes and Australians of the year in your local government council areas.
  • Young people who are already making a difference as circa 70% of awardees at the moment are over 65 years of age. Even some of our youth community service schools’ leaders have already achieved much and should be nominated. Age is no barrier.
  • More women and more multicultural leaders.
  • Regional committees looking for more candidates in their region.

I sadly need to share with you all that nominations are currently taking 24 to 27 months to process. This answers the many calls we have received from members wondering why they have not heard of the success or otherwise of their nominations. Currently, the Secretariate is reviewing ways to expedite their process.

I am encouraged by the energy of your Branch Committee and many regional committees and their convenors who are planning for reunion luncheons and other activities for year 2021. I soon will be attending or hoping to attend luncheons in Alstonville, Shoalhaven, Inverell/Armidale, Orange, the Hunter and Dubbo.

On 2nd May 2021, I travelled to Alstonville (Clarence Richmond Region) to attend my first regional luncheon as Branch Chairman. I tremendous reunion where the late Don Johnson OAM was remembered and his daughter also came. It was the region’s first event in four years and they even held on a long overdue AGM where Grahame Gooding OAM was elected as Regional convenor, ably supported by four new committee members. This exceeds the four-member minimal regional committee constitutional requirement.  Barry Nash OAM gave an amazingly impressive life story, beginning with his birth on Guernsey Island. I expect to receive his address for placement on the Branch website. He and his wife Trudie have been married sixty-three years!

For those living in the Sydney region, we are awaiting word from the Governor’s Office as to when the Association can again be represented at this year’s investiture dates before we can resume luncheons for new awardees in Parliament House whose Dining Room has been reconfigured which may impact the number of invitees. A Northern Beaches luncheon is being planned as well as special morning teas with guest speakers.

I am also able to announce that a new website format went live on 19th April 2021 and we would appreciate feedback. Soon there will be two new flyers coming from the National board: an updated

flyer promoting nominations for an Order of Australia Award and one promoting membership of our Association. As well, the Western Australian Branch is developing a power point presentation on the meaning of the Awards for the association members to promote to the community.

The latest Branch Committee meeting dealt with a range of challenges:

  • Progress with the planned Affiliates Programme.
  • We still need an Association member to be co-opted to the Committee to be our Membership Officer.
  • Plans to share the Branch Administration Grants funding to promote the Order of Australia and our Association by lifting their profiles in regional communities through school achievement prizes and other possible regional projects. Our Secretary will be writing to the regional convenors.
  • How we can best attract new awardees to join the Association whilst we are unable to be included at State investitures because of Covid social restrictions.
  • Encouraging the resumption of member get together functions, better communications to members and maintaining contact.

Finally, we wish to thank Carolyn Lyons OAM who has been the inaugural Chair of the Board and instigator of the Youth Community Service Awards Alumni Limited who has had to step down from that Board in that role but thankfully has agreed to remain a director. Therefore, we are seeking suggestions from our NSW Branch members for a replacement Board Chair who should be an Order of Australia Awardee. This company is not part of the Association at this stage but the Branch Committee plans to apply to our Association’s National Board for a formal relationship. The goal is to attract, nurture, mentor and skills develop our local tertiary and post tertiary young leaders to volunteer, serve, and maybe careers in the charity and not-for-profit sectors. This would be in keeping with our Association’s newly introduce object to establish youth development projects.


Jim Mein AM


NSW Branch Order of Australia Association

Jim Mein AM NSW Chairman

Dear NSW OAA Members,

In such a short time across our State and other parts of our great Southland, our communities have travelled through drought and bushfires, Covid and lockdowns, untimely downpours and mice plagues, and now to so many powerfully damaging flooding areas. It is times such as these that we are drawn emotionally to the importance of communities, not just close friends and family. So much help is needed, not just now but in the times ahead as those, both known to us, and others not known, rebuild lives, homes, workplaces and livelihoods.

On behalf of the members of The Order of Australia Association NSW Branch, I express our concerns for all affected by the latest ordeals. We are thinking of you all. You are all important to each other.

Your new Branch Committee met on 16th March 2021 and made some key strategic decisions to lift the profile of the Association and the Order of Australia Awards which were publicly criticised after the announcement of this year’s “Australia Day Awards”.

These decisions included:

  1. Co-opted Maria Hitchcock OAM from our New England North West Regional Committee to spearhead the Affiliates programme established in the new Constitution and By-laws
  2. Adopted a Business Plan and Branch budget which include:

o   Introducing affiliate membership within the Branch to accept recipients of other bi-annual Australian awards.

o   More regular communications within our branch on regional and state-wide events, profiles of members, Branch Committee actions, a regularly updated events calendar on our website, and key developments.

o   Resumption of our Youth Community Service Awards which culminate with twenty-five NSW high school students receiving their recognition at Government House on 23rd September (the regions will be encouraged to assist public recognition of local awardees).

o   Recruitment of awardees who are not already Association members.

o   Establishment of Sydney sub-regional, club style luncheon gatherings with Association members as guest speakers; and

o   Providing some facilitating Branch funding to enable regions to be more visibly involved in local projects through member participation, both financially and hands-on.

  1. Closing the relational gap between the Branch Committee and the regions with at least two Branch Committee members present at each regional and sub-regional event: and
  2. Providing financial and other support to regional committees for their administration, publicity and special interest projects, as well as more regular virtual gatherings of regional convenors.
  3. Celebrating our Association’s fortieth Anniversary which Covid-19 prevented last year.

The Committee has allocated the following roles to Its members:

  1. Chairmanship, Branch Nominated Director (myself).
  2. Deputy Chair and Sydney Events and Public Relations- John Gullotta AM with Adrienne Cahalan OAM and Romano Di Donato forming the Events sub-committee
  3. Hon Secretary (Martha Jabour OAM).
  4. Hon Treasurer (Gail Dunne OAM who is also leading the organising of the Sydney Northern Beaches area first sub-regional group luncheon).
  5. Communications and Publicity (Louise Davis AM).
  6. Regional Coordinator and Website (Chris Dunne OAM).
  7. OAA Youth Community Service Awards (Frank Kelleher OAM).

However, we are searching to co-opt a Branch member willing to look after the key Membership role which is to develop and enhance the membership numbers, recording processes and member involvement within NSW.

This excludes the Broken Hill region which relates to the South Australian Branch and the Queanbeyan area which is part of the ACT.

There are sixteen regions under the Branch Regional Coordinator who updates the regional postcodes from time to time.

A Position Description is available.

Please let me know on 0408 660 591 or if you are interested or have a recommended member for me to approach as I am handling this role till a co-option can be made by the Branch Committee.

If you would like to send correspondence to the OAA NSW Branch Committee we have a new address.


As part of our new “Meet our Members” initiative, I am pleased to introduce Niki Norris AM.

Niki is the Chair of the National Child Protection Alliance Australia and in 2017 was invested as a Member of the Order of Australia for significant service to the community particularly to the rights of children to care and protection and to voice their views and opinions.  She is currently focusing on social policy, youth resilience and leadership (NSW) and the ongoing and damaging effects of trauma caused to children and the protective parent when they become involved in Family Court proceedings.

Niki has been an advocate for children and young people and their families for over a decade.  She was a founding member of the NCPS, held the role of Vice Chair since inauguration and took on the role of Chair in 2017.  Her specialist areas of responsibility within the NCPA have been in Parliamentary Liaison and the setting up of groups of children and their protective parent and what changes are necessary in both State and Federal Law Acts.

You will find more about Niki on our website:

We were very pleased to receive a thank you letter from the Homicide Victims’ Support Group, acknowledging our donation of $2,000 which will go towards helping build “Grace’s Place”.  This will be established to provide support in a safe place where children, teenagers, and their families grieving the death of someone they love through homicide. And share their experiences, receive counselling, be involved in therapeutic programs and learn the skills on how to survive the trauma without their loved one.  Grace’s Place will be a world first – a residential trauma recovery centre.

This donation was made possible through the generosity of our Members and their guests at our recent AGM lunch on 16th March.

(Letter in full on our website.)

A departing thought for you to ponder:

We have much to do in 2021 because we have lost a year of opportunity, like two parallel lines that never meet.

So energetically enjoy 2021, living on the edge of hope, with relationship rebuilding being this year’s big feat.

Jim Mein AM

Jim Mein AM NSW Chairman

Dear Members,


I thank the NSW members for their confidence in electing me as Peter Falk OAM’s successor as Branch Chairman. Peter’s contribution has been particularly significant in these pandemic times with his commitment, humour, pastoral concern for members and business acumen. Each of these has been well appreciated.

We have a great Branch Committee to serve our members in NSW for the coming year with Dr John Gullotta AM, being our new Deputy Branch Chairman.

I remain the NSW Branch Nominated Director on the Association’s National Board, Martha Jabour OAM as Branch Secretary, Gail Dunne OAM as Branch Treasurer, and Louise Davis AM as Community Liaison. Frank Kelleher OAM, was re-elected as a Committee member as the new Constitution provides for members to be elected for a three years term and a maximum of nine consecutive years.

We welcome the new Committee members, Adrienne Cahalan OAM and Romano Di Donato OAM, to replace the retiring Carolyn Lyons OAM, Ron Sharpe OAM and Michael Maher OAM.

I will share more after the March Branch Committee meeting, regarding each Committee members’ roles and responsibilities.

Our first Branch Committee meeting in March 2021 will finalise the NSW Business Plan for 2021 which will include:


  • Establishing the newly constituted role of “Affiliates” as non-voting members of our branch. More to come.
  • Increasing the Branch’s support of regional activities and we will announce the opportunity for them to get financial boosting for promoting The Order of Australia in their region and publicising the Association.
  • Branch Committee Office Bearer attendance at regional functions, along with our new Regional Coordinator, Chris Dunne OAM.
  • Expanding our communications within the Branch with more member profiles, event updates and promoting branch and regional initiatives.
  • Establishing sub-regions within Sydney for lower cost functions, a well- supported direction in the recent Branch Membership Survey.
  • Accepting the NSW Governor’s wish to attend Branch and Region functions where possible.
  • Creating a Branch Committee function for publicity and profile lifting of our organisation, the Branch’s Youth Community Service awards, and what the branch members and the regions are doing in the community.
  • Further development of other well supported membership suggestions from the recent Membership Survey.

Another challenge is to move on from the Covid pandemic’s substantial impact on communities worldwide but it has also made us more aware of the needs to change how we meet and communicate, the importance of relationship building, and the need to look forward, not behind you. One of my favourite sayings gathered over the years is: “Don’t let the past veto the future.” Another related one is: “Live for today and tomorrow as you cannot change yesterday, just learn from its history.” We need to move forward.

Finally, for me, these two sayings are vital to our organisation’s community responsibility to build community harmony and social wellbeing and inclusion. Each of us earned an award for making a difference and receiving our award should be the beginning of continued community service, not the end.

I look forward to strengthening our relationships for the future.


Jim Mein AM
Branch Chairman
Order Of Australia Association NSW
0408 660 591

Dear Members,

As this will be my last Monthly Update before handing over to a new Branch Chairman, I wanted to take the opportunity of thanking our 2500 NSW Association Members for your support during the two years of my Chairmanship. It has been an honour for me to carry out this role and your continued involvement even during such a challenging year as 2020, is most appreciated.

Peter Ronald Alfred Falk OAM – CHAIRMAN NSW BRANCH

I would also like to thank our Committee for their hard work in keeping our Branch “alive and well” throughout the Pandemic when it was so difficult to continue our normal level of activities, including our Annual Celebration Lunch at Parliament House, with our Patron Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC. Our Youth Community Service Award was not implemented in 2020 but we are hoping all will be well for high school students to participate in 2021.

We did go ahead with our Australia Day Lunch on Sydney Harbour, which was thoroughly enjoyed by the 96 members and guests who participated in a COVID-SAFE cruise. We also raised close to $2,000 for a most deserving charity “Grace’s Place”, details of which will be in the February issue of “The Order”.

The Australia Day Honours awards included 174 for NSW. We look forward to welcoming them to an Association event when restrictions are lifted.

Our next face-to-face event will be our AGM on 23 February at 11 am: The Manhattan Room at Doltone House Hyde Park, Level 3, 181 Elizabeth Street, Sydney.

Dress: Lounge Suit/Day Dress with Decorations (full size Medals). Pre luncheon drinks will be served followed by a seated luncheon with a selection of soft and alcoholic beverages included. OAA NSW Financial Members – no cost. Partners and Guests $100 pp (incl GST)

Guest Speaker at the luncheon will be Simon Bouda, Nine Network “A Current Affair” Crime Editor and Author.


At our AGM we will be saying farewell to 3 of our current Committee Members, and welcoming 3 new ones. My sincere thanks to Ron Sharpe OAM, who has done an outstanding job as Regional Co-ordinator, having been Chairman and holding other positions over the years. Michael Maher OAM, our Membership Officer will also step down on 23 February, as will Carolyn Lyons OAM who was our Honorary Secretary, and currently is our Youth Alumni Coordinator. We will also acknowledge service to the NSW Branch by John Archer OAM, for a number of roles over many years, including as Events Coordinator, Chairman, State Director and currently National Deputy Chairman.

Following my update on 6 January 2021, I wanted to let you know that we are progressing with the suggestion that we split Metro Sydney into smaller “regional groups”. We already have one Convenor identified, and will be looking for others as we move forward with this idea.

Also in line with your feedback, we will post planned functions on our website

At present we are planning our OAA NSW 40th Anniversary Cocktail Party at Government House; our Annual Gala Lunch or Dinner, and Member Forums with well-known speakers. Dates TBD.

No doubt you will hear from our new Chairman shortly after 23 February. My sincere thanks and fond farewell.

Peter Falk OAM
Branch Chairman
The Order of Australia Association NSW


Dear NSW Members,

This time last year our thoughts and prayers were with the many people in NSW who were suffering as a result of the ongoing bushfires, following the protracted drought, and then the serious floods across the State. At the time, we were oblivious to the soon to arrive COVID-19 Pandemic.

Since then, we have stayed in touch with each other through various means. Hopefully the worst is behind us now and we can return to face-to-face meetings and celebrations.

We had our first one in many months on 12 December: Our annual Fundraising Christmas Lunch, at the Kirribilli Club, and it was a great success. The 65 Members and friends who attended were very interested in what our speaker had to say about mental health.

John Brogden AM, was most generous in sharing his own personal journey with us. We raised $6,000 which will help the Kookaburra Kids Foundation ( support the children of parents who are dealing with mental illness. We will write more about this organisation, and about John Brogden in the February issue of “The Order”.

For our next Event – see below*

Our Committee has reviewed your important feedback in the recent Member Survey and we are pleased to give you a short update on progress in implementing your suggestions:

1) Interesting speakers at lunches/dinners.
As restrictions ease, we will be able to hold more face-to-face meetings and events. High calibre speakers will certainly be a major focus.

2) Chairman’s Monthly Updates.
We will continue these, and will also seek stories from Members under a new “Meeting our Members” initiative.
If anyone would like to put forward the name of an Honours Awardee they would like to hear more about, please let Louise Davis AM, our Communications Liaison, know their name and she will endeavuor to make contact about including them in this new segment. (

3) Zooming selected speeches during the year, eg the NSW Governor’s speech at our annual lunch.
We are looking into this possibility and will provide an update asap.

4) A yearly calendar will be published on our website with key events listed.

5) Sydney metro members to be split into sub regions?
We will look into making this possible. We will need to identify sub-regional convenors.

6) The OAA NSW Youth Community Service Awards:
This important program will hopefully go ahead this year. We will provide an update in the May edition of “The Order”, and in the Chairman’s monthly email.

7) Tours to places of interest (eg a train excursion)
We can certainly look into the feasibility of this and would appreciate receiving suggestions for such tours, presumably within NSW.

8) * Australia Day Lunch Cruise.
This very popular event will go ahead on January 26, assuming Government regulations do not have an impact. Numbers will be limited so please book soon.Booking deadline is 15 January.

Sadly, two of our long-term Committee members passed away recently – Sister St Jude Doyle OAM, who held a number of positions on our Committee including the John Lincoln Youth Community Service Awards Co-ordinator, and Malcolm Longstaff OAM who was our Newsletter Editor. May they rest in peace.

My best wishes for a healthy and safe 2021 to all Members. I look forward to seeing you at our AGM on Tuesday, February 23. An invitation and Agenda will be sent to NSW members shortly.

Yours sincerely,
Peter Falk OAM
The Order of Australia Association, NSW BRANCH CHAIRMAN\\


Dear NSW Members,

As 2020 comes to a close, I wanted to thank all of our >2500 Members for their support during this especially challenging year.
Whilst we have not been able to meet each other face to face due to the COVID-19 restrictions, we have thankfully been able to keep in touch via email and ZOOM, and to hear from some of our Members through our Thanks for Asking initiative.

The Member stories are on our website at

With our interstate borders now mostly open, at least we can visit family and friends, and possibly have a holiday over the Christmas/New Year period.

A reminder that we will go ahead with our annual Australia Day Sydney Harbour Cruise on Tuesday 26 January. Places are limited, so we ask that you reserve your place as soon as details are advised (by email shortly).

Member Survey Results:
I am very pleased to share the results of our Member Survey with everyone. The response rate was high, and your feedback and comments are very helpful. See the attachment for details.

It seems that our members do enjoy our Thanks for Asking initiative, and some have suggested we expand this to sharing general stories about our members, not just related to COVID-19. If you would like to share your story, or want to recommend another member for us to hear about, please let our Communications Liaison, Louise Davis know.

Other suggestions made by our members are being considered by our NSW Committee. I will send an update in January.

I hope to see some of our members at our Christmas Fundraising Luncheon at The Kirribilli Club, on Saturday 12 December. (ref to John Gullotta’s email of 16 November for details). RSVP deadline, 4 December.

Best wishes from me, and our Committee to all members and their families for a very happy and safe Christmas, and a peaceful and less challenging New Year ahead.

Peter Falk OAM
The Order of Australia Association
NSW Branch Chairman

Click here for results of recent Survey

Peter Falk OAM
Order of Australia Association
NSW Branch Chairman

Dear NSW Members,

Another month with COVID-19 restrictions in place has passed since my last note. We are all hoping that the Victorian “lock-down” will end soon, and that interstate borders will be opened at least more than at the present time. Thankfully the NSW restrictions are not too stringent.

We have heard from more of our Members who have responded to our “Thanks for Asking” initiative. Thanks to all who have shared their thoughts and experiences with us. We do enjoy reading about the many different ways NSW members have been dealing with these very unusual times.

Thanks to Greg Blaze OAM and Brother Nicholas Harsas, fsp OAM for their stories (see below). More will be published in “The Order” November issue.

Our thanks to Lindsay Callaghan OAM for his years of service to our Branch as Regional Convenor for Blue Mountains/Hawkesbury/Nepean and a warm welcome to John Wakefield OAM who has agreed to take on this role. I look forward to catching up with John and his wife Susan Wakefield OAM when meeting restrictions allow.

In early October you will receive another email from me which will include a Survey about Membership of the NSW Branch. We do hope you will respond to the survey, which is quite short, but important, as we are keen to hear how we might be able to make your experiences as a Member as relevant as possible.

In September, our Patron, The Governor of NSW, Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC welcomed the Australia Day Awardees to Government House for their Investitures. We look forward to meeting new Members in the future, when social distancing is not such an issue for event planning.

We are hopeful that a pre-Christmas gathering may be possible. Stay tuned for an update on this, and on our annual Australia Day luncheon cruise on Sydney Harbour.

If you would like to share your story about life during COVID-19, please send an email to our Communications Liaison,

Best wishes from me, and from our Committee.

Peter Falk OAM
The Order of Australia Association NSW
Branch Chairman

Dear NSW Members,

Further to my last update email on 28 July, and Chairman’s Report in “The Order” August Issue, I wanted to bring you up to date on our latest news during these very different times as a result of COVID-19 restrictions. Hopefully there is light at the end of the tunnel in terms of new cases in NSW, and we are all praying for some good news from Victoria.

Until Government restrictions are lifted, we continue to operate virtually. We had our Branch Committee meeting by Zoom this week, when we discussed the proposed new Constitution and By-Laws in some depth. My grateful thanks to Jim Mein AM for his hard work with the National Board on these important documents.

I hope everyone has read “The Order”, August Edition and has participated in the magazine reader survey. This is an important opportunity for all of us to give feedback about our most significant communications tool. The survey can be found on pages 9 and 10 in the Magazine. Due date for the Survey’s return is 23 September.

Do watch out for our NSW Member survey re “Member Benefits” in October. This will likely be conducted on Survey Monkey. Our Membership Officer Michael Maher OAM is leading this important work.

We have now published more than 11 “Thanks for Asking” stories from NSW Members. Two more will be included in this note, from John Howells OAM RFD, and David Parkinson OAM. We enjoy reading about how our Members are spending their time during COVID-19. If you would like to contribute, please send an email to our Communications Liaison, Louise Davis AM, at

Thanks to John and David for their “Thanks for Asking” contributions:
Peter Falk OAM
The Order of Australia Association NSW
Branch Chairman

Since my last update on 26 June, we have been advised that, as a result of COVID-19 restrictions, Investitures for Australia Day Honours awardees will now be held at Government House Sydney in September. Guest numbers are restricted, and we will need to wait until venue rules are relaxed before we hold a welcome reception for these new Honours Award recipients.  Queen’s Birthday Honours Awardees will hopefully have their Investitures later in the year.

The good news is, we have booked our annual Australia Day luncheon cruise Australia Day January 26, 2021. However, we will be restricted to having a maximum of 80 guests, assuming there are no further restrictions. Stay tuned for any updates.

We have so far published 9 “Thanks for Asking” stories from Members and will include 2 more in this Update.  Any members who would like to share their experiences during COVID please send an email to our Community Liaison Louise Davis AM at

As part of our review of Member Benefits we will conduct an online survey in October. We hope as many people as possible will respond so that we get a better understanding of what our Members appreciate and what we could consider in the future. Our Membership Officer, Michael Maher OAM will lead this work.

We held our regular Committee Meeting this week, by Zoom video conference due to the restrictions on face to face meetings.  Especially while we are living with restrictions in terms of meetings and events, our web coordinator Christopher Dunne OAM reminded us to keep him up to date with any news, especially from Regional Members.  Please contact Chris at if you have any local news which would be of interest to other members.

Our newly appointed Branch Director, Jim Mein AM has been appointed to the National Board’s Audit and Risk Committee.  Graham Hyde OAM from Queensland has been appointed the new National Secretary of The Order of Australia Association.

The 2021 National Conference (planned for Darwin) has been cancelled.

Thank you to Margaret Hamilton AM of Blackheath, and Margie Beck AM for their “Thanks for Asking” stories.

My best wishes and those of our Committee to all of our NSW Members as we all travel together through the Pandemic and its effects on our Communities.

Peter Falk OAM
The Order of Australia Association NSW

Branch Chairman