The Australia Day honours and awards recognise people in the community for their excellence, achievement or meritorious service and contributions.
Meet the Hunter’s recipients for 2018:
Sandra Berenger is being recognised for her long and accomplished career in healthcare, pioneering infectious disease control – she’s made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM), only weeks after her retirement.
Ms Berenger, who was born in Sri Lanka and trained as a nurse in London, found her way to the Royal Newcastle Hospital, where she worked for 25 years – leading the way in infection control strategies for patients and staff that many of us take for granted today. Read her story here.
Richard Anicich – a former partner, now consultant to Sparke Helmore, director and former president of Hunter Business Chamber and a Hunter Medical Research Institute Foundation member, among other roles – is humbled to be made a Member (AM) in the Australia Day 2017 Honours list, for his service to the community, business development, medical research and the law. Read his story here.
Laureate Professor Scott Sloan said his appointment to the Officer of the Order of Australia is “fantastic news” not just for him, but his colleagues too. “It is a reflection of the quality of the research work in geotechnical engineering that has been done at The University of Newcastle over the past 34 years.” Read more.
Nicholas Talley is a busy man. Professionally, he’s an academic, author and administrator; while personally, he’s a father of four, a husband and someone who loves to have fun.
But for today, he’s the recipient of the Companion of the Order of Australia. Awarded for eminent achievement and merit of the highest degree in service to Australia or humanity at large. Read his story here.
The Hunter’s Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) recipients have admitted shock and surprise at their recognition, and displayed a humility which shifts their praise onto the people they worked with.
Susan Oakey, 74, of Bolton Point was recognised for her service to aged welfare in a career that spanned across four decades. Working solely in the Hunter, she said was “struggling” to fathom being handed the honour.
"Lots of people do lots of really great things and I've never considered myself to be in that category,” Mrs Oakey said.
"My compatriots who work in aged care, they work very, very hard and they're very committed people. You have to be to work in that industry.”
Likewise, former mathematics educator Warren Atkins of Merewether, said he was “a little bit embarrassed” of the public acclaim.
"I'm chuffed, but there's a lot of other people who have volunteered time as well," Mr Atkins said. "Everyone should take a little piece of the award from it, it's not just me there's a lot of others involved."
Humble in his acceptance, Mr Atkins’ work continues to this day. The 79-year-old still involved with the Australian Mathematics Foundation he helped establish.
In 1978, his team set-up the Australian Mathematics Competition in high school education, which later expanded into primary schools.
He also helped other countries establish similar competitions, providing resources to nations in Africa and across the Pacific who wouldn’t have had the capabilities to do so on their own.
Warners Bay resident David Walker said his OAM recognition for service to the community and brass band music was “totally unexpected”.
A lifelong passion and commitment to the genre, Mr Walker has held long stints presiding over community bands, played at ANZAC ceremonies and taught in Hunter schools.
The 72-year-old also achieved 50 years of service in the Australian Army Reserves whilst working a long career in coal mining.
“I didn’t know anything about it [the OAM] until I received a letter off the Governor General,” he said. “It’s a wonderful honour.”
When North Rothbury’s Peter Vizzard started hot air ballooning in 1966 there were just 12 balloons flying world-wide – now there are more than 12,000.
The balloon pioneer has been recognised on the Australia Day Honours List with an Order of Australia Medal for his service to hot air ballooning and tourism.
With more than 50 years experience in the skies, Mr Vizzard has plenty of amazing stories to tell. Read his story here.
Other OAM recipients:
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