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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.


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).


Acting Branch Convenor Mr Grahame Gooding, OAM
Phone: 0266281747 E

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


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