Efforts to save lives through the COVID-19 pandemic, help out local sporting clubs and decades of dedication to supporting children with disabilities have been recognised among local citizens in this year's Queen's Birthday Honours.
Dr Annette Carruthers is currently taking part in the effort to vaccinate the nation against the coronavirus, but her contributions to the wider health industry have led to her being appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM).
While working as a general practitioner over the years, Dr Carruthers has also held various director as president positions on health boards including Multiple Sclerosis Australia, Multiple Sclerosis Research Australia, and the National and NSW Heart Foundations of Australia.
She is also currently a director with Headspace, Calvary Health Care and aged care catering service Cater Care.
She said these policy and governance positions had assisted her work as a GP, and vice versa.
"I've always been really passionate about the quality of health," she said.
"When I was a child I saw doctors as sort of aloof and not always good at explaining things.
"I think it's important to be a good communicator.
"And when you work day to day in a practice you see things you'd like to improve.
"And I still love that day to day contact with people. Some patients have seen me for 40 years. There you hear the problems with accessing nursing homes, you hear the problems with health insurance and that informs my contribution to other roles."
Dr Carruthers also helped to establish GP Access After Hours in 2003 and was its inaugural clinical director.
"That's something I'm really proud of," she said. "It's the only service like it in Australia.
"It's really well supported by the community."
On the other side of the health coin, Dr Carruthers also held various director positions with nib Group from 2003 until 2016, which included the company's listing on the Australian Stock Exchange.
She actually attained a financial qualification to make sure she was up to speed with the roles.
"That was just another another angle of health," she said.
She acknowledged the teams she had around her in being appointed an AM, and described it as a pleasure to be recognised.
Another Hunter achiever who has been appointed an AM in the Queen's Birthday Honours is Dr Patrice Newell.
The Gundy farmer has been acknowledged for significant service to the environment, and to sustainable farming practices.
She has been president of the Upper Hunter Waterkeepers' Alliance and the Pages River and Tributaries Water Users' Group, authored five books - all "non-fiction with an agricultural bent" and sat on two sustainability committees with the former Scone Shire Council.
She also co-runs a podcast about bees.
For Dr Newell, her efforts stem from the quote: "We live in an ecology, not an economy".
"I say it all the time, it's something that rings true to me every day," she said.
"We make so many decisions of an economic nature, whereas the most important thing is of an ecological nature.
"The drought was a good example. When you're desperate because of economic circumstances you might overgraze a property."
Dr Newell also had a run at politics, co-founding a political party Climate Change Coalition in 2007. She said the current political leadership on climate change was "mind-boggling".
"It's a travesty what's happening," she said. "They still don't take it seriously.
"But there are still a lot of people out there doing interesting and important things."
While sustainability is a passion for her, farming wasn't always part of Dr Newell's life.
"I grew up in the suburbs, not on a farm," she said.
"But I've always been a walker and if you spend a lot of time in nature you become aware of the things that are not right."
But she hopes sustainability will one day be so embedded in society that it won't need to be a stand out issue.
"We'll know we have gone ahead when there's no need for an Environment minister or department," she said.
In the category of the Order of Australia Medal, former Newcastle actor, writer and directorJonathanBiggins has been awarded for service to the performing arts through theatre.
Mr Biggins, who is now based inBalmain, was born and bred in Cooks Hill. He cut his teeth as a member of the Young People's Theatre and Hunter Valley Theatre Company, which eventually led him to into writing and directing.
"I found out pretty early on it's better to have a few strings to your bow," he said.
"You just have to get out there and try every aspect of the profession and keep challenging yourself to do something else."
The Helpmann Award winner was also a board member of Sydney Theatre Company for six years and has been heavily involved in The Wharf Revue - something he is particularly proud of.
Other highlights for Mr Biggins have been being a part of Hunter Valley Theatre Co's Essington Lewis: I am Work, a documentary theatre work about the establishment of BHP in Australia, and The Gospel According to Paul, which he wrote and starred in.
Outside of acting, Mr Biggins is also an ambassador for the NSW Australia Day Council and the NSW Public Education Foundation.
He said all the touring over the years had taken a toll on him personally, but was extremely grateful for the opportunities he's had.
"I feel very blessed to have had made a career from this," he said. "It's a mixture of hard work and luck. The nice thing about this award is it's recognition for the performing arts and anytime that's recognised I'll take it."
Order of Australia local honours
Neville Denzil Lawrence OAM has been awarded an Australian Fire Service Medal for his contributions to Gresford Fire Brigade over the past 51 years.
Dr David Durrheim of Green Point Reserve has been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to public health medicine, and to international health.
Waratah's Peter George Irwin has been appointed an AM for significant service to tertiary education, to geography, and to the community of Newcastle.
Charlestown's Mavis Randle's significant service to hockey, and to the community has resulted in her being appointed an AM.
Former Newcastle Steelworks general manager John Risby of Merewether Heights has been appointed an AM for significant service to the steelmaking industry, and to the community of Newcastle.
Alan Jack Carter, of Jewells, has been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to children with disability, and to the community.
Service to netball has awarded Lambton's Stephanie Bortkevitch with an OAM.
Newcastle's Reverend Colin Richard Baxter has been awarded an OAM for service to the Uniting Church and the community.
John Cutler of New Lambton Heights has been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for service to the fashion industry.
Bar Beach's Peter John Kilmurrayhas been awarded an OAM for service to surf lifesaving.
Brian John Ladd's service to the public art galleries sector has resulted in him being awarded an OAM.
Janet Lambert'sservice to the community of Vacy has been acknowledged with an OAM.
Kevin Lynch of Soldiers Point has been awarded an OAM for service to the community of Newcastle.
Ronald Edwin Jackson's service to the community of Cessnock has been acknowledged with an OAM.
Scone's Joplin Higgins has been awarded an OAM for service to the law.
Former Newcastle dance teacher Marie Mahon, now of Maroochydore in Queensland, has been awarded an OAM for service to dance.
The late Robert Ryan, formerly of Edgeworth, has been awarded an OAM for service to athletics.
Charlestown's Dianne Pascoe has been awarded an OAM for service to netball.
Service to people living with Acquired Brain Injury, and their families has resulted in Susan McHattie of Newcastle being awarded an OAM.
Bar Beach doctor Laurence Roddick has been awarded an OAM for service to paediatric medicine.
John McLeod, of Hamilton, has been awarded an OAM for service to the community of Newcastle.
Mayfield East's Mark Scully CSM has been awarded an OAM for service to youth.
Edward Thornburrow ofBolwarra Heights has also been awarded an OAM for service to the restaurant and catering industry.
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