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Order of Australia Hunter Regional Group

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Order of Australia Hunter Regional Group
Valma Harvey Hamilton OAM

Valma Harvey Hamilton OAM

Mrs Valma Mary Harvey-Hamilton was awarded an Order of Australia Medal in the Australia Day Awards in 2000 for service to the aged as a provider of outreach musical entertainment, and as a volunteer for nursing homes and pensioner associations.

When it was decided to reactivate the Order of Australia Hunter Regional Group in 2003, Val was one of the first members to respond to the invitations that were sent out for the first function, a luncheon in January 2004. Val agreed to join the local committee and help wherever she could.

She expressed her delight that local functions were again being held and advised that she would be prepared to attend all functions, provide the music, and sing the National Anthem. She had all the necessary equipment and brought it with her to functions for the next sixteen years.

Since that time, she has been a continual active member and attended all our functions in Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, and Nelson Bay.

Not only has she sung the National Anthem for us, but she has also been responsible for providing beautiful floral table decorations mostly from her own gardens. These displays have always attracted many compliments with many people asking if they could take them home with them.

Another one of Val’s duties was to arrange the gift for functions, for presentation to the Guest Speaker.

Committee member Val Harvey-Hamilton took many photos at Order of Australia functions and posted them to the people concerned.

Val was the only one of the Hunter Regional Group to regularly attend the National Order of Australia Annual General Meetings and associated functions wherever they were held, all over Australia. She represented our Group very well and gave feedback on how these events were organized and conducted.

Val is an avid golfer and a long-term member of Merewether Golf Club.

Val was well known and appreciated in the Lower Hunter where she visited nursing homes and retirement villages to provide music and sing-a-longs for many years.

Val has been a valuable committee member but due to age and increasing health problems, she resigned her position on the Order of Australia Hunter Regional Group committee in October 2020. She still intends to attend as many future functions as possible.

Val’s support and hard work has ensured that our Order of Australia Hunter Regional Group continues to hold successful and enjoyable functions.


ONLY HERE BECAUSE TEACHERS HELPED ME
Zara Blackmore

When depressed and anxious teen Zara Blackmore was in a dark place, she just wanted a teacher to listen. Luckily a teacher did exactly that, helping refer the year 9 student into comprehensive mental health services.

Zara Blackmore receiving her Youth Community Service Award from Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AO QC, Governor of NSW

“That teacher was someone I could really talk to and really trusted; she was always hearing me and would do whatever she could to help”, she said. She was not trying to just fix things. I had experience with other people who wanted to just fix things (eg. make study plans). I just needed to be heard. She had mental health first aid training and said that all teachers at the school had also done that”. Ms Blackmore went through Year 12 at an independent school in regional NSW. She made it through by managing her depression and anxiety via a school nurse, teachers who were aware of her condition and mental health care outside the school.

She shared her story with the whole school during her final year, an event which culminated in her becoming an advocate for youth mental health organisation batyr. (batyr is a for purpose preventative mental health organisation, created and driven by young people, for young people). She said the current crop of Year 12 students are having to battle incredibly difficult situations, resulting in some students deciding to take their own lives. “We have got young people dying when they do not have to”, she said. “If they can just make it through this, they will be able to live whatever life they want to live”.

The above story, paraphrased from an article published in the Sunday Telegraph on September 27, belies the fact that while struggling with mental health issues, Zara made an incredibly selfless contribution to a broad community during her final school year. This was recognised by the award of the Youth Community Service Award conducted annually by the NSW Branch of the Order of Australia Association. The Award was personally presented to Zara by the Governor of NSW, Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AO QC, at NSW Government House on September 20, 2019. The nature and extent of Zara’s contribution to community is summarised in her Award citation:

Zara Blackmore is a respected member of the NEGS (New England Grammar School) and Armidale community who is currently Chair of the Armidale Regional Youth Advisory Committee, which focusses on youth involvement and alerting local government to any concerns. She achieved the “Commitment and Perseverance “award at the Armidale Regional Youth Awards. Zara mentors the education of disadvantaged children through the St Vincent de Paul Homework Club and also actively sources donations of food, furniture and household goods to assist Yazidi refugees resettling in Armidale, while also tutoring them in English to enhance their assimilation. She provides a young person’s perspective to the Tamworth Headspace Youth Reference Group on mental health issues, policy, advertising and community engagement activities. A passion to improve the community led her in 2017 to co-found the adolescent engagement and activist group Female and Fierce, a registered Not-For-Profit organisation to promote youth engagement and to support women at all levels – local to international. Activities include an international Mother’s Day dinner and fund-raising for the Armidale Women’s Refuge and UN Women Australia”.

Now 19 and in her first year at Macquarie University, Zara has recently become involved in the Youth Community Service Award Alumni Ltd, a registered company formed to promote and engage the commitment, energy and drive of Award Alumni in their further pursuit of community service initiatives. Zara was appointed as Coordinator of Mental Health to lead an Alumni group pursuing project opportunities for community improvement in this critical area.


September 2020 Newsletter

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NEW ENGLAND NORTH WEST GROUP
ORDER OF AUSTRALIA ASSOCIATION

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ORDER OF AUSTRALIA ASSOCIATION
HUNTER REGIONAL GROUP

The Hunter Regional Group enjoyed a luncheon at the Cardiff RSL Club on Saturday 22nd February 2020 to welcome the OA Australia Day recipients of the Region.

June Cameron AM hosted the day and extended special congratulations to all of the new recipients and a warm welcome to those in attendance at the luncheon.

Five of the twelve local recipients were able to attend the luncheon with family and friends – Thomas Boulton AM, John Cootes OAM, Gionni Di Gravio OAM, Kay Lane OAM, John Land OAM.
Ron Sharpe OAM, the New South Wales Branch Regional Coordinator attended the luncheon. He advised those present of current happenings at the National and State levels and proposed a toast to the Order of Australia.

The special guest speaker on the day was Professor Alex Zelinsky AO FAA FIEEE, Vice Chancellor and President of the University of Newcastle. He delivered an extremely interesting insight into his background and the education system with special emphasis on the University of Newcastle.
Fellowship and a wonderful lunch were enjoyed by all in attendance.

The venue was comfortably full with 137 members and guests in attendance.
Future activities planned by the Order of Australia Hunter Regional Group are Morning Teas at Port Stephens on Wednesday 17 June 2020 and Wallsend Diggers on Wednesday 15th July 2020 (subject to the corona virus situation at the time).

Professor Alex Zelinsky AO FAA GIEEE was the guest speaker at the luncheon

Rear.
Mr John Alan COOTES OAM.  Belmont, 2280.  For service to the community, particularly to social welfare organisations. 
(January 2020)
Captain John Thomas LAND OAM.  Singleton, 2330.  For meritorious service as the Army Conservator, Australian Army History Unit, in support of the protection of Army’s heritage. (January 2020)
Mr Gionni DI GRAVIO OAM.  Mayfield, 2304.  For service to community history, particularly as an archivist. (January 2020)
Mr Michael Charles GREEN OAM.  Blacksmiths, 2281.  For service to the Indigenous community.  (January 2018)
Mr Jack McNAUGHTON – OAM.  Marks Point.  For service to the community through charitable organisations. (June 2019)

Seated.
Professor Alex Zelinsky AO FAA GIEEE was the guest speaker at the luncheon.
Mrs Kay Frances LANE OAM.  The Hill, 2300.  For service to music, and to education.  (January 2020)
Emeritus Professor Thomas John BOULTON AM.  Carrington, 2294.  For significant service to medical education, and to paediatric medicine.(January 2020)

Charlie Stevens

Charles Stevens OAM RFD ED

PHOTO. Standing – John Cootes OAM | John Land OAM | Gionni DiGravio OAM | Michael Green OAM | Jack McNaughton OAM Sitting – Alex Zelinsky AO FAA FIEEE | Kay Lane OAM | Thomas Boulton AM | Photo – Bill Hanley OAM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stolen Medals

Noeline Brigg-Smith OAM receives her replacement medals from Roger Butler OAM (Secretary NENW Regional Group)

Noeline Briggs-Smith OAM, an Aboriginal elder of the Kamilaroi tribe, Moree, reported to the Secretary of the New England North West Regional Group, Mr Roger Butler OAM, that she was devastated by the loss, through theft, of her medals, did not know how to replace them and could not afford to purchase a new set.

Roger took up her cause with members of the NENW Regional Group, a number of whom generously donated the money required to replace the medals. At her request, the medals were presented to her by Roger after she conducted the Welcome to Country ceremony at the Australia Day, 26th January 2020 celebrations in Moree.

 

 

 

 

Peter Falk OAM NSW Branch Chairman and Ian McKnight OAM

At our AGM in February, Branch Chairman Peter Falk OAM thanked Committee Members, Ian McKnight OAM and Eddie Selwyn OAM for their four years service on the Committee which was acknowledged with an Association plaque.

Ian received his OAM for his service to lawn bowls, supporting the Tweed Byron District Bowling and the Cudgen Leagues Bowling Clubs as well as the Royal NSW Bowling Association where he was deputy president. Ian was our newsletter editor, covering many of our Association events over the past years.

Eddie received his OAM for services to the law and state through the Legal Aid Commission NSW.  He was a solicitor for 44 years and in 2014 was made honorary life member of The Law Society of NSW in recognition of his longstanding and meritorious service to the legal profession.

 

 

 

 

New Branch Membership Officer – Michael Maher OAM

Michael Maher OAM

As Branch Membership Officer it is my role to act as a conduit between the Branch and the National office on all aspect of membership i.e change of address, change contact details etc.

Recently I was appointed together with three other committee members to look at all issues of membership and provide a list of recommendations to the full committee for their consideration on a way forward.

The subcommittee is on track to submit its report in early April 2020.


HUNTER REGIONAL GROUP


Standing – John Cootes OAM | John Land OAM | Gionni DiGravio OAM | Michael Green OAM | Jack McNaughton OAM
Sitting – Alex Zelinsky AO FAA FIEEE | Kay Lane OAM | Thomas Boulton AM | Photo – Bill Hanley OAM

The Hunter Regional Group enjoyed a luncheon at the Cardiff RSL Club on Saturday 22nd February 2020 to welcome the OA Australia Day recipients of the Region.

June Cameron AM hosted the day and extended special congratulations to all of the new recipients and a warm welcome to those in attendance at the luncheon.

Five of the twelve local recipients were able to attend the luncheon with family and friends – Thomas Boulton AM, John Cootes OAM, Gionni Di Gravio OAM, Kay Lane OAM, John Land OAM.

Ron Sharpe OAM, the New South Wales Branch Regional Coordinator attended the luncheon. He advised those present of current happenings at the National and State levels and proposed a toast to the Order of Australia.

The special guest speaker on the day was Professor Alex Zelinsky AO FAA FIEEE, Vice Chancellor and President of the University of Newcastle. He delivered an extremely interesting insight into his background and the education system with special emphasis on the University of Newcastle.

Fellowship and a wonderful lunch were enjoyed by all in attendance. The venue was comfortably full with 137 members and guests in attendance.

Future activities planned by the Order of Australia Hunter Regional Group are Morning Teas at Port Stephens on Wednesday 17 June 2020 and Wallsend Diggers on Wednesday 15th July 2020 (subject to the corona virus situation at the time).

THE ORDER OF AUSTRALIA ASSOCIATION – CLARENCE / RICHMOND BRANCH

Acting Branch Convenor Mr Grahame Gooding, OAM
Phone: 0266281747 E
mail: gooding.gs@gmail.com

2020 Annual Branch Luncheon and Appointment of New Committee Sunday 29th March, 2020

Welcome members to 2020,

Firstly, may I congratulate the many Awardees who have been honoured in the past two years. I know that for most, the awards came as a great and unexpected surprise, so well done to you all.

We aim to hold a luncheon get together of the Branch each year. The next Annual Luncheon will be held on Sunday 29th March at the Alstonville Bowling and Sports Club at 12.00 for 12.30pm, and I would extend a warm welcome to you and your partner to attend this event

As many of you will be aware, our former Branch Convenor, the late Mr Don Johnston OAM passed away suddenly on the 10th March, 2019, as we were organising the 2019 function. Don was the founding convenor of the Branch and had been instrumental in organising the functions since 2010. His leadership will be greatly missed by the many community organisations he was involved in. We again express our condolences to his family, and especially daughter Alison who was his personal secretary and adviser.

During 2018 the third person on our Committee, Dr Sue Page AM, moved from the district and resigned from the committee, so we were already planning to form a new committee last year when Don Passed away.

Consequently, following our luncheon, we will have a brief meeting to form a new committee of at least three members. The tasks are minimal, being only to organise this function, and to act as bank signatories, so please consider volunteering yourself for this position.

I look forward to you joining with us as we share a meal, meeting old and new members and their guests, and listening to our guest speaker, Mr Barry Nash OAM.

Grahame Gooding OAM.

Acting Convenor

Mr Barry Nash OAM

Barry Nash OAM

Barry Nash OAM

Barry Nash received a Medal of the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in 2015 for his service to veterans, their families and the community of Ballina.

Whilst he was very pleased to receive the honour, he felt that Trudie (his wife of 60 years) should have also been included.

Barry and Trudie moved to Ballina in 1991 and quickly established themselves in their community. In 1992, Barry became a Legatee in the Ballina division of Far North Coast Legacy, a volunteer role in which he supported the widows and families of those who made the ultimate sacrifice, or whose health has been affected by war service. He was the Allocations Officer from 2005, and on the Divisional executive for many years where he subsequently held a variety of positions. Barry retired to the Legacy Reserve in 2016.

Barry has also been active in the Returned and Services League (RSL) and is a past vice-president of the Ballina RSL Sub-Branch. For 27 years he was vice-president of the Ballina Naval Association.

Barry was on the board of management for the Ballina Ex Services Home aged-care facility and from 1998-2007, was on the accreditation committee. He also has been a supporter of the RSL LifeCare’s Florence Price Gardens.

As well for many years Barry was the parade marshal for the Ballina Anzac Day parade, with his voice booming out the order to “quick march”.

AM and OAM recipients and partners at the 2017 luncheon

SYDNEY HARBOUR THE CENTRE OF ATTRACTION ON AUSTRALIA DAY IN NSW.

Australia Day dawned on Sydney Harbour with the weather on its best behaviour yet again continuing the bout of excellent weather experienced in recent years on this most important of National Days. The NSW Branch Chairman, Peter Falk OAM and committee members welcomed everyone, inviting them to enjoy the iconic surroundings and the day’s wonderful activities. The Branch harbour cruise is gaining in popularity each year and on this occasion a new attendance record was achieved when 169 members and their guests boarded the Captain Cook 111 to take in the sights and enjoy the festivities as well as the hospitality provided on board.

The navy flagship HMAS Canberra soon took up its position in the middle of the harbour in the vicinity of the renowned harbour bridge and all was in readiness for the “Salute to Australia” ceremony at the conclusion of which was followed by a 21gun salute. It was noticed that instead of defence air and watercraft being parked on the deck there were several RFS fire trucks displayed in their place and it was later learned that the crew had played host to a number of NSW RFS volunteers to honour the bravery and dedication to duty of all volunteers in the face of horrendous fires recently experienced by many people.

Among the many activities enjoyed by the group was the “ferrython” including the ferry race in which the competing ferries were decked out in many colourful flags and banners. Several helicopters performed an aerial ballet and as part of the “Salute to Australia” 3 RAAF fighter jets paid a visit and performed outstanding aerial displays and a later visit was made by a Qantas A380 aircraft. Other events witnessed were the Tug and Yacht ballet, the Harbour Parade where a myriad of ferries and many other large and small craft all decked out in their colours were a very colourful sight and the Tall Ships race where the entrants under full sail made for an impressive sight.

The refreshments and an appetising lunch were enjoyed by all on board during which time a fundraising effort for the NSW Drought Relief was held, resulting in a total of $3070 being raised. All too soon the cruise came to an end but for those with the stamina there were many other activities that extended until well into the evening to keep the huge crowd at Circular Quay entertained.

Ian McKnight OAM