Upcoming Events – ACT Branch

Members can find registration and point of contact details for all our events in The Order, e-NEWS, and Branch newsletters.


Thursday 2 May: Reception for New Recipients.  Members are cordially invited to join us for the first Branch reception for new recipients for 2019, which is to be held on Thursday 2 May, from 6.00 to 7.30pm.  Celebrate the achievements of those who received honours and awards in the Australia Day list and enjoy fellowship with other members and guests in the elegant surroundings of the Commonwealth Club, Yarralumla. The Branch Committee gratefully acknowledges the support of the ACT Government for this event.

Past Events

2019 Events

13 February 2019: Annual General Meeting & Evening with Sue Packer AM. Members and guests gathered at the Royal Canberra Golf Club, Yarralumla, to participate in our governance and hear 2019 Senior Australian of the Year, Dr Sue Packer AM, speak about her  Australian of the Year experience.

  • The AGM saw the 2018 Annual Report accepted and a new Branch Committee elected. Our experiment with providing papers in electronic format only was very successful and this approach will be retained, saving considerably on postage costs and volunteer time.
  • Sue began by describing the ‘surreal’ experience of the months and weeks leading up to the announcement of her award, the realities of the presentation night, and the whirlwind of Australia Day in Sydney. She spoke of her delight at being able to share a day with all 34 Australian of the Year finalists and the wonder of a ride around Sydney Harbour with the other winners aboard the ferry Victor Chang. She went on to explain that she has always been passionate about children, even while growing up, and that this had led to her becoming a paediatrician and eventually to her work in the child abuse sector. She shared a range of insights from her experience and exhorted all adults to be more interested in children, more curious them. In response to a question, she even gave advice on successful grand parenting! We are very proud to have Sue as a member of the ACT Branch and wish her every success during her tenure as Senior Australian of the Year.

(Photo: The Canberra Times)

2019 Senior Australian of the Year, Dr Sue Packer AM, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison

26 January: 2019 Australia Day Breakfast.  Almost 100 members and guests gathered to celebrate Australia Day and the achievements of recipients in the 2019 Australia Day honours list, and hear our guest speaker, Sir Angus Houston AK, AFC. Sir Angus spoke about two significant anniversaries occurring in 2019: he first described the 1919 Great Air Race, won by two Australian pilots, Ross and Keith Smith, and the subsequent development of a commercial air route between London and Australia, before observing that 2019 marks the 20th anniversary of no flying fatalities in the Royal Australian Air Force. While praising the extraordinary achievements of early aviators, he contrasted their approach to risk with the modern culture that has transformed the Air Force’s safety record. (Photos: OAA)

Sir Angus Houston AK, AFC enjoys the OAA glasses presented by Branch Chair,
Michael Crane DSC & Bar, AM

L-R: Derek Robson AM, Sir Angus Houston AK, AFC, Liz Houston, Ann Gration,
and Branch Patron Peter Gration OBE, AC

Joyce Goodman OAM and Caroline Turner AM

Narelle Hargreaves AM (2019 recipient)
and Bill Maiden PSM, OAM

Sir Angus Houston AK, AFC
and Ross Dunn OAM (2019 recipient)


2018 Events

22 November: 2018 Student Awards. Members and guests were joined by families, principals and teachers for the presentation of annual Student Awards by our Patron, General Peter Gration OBE, AC. Student Awards recognise meritorious community service and citizenship by ACT school students. A full report on the presentation and award winners is on our Student Awards page.

17 October: Morning Tea with Diane Johnstone AM.  Members and their guests enjoyed morning tea at the Royal Canberra Golf Club with Di Johnstone AM, who spoke about Diplomacy, Art and Community Engagement. Di related her experiences as a diplomat in South Africa and later in Australia collecting and promoting the work of South African artists. She went on to talk about her community work in Canberra after her diplomatic career.  Di was appointed a Member in the Order of Australia in January 2015 for significant service to international relations through support for creative arts in South Africa, and to the community of Canberra. (Photo: OAA)

Dr Joan Buchanan AM & Di Johnstone AM

Professor Ann McGrath AM

3 October: 2018 Order of Australia Association – Australian National University Lecture. Professor Ann McGrath AM presented the annual OAA-ANU Lecture on the subject Time Immemorial?  Dates, history and the deep human past, opening members and guests to a fascinating alternative view about history and how we think about it.  We hope to have more photos and a recording of the Lecture shortly. Ann was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2007 for service to education, particularly in the fields of indigenous history, as a teacher, researcher and author, and through leadership roles with a range of history-related organisations.  She was appointed a Member in the Order in 2017 for significant service to the social sciences as an academic and researcher in the field of indigenous history, and to tertiary education.” (Photo: ANU)

19 September: Reception for new recipients.  The Branch celebrated the achievements of 6 new recipients from the Queen’s Birthday 2018 List (at right) and welcomed new members at a reception at the Commonwealth Club, Yarralumla. (Photos: OAA)

L-R: Mike Crane DSC & Bar, AM; Jenny Bowker AO; Colin Thomson AM; Robin Creyke AO; Dianne Anderson AM; Kanti Jinna OAM; Frank Owens OAM

L-R: Frank Owens OAM; Dianne Anderson AM; Elizabeth Grant AM


Mr Muhammed Asku

19 August: 2018 Multi-Faith Observance. About 40 members and guests attended our 2018 Multi-Faith Observance at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture to hear a variety of inspirational speakers on the theme “Wisdom for the Common Good” and enjoy fellowship during a light afternoon tea. The Observance was moderated by the Executive Director of the Centre, Rt Reverend Professor Stephen Pickard, and featured Mr Harry Opperman (Jewish Tradition), Mr Muhammed Asku (Muslim tradition), Dr Willie Senanayake (Buddhist Tradition), Mr Kanti Jinna OAM (Hindu Tradition) and Dr Shahnaz Kouhbor (Baha’i Tradition). This event continues to underscore the importance of a focus on the things that bind our community together rather than the things on which we might disagree. (Pickard bio: CSU; Photos: OAA)

L-R: Mr Harry Opperman; Dr Willie Senanayake; Mr Kanti Jinna OAM; Dr Shahnaz Kouhbor; Michael Crane DSC & Bar, AM; Rev Prof Stephen Pickard

12 June: 2018 Queen’s Birthday Luncheon. More than 50 members and guests gathered for luncheon at the Royal Canberra Golf Club to mark the Queen’s Birthday and celebrate the achievements of ACT and regional recipients in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.  Our speaker was Mr Glenn Keys AO, co-founder and co-Executive Director of global health provider, Aspen Medical.  Glenn spoke frankly about his early career in the Australian Army and the difficult decision he and his wife made to leave all that when their son, Ehran, was diagnosed with Down Syndrome.  He described the events that then led to the formation of Aspen, some of the extraordinary things that Aspen has done, and the culture of giving that is built into the company.  He closed by introducing the audience to Project Independence, a new model for provision of social housing for people with an intellectual disability. Glenn was appointed an Officer of The Order of Australia in June 2017 for distinguished service to the community of the Australian Capital Territory through contributions to disability support programs, and to business and commerce as an advocate for corporate social responsibility. (Bio: Aspen)

24 May: 2018 Order of Australia Association – Australian Defence Force Oration. The annual Order of Australia Association – Australian Defence Force Oration was established in 2011 with the aim of further recognising the contribution made by military members of the Order of Australia to the fabric of Australian society. The 2018 Oration was delivered by the Chief of Joint Capabilities, Air Vice Marshal Warren McDonald AM, CSC. You can find an edited transcript of the Oration here. Air Vice-Marshal McDonald was appointed a Member of The Order of Australia in June 2015 for exceptional performance of duty as Officer Commanding Number 92 Wing, Director General Capability Planning – Air Force, and Commander of Air Mobility Group. (Bio: Defence; Photo OAA)

L-R: Bill Henman AM; AVM Warren McDonald AM, CSC; Ian Gollings AM

17 May: Reception for New Recipients. The ACT Branch welcomed 11 new members to the Association at a reception held at the Commonwealth Club, Yarralumla. (Photo: OAA)

L-R: Jan Paula OAM; Peter Ashworth OAM; Alpha Gregory OAM; Jim Quick OAM; Michael Crane DSC & Bar, AM (ACT Chair); David Cossart OAM; Ian Sayers OAM, ED; Robin Eckermann AM; Ingrid Moses AO; Alan Morrison AM; Michael Coper AO; Gordon Gregory OAM

17 April: Morning Tea at the National Arboretum. Members and guests enjoyed morning tea with Ian Sayers OAM, ED, who spoke about his working life and his experiences as a volunteer. Ian was awarded the Medal of the Order in the 2018 Australia Day list for services to veterans and their families, and to the community. (Photo: OAA)

14 March: Tour of NGA Art of War Exhibition. In a rare treat, Dr Anna Gray AM, Emeritus Curator, kindly hosted a tour of the Arthur Streeton: the art of war exhibition for OAA members and guests. The exhibition brought together key works from collections around Australia and overseas. Anna was honoured in 2017 for significant service to the visual arts as a curator, scholar and historian, to Australian artists, and to the promotion of cultural heritage. (Bio: The Canberra Times)

1 March: Memories as National Treasures.  Following our AGM, Bill Stephens OAM regaled members and guests with stories about his experiences in recording more than 200 interviews for the National Library’s Oral History Collection, principally with performing artists. Bill was awarded the Medal of the Order in 2017 for service to the performing arts through a range of roles. (Photo: Stephens)

26 January: 2018 Australia Day Breakfast. Guest speaker Penelope Thwaites AM, Chair of the Order of Australia Association UK/Europe, gave a very personal address to members and guests on her topic Canberra Connections. You can download the text of her address here. Penelope was honoured in 2001 for service to music through the performance and promotion of Australian compositions in the United Kingdom and internationally. (Bio: Wikipedia; Photo: OAA)


2017 Events

26 October: 2017 Order of Australia Association – Australian National University Lecture.  Professor Chennupati Jagadish AC presented the annual OAA – ANU lecture on the subject Nanotechnology: Opportunities and Challenges, providing members and guest with fascinating insight into nanotechnology and its increasing impact on our daily lives.  You can watch the lecture here.  Professor Jagadish was honoured in the Australia Day 2016 list for eminent service to physics and engineering, particularly in the field of nanotechnology, to education as a leading academic, researcher, author and mentor, and through executive roles with national and international scientific advisory institutions.  (Photo, bio & video: ANU)

 25 May: 2017 Order of Australia Association – Australian Defence Force Oration.  Our 2017 OAA – ADF Orator was the Vice Chief of the Defence Force, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs AO, CSC, RAN, who spoke on For Society and of Society: Where the ADF sits in modern Australia.  You can read the text of the Oration here. Vice Admiral Griggs was honoured in 2012 for distinguished service to the Australian Defence Force as Deputy Head Strategic Reform and Governance, Deputy Chief of Joint Operations, and Chief of the Royal Australian Navy. (Photo & bio: Defence)