New South Wales
Mr Jim Mein AM, NSW Branch Chairman
Dear NSW Members,
Happy new fiscal year to each of you. Tax return time has for many of us been an annual chore.
If you are lucky, you might even get a tax refund. Otherwise, you should face the reality of your spending and wonder about changing how you live and enjoy life. What have you got to show for it?
This reminds me of a recent message I heard about a rabbi observing a hotel guest rushing to pay his bill and check out. He suddenly remembered that he had left something in his room. Espying a hotel employee, he asked him to go his room number 106 to see if he had left his briefcase there. The employee reported back confirming that it was but left the briefcase there. The rabbi observed that doing just what you are told is the bare minimum these days. He further concluded that the saddest and most lifeless people around are those who just do what they are told. There is minimum joy with minimum performance. The corollary is to live life in its fullness for the world would be a better place. Many of our member stories exhibit the corollary and to me, that is why they have done so much for others and our communities. We need to acknowledge them, but we also need to recognise more such people by nominating them for an Order of Australia Award.
One such person who lived a very full life, always going above and beyond, sadly passed away recently after a short battle with cancer. Our ex NSW Chairman and more recently our Regional Coordinator, Ron Sharpe OAM was an inspiration to all who met him. He is very sadly missed by his family, friends, and all of the Order of Australia members who were fortunate enough to know him. Vale dear Ron. Following is a link to a very moving eulogy written by one of his sons, Michael. It sums up how fulfilling a life can be if one puts in the effort to make the world a better place for family and community. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/stars-dad-michael-sharpe
The 2021 Queen’s Birthday Awards list acknowledges and rewards another group of Australians who have made a positive difference to our Nation. Sadly, that list included a number of posthumous awards and your Association’s National Board is addressing that with the Order’s Secretariat.
We are being encouraged to search for more diversity of awardees: multicultural, younger people, women, local Australian of the year awardees, and areas of community contributions.
We are also asked to help better explain the Awards to the general community because we believe they are being overshadowed by the effective promotion of the Australian of the Year recognitions, nationally, state and territory wise, and locally.
In fact, the first two Constitutional Objects for our Association are:
- “Raising public awareness about the Order of Australia and promote high quality nominations for appointments and awards that reflect the diversity of the Australian community”, and
- “Supporting young Australians as they prepare for their careers and encourage them in service to the nation”.
Please remember too that your Branch Committee welcomes regional group requests for financial assistance to promote the Association in your communities as well as local school and tertiary awards and projects. Please utilise these opportunities to show that our members want to do more for Australia even if they have already been recognised with an Award. Just remember the rabbi’s message about giving more to our lives than just getting that coveted recognition.
Your Branch Committee did not meet this month but its members have nonetheless been very busily active:
- Supporting and encouraging regional groups and attending regional functions and re-forming some regional groups who each need to have a minimum committee of four financial members of the Association.
- Writing to each Queen’s Birthday Awardee, both congratulating them and seeking their membership to our Association.
- Progressing the judging of the Branch’s Youth Community Service Award winners who will be receiving their award at a very special Government House celebration.
- Involvement in the independently established Youth Community Service Award Alumni which aspires to develop the careers of young community service leaders. Some of our members are individually involved with mentoring, governance and skills development online seminars. Please let me know if you are interested in these type roles, sponsorships, promotion, or in other ways.
There are also continuing challenges, particularly thanks to covidity, which have made event planning and securing new members a major handicap. Our NSW Parliament House functions for new Awardees have had to be suspended as the Dining Room renovations have severely reduced attendance numbers and makes it harder for our regionally based Awardees to stay in Sydney to join us. The number of Investiture Ceremonies has also more than doubled with much smaller attendances at each one and the Association has not been present to promote membership.
Those members who had booked to attend the Art Gallery of NSW Archibald, Wynne & Sulman exhibition on July 3 will now be aware that this event has been rescheduled for August 28.
As soon as we know more about forthcoming Investitures we will plan our Annual Luncheon.
In the meantime I hope everyone is staying safe and well.
Jim Mein AM
The Order of Australia Association NSW Branch
7 July 2021
ORDER OF AUSTRALIA ASSOCIATION
HASTINGS MACLEAY REGIONAL GROUP
Great excitement was the order of the day for the Order of Australia Association –Hastings-Macleay Branch, back together again after a 19 month break due to COVID said Laurie Smith OAM, the Convenor.
A lunch was held on Wednesday 23rd June at the Port City Bowling Club and the highlights were the recognition of the new OAMS for our region, Jeannette Rainbow OAM 2020, Yvonne Cains OAM 2020 and Virginia Cox OAM amongst others (June Queens Birthday Honours List 2021).
Guest speakers were Chris Dunne OAM and wife Gail Dunne OAM. He told us about his life and how they started the “The Long Ride”, an organisation dedicated to reducing the impact of prostate cancer on Australian men and their loved ones.
For 13 years, the founders of The Long Ride, Chris and Gail Dunne, have been passionate supporters of Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA) and now these motor bike enthusiasts along with often 400 others have ridden as far as Darwin spreading the word and enjoying many a fire side chat at night on the open road.
Mr Smith also paid tribute to the recent passing of two members, Keith Uptin OAM, Bill Boyd OAM.
The Hastings Macleay members have contributed decades to making our region and country a better place and they love getting together to swap stories and be in each other’s company. Marilyn and Uncle Bill O’Brien OAM also attended, and Chris and Gail were delighted to hear Uncle Bill’s Welcome to Country for the first time.
All OAMs and AMs and their partners in the region are welcome. The group get together for a luncheon twice a year however everyone has missed each other so much a regular coffee morning is on the cards. Please contact Laurie Smith 0416 221 147. Photo Laurie Smith OAM.
Laurie Smith was born in Leichhardt in 1947. He spent some of his primary schooling at The Entrance in NSW and then moved to Toowoomba where he completed high school.
Laurie joined the bank in Toowoomba, but his restless spirit had him move to Canberra and join the Defence Department at the height of the Vietnam War.
His love of sport had him want more than a career life in the public service, so he left and became a professional swim coach for the well-known Olympian Terry Gathercole at Frenchs Forest in Sydney.
In 1979 he joined Qantas airlines as international flight attendant where he met his wife Barbara in 1984.
On the sporting side Laurie has been interested in sport all his life and has represented QLD at state and national level swimming. Laurie was first touched by Olympism in 1956, when he watched his gym master carry the Olympic Torch into Wyong on the NSW Central Coast. Then the Melbourne Olympic Games were opened on his 9th birthday.
In 1964, Laurie was a national level swimmer, but was a long way off making the Tokyo Olympic Team. However, four years later, and no longer competing, Laurie paid his own way to the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games and has not missed a summer Olympics since. Of course, he will not be attending Tokyo 2021, which makes an interesting scenario that his 13 Olympic experiences are “bookended” by Tokyo! Laurie has maintained an interest in personal fitness and has been a State and National Veterans Pole Vault Champion, plus bronze medallist in World Masters Swimming.
On the community side Laurie started volunteering as a teenager in learn-to-swim programmes and has continued contributing to the community throughout his adult life, including 27 years with his wife Barbara in the Aunties and Uncles Child Support Programme. He has now part time fostered 8 children.
Laurie became a volunteer with the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games on his return from the Atlanta Olympic Games. One year out from the Sydney Olympic Games, Laurie decided that a book should be written dedicated to the Olympic and Paralympic volunteer contribution. As a result, the book “Living is Giving – The Volunteer Experience” was launched in August 2001. Alan Jones was Master of Ceremonies at the launching of the book at Darling Harbour. Sandy Hollway the CEO of SOCOG was guest speaker. Over 1,000 volunteers wearing their uniforms came to the launch. At the suggesting of Alan Jones now every Australian embassy has a copy of the book in their library.
In 2004 Laurie was given the honour of being awarded an OAM for the volunteer work he has done over a period of 40 years in the learn to swim program, the Aunties & Uncles program and volunteering with the Sydney Olympic Games and capturing these stories in print. Laurie and his wife Barbara have continued their Olympic Volunteering in the last five Olympic Villages.
Laurie moved to Port Macquarie in 2006 continued consulting with the Carlile Swimming Organisation for another two years. This move was prompted by Laurie’s wife Barbara being diagnosed with cancer, which fortunately was overcome, but the move to Port Macquarie had a great outcome with the local community being extremely welcoming. Laurie and Barbara became involved in many aspects of the Hastings community, with Laurie also becoming the local convenor of The Order of Australia Association.
Laurie Smith OAM
Hastings Macleay Regional Group
Order of Australia Association
VALE – BETH WILLIAMS OAM
NATURE CONSERVATION – NATIONAL PARKS ASSOCIATION
Beth was deeply committed and concerned for the preservation of native flora and fauna in healthy landscapes, terrestrial and riparian.
Her activism began in the 1960’s with concern over a road proposed through New England National Park. She also became concerned with the plight of northern NSW rainforests threatened by logging in places such as Terania.
In that same decade Beth and botanist husband John Williams joined NPA, the National Parks Association of NSW, and in 1974 they became founding members of the Armidale Branch, which owes much to their dedication.
Beth, an Honorary Life Member of NPA, became Armidale Branch’s most indomitable submission writer. Her persistence, thorough research and commitment is legendary. Beth was always willing to share her knowledge and skills, be it on countless trips identifying birds and plants, researching and writing submissions, or lobbying politicians and bureaucrats. Beth transformed her conservation zeal into logical and objective submissions often resulting in government departments adopting her suggestions.
During the last forty seven years as a member of Armidale Branch, Beth served as President, Vice-President, Secretary, Newsletter Editor, Conservation Officer and State Councilor. She was also willing to give a hand with the nitty-gritty of Branch activities by helping with displays and participating on NPA stalls at community events.
Since the 1970’s Beth worked with others including Walcha and Tamworth NPA Branches to achieve new reserves in the Northern Tablelands including the creation in 1986 of Oxley Wild Rivers National Park; Torrington State Conservation Area in 1996 (where she braved very hostile local meetings to advocate floral protection); Cunnawarra National Park linking OWRNP with New England NP 1999; and additions to these and other reserves. Cunnawarra is now part of the New England Group of the World Heritage Site Gondwana Rainforests of Australia and added to the Australian National Heritage List in 2007.
In the 1990’s, through the Regional Forest Agreement process, Beth made submissions on a large number of specific north-eastern NSW forests, and many became new, or additions to existing national parks, providing protection from logging.
There are myriad other issues that Beth has been involved in including: protecting habitats from a major new Transgrid power line; water reform and mismanagement; hydro scheme proposals on the Apsley and Styx Rivers; Gunnedah charcoal plant and the preservation of Western Woodlands particularly the Pilliga forest threatened by Santos’ current operations and proposed new 850 coal seam gas wells; many other coal and mining developments; and passionate advocacy for protection of the natural values of travelling stock routes and stock reserves.
With Peter Metcalfe she co-authored Environmental Values of Travelling Stock Routes and Reserves in the Armidale District. Several educational leaflets were also produced with grants from Save the Bush, NPA and the Society for Growing Australian Plants.
The many local publications that Beth has contributed to include two editions co-published by Armidale NPA of Family Outings Around Armidale, produced mainly by the efforts of Alan Jackson, Shirley and Brian Hardaker.
Beth represented the Armidale Branch in many NPA State Council meetings and liaised with our State Office. Her knowledge and approach to issues and NPANSW policy development is much appreciated.
The whole NPA membership feelings are well expressed by Grahame Douglas President NPA NSW :
‘ It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to Beth. She was a force for conservation and had a voice to match but always gracious. She took me under her wing at my early times at NPA State Council meetings. Her contribution was only exceeded by her dedication. NPA has lost and the community at large has lost a champion for nature conservation and protected areas. Time to relax Beth.’
Beth was passionate about preserving bird habitat and biodiversity. She was involved in the Regent Honeyeater mapping project and became a member of the Regent Honeyeater Recovery Team where, as an active member of the recovery program, Beth inspired and organised Kingstown school children to plant ironbarks for Regent Honeyeaters. She participated in regular field surveys and helped Ph.D students with fieldwork and research.
She was also active in BirdLife Northern NSW and, with Andrew Ley and Damon Oliver, co-authored a number of scientific papers. She was Conservation Officer with Birdlife NSW and long-standing member of the Executive Committee. She received the BirdLife Australia Distinguished Service Award 2016 for the Bundarra-Barraba Regent Honeyeater Recovery program which contributed to the survival of this critically endangered species.
Her personal efforts and dedication were recognised in 2001 by the Australian Government with the Order of Australia Medal for her contribution to conservation and the environment. It is well deserved. Armidale NPA members consider ourselves most fortunate in having such a treasure as Beth.
She will forever provide inspiration as she continued in her nineties to harness her admirable intellect, striving to protect Australia’s natural values and sharing her knowledge and passion for special places so that they remain intact heritage for present and future generations.
The Commonwealth Department of the Environment formulated a National Recovery Plan for the Regent Honeyeater in April 2016. The 2019-2020 fires would likely push the species closer to extinction, with less than 300 of the species now left in the wild.
Lynne Hosking, President Armidale Branch NPA 8th June 2021
NEW ENGLAND NORTH WEST GROUP – JUNE 2021
ORDER OF AUSTRALIA ASSOCIATION
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A THANK YOU FROM THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL TO AUSTRALIA’S VOLUNTEERS
At the beginning of National Volunteers Week, the Governor-General has sent a message of thanks to Australia’s six million volunteers.
“Volunteering takes many forms and volunteers come from all sorts of backgrounds.
“Together, you help strengthen our community in just about every way imaginable.
“We are grateful. We appreciate you…
“To all those who volunteer, thank you.
Chances are you don’t volunteer for recognition or thanks – but you deserve both and National Volunteer Week is our opportunity to offer it to you.”
Please consider sharing the message or Facebook post with volunteers from your organisation.
Nominating someone for recognition through Order of Australia is one way to celebrate the most committed of volunteers. Many outstanding Australians are already recognised each year for their work in the community but there are many who are not – women, in particular, have been historically underrepresented in nominations (and therefore, awards).
The Governor-General and Mrs Hurley are seeking to address this and ensure that the Order reflects Australian society – they need your help.
To find out how to nominate someone go to https://www.gg.gov.au/australian-honours-and-awardsorder-australia/nominate-someone-order-australia.
Happy National Volunteer Week. The Governor-General and Mrs Hurley look forward to catching up with you over the course of coming months.
ANZAC DAY MOREE 2021
ANZAC Day here was a beautiful day: warm, without being too hot, and cloudless and sunrise at the Dawn Service adds piquancy to the Commemoration.
This year our Dawn Service was bigger than ever – probably around 800 and using the massive PA system, the rest of the town heard it as well.
At 9:00 a.m. we have the Wales Memorial Service which is to commemorate the death of one of our local boys, Max Wales, at Long Tan in Vietnam.
The Main Ceremony involves a march along the main street to our War Memorial Hall where the commemoration takes place. The salute was taken by Air Commodore Ken Robinson AM CSC, who is related to a number of Moree identities. He gave a thoroughly researched and well received oration. Both the numbers of marchers and the crowd at the Main Commemoration were smaller than 2019 but still substantial.
After the Main Commemoration the Guides and Brownies provide morning tea and ANZAC biscuits to everyone and most then go to the Moree & District Services Club Ltd where the Moree Caledonian Society Pipes and Drums and the Moree and District Band provide entertainment (lively, competitive and very enjoyable) until lunch and then Two-up.
A special activity at the Main Commemoration was the granting of RSL membership to a 102 year old World War II veteran who had decided: “I am now old enough to join the other oldies in the RSL”.
Ted Mulligan OAM
contingent of veterans has emerged in recent years encompassing the Vietnam War, Iraq and Afghanistan. Guyra resident Ted Mulligan OAM is 104 years old, a war veteran, a cricket tragic and a local legend.
Back home Ted immersed himself in community affairs. In 1958 he established the Guyra Pony Club and built it up making sure that any child who wanted to ride could get a mount. Education was important to him and he made sure his own children were taught by providing a school for them and the neighbouring families and accommodating some of the teachers.
He kept playing cricket in local teams for many years and finally gave it away in 1982. Ted was honoured in 2019 by having the main oval named after him because of his lifetime commitment to the sport. He was responsible for the turf wicket at the oval and also supplied the timber for fencing from his own property.
Ted Mulligan received his OAM in 2006 for service to the community of Guyra through sporting, agricultural and ex-service organisations.
ORDER OF AUSTRALIA ASSOCIATION
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Wearing and/or replacement of your Insignia
We are pleased to provide this useful information for our members.
Members of the Association are sometimes confused as to the appropriate wearing of the insignia of the Order. Guidelines have been set down but the advice from the Honours secretariat is that they are ‘guidelines”.
The full-size medal is worn in the daytime on ceremonial occasions such as Australia Day, ANZAC day, church services, Investitures and the like or as indicated on an invitation. For evening wear (after 5pm), the miniature is worn, except for Companions and Officers who wear the full-size insignia on all occasions.
The lapel badge or brooch should be worn by Members whenever possible to mark their membership of the Order. The insignia is worn either on a ribbon around the neck or on the left breast, depending on the Award, and when worn with other decorations must be displayed in its proper Precedence.
In writing post nominals after a surname, the Order of Australia awards are placed in front of most other awards. Further advice on the order of wearing insignia, eg for those who have received more than one award, is available from: Honours Secretariat, Government House, Canberra ACT 2600 – phone 1800 552 275 or 02 6283 3533.
Replacement – Lapel pins and Ladies Brooches are available for purchase by contacting the Honours Secretariat, Government House, Canberra. The prices for these can vary so it would be advisable to phone for current prices prior to requesting purchase. The Phone Number to ring is 02 6283 3659. Payment for these can be made by cheque/money order to “the Collector of public monies’ or over the phone by quoting your credit card details.
Should your insignia be lost or stolen, you may request the purchase of a replacement from the Honours Secretariat. The request is to be accompanied by a statutory declaration and, if possible, a copy of the police report.
2021 North West Floods
As far as I know in the geographical area of the New England and North West Region of the Order of Australia Association only the town of Moree was flooded in the March 2021 events that followed the disastrous coastal flooding.
If on Sunday the 21st March any one had asked me whether I thought Moree was likely to be flooded I would have laughed. That 8 to 10 inches of rain in 36 hours on the following Monday and Tuesday (22nd and 23rd) would produce a flood certainly proved me wrong. Initially there was a significant amount of local flooding solely from the local Moree rain but just as that started to subside the rain that had fallen upstream and filled the river systems arrived creating a major flood. However, it was certainly not the biggest, by a long margin. The second wave peaked around 7:00 am on Thursday the 25th at which time the town was totally isolated and had been “cut” in three – in an east west direction at Hassell Street so that those to the west could not get into town and on the northern side of the Mehi River Bridge which effectively cut north Moree from south Moree. By Friday morning although there was still plenty of water around (the famed Moree Golf Course being still inundated) the roads were no longer cut and travel was freely restored.
The appearance of the town, particularly as shown in photographs published in the media, was far worse than the reality. The support from SES, Fire & Rescue and Moree Council staff was phenomenal – highly organised, substantial in number and very efficient. As a consequence, damage and inconvenience was minimised and a clean-up of public areas and public buildings quickly completed. This flood produced more mud and debris than any that I have previously seen and that presumably is a consequence of the three-year drought which preceded it and the fact that many farmers had prepared their country for the 2021 winter crop and there was thus a lot of nice cultivated top soil to be washed away by the flood waters.
Moree was very fortunate compared to our coastal cousins. Furthermore, the floods will have replenished the water table and provided magnificent subsoil moisture for the next crop. As farmers are known to say “there is money in mud”.
Roger Butler OAM
New England/North West RG
Dubbo Regional Group
This area did not experience flooding in the same way as the coastal regions. We were pleased to have some good rain and fill the tanks and dams. Yes, it was very wet and several sports and other events had to be cancelled.
The Macquarie River certainly brought plenty of water past the city and the tributary rivers likewise brought plenty. The flooded creeks and roads created difficulties for many people living on properties in the district. Often transport would be limited to a high vehicle.
I am sure that many of the volunteers from services in the district have been working to assist the less fortunate people in other places.
Ruby Riach OAM
Dubbo regional Group
What an 18 months this has been! Our Mid North Coast has seen the worst and best of life in this time, but we certainly don’t consider ourselves any worse off than many of our fellow Australians.
The four days last weekend were the worst we have experienced in our 15 years in Port Macquarie, not because of our personal situation, as our house was fine, but the surrounds as you will have all seen through the media have been overwhelmed with water in many areas. However, here comes the ‘good’ part. Locals and visitors have gone to extreme lengths to help one another, from finding boats which have been washed away, to hosing out houses and garages or just bringing food and drink to workers.
As the saying goes – ‘Volunteering is the price we pay for living in this beautiful country’ and it is heart warming to see the good that comes out of adversity. New friendships have developed through not so distant neighbours who did not previously know one another working together for the good of all.
In general terms life is getting back to normal, but normal will not exist for a long time for those worst off, especially having had homes totally inundated plus loss of livestock. Most people believe they live in the best place on earth, and we certainly do here in the Hastings/Macleay, but when nature wants our attention we certainly have to take notice! Thus our community will continue to work side by side with those in need”
Laurie Smith OAM
The Order of Australia Association – Hastings/Macleay Branch
NSW Branch OAA Treasurers Report
This is the report from the Annual General Meeting of the NSW Branch
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NEW ENGLAND NORTH WEST GROUP
ORDER OF AUSTRALIA ASSOCIATION
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Notice for the Annual General Meeting for the NSW Branch of the Order of Australia
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CHRISTMAS CHEER TO RAISE FUNDS FOR KOOKABURRA KIDS AND SUPPORT
CHILD MENTAL HEALTH
Thankfully on the 12th December we held our first post COVID-19 event which was the 2020 Christmas Luncheon held at the picturesque Kirribilli Club overlooking Sydney Harbour.
It was an opportunity for 65 members and guests to celebrate the beginning of the Christmas season but more importantly to raise money for a very worthy cause, The Australian Kookaburra Kids Foundation, who supports children aged 8-18 years, living in families affected by mental illness. Kookaburra Kids programs provide mental health services within a peer-based social and activity-based format. This is especially important in these “COVID-19 times” of added mental and financial strain in our community.
This year due to Covid-19 guidelines we unfortunately could not ask members and guests to bring in physical presents as in past years but available for purchase were E-Gift card presents for $25 each which certainly helped bring an added smile to children affected by mental illness at this festive time of year.
Our Chairman, Mr Peter Falk OAM gave his official welcome and highlighted the importance of mental health especially in children and adolescents which makes supporting this charity most worthy and relevant.
MC and Events Manager, Dr John Gullotta AM introduced the guest speaker Mr John Brogden AM who is Patron of the Australian Kookaburra Kids Foundation as well as Chairman of Lifeline:
“As one of Australia’s leading politicians and now a business leader, John Brogden is living proof that even from the darkest places, there can be a way back. Whilst John has reached the highest levels in his professional career, his personal journey is one of highs and lows as well as strength and courage.
John’s career in politics started when he became a Member for Pittwater in the NSW Parliament in 1996. In 2002, he was elected Leader of the Opposition on his 33rd birthday – the youngest person ever to lead a major political party at Federal or State level in Australia.
However, it’s John’s personal story that best illustrates his resilience and his incredible ability to come back from the lowest of lows. His willingness to share the details of his journey to recovery make him a compelling and inspirational storyteller.
John was diagnosed with depression in early 2006 following a suicide attempt in 2005. His passion for mental illness stems from a breakdown that marked a turning point in his life and reframed the discussion around depression, particularly in the corporate world. Thanks to his profile, John has changed the way we talk about suicide and in turn, is helping thousands of individuals through his involvement with Lifeline Australia as its Chairman.
John is also the Chairman of Furlough House Retirement Village and Patron of Sailability Pittwater, Bilgola Surf Lifesaving Club, Avalon Beach Surf Lifesaving Club and Kookaburra Kids. He was appointed to the Board of Landcom as Chairman in January 2012 and became CEO in May 2018. Formerly he was the Managing Director & CEO of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. CEO of the Financial Services Council and CEO of Manchester Unity.”
John Brogden gave an excellent and highly moving speech on how he was affected by mental illness, survived and came out stronger and more resilient on the other side. His famous quote was “They say the comeback is greater than the setback!” In her formal thanks Hon Secretary Martha Jabour OAM thanked Mr Brogden for his candid and very personal battle with mental illness and how he overcame the odds and came out stronger than ever!
Special guests included The Hon Philip Ruddock AO, Major of Hornsby Shire Council, Fiona FAN Director-General and Thomas Lee Director of the Taipei Economic & Cultural Office Sydney, from Kookaburra Kids were CEO Chris Giles, Board Director Peter Kerr AM and Alex Thompson.
A special thank you to Michael Mannington OAM, from Community Photography, a recent recipient who kindly agreed to be our new photographer and is donating his services to the Association.
The event was a great success and enjoyed by all present and we raised $6000 which made it possible to donate 240 presents to very needy children and bring a smile to their faces at this festive time!
We look forward to a bigger event next year!
Dr John Gullotta AM
Events Manager and Public Relations
Lensey Elizabeth Doyle – Sister St Jude Doyle, RSC, OAM
Sister St Jude Doyle RSC, OAM was born Lensey Elizabeth Doyle, in Sydney, in 1927. As ‘a babe in arms’ her family moved to Austinmer on the South Coast, but when their house burnt down they moved to Thirroul. She had four brothers and six sisters and a ‘wonderful mother and father’, remembering her childhood as ‘a very happy one’.
Her father’s job was to transport soldiers, which required the family to move to Goulburn and later to Casino. In 1939, at age 12, the young Lensey Doyle set forth alone from Casino on a train filled with soldiers, to begin her secondary education as a boarder at St Vincent’s College, Potts Point. She enrolled as a ‘bursary kid’, on a government grant for talented students with parents of limited means.
World War II broke out during her first year there. She had very clear memories of the night of May 31, 1942, when 3 Japanese midget submarines entered Sydney Harbour, one torpedoing HMAS Kuttabul at nearby Garden Island, killing 21 sailors. The students and staff were evacuated to a basement shelter, which she later described as “a steel cave place” until the siren sounded the all clear, then back to bed.
Later in 1942 the boarding school closed and moved away from the Harbour to the safety of Katoomba until the War ended. She completed her Leaving Certificate in 1944 and returned home to her family who were back in Thirroul. By then she was committed to her future dedicated to God as a Religious Sister of Charity. It took almost 3 years to convince her parents, but they finally relented and she entered the convent aged 19.
When visiting home, she was a keen surfer and lifesaver, qualifying as the first registered lady lifesaver in NSW. Professed as Sister St Jude Doyle in 1950, she completed Teacher Training in 1952 and taught Primary in NSW and Victoria.
Her Victorian post was a promotion, at age 27, to Principal at St Columba’s Primary in Essendon, followed by appointments as Principal at St Anne’s Primary, Liverpool, in 1961 then, in 1973, St Mary’s Primary, Liverpool. A new initiative in Primary education, it had 3 sub-schools, each led by a Deputy Principal. By then her reputation for getting people involved as volunteers was widely recognised.
In 1978, to honour the Centenary of arrival of the RSCs in Liverpool, she organised a Garden Party at St Mary’s, with a special guest to mark the occasion. The NSW Governor, His Excellency Air Marshall Sir James Rowlands, was unavailable so, undaunted, Jude invited the Governor General, Sir Zelman Cowen. To her delight, he accepted and was a major drawcard to a packed and highly successful event, run by her host of volunteers. She personally introduced a bemused Sir Zelman to practically every guest at the venue.
Her substantial workload since her profession was no barrier to her own development, gaining Diplomas in Theology and Economics, a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Education degrees by 1979. Jude, as she was then widely known, was a master at engaging everyone she met, teasing out strengths and weaknesses, worries and concerns, with the universal promise to pray for them.
Her strengths in engaging individuals invigorated many disadvantaged individuals, and even communities, into functional and empowered states and a new sense of opportunity in life. This gift of personally empowering people led to her appointment as Coordinator of the Sesqui-Centenary celebrations of the Sisters of Charity in Australia in 1987-88.
In 1989 she was appointed as Foundation Executive Director of the newly formed Sisters of Charity Outreach Centre for Women, Sr St Jude reported that the organisation ‘would be a womens resource centre, a center for women in violence, and a provider of childcare Centres in areas where needed, all with a strong volunteer base’.
From its early days, the Centre has since grown exponentially in provision of support for the disadvantaged and underprivileged, particularly women, in NSW. Services vary from support for domestic violence victims and families, crisis accommodation, counselling, financial, court and legal support.
Jude was active in developing a substantial donor profile and financial support and its registration with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission (ACNC). Her fund-raising activities included annual race days at Randwick Racecourse, with trainer Gai Waterhouse its initial Patron.
Her selfless life of service was recognised by the award of a Medal of the Order of Australia on the Queens Birthday in 1997. Her citation read ‘for service to social welfare, particularly through the Sisters of Charity Outreach Programme, and to Rural Communities.’
With Outreach successfully established, she then volunteered in 1999 and 2000 as a migration agent at the Immigration Advice and Rights Centre, working to provide fair and just immigration outcomes for vulnerable people through free, expert and compassionate advice.
Her final role, from 2000 to 2014, was working with the Sisters of Charity Rural and Remote Program, an extension of Outreach providing the same compassionate support to people in those areas. She also spent 12 of those years teaching drama at her alma mater, St Vincent’s at Potts Point.
Jude also became active on the Committee of the NSW Branch of the Order of Australia Association. She served for 3 years as Convenor of the John Lincoln Youth Community Service Award, assuming that mantle in 2012 after the passing of its founder, Dr John Lincoln AM.
She spent her final days from 2014 at Stella Maris Aged Care Centre at Cronulla, fraternising with her many RSC colleagues, visiting family and friends. A large gathering celebrated the Platinum Anniversary of her profession as a Sister of Charity with her in January 2020. She passed away peacefully on Christmas Eve, 2020. It was my wonderful privilege to have known her.
Dr Frank Kelleher OAM