New South Wales

NSW Branch Newsletter

Dear NSW Members,

This is my last monthly newsletter to the NSW Branch members. A sad milestone for me but I remember a friend boldly stating at his last meeting as National President of an organization on whose Executive I held a significant role: “For three years I have been IT. Now I am EX-IT, and I will assure you I am

exiting as I do not want to be the albatross in the room, cramping my successor’s leadership style,

thinking and planned initiatives.” So memorable was his message, that I have emulated that in most of my roles as I believe three years should be the maximum in any one role: first year you are learning, the second year you are getting on top of the initiatives, and the third year is for training/preparing your successor. This approach is for seamless succession, constant and energy progression, and never to risk setting back the organization for staying too long and undoing all the achievements during your time of leadership.

I have enjoyed my time on the Branch Committee, firstly as Branch Treasurer, then Branch Deputy Chaiman and the NSW Branch Nominated Director on the Association’ National Board, and lastly as Branch Chairman.

The multitude of inspirational recipients of the Order of Australia I have met is one of the greatest enjoyments, as well as attending Investiture Ceremonies, countless gatherings in the regions and in Sydney, and meeting the winners of our Branch’s highly esteemed High School Community Service awardees at Government House. Meetings with our State Governors and the Governors-General are especially part of the enjoyment too.

Our Branch Committee has been blessed with initiative-oriented members who have volunteered countless hours during a socially distanced challenged pandemic time and I am greatly indebted to them for their support. Likewise, the Regional Convenors and their committees have done so much to keep the members together in tough times.

I sincerely trust and hope the members will support the nominations of Dr John Gullotta AM as my successor and Matha Jabour AM as Deputy Chair for they are key to seamless succession for the Branch Committee’s leadership and NSW Branch’s hosting of the 2025 National Conference when we celebrate fifty years of the Order of Australia and forty-five years of The Order of Australia Association.

Please come to the 2024 Branch Annual General Meeting to participate in our future and have your say. Best wishes,

Jim Mein AM jimmein Branch Chairman



11 am sharp: Castlereagh Boutique Hotel, 69 Castlereagh Street, Sydney

Papers were emailed to all NSW Members on 26 February

Please use this link:

NATIONAL CONFERENCE 2024: 16 – 19 May, See details in the cover email


Sofitel Sydney Wentworth, 61 Phillip Street, Sydney

The theme of our 2025 Conference will to: CELEBRATE/MOTIVATE/NOMINATE – “Inspiring Australian Achievers”


Professor Michael Ralph Fellows AC:

See our story about Professor Fellows AC and other NSW Members on our website at

Professor Michael Fellows AC HFRSNZ MAE, pictured with his wife Fran.

Mike and Fran

Professor Michael Fellows AC FRSNZ MAE was awarded Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in 2016 for eminent service to Higher education, particularly in the field of theoretical

computer science, as a leading academic, researcher and author, as a mentor, and through public outreach programs particularly children.

Besides his work in mathematics, algorithms and complexity theory, Mike is noted for his

seminal contributions to the popular communication of the mathematical sciences and related efforts in Computer Science curriculum reform at all age levels, including the much-translated “Computer Science Unplugged” (with New Zealand coauthors Tim Bell and Ian Witten), which has had substantial world-wide impact.

For these two contributions, Mike received Australia’s highest civilian honor, Order of Australia, Companion (AC). He is also listed on New Zealand’s remarkable Hobbit List (technically:


Having identified some kind of structure in our real-world problem instance, parameterized complexity explores how to exploit that structure (parameters) in order to solve the problem more efficiently and to make the problem tractable, Fixed Parameter Tractable (FPT). FPT is the signal that mathematical structure is available to be exploited algorithmically.

Roberta Conroy OAM

Dedicated community and environmental advocate Roberta Conroy was recognized with an OAM in the 2024 Australia Day Honours for her service to the community of the Northern Beaches of Sydney, contributing to Council, NSW and Federal government committees, Katandra Sanctuary, Pittwater Environmental Trust, Pittwater RSL Sub-branch, JP service, and awards and grants judging

Roberta believes her passion for service and advocacy were developed by her family but also as a student at Mount St Benedict College, strongly influenced by the Good Samaritan Sisters, leading to

achieving some wonderful outcomes eg the legacy Church Point precinct project bringing together on

.and offshore residents and creating a beautiful community space, impressive stairs linking Bayview to Church Pt, school breakfast clubs and opening school grounds out of hours for community use, and contributing her environmental expertise to local and State government planning

Roberta was also recognized for her tireless work and vision with the Northern Beaches Council Australia Day Award and as Pittwater Woman of the Year in 2020.

Bret t Murray OAM was awarded his Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the General Division of the Australia Day Awards in 2024, for service to children.

Brett co-founded, and became CEO of SafeHeart Foundation (formerly Make Bullying History Foundation. 1995 – 2015.)

He designed and delivered (in partnership with Cronulla Sharks) The Sharks Make Bullying History initiative 2015 – 2022.

In 2020 He founded The Resistance, focused on Men’s health. And Founded Blood Brothers – Men’s Ministry in 2018.

His publications include:

Your Game Plan, CMDR Publishing 2021; Game Plan, Arkhouse, 2018; Make Buying History, Down to Earth, 2012; A Good Swift Kick, E-book 2011; Give Yourself Permission to Fly, Finch Publishing 2008; and I DARE Ya! Self Published, 2004 and second edition Arkhouse in 2006.

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Farewell from your Editor, Louise Davis AM. I was awarded my AM on Queen’s Birthday Honours 2018, and joined the NSW Branch Committee in 2019, working with then Chairman, Peter Falk OAM. When Jim Mein AM became Chairman I continued in this role. We went through the Covid period, and tried to be as innovative as we could, reaching out to our Members across the State and encouraging stories to share, from members in all regions. Our Members were very generous in sharing their

particular situation during the time we were all dealing with confinements. Since then, we have evolved their stories to be a series called “Meet Our Members”. Once again, our Members have been very

generous in sharing their community work. All stories are on our website

With special thanks to our Chairman Jim Mein AM, and our Committee members for making my time with the OAA NSW so enjoyable. Farewell. Louise Davis AM

[email protected]

PS: Nobody could do this Communications job without the support of our National Membership Officer in Canberra, Heather Willis. A thousand thank yous dear Heather.


Dear NSW Members,

I have for so many decades kept a list of key films that have inspired me to think of others, help them achieve, and gain new friends. It is investing hope into their futures.

These films are subjects for very interesting conversations, and I have also utilized them to motivationally attract people, empower and inspire them, whether the “they” are young people who want role modeling, or whether they are leaders to learn how to be better team leaders, or even to see how encouragement plays a vital part in sharing and caring for others, thereby revealing special talent.

These key film settings are diverse, each one bringing the best out of an individual or a group through encouragement to believe in themselves:

“Chariots of Fire” for commitment to winning and the importance of having personal values and belief in yourself.

“Brassed Off” for the importance of teamwork to make a difference to outcomes and personal relationships.

“Finding Forrester” for mentoring young people to find themselves, despite social disadvantages and discrimination.

“A Brilliant Mind” for realising and recognizing that everyone has a chance the change the world if given understanding encouragement.

“As it is in Heaven” that shows how group leadership can bring great results for an isolated village community.

“Mr. Holland’s Opus” epitomizes the unselfish commitment of a music teacher to bring the best out of unbelieving children.

“Freedom Writers”, again a teacher with affair to find the creative in young people.

You may have favourites such as “Flying Scotsman”, “The Soloist,” or my latest find, entitled “One Life”. Please let me know their film name.

“One Life” magnetically traces the efforts of an Englishman to orchestrate the expatriation of some 690 Jewish children from Eastern Europe to England before Adolph Hitler took over their homeland. Each child lost all their family but ultimately reestablished their lives in their adopted country without ever reuniting with his extraordinary man until the BBC was introduced to their humble hero.

Additionally, their interest to me is their showing that we need to look for people, child or adult, who are living on the edge of hope. We can be the encouraging mentor to reveal their potential to them to achieve and make a difference to both themselves and to others. We each have a responsibility to bring hope to others, whether they are in despair, in need, struggling to see the purpose of their being, and/or feeling worthless or a failure or not seeing a fruitful future.

I have learned much about this through Scout leadership, athletics coaching, supervising the

development of Chartered Accountants, mentoring young adults, and most recently in leading a

team of mentors to an Afghani refugee family. We can all mentor for the betterment of the World. Jim Mein AM, NSW Branch Chair, [email protected]



Venue, to be confirmed.

Further details will be on our website:

NATIONAL CONFERENCE 2024: 16 – 19 May, See details in the cover email SAVE THE DATE: 1 – 4 MAY 2025 – ANNUAL CONFERENCE SYDNEY

Sofittel Sydney Wentworth, 61 Phillip Street, Sydney

The theme of our 2025 Conference will to: CELEBRATE/MOTIVATE/NOMINATE – “Inspiring Australian Achievers”


Was a great success, with over 80 members and guests enjoying our two Australian Opera Singers, Gaetano Bonanfante, Julie Lea Goodwin, both from Opera Australia. Details will be in our The Order Magazine February edition, published late February.

2024 AUSTRALIA DAY HARBOUR CRUISE LUNCHEON, 26 January, 2024 was enjoyed by Members and their families and friends. See February The Order for coverage.


Professor Michael Ralph Fellows AC:

See our story about Professor Fellows AC on our website at


To kick the year 2024 off, we held another fundraising BBQ at Bunnings, helped admirably by Ron Critcher OAM, David North OAM, Geoff Phillips OAM, David Hadick, and John Meehan OAM.

Happy New Year to you all. For some, great expectations are sought. For others, world peace is your dream. For others, the journey will be tough for health, emotional and/or relational reasons, for reality generally says that not everything will fit into neat boxes.

Two sayings I proffer in your approach to year 2024: –

  • “Fight for the things you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” (Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-2020). My response is, if we could just do that, our job would be done!
  • “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” (Arthur Ashe). To this wisdom, I add my own motivating maxim: “I live 95% for today and tomorrow, for I can’t change yesterday-only learn from its history”.

Both these wise statements epitomize the success of so many citizens, whether they serve(d) locally, statewide, nationally and/or internationally. And one of the greatest joys for me has been meeting so many members of our Association, and through them, others who should be nominated for an Order of Australia or are ineligible internationals.

Invariably, they are humble personalities who have fought for things they care about, have the ability to attract others and bring them along for life changing experiences, and are inspiring team leaders. Likewise, they start with an identified purpose to make a positive difference for others, and achieve through sacrificial time and garnering people and funding resources along the way.

Please make one of your 2024 goals to share your inspiration as encouragement of your friends, colleagues and successor generations to fight for a better world, greater recognition of the Order of Australia, and mentor younger generations.

Our very successful Christmas lunch raised more than $9,000 for the Order of Australia Association

Foundation towards a University Scholarship to be announced at the NSW based 2025 National Conference. The Foundation’s Chair, Dr Helen Nugent AC inspired us to support a future Australian leader in this way as our State has not had one for many years.

There have been 55 such scholars in the Foundation’s national history, but few from NSW. Branch Committee member, Harold Sharp OAM is spearheading this fundraising initiative.

Our next Branch activity is the Annual Sydney Harbour Luncheon Cruise and the registration link is attached to this newsletter. The attendance has to be limited to some 150 passengers so do NOT delay booking yourself and friends.

I am also pleased to announce that the Branch is to organize at least four low-cost member luncheons in the Sydney suburban areas in 2024, now that we believe they are possible after the three years or so of covid impacted disruption. More information later.

The Branch’s 2024 Annual General Meeting will be held on 19 March, 2024 in Sydney and will be immediately followed by a luncheon with a guest speaker. This will be my last activity as your Branch Chairman and I am ever so thankful to you all for making the journey so positively memorable. There will four Committee members retiring and nominations will be called for shortly. I never realized when I became a “morning person” (AM) in 2010 that membership of the Association would be so rewarding.

As I have learnt from others and in my own experience over many decades, when a leader retires: For so many years you were IT. Now you are EX-IT AND SHOULD EXIT. This allows your successor to have greater ease in bringing new ideas to benefit the organisation’s future. It has always successfully worked.



NSW BRANCH CHAIRMAN  [email protected]


The Order of Australia Association NSW 2023 Christmas Luncheon was held at the Kirribilli Club on the 2nd December 2023. Over 80 members and guests gathered to celebrate the beginning of the Christmas season but also importantly to raise money for The Order of Australia Association Foundation.

The Foundation supports our next generation of leaders by helping promising young Australians to achieve their potential for the benefit of future generations of Australians. The NSW Deputy Chair and

Events Manager, Dr John Gullotta AM welcomed guests and introduced the guest speaker Dr Helen Nugent AC, Chair of the Order of Australia Foundation. Dr Nugent addressed the gathering and highlighted the importance of the Foundation in fostering and promoting our future leaders in prospective candidates that may not be able to afford their university degree.

By offering scholarships of $45,000 each the Foundation provides life changing funding to worthy applicants. Mr Jim Mein AM Chairman of the Order of Australia Association NSW gave his official welcome and reinforced the importance of the Foundation in making a difference! The audience were then entertained by the operatic voices of tenor Gaetano Bonfante and soprano Julie Lee Goodwin who transported the audience into a magical journey of opera and musical theatre with a Christmas themed twist!

It was a very successful event with over $7500 raised towards a NSW Branch Foundation scholarship which will be presented at our National Conference in Sydney in 2025!

Thank you to all who attended, and donated so generously.

A/P  John Gallotta AM, Deputy Chairman

Opera Singer Biographies:

Gaetano Bonfante is an Italo Australian tenor who has been on the classical concert stage for many years. He has performed in 15 productions for Opera Australia and also toured with La Traviata (as Alfredo) to 18 Cities in China.

Julie Lea Goodwin is a principal soprano with Opera Australia Aged only 19, Julie Lea was invited to sing the leading role of Christine Daae in the national tour of The Phantom of the Opera – starring Anthony Warlow. The following year, she played Maria in West Side Story across Australia.!

SYDNEY TO HOBART YACHT RACE 2023, OAA NSW Member, Adrienne Cahalan OAM

“The fastest Australian to circumnavigate the globe, trailblazing navigator Adrienne Cahalan has become used to winning races and setting records but now she is about to share in a bit of Sydney to Hobart history with another woman.

Cahalan, sporting a rope burn on her face, and crewmates on the Tasmanian yacht Alive are expected to be confirmed as the overall handicap winners of the Sydney to Hobart on Saturday having beaten the Marcus Ashley-Jones skippered URM and Sean Langman’s Moneypenny for the most coveted honours in the ocean classic – with the majority of the fleet still at sea.

Alive, sailing in the Sydney to Hobart yacht race, 26 December, 2023

This result will mean that for the first time in history, the first two placegetters in the overall race were navigated by females with Alice Parker calling the weather shots on URM.

“Wouldn’t that be a great statement. Two senior roles on the boats filled by women,’’ said Cahalan, a lawyer, mother-of-two and now three-time overall winner, six time line honours winner and two time race record holder in the Sydney to Hobart yacht race.”

Bravo on your outstanding achievements.  With thanks to Amanda Lulham, Sailing Editor, The Australian.


LINDSAY MAY OAM – competed in is 50th Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race

Congratulations to Lindsay May OAM on completing his 50 th Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, in 2023, on the yacht Antipodes. The photo below was taken at the start of the race.

On Australia Day 2017, Lindsay was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for service to sailing, and to health and social welfare groups. Lindsay is very active in Rotary International, having joined in 1978. Lindsay served as District Governor for Rotary District 9685 in 2021-22. Lindsay founded The Mailing House in 1986. This is a direct mail company fundraising for NFPs. He is a certified fundraising executive (CFRE).

Lindsay May is well known for his achievements in offshore yacht racing including 3 Overall Wins and 1 Line Honours win in the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. His line honours win was on the yacht, Brindabella, in 1997. Lindsay holds the record for the most consecutive number of races sailed, starting in 1973.

Lindsay as an international offshore sailor and navigator, has sailed in many other of the worlds most highly regarded regattas and races including the Admirals Cup, the World 8 Metre Championships, Fastnet Race, China Sea Race, Transpac Race and the Newport to Bermuda Race.

In the 1993 Sydney Hobart race, Lindsay was aboard the yacht, Atara, that rescued sailor John

Quinn who had been washed overboard and spent nearly 6 hours in the Tasman Sea.

In 2006, Lindsay skippered Love & War to victory as overall winner. This win equalled the overall record for a yacht with Love & War becoming only the second yacht to win the race three times

(1974, 1978 and 2006).

In May 2007, Seahorse International Yachting Magazine recognised Lindsay’s Sydney Hobart victory by inducting him into their Hall of Fame as Sailor of the Month.


NSW BRANCH AGM:       19 March 2024 – and lunch – venue TBA


Dear NSW Members,

As we approach the end of year 2023, I am challenged by two comments from Richard Harris who authored a must-read book entitled “Imagine”: Imagine

“To keep up to date, you need a mindset of change” and

“To succeed, you need champions of great ideas who escalate change, change for peace.”

Both attracted me as 2023 has been a roller coaster of troubling events, like the conflicts in the Ukraine, the Middle East, Sudan and Myanmar, the impacts of the failed Australian Referendum, fear-influenced worldwide politics, socio-economic pressures such as on living costs, increasing natural disasters, and growing inequality in Australia and overseas.

Add to this, the world needs hope for a better time ahead in 2024 and beyond.

Keeping up to date is but the start of the journey. The harder task is looking for value -adding changes, well ahead. How can we be different and what does the future hold? What changes are happening?

What are the opportunities? What do the current and potential markets and the governing legislation behold? In all my charity, not-for-profit, and for- profit experiences over decades, the biggest questions centered around the “what if”? It is one thing to be a strategic thinker, but there are fewer people who are futuristic.

Futurists seem to be a somewhat dying race. They have the ability to envisage what has yet to come, as remote as that might be. Some may say the strategist thinks within the next five years, but the futurist may be guilty of dreaming and thinking well beyond that time of the might-be possible. Let me share one actual example.

An age care organization on whose board I once served for many years engaged such a futurist. That was two decades ago. Internationally renowned as a member of the Club of Rome, he cornered me in an

amazing series of conversations about the future of ageing, particularly on the preface of “what if” and how would I react. The best example was: what if voluntary assisted dying was legislated? Would your values allow this? What type of facility change would that need? How would you promote that? And so on. That is now close to a reality.

That would certainly require a mindset change. Would that get you a competitively strategic advantage if you are readily able to implement such a service, once legislated? What is the likelihood, and when? A great idea? How would you champion the idea? When do you begin to promote the impossible to get it to happen? Why don’t leaders think well ahead?

At this time, the world needs both strategists and futurists to influence us to see well into the future. They can champion mindset changes for us, and may peace and community unity be the ultimate outcomes. If only that could be in 2024, or forever.

This my last Newsletter for 2023 and the next will be in February 2024. Enjoy a safe, future thoughtful, energy recharging period over December and January.

Jim Mein AM, Branch Chairman, The Order of Australia Association NSW [email protected]


26 January, 2024 – Annual Australia Day Cruise

Our Annual Cruise aboard MV Captain Cook III I a great day on our beautiful harbour with good food, drinks and an opportunity for front row seats on picturesque Sydney Harbour! To be held on Australia Day J– Friday 26 January 2024. Booking via:

2025 Sydney Conference 1-5 May 2025

Planning is underway for our National Conference in Sydney in 2025. Details will be revealed in May 2024 at the Annual Conference in Perth.

A/P John Gulotta AM, Deputy Chairman, Metro Events & Public Relations Coordinator


On 31 October Judy Hannan, MP for Woollondilly and Member of the Legislative Assembly hosted 60 new Awardee Recipients, family and friends at a celebration lunch in the Strangers Dining Room at Parliament House Sydney.

CENTRAL COAST ORDER OF AUSTRALIA ASSOCIATION held a morning tea at the Erina Leagues Club

Guest speaker was Kelly Gavin, Group Counselling and Community Programs Manager, Life Line Direct, Life Line Australia. Kelly spoke about the statistics of suicide on the Central Coast; the mitigating factors leading to suicide, Services provided by Life Line and Partnerships with other services. She also spoke about the gaps in funding for essential support.

We would like to thank the Erina Leagues Club for donating the use of the room and morning tea, free of charge.

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Harold Sharp OAM, Convenor, Central Coast OAA NSW


Forty-three people gathered at Dapto Leagues Club on Friday 3rd November to celebrate with the 3 new recipients of awards announced in the King’s Birthday Honours list.

Three of the new recipients were able to attend –

Arthur Booth who received his OAM for his services to the Illawarra community. Allan Leaver who received his OAM for services to railway heritage and Geoffrey Phillips who received his OAM for his services to broadcast media and the Illawarra community.

We were honoured to have OAA NSW Chair Jim Mein AM present at our function. We are grateful that Jim attends all our functions. He addressed the group and congratulated the new awardees. He

reminded everyone that there is still so much work to be done in our communities. He spoke about the upcoming NSW OAA Christmas party and the Australia Day cruise on Sydney Harbour. Dianne North, the group’s events co-ordinator is organising a contingent of people from the Illawarra to attend both events.

Our guest speaker was Vicki Tiegs OAM who spoke about her life, starting as a sales assistant for Katies, then working for WIN television in Queensland and in the Illawarra, gaining 25 years of experience in media and marketing. Vicki now has her own events company, Waples Marketing and Blue juice Events.

Vicki received an OAM on Australia Day 2021 for her contribution to the Illawarra community. Vicki

chairs the International Women’s Day Illawarra committee and has worked on numerous committees for local organisations. She was the cofounder of the Grants and Fundraising Institute in Wollongong, helping many organisations gain grant funding. Vicki was named Wollongong’s Citizen of the year in 2018.

At the AGM a new committee member was elected – John Meehan OAM who received his award in 2009 for service to surf lifesaving and to the community. John will be a great asset on the committee. He is an active member of the OAA Illawarra Group and a regular volunteer at the OAA Illawarra group’s Bunnings BBQs to fund a university scholarship. John joined Surf Life Saving in the 1957/58 season and in 2018 was recognised with a 60 Years Surf Life Saving Association Long Service Award. John has held positions including Vice Club Captain, Publicity Officer, First Aid Officer, Judicial Committee. John is a respected beach official at local, state and Australian carnivals. John is a Life Member of Surf Life

Saving Illawarra, Surf Life Saving NSW and the Surf Life Saving Association. John is also well known in baseball circles as the foundation president of the Pirates baseball club in 1967.

All other positions on the committee will remain the same, Phil Thompson OAM – Convenor, Judi O’Brien OAM – Secretary, David North OAM – Treasurer, Dianne North OAM – Events Co-ordinator, Graham Lancaster AM – Committee Member.

Jim Mein AM, with 3 new Recipients: Geoffrey Phillips OAM, Allan Leaver OAM, Arthur Booth OAM, ith Phil Thompson OAM, Illawarra Regional Convenor.


Further to our article in last month’s Newsletter, we have heard from Jackie Wood, who is the daughter of an Honours Awardee, Beverlee Adams AM, who was recognized in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2001, for her service to local government through the Scone Shire Council, to support for rural women, to sustainable argriculture and to environmental management.

Bev’s list of accomplishments include time on the shire council as both shire president in 1989 – 1990 and deputy mayor from 1993 to 1995 and in 1995 Bev was voted as the ABC NSW Rural Woman of the Year. She has also been a member of the NSW’s Premier’s Council for Women, Chairman of the

Agribusiness sub-committee, Upper Hunter Towards 2000 Task Force and Chairman of the Agribusiness Sub Committee HEDC.

Bev is also recognized as a specialist in wildlife preservation and catchment management, and she helped set up the Hunter Valley Broom Council to eradicate the noxious weed, Scotch broom. In addition to these outstanding achievements, Bev also helped raise $300,000 for research into the biologica control of this plant.

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We are delighted that Jackie contacted us as a result of our short article in the November Newsletter. If other Members of the OAA, or anyone with a relative with an Honours Award, currently living in an aged care or nursing home in NSW, please contact Trish Wetton OAM [email protected]

We would love to contact as many Awardees in Care, or Nursing homes in NSW, and hear their amazing stories.

OAA Hastings Macleay Branch Christmas Luncheon 2023

It was a pleasure to share a delightful luncheon and mateship with the good-looking group of people in the photo below. Thank you to Emeritus Professor Gail Whiteford AM (accompanied by Husband Harry) for giving our Acknowledgment to Country and for outlining her contribution to society culminating in her receiving the Australia Medal.

We were very pleased to have two members from the Manning Branch come all the way from Forster, Wendy Borchers AM and Helen Bryan OAM.

Thank you Virginia Cox OAM and husband Grae, for running the Christmas games. Fun was had by all even though no cheating was allowed! Patricia Johnson OAM and my lovely wife Barbara, thank you for your organisational skills in meeting and greeting everybody, you made things flow so well.

To the staff at Port City Bowling Club, we can’t thank you enough for the lovely Christmas theme set-up of the room. Also, Rose, Kate and Elly, you are an absolute asset to Port City Bowling Club.

We hope that everyone, including those who could not attend, have a joyous and safe December and January before we catch up again in the New Year.

Laurie Smith OAM, Convenor, Hastings Macleay Branch, OAA NSW.

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And our entire OAA NSW Committee says “hear hear” to that!!


On Friday November 17, The Hon. Jodie Harrison MP, Minister for Seniors, Minister for Women, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, launched the 9th edition of “Seniors Stories”,

at Parliament House Sydney. This year’s subject was “Aging and Life Lessons”. OAA NSW Communications Liaison, Louise Davis AM was one of the selected 100 authors. Her story follows:

The publication, with all 100 stories is available on the Seniors Website at :


As I approach my 84th birthday, I have been revisiting my life journey in preparation for writing a farewell note to my family and friends. I want to thank them all for making my life meaningful and fun.

I realise that one of my main enjoyments all these years has been to feel useful to others.

By some stroke of luck, I was appointed Social Services Representative when I was in High School at MacRobertson Girls’ High School in Melbourne when I was 14 to 16. It was a wonderful experience, helping others. I had no idea at the time that many years later I would have a 30 year career at IBM, focused on Community Service.

I have been fortunate in having generous friends who have thought of me when they heard of jobs which might be suitable for me. After 4 years with the agents for Christian Dior Perfume and Cosmetics in Melbourne, I spent 4 exciting years in Canada and the United States, Washington DC and New York City. Returning to Dior in Australia at 24, and becoming the first female Cosmetics representative in Victoria.

I stayed with Dior until I was 47 by which time I was the general manager in Australia.

I then considered what I really wanted to achieve in life, and decided to study horticulture full time. It was a huge leap of faith which I never regretted. My husband and I bought 2.2 hectares in Dural and I started a wholesale plant nursery. It was hard work physically but very good for ones soul.

I am still friends with girls from High School, and from my life in Melbourne all those years ago as well as friends and workmates from Dior and IBM. Friends are the key to happiness in my opinion. If friends are there for each other, it is a strong buffer against life’s inevitable challenges. Sharing our joys and sorrows is critical. Laughing and crying with friends, and being useful to others is rewarding and life affirming.

Not to forget the huge importance of having close family ties with plenty of love and laughter. Our family fortunately have great senses of humour, so can almost always turn difficulties into something to laugh about.

I did not stop full time employment until I was 79, and since then I have been working for The Order of Australia Association as a volunteer.

The many health challenges during my life, including osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, many fractures, 4 hip replacements and a recent stroke have made friendships even more important to me.

I try to do helpful things every day, even very simple things like helping a friend with online research, eg about how to get rid of pests in their gardens, the aged care system, or how to arrange for a library to deliver books to their homes. Or mentoring young people as they find their way in this ever changing world.

If one can develop good listening skills and be kind to others, there is no end to the ways we can enrich those lives and our own. By giving, we all benefit.

Louise Davis AM

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Dear NSW Members,

We thoroughly enjoyed this week’s NEW RECIPIENTS WELCOME LUNCHEON in the State Parliament House Strangers Dining Room where we were entertained by Sophie Scott OAM’s enlightening sharing of her experiences, especially as The ABC’s Medical Reporter. I never tire of hearing new and old Member stories of why they were nominated. They are always inspiring, uplifting, amazing, challenging and humbling. That sharing is a huge membership benefit. We thank Branch Deputy Chairman John Gullotta AM and his team for organization of this event to congratulate the King’s Birthday Order of Australia
November has always been a special month in my calendar because of the significance of
REMEMBRANCE DAY on 11th. This year is more important to me as I wonder about the future of our world with so many global disruptions caused by conflict, global warming, increasing poverty and refugee numbers, the troubling cost of living, and fear. What is the future facing our younger and future generations?

I begin firstly with the remembrance of those who fought in the two World Wars, and subsequently in European, Asian, Pacific and Middle East conflicts wherein Australians and New Zealanders served and many lost their lives, including those involved in the peacekeeping and peacemaking contributions of military, police and civilians who have or still are serving overseas. We are a relatively small population but we have a strong international focus and concern for the tomorrows.

For me, promotion of interfaith dialogue was one of my Award citations. It began from my sideline involvement in the infamous Cronulla riots in Sydney which resulted in two lifechanging overseas study tours to Turkey and later to Palestine and Israel. I continue to work with many Australian faith-based organisations, each of which has a foundational commitment to “love my neighbour as myself.” As part of this work, I have had to learn to listen intentionally and zip my mouth as I do not know everything, nor should I pre-judge until I understand the “other” and their point of view and experience.

Furthermore, we are all connected, being human beings, and we are the same under our skins. We should welcome all migrants to our country as we have much to learn from each other. A new aspect of this I learnt recently from one of our First Peoples, post The Referendum:
“Our shadows project the same colour across humanity, irrespective of skin colour, race and other
differences…Lets wake up the world to the love of world humanity and welcome all… Our shadows have been with us always.”
So let us also remember these words from the official prayer of the Order of Australia Association:
“Inspire us who have been honoured by our nation for our contributions to society to work for a better world and to help others achieve their aspirations. Give us strength and wisdom to apply our skills and the will to continue to serve our nation to advance Australia.”

Remember those who have served locally, nationally and internationally. We thank them, knowing it is our responsibility to continue to commit to a better world and genuinely care about the needs of others. Best wishes,
Jim Mein AM, Branch Chairman, Order of Australia Association NSW, [email protected]



 Our 2023 Christmas luncheon will be held in the Harbourview Lounge at the Kirribilli Club in Lavender Bay.
The Guest Speaker will be Dr Helen Nugent AC who is the Chairman of The Order of Australia Association Foundation.
There will also be entertainment by renowned tenor Gaetano Bonfante and Soprano Julie Lee Goodwin, with a Christmas theme.
This luncheon is a fundraiser to support The Order of Australia Association Foundation, which is supporting the next generation of leaders by helping promising young Australians to achieve their potential.
Bookings via:


 Our Annual Cruise aboard MV Captain Cook III is a great day on our beautiful harbour with good food, drinks and an opportunity for front row seats on picturesque Sydney Harbour! To be held on Australia Day – Friday 26th January 2024. Bookings via:

A/P John Gullotta AM, Deputy Chairman, Metro Events & Public Relations Coordinator


 On 31 October at the NSW Parliament House, Strangers Dining Room, 60 new Awardee recipients were joined by family and friends to celebrate their recognition of major achievements in community support. Our Parliamentary host was Judy Hannan MP, Member for Woollondilly and Member of the Legislative
Assembly, who highlighted the importance of recognizing worthy Australians via this Order of Australia award system. Our guest speaker was Sophie Scott OAM, a 2023 King’s Birthday new recipient. She is former national medical reporter for the ABC and she spoke about the science of positive psychology by using several case studies and using evidence-based science as well as her own personal journey. Via her talks, Sophie helps people take better care of their mental health through science-backed
techniques so they can build emotional resilience, maximise their potential and thrive at work and at home.

The toast on behalf of the new recipients was delivered by Gary Smith AM, who was appointed a member of the Order of Australia (AM) for “significant service to medical administration and to
professional organisations”. Gary is considered by his peers as an “Influencer” in healthcare reform, especially in the areas of practice management and the quality agenda both in Australia and


News from the National Board Meeting

On 20 Oct 2023 sadly saw the National Board accept the resignation of the National Treasurer, Muriel Barasso OAM, due to her ill health.
On behalf of New South Wales, I extend a thank you for the years of service that she has so generously given to the Association and send our wishes for good health.

Muriel of Rockdale New south Wales received her Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) on 26 January in 2018 for her services to real estate in particular the strata industry.
Muriel is a past President, first Fellow and a Life Member, trainer, and consultant of Strata Community Australia (SCA). Muriel was appointed as National Treasurer, in September 2018.


2024 National Conference – Hyatt Regency Perth. Giving Service Beyond Self. 16 – 19 May 2024.

It is expected that in the November 23 issue of ‘The Order’ all the details for registration and the program will be revealed. In the meanwhile, the Order of Australia website has details for accomodation and pre-conference tour options. At the moment Dianne and I are considering taking the driving challenge of the 3,935 kilometres from Sydney to Perth.


2025 Sydney Conference 1 – 5 May 2025.

Planning is underway and at the Perth Conference in May 2024 all will be revealed about the coming 2025 Sydney Spectacular event. No boasting but it is hard to beat the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Sydney Opera House, the beautiful Sydney Harbour and is there any need to go on.

Order of Australia Merchandise. Just in time for summer barbecues are premium soft cotton navy (Unisex) cap with the Order logo and a bib apron with adjustable halter self-fabric strap around neck. Along with unique styling included is a towel loop at the back of the apron, one large central front pocket with special side slides for a pen and a bottle opener.Not only will you be the best dressed barbecue in town but also promoting the Association.

Membership fees.The National Board at the meeting on 20 October 2023 approved the 2024 Budget which included the adoption of reduced membership fees. On the renewal of your next membership there will be a pleasant surprise and an encouragement to continue your membership.

Why do strategic plans always seem so complicated.

Well, they can be, but the aims of the Order of Australia National strategic plan can be simplified to Membership – to grow the value of membership of the Association.
Promotion – to encourage and promote nominations and support diversity in nominations for individuals contributions to the community.
Growth – to build membership for the future of the Association. Community – to invest in community partnerships and projects.
Each of us can contribute by supporting Association activities, put forward a member of the community that should be recognised for their community efforts, encourage new recipients to join the association, and encourage your Regional Group to support a local cause or the Association’s Foundation.

David North OAM, NSW Branch Nominated Director [email protected]


40 people attended the Order of Australia Association Dubbo Regional lunch held at the Dubbo RSL Club on Saturday 14th October. Many of these people had travelled distances of over 3 hours to attend so that they could celebrate with the new recipients of awards from the Kings Birthday Honours. They travelled from such places as Louth, Coonabarrabran and Trangie. It as such an important event in the City of Dubbo that photographers from the local newspapers were there to document the occasion.

On arrival we were greeted with some beautiful music played by the students from the local Macquarie Conservatorium. We were served canapes and were able to mingle for a while before sitting down. We were officially welcomed by the local OAA Convenor, Ruth Shanks AM. Ruth invited the conservatorium students to play a couple more beautiful musical pieces.

Kath Readford OAM gave a heartfelt thanks to the conservatorium students who had had us all enthralled. John MacKenzie OAM AFSM gave the toast to The King and then Brian Semmler OAM led the Grace. After a delicious lunch had been served, the guest speaker, Steve Hinks gave us a wonderful presentation. Steve is the Director of Taronga Western Plains Zoo. He was introduced by Jennifer Cowley OAM, who is on the Board of Directors of Taronga Western Plains Zoo. Steve told the story of his early life in Sydney, getting involved in tourism during the Sydney 2000 Olympics and ending up with his dream job at the Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo.

Marie Knight OAM, the secretary of the OAA Dubbo, gave the vote of thanks and presented Steve with a gift. David North NSW appointed Director on the National Board of the OAA congratulated the new recipients of Australian awards. He spoke about the OAA conference to be held in Perth in 2024 and then in Sydney in 2025. He encouraged people to nominate others for Australian awards

MC Ruth Shanks OAM made two special presentations. The first to Ruby Riach OAM who has worked tirelessly for the association for many years. Ruby was at one time the NSW Secretary of the OAA. She is now 95 years young and still going strong working for the association.
The other presentation was for Wally Flynn OAM, who is an ambassador for REX Airlines. He is also in his 90s and has decided to retire from the OAA Committee after having served for many years. Wally hasn’t stopped though. He works hard to have worthy people nominated for Australian honours. He has prepared information packs for organisations such as Probus, CWA and Rotary to assist them with their nominations. He has local politicians onside and they help him with the distribution of the information packs. It was a most memorable afternoon. People stayed on for a long time afterwards to chat and catch up.

Regional Convenor, Ruth Shanks AM, Graham Neville, Dianne Neville OAM, David North OAM, Diane North OAM. Below, Honours Recipients Dubbo, 14 November 2023

Di North OAM, OAA NSW Strategy Coordinator, [email protected]


On September 7, our Patron, Her Excellency The Honourable Margaret Beazley AC, KC, welcomed our 26 2023 Youth Community Service Awardees to Government House, to receive their Trophy and Certificate of Commendation. The young people have all made significant contributions to their communities and we applaud them all. For more information about the 2023 Awards, go to our website:

Her Excellency, The Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC, Governor of NSW, as Patron of the Order of Australia Association NSW, presenting Sienna Arena-Milne of Northholm Grammer in Arcadia with a Youth Community Service Award, for exceptional service or engagement with their local community, or to Australia in general.


The Central West Regional Group of the Order of Australia Association enjoyed a High Tea at Abercrombie House in Bathurst on Sunday 15 October.

Abercrombie House was built in the 1870s by the Stewart family who were Bathurst pioneers. The house is considered to be of extreme historical significance. It is listed on the National Trust Register and is described as an outstanding example of Victorian Tudor style architecture. It is now owned by the Morgan family who hosted the group and served a delicious high tea.
The afternoon began with the Annual General meeting of Central West Regional Group of the Order of Australia Association followed by presentations by Elizabeth Zachulski OAM and Marie Billington OAM on their works which were recognised by the award of the OAM.

Chris Morgan then gave a most interesting talk on some of the history and legends of Abercrombie House including describing how he and his wife Xanthe pasted thousands of little sheets of gold leaf on the ceiling of the stunning feature that it now is. Following afternoon tea Christopher conducted a tour of the house.

The committee of the Central West Regional Group of the Order of Australia Association together with Jim Mein, NSW Branch Chairman, Order of Australia Association and Chris Morgan, owner of Abercrombie House.
Chair: Mary Brell, Treasurer: Kate Baxter, Secretary: Monica Morse, Committee: Elizabeth Zachulski, Marie Billington, Nikki Kiss.

Reaching Out to Honours Recipients in Aged Care or Nursing Homes

From time to time our Members come to us with ideas, for example, acknowledging Australian Honours recipients who are living in nursing homes across the State.
There are 1756 Nursing Homes in NSW, caring for 188,000 residents. Many no doubt have received an Honours Award, but we have not been able to capture this information.

We are in discussion with the sector to find out if Awardees are identifiable in their systems.

If it is feasible to identify these people, we are considering asking Nursing Home management if they would be prepared to acknowledge Honours Awardees, by putting their post nominals on their name plaque on their room door.

Our Association will also find out if it is possible for us to send a card to these residents. However, considering Privacy issues, this may be difficult.

To get the ball rolling regarding the feasibility of the idea, if any of our Members know of Awardees in care, I would be pleased to hear from you,
[email protected]

All ideas for how to reach Honours Awardees are welcome.