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I have always held that the community is only as strong as the support it gets.
That is challenged these days through more and more couples each working with less available time for community service, and by media’s too often divisive reporting and opinionizing which often alienates citizens on the grounds of race, religion, gender and financial status.

Coupled with these challenges is the inability for so many citizens to see community diversity as a rich gift for community harmony and social inclusion.

For me in my many years of community service, I have worked hard to explain that we each must understand that the reasons we are each different must be understood, valued and encouraged. Just imagine if we are all alike? I would fear that we either kill or reject each other, or be so alike that we would bore the others. Either way, progressive community building for a positive future would be greatly challenged.

Awardees Luncheon 2019

Community building is so dependent and enriched by using each other’s skills, talents and experience, because so much more can be done and achieved by teams with greater depth, commitment and capability. As a speaker opined recently at the Annual Abrahamic Faiths Conference in Sydney: “we should all be promoting human fraternity that is universal.” Another speaker spoke of “othering” which is “learning about the other so that clears up misconceptions and false ideas inherited by past polemics and in so doing changes our views.”

I congratulate each of the Order of Australia awardees here today on your honour and your recognised contributions. Your recognition, no matter what it is, has benefitted the community, and please do not hang up your proverbial boots as there is more to be done. You can continue to lead the way to community harmony and social inclusion. You can also encourage others through many ways, such as your example, mentoring and continued hands on support.

It is interesting that the average age of awardees is around 50 plus years of age and there is a gender disproportion favouring men, yet my personal experience is that women provide more local and indeed wider afield contributions than we men. This is particularly so in local communities from which so many Order of Australia medals come. My school English teachers would shudder with exasperation that I would use a key word twice in a paragraph, but I am going to repeat “indeed”. Indeed, the outgoing Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove encouraged awardees and the general community to nominate more women for an Order of Australia. That is a challenge I give each of you here today.

Of interest to me as well is that 46 per cent of Australians have at least one parent born out of Australia which may be a reason that the Order of Australia Awards are still inadequately understood, recognised and maybe resulting in fewer nominations.
I also need to promote The Order of Australia Association as we need each of the new awardees to become members if you have not already done so, so that the Association can do more to promote the Order of Australia Awards, and encourage younger women and men to be more involved in community leadership and building. In fact, community building is critical to Australia’s ongoing success as a nation, to peace and for a better world.

The Association hosts many events on a State and regional basis such that the state of NSW annually organises two new awardees luncheons, an annual members luncheon, morning tea interest discussions, visits to key institutional locations such as our latest to the Richmond Air Base as well as luncheons through our sixteen regions. This year’s annual luncheon featured our new State Governor, Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beasley AO QC, who challenged us with an address entitled “How do we build an ethical Australia without the need for legislation?” This address is featured on our Branch website.

We also conduct an annual Youth Community Service Award in memory of the late Justice John Lincoln across all government and private schools in our state and the twenty-five winners receive their award from the Governor . In fact, they will be at Government House in a fortnight’s time. We must all support and encourage our youth for they are leaders today and particularly for the future. We are also in the process of establishing an alumni of these winners where we will be offer mentoring, leadership training and encouragement.

Please join the Association and once again, congratulations to the Queen’s Birthday Order of Australia Awardees as community builders and please continue your building of community harmony and help us greatly improve social inclusion as well.

Manning Regional Group Luncheon November 2019

Click here to download the booking for for the the luncheon to honour new award recipients



Always look on the bright side of life

They were the words of one of the songs being sung by The Central Coast Leagues Club Barbershop Chorus. (Made up of some 14 Members) This was one of a few renditions of music performed for our members and guests prior to the commencement of our 2019 Central Coast Regional Group Annual Luncheon.

This event took place at The Central Coast Leagues Club at Dane Drive Gosford on Tuesday the 6th of August 2019.

Our NSW Deputy Chairman Mr Jim Mein AM and his wife Gill, along with some other 45 members and guests attended the luncheon to be greeted by Central Coast Town Crier Mr Stephen Clarke who read out a proclamation declaring that our meeting had commenced and asked all to stand and join the Barbershop Chorus in singing two verses of the Australian National Anthem.
This was sung with much Gusto, and to perfection.

Grace was then given by Rev Dr. Paul Logan OAM.

Stephen presented The Barbershop Chorus with a certificate of thanks from The Central Coast Branch of The Order of Australia Association for their performance at our Luncheon. It was very much appreciated by all.

At our Luncheon, there were Three New Awardees, I, as Regional Convenor asked each of them to come forward and speak for a minute or so as to how they received their awards.They were:

  • Patsy Edwards OAM For service to veterans and their families’
  • Denise Lawrence OAM For Service to music education.
  • Ken Austin OAM For service over many years to the Community of the Central Coast.

I then asked our NSW Deputy Chairman Jim Mein AM to address the Luncheon. Jim gave us a brief talk on the NSW Branch of the Order of Australia Association and upcoming events. I thanked Jim and his wife Gill for coming along to our luncheon to meet and speak with our members and guests there on the day.

After we had finished our lunch, Stephen entertained us with a few songs and asked us to join in. As well as that, he asked some of our members and guests to come up the front and form our own orchestra to sing along with. This they did, and may I say, they were outstanding, mind you they might never get to perform again, however, it was fun on the day.

Deputy Chairman Jim Mein AM then proposed the toast to The Order of Australia, and that was followed by our Guest Speaker for the day, Mr Stephen Clarke.

Stephen spoke on one of his latest ventures, which was to be flown out by a small plane to many outback towns in NSW and Queensland to visit schools for a week, to speak to the students and their teachers on “The History of Town Crying in Australia”

This was a most entertaining speech and Stephen was asked questions at the end of his speech.

 Stephen was then given a vote of thanks by Pat Slattery OAM.

I then thanked all for attending the luncheon, and told them that I look forward to meeting up with them at our next function and closed the meeting.

I thank everyone for attending and being part of our function on the day.  

Ron Sharpe OAM Regional Convenor, Central Coast Regional Group.


2019 Order of Australia Association (NSW Branch) Youth Community Service Award
(in memory of Dr John Lincoln AM)

The following NSW senior High School students have been selected to receive this Award for their exemplary commitment to community service in 2019. Photographs and key details from individual citations will be posted following the Award ceremony at NSW Government House, Sydney, on 20th September 2019. Awards will be individually presented by the Governor of NSW, Her Excellency, The Honourable Margaret Beazley AO QC to each recipient. Congratulations are extended to these outstanding young Australians on behalf of the Order of Australia Association NSW Branch.

2019 John Lincoln Youth Community Service Award – Judges Final Selections

  • Sarah Al Helfy – Birrong Girls High School, Birrong
  • Zara Blackmore – New England Girls School, Armidale
  • Ella Burgun – Coffs Harbour Senior College, Coffs Harbour
  • Amelia Farrant – Ballina Coast High School, Ballina
  • Takesa Frank – Ulladulla High School, Ulladulla
  • Josef Graf-Cooper – Wyong High School, Wyong
  • James Gray – Knox Grammar School, Wahroonga
  • Mikayla Gualtieri – Wyong High School, Wyong
  • Darcy Howard – Chevalier College, Burradoo
  • Pariselle Hughes – Redeemer Baptist School, North Parramatta
  • Kate Louisa Jacobs – Meriden School, Strathfield
  • Ryan Jepson – Sydney Boys High School, Surry Hills
  • Keshna Jeyandrabalan – Penrith Selective High School, Penrith
  • Sophie Keoghan – Northern Beaches Secondary High School, Manly Campus
  • Carla Krnel – Stella Maris College, Manly
  • Sarah Lovelady – Ascham School, Edgecliff
  • Bassam Maaliki – Homebush Boys High School, Homebush
  • Connor McLeod – Arndell Anglican College, Oakville
  • Daniel McNamara – St Aloysius College, Kirribilli
  • Hugh Norburn – The Scots College, Bellevue Hill
  • Mitchell Old – Northholm Grammar School, Arcadia
  • Adam Riesel – Emanuel School, Randwick
  • Mikayla Saliba – Strathfield Girls High School, Strathfield
  • Kyle Silk-Jones – Cambridge Park High School
  • Reegan Sumares – Mitchell High School, Blacktown

2020 Tour information

You are invited to join on a fully escorted 10 day tour of Gallipoli/Turkey in May 2020, followed immediately by a 9 day tour of the battlefields of Western Front, exclusively for members.

This fully escorted tour is reserved only for members and their guests.

Highlights of the Turkey tour led by author and historian Dr John Basarin OAM will be visits to Gallipoli Battlefields [Anzac Cove, Lone Pine, Chunuk Bair, Shrapnel Gully, The Nek, Ari Burnu, Quinn’s Post, Krithia and Helles], Troy, Pergamum, Ephesus and Istanbul.

Western Front tour highlights, led by historian Garry Snowden OAM, will include cities of Paris, leper, Amiens and Arras and the battlefields of Men in Gate, Polygon Wood, Passchendaele, Fromelles, Bullecourt, Pozieres, Compiegne and Villers-Bretonneux.

You can choose to tour Turkey on its own, the Western Front on its own, or combine the two. Approximate costs are:-

  1. Turkey $3399.00 per person twin/double share. $495.00 single supplement.
  2. Western Front $4499.00 per person twin/double share. $990.00 single supplement.
  3. Combined $8298.00 Per person twin/double share. $1485.00 single supplement. (includes Istanbul to Paris flight).

All accommodation, breakfasts, several meals, site entrance fees, coach travel, sightseeing, services of professional tour guides are included.

Not included are international airfares from Australia, insurance, some meals and expenses of personal nature.

Please register your expression of interest at your earliest opportunity as this tour will book out quickly. Further details can be supplied on request by contacting Alan Valpied at italktravel & cruise Ballarat on Phone 03 5333 5913 during business hours, or email

More information available here –

Order of Australia Association
Far South Coast Regional Group

On Saturday, 27th July, our regional group of the OAA held an afternoon tea to welcome awardees of Australia Day and Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2019.

The function was held at the home of Dr Jenny Munro AM in Narooma on a beautiful sunny winter’s day and was well attended by forty recipients, families and friends.

The group welcomed Ron Sharpe OAM and his wife Carol from Woy Woy representing the board of the NSW Branch of the Order of Australia Association.

One of five recipients of scholarships for the Young Endeavour provided by the FSCRG attended as well.

Ron spoke about the association and his involvement over many years. Each of the recipients also spoke briefly and, resoundingly, the theme was the expression of humility and responsibility to our communities.

Bridget Lunn, our Young Endeavour scholar, accompanied by her mother, Sandra, also spoke about her experience on her voyage from Eden to Sydney. Bridget is the recipient of a Tuckwell Scholarship to the ANU and plans to study Advanced Science in 2020.

Committee members Kris Macauley AM, Huon Hassall OAM and Brendan Winter Bravery Award assisted Jenny with the catering.

Awardees of Australia Day and Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2019

The names of the recipients photographed;

  • Rod Parker AM, Service to Piping over decades
  • Bridget Lunn Young Endeavour scholar
  • Rev Linda Chapman OAM, Services to the Anglican Church and Community of Moruya
  • Deirdre Landells OAM, Services to the community of Narooma through Legacy, public speaking, golf and nursing
  • Janette Griffiths OAM, Services to the community of Narooma through cinema
  • John Griffiths OAM, (seated) Services to the community of Narooma through cinema
  • Laurelle Pacey OAM, Services to the community of Narooma through School of Arts, Historical Society, Rotary and writer of five local history books
  • Cath Lawler OAM, Services to conservation and the environment with respect to equestrian pursuits
  • Elaine Heskett OAM, Services to the community of Batemans Bay through advocacy for the vision impaired, Guide Dogs Association, CWA and public speaking
  • Helen Galton OAM, Service to local government in Darwin. Helen now lives in Tathra and is President of the Far South Coast board.


Order of Australia Hunter Regional Group
Morning Tea, Cardiff RSL Club, 17 July 2019

The Order of Australia Association Hunter Regional Group held a Morning Tea at Cardiff RSL Memorial Club on Wednesday 17 July 2019 with 113 attending to enjoy the occasion and each other’s company.

There were seventeen Queen’s Birthday 2019 recipients of Order of Australia awards in the Hunter. Five of the recipients attended the Morning Tea and were congratulated on their achievements – Mr. Peter Corcoran AM of Buttaba, Mr. Robert Kennedy AM of Fordwich, Mr. Nicholas Saltos AM of The Hill, Mr. Trevor Richards OAM of Morpeth, and Mrs Beryl Tobin OAM of Belmont North.

Mrs June Cameron AM, The Hunter Regional Convenor, welcomed all present. She acknowledged the Cardiff RSL Club and the Cardiff RSL Sub Branch for their co-operation and assistance in the conduct of luncheons and morning teas over many years.

The guest speaker at the Morning Tea was Nick Talley AC, an Australian gastroenterologist, researcher, and clinical educator. His interesting and well-received presentation covered his career in Australia and the United States of America which led to him becoming a biomedical scientist and global authority on functional gut disorders.

The next Order of Australia Association Hunter Regional Group activity will be a luncheon at the Cardiff RSL Memorial Club on Saturday 22 February 2020.


The Order of Australia Hunter Regional group held a morning tea in the recreation hall of the Salamander Haven Village, Salamander Bay, on Wednesday 19 June 2019.

Ian Lovell APM, Wing Commander Tim Ireland (guest speaker), Trevor Etheridge AFC

The Master of Ceremonies was Mr Ian Lovell APM. He welcomed those present and gave an update on the Order of Australia happenings in the Hunter Region and Port Stephens, in particular.

There were five Port Stephens recipients of Order of Australia Awards in 2019;

  • Dr Gordon Ferguson Treble OAM, of Corlette,
  • Mrs Margot Capp OAM, of Gresford,
  • Mr Gary James Gooch OAM, of Bulahdelah,
  • Mrs Wendy Dorothy Hughes OAM, of Barrington, and
  • Mr William Alexander McDonald OAM, of Brandy Hill.


Judith Stone AM and Val Harvey-Hamilton OAM

Wing Commander Tim Ireland was the guest speaker. He is the Deputy Director Air Combat Transition Office stationed at 3 Squadron RAAF, Williamtown.

Wing Commander Ireland gave an interesting talk on the present upgrading of RAAF Base Williamtown to accommodate the new F-35As fighter aircraft. They will replace the F/A-18A/B Hornets, which entered service in 1985.

Surpluses from the Port Stephens’ Morning Teas are paid into the Harbourside Haven Scholarship Fund each year. A cheque for a surplus of $200 for the 2019 function has increased the total to $3,217 since 2007.

Major Charles Stevens OAM, RFD, ED





Dr Hilarie Lindsay MBE OAM

Dr Hilarie Lindsay MBE OAM

Dr Hilarie Lindsay MBE OAM, who lives in NSW, was awarded her Medal of the Order of Australia in 2006, for Service to Literature and through a range of professional organisations’, mentoring aspiring writers.

Hilarie began writing as a child, and was first published in 1966, after winning the Henry Lawson Festival of Arts Award for Short Story that year, as Lindsay Dyson (a pen name she also used in writing poems and newspaper articles).

After completing her PhD in 1997, Hilarie went on to publish a biography of Winifred Steger, as “The Washerwoman’s Dream” (2002). A story of a struggle to overcome adversity, set in outback Australia, involving bigamous marriages to Afghan cameleers, conversion to the Muslim faith and travel to Mecca. As of 2018 it is in its third edition and has also appeared in braille and as an audio book.

Hilarie was recently featured in an ABC Health and Wellbeing story titled “Australian Ballet brings dance to older Australians to boost health and wellbeing”.

Emmanuel Stamatakis, a professor of physical activity, lifestyle and population health at Sydney University, was quoted as saying community programs that encouraged social and physical activity among older people were “very important”.

Dr Hilarie Lindsay MBE OAM attended our AGM earlier this year, and we look forward to welcoming her to more Order of Australia Association NSW Branch events in the future. She is a shining example of living life to the fullest and her motto is “be kind to someone every day, and you will lead a happy and fulfilling life”


Job Description: Hon Secretary, OAA – NSW BRANCH

The role covers all aspects of the work of the Association for the New South Wales branch.


  1. Liaising with all Committee members for their specific roles, such as Chairman, Deputy Chairman, Treasurer, Events, Venues, The John Lincoln Youth Community Service Awards, NSW Membership, the OAA NSW Website, Community Liaison, Regional Coordinator and Group Convenors as well as members of the NSW Association, both metropolitan and regional,
  2. Interaction and planning with Government House NSW for events and functions including twice yearly Investitures (currently 10 Ceremonies for Australia Day recipients and 10 for Queens Birthday.) As well as liaison with the Governor’s Office for any event involving vice regal participation.
  3. Receiving correspondence for the NSW Branch and sending appropriate responses.
  4. Managing Committee Meeting agendas and venue hire; taking the minutes and distributing them to committee members.
  5. Assisting with hosting guests at Association functions. – up to 8 per year
  6. Speaking at official and social functions when required.
  7. Attending the National Conference in a different State each year

If interested in applying for this position, please notify the Deputy Chairman, Mr Jim Mein AM.
Ph:0408 660 591


Inaugural Private Tour and Morning Tea
New South Wales Branch Order of Australia

On Thursday 23rd May 2019, 30 members and guests were treated to an exclusive private tour of RAAF Base Richmond.

We observed the logistics of how the Air Force and Army work together to deploy vehicles, ARB’s, food, artillery and medical supplies into war regions or to provide relief in war torn countries and in flood or drought relief areas.

We were hosted by Flight Sergeant James Chapman (better known as “Chappy”) Visits Coordinator, Air Base Command Post, who showed us around the Base including a close-up hands-on visit of the Hercules Aircraft that were undergoing regular scheduled maintenance by the AirBus Engineering Crew.

Standing in the Hercules Aircraft with the tailgate open, transported us to a movie scene, hearts racing and ready to parachute out of the aircraft! Exciting yes but it was also a hair-raising reminder of the bravery and dedication of our Veterans and the current serving Armed Forces!

After a comprehensive tour of the RAAF Base and inspection of the aircraft, we were escorted to the Sergeants Mess where we had a scrumptious morning tea surrounded by over a century of extensive war time and RAAF memorabilia – If only the walls could talk!

VALE – Dr. Thomas John Woolard OAM
17/03/1931 – 21/06/2019

Tom died peacefully early Friday morning 21/06/2019.
Tom was widowed in 2018 after 62 years of marriage to Alison.

Tom is survived by his 3 children Andrew, Margaret and Greg and their three spouses, 11 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.
Tom was much loved by his family and loved and respected by his peers and colleagues. Tom was acknowledged to be a great mentor to a whole host of people who he supported in the medical fraternity over his 50 years as a doctor.

One of Tom’s most significant achievements was being the founding physician in establishing the Hunter Rehabilitation Service.
Remembrance gathering at Newcastle Racecourse, Monday 1 July 2019 at 11am with a light lunch served afterwards.

Vale: Ruth Louise Cotterill OAM

Ruth Cotterill OAM passed away at ‘Calvary’ Nursing Home in Cessnock last Sunday.

She would have been 90 in November.

Ruth Louise Cotterill OAM

After arriving in Walcha in the early 1970s with her husband Ron (who worked for NSW State Forests), along with their three sons Geoffrey, Paul and John it didn’t take Ruth long to become an active member of the community.

‘Mrs Cotts’ (as she was affectionately known) was soon involved with the Walcha P&C Ladies Auxiliary, the Scout Association, Junior Indoor Hockey, Swimming Club and the Cricket Association. She was also a member of the Bicentenary Church of England Restoration and Walcha Youth Club Committees.

She was a life member of the Walcha Junior Indoor Hockey Association, the Royal Far West Children’s’ Health Scheme, Walcha Cricket Association, Northern Tablelands Cricket Association and the Walcha Rugby Union Cricket Club.

On top of that Ruth was awarded Sports Administrator of the Year in 1983 at the annual Walcha Australia Day celebrations and then a few years later in 1988 had an Order of Australia Medal bestowed on her for services to not only the Walcha community but also Dungog where she was a member of the Dungog Mother’s Club and the P&C Association up until the time she left the district. Ruth was a foundation member of the Dungog School Boys Rugby League Auxiliary where she served for ten years before awarded life membership.

It is people like this throughout the country who quietly work for their community that make this nation great

Manning Regional Group Luncheon
Wingham May 24th 2019

On Friday the 24th of May, Regional Convenor, Wing Commander (Ret’d) Greg Hartig AM welcomed some 42 members and guests to The Manning Regional Group’s luncheon to welcome and congratulate the 2019 Australia Day Recipients for The Manning local area.

The luncheon was held at The Wingham District Memorial Services Club in their new function room on the third floor of the club.

The Guest Speaker for the day was Mr. Gregory Blaze OAM, of Old Bar. Greg gave us a presentation on his work that he carried out for The United Nations in The Middle East last year, complete with slides showing us very interesting facts of the area.

He told us of Two Books that he has published. The first book published in 2014 named THERE ARE NO WAVES IN MOGADISHU, The true story of an Aussie in the most dangerous city of earth. The 2nd book named ENCOUNTER WITH THE CHRIST, published in 2018.

Greg’s presentation was enjoyed by all in attendance on the day and he was asked many questions on his time working in Israel.

The 2019 Recipients in attendance on the day were:

Mrs Beryl Fenwick OAM, for her contribution to the local Anglican Church and
to the community of Taree.

Reverend Trevor Leggott OAM, for his service to the Indigenous community, in particular for his work as general director for Australian Indigenous Ministries (AIM) for 21 Years.

Mr Donald James Secomb OAM, for services to the arts, particularly through music. These include the following: Taree Arts Council, Taree and District Eisteddfod Society, Sinfonia Mid North Coast, Manning Valley Choral Society.

Mr Harvey Lee Else OAM, for service to the aviation industry, and to the community of Taree.

  • Harvey was a Helicopter Pilot for Helicopter Utilities Ltd;
  • Helicopter Pilot, Commonwealth Division of Mapping, 1968-1971;
  • Pilot and Surveyor. Australian Antarctic Research Expedition, 1964-1965;
  • Helicopter Pilot, Mad Max II, Movie 1981;
  • Namesake, Else Nunataks (1965) and Else Platform (1969) Antarctica.
  • Harvey is a past Chief Flying instructor and Foundation member of Manning River Aero Club,
  • as well as an Honorary Member of Rotary Club of Taree and Patron of The Cundletown Historical Society.

I had the pleasure of speaking on the day, explaining our Web Site for The Order of Australia Association, and saying that as NSW Regional Group Coordinator once again, that I am very pleased to be back visiting our Regional Groups, and to once again meet and speak with the many long term members and guests as well as the new awardee’s, their friends and families.

I thanked the members and guests of The Manning Regional Group on the day for making me feel so welcome and I look forward to attending other functions there in the future.

Ron Sharpe OAM
NSW Branch Regional Coordinator

The Blue Mountain, Hawkesbury, Nepean Regional Group

Sunday the 2nd of June 2019, I and some 35 members and guest’ of The Blue Mountain, Hawkesbury, Nepean Regional Group Boarded the Nepean Belle Paddle Wheeler for a three-hour Leisurely Tour along the Nepean River.

Regional Convenor Mr Lindsay Callaghan OAM and his wife Joan welcomed everyone on board as we prepared to enjoy the fellowship and wonderful meal on board The Nepean Belle.

The Nepean River and surrounds are rich in local history, and we cruised the beautiful Nepean River on board The Majestic Nepean Belle Paddlewheeler, listening to the commentary from Captain Chris Bennett, whilst his friendly staff served us with a fresh and tasty two course meal. Captain Chris led us on a tour of discovery and told us of historical facts of the local Penrith Region.

During the cruise, Chris moored the vessel into the shore, allowing us to disembark and enjoy a walk around and take in this beautiful part of the National Park and the immediate shoreline, also to enjoy light refreshments whilst there.

On board with us, was our NSW State Chairman, Mr. Peter Falk OAM and his wife Suzie. Our Committee Chairman for The John Lincoln Youth and Community Service Awards `Dr. Frank Kelleher OAM and his wife Dianne. It was good to meet up with past NSW Secretary and past National Secretary Mrs Colleen Wardell and her Husband Dr John Wardell.

It was also good to meet up with Em Prof Graham Swain AM and his wife Dell. Graham was the NSW Branch Chairman back in 1997 and during his term as NSW Chairman pushed for and increased the number of Regional Groups throughout NSW. Dell has always supported our association as well.

With us on the day were New Awardees, they were:

  • Mr. John Miller O.A.M.
  • Mr. Trevor Hamilton O.A.M.
  • Mr. Neville Barnier O.A.M. and
  • LT. Col. John Howells O.A.M. RFD

I hope that they enjoyed their day with us. I thank Regional Convener, Lindsay Callaghan OAM, his wife Joan for organizing a wonderful day, and their Daughter, Geraldine Barnes for being our photographer for the day. I very much appreciate all your efforts.

Thank you for a very Interesting and entertaining day.

Ron Sharpe OAM,
NSW Regional Group Coordinator.

VALE – Dr.Arthur Rickards “Rick” OAM

Click here for the full document

Dr.Arthur Rickards “Rick” OAM

Arthur was inspired by his mother’s Grandfather who invented the “viper” syringe for inoculating cattle and as the Courier Mail  observed, “Fredrick Blackman took a keen interest in everything that tended to the Pastoral industry and was instrumental in founding the Queensland Stockbreeders and Grazier’s Association” (Courier Mail – 1901)

His father, Cecil Rickards returned to his Queensland farm after four years in WW1 with the “Croix du Guerre” award from the Belgium Government. Arthur was seven when he died and his scholarly mother supported his academically successful life. He, like many of his cohort from UNE was inspired by visionaries such as the foundation Professor of Agricultural Economics, Jack Lewis. Jack is quoted as saying:

“Arthur Rickards entrepreneurial skills put ABRI on an efficient self-sustaining basis.”

“Rick” as he was christened by his Ag. Sc. friends from Qld. University loved his mates from this time in his life and shared many outrageous adventures many of which I’ve since discovered were of his planning.

I met “Rick” at one of the famous UNE Summer Schools in Music in the late ‘60s. He at the time was a resident Fellow in Robb  college. We dined at the still operational “Mandarin” Chinese restaurant and then graduated to the Greek restaurant in “Nick’s Café”. He thought I’d be interested in seeing the UNE Computer which operated day and night and I dismissed this opportunity as I needed to get some more practice in before the concert the next day. He was a little surprised at this response.

Over the years, we have always discussed our interests and supported each other. Apart from his outstanding contributions in the Rural industry, he also worked to establish the New England Conservatorium of Music which is housed in the old Teacher’s College.

This provides employment for musicians and allows the well established reputation Armidale has for fine music to continue. I too have supported his local farming interest by ushering cattle off the Boorolong Road and away from the oncoming traffic!

For almost 50 years I have shared my life with an energetic, creative visionary who looked to make a difference and succeeded. He was intelligent, ambitious, generous and kind to people and although he received significant awards, he didn’t seek them

He gave opportunities to people, particularly bright ambitious graduates from UNE. Many were inspired by his work ethic and productivity and have themselves nurtured successful professional lives.

Deputy Chairman’s address to Investees

To read the Deputy Chairman’s address to Investees, please download the PDF file here


It was a sea of shiny gold medals as local recipients of the Order of Australia Award met at a luncheon held at Saumarez Homestead on Friday 31st May to re-start the Armidale Branch of the Order of Australia Association.

Those in attendance included Mr Ron Sharpe OAM, Regional co-ordinator of the OAA and Mr Fred Edwards OAM, President of the New England North West Branch of the Association. Speaker Dr Robin Jones AM of Sanctuary Armidale gave an update on the Ezidi Refugee re-settlement program.

New recipients of the Award from 2017 to the present were welcomed with a reading of their citations. The event also included a PowerPoint presentation of all Armidale & Region recipients from 1977 to the present day. This list will form the basis for an Honour Board of Order of Australia recipients which it is hoped will be placed in a prominent position in Armidale in the near future.

The event was organised by steering committee members, Mrs Maria Hitchcock OAM and Mrs Sue Denison OAM.

VALE – Donald Stewart Johnston OAM

‘A Life Well Lived’

Donald Stewart Johnston OAM

Donald Stewart Johnston OAM passed away on 10th March 2019 ending a 65-year life span serving his community.

Don was born and raised in a small rural community in northern NSW, and after completing school at the age of 16yrs and as the oldest son, his career in farming was already decided.

Don always attributed his interest in public life to the scout movement, which he joined at the age of nine, reaching the level of King Scout. After the 1954 flood, which decimated his community, Don (age 24yrs) was voted President of the fund-raising committee to rebuild the community. Following this Don held many positions across many community services i.e. P&C Association, Bush Fire Brigade, A&I Society, Progress Association, various Hall Committee’s and served on Terania Shire & Lismore City Councils.

After taking up Lawn Bowls in 1960, Don soon became President of his local club, before being elected to Northern Rivers District Bowling Association (NRDBA) where he held various senior roles spanning 18 years. In 1995, he was elected Zone 1 State Councillor to the Royal NSW Bowls Association and formed the NRDBA Mixed Bowls Tour Group. After his retirement he served on the Board of Directors at both Byron Bay and Alstonville Bowling Clubs and worked tirelessly to improve these respective clubs.

In 2000, Don was presented with The Australia Sports Medal, and in 2008, he was the proud recipient of the OAM for his service to the community and his contribution to Bowls. In 2010 he reinvigorated the Clarence \Richmond Branch of the OAM Society and remained the Branch Convenor at his passing.

Hastings Macleay Regional Branch

The Hastings Macleay Branch held a function on Thursday 4th April 2019. 33 people were in attendance at the lovely Saltys’ on Hastings. As you can see from the photos, it was a lovely day at a lovely location. The food and service provided by XS Foods (Craig and Rachel) was fantastic and enjoyed by all.

Ther local breakfast radio host, Mark Strachan OAM, was the guest speaker, and he kept everyone laughing with stories of his 30 years on Breakfast at Port Macquarie.

Besides our Order of Australia award recipients, we had first time attendee Bob Emery MBE who received his award while living in the Solomon Islands. Also, in attendance were three of our Australian Police Medal recipients Ian Campbell and his wife Dawn, Eric Gollan and his wife Anne plus Doug Graham and his wife Linda. It is nice to acknowledge such contributors to Australian society.

Pictures from the event can be seen in the gallery below.

Laurie Smith OAM

Convenor, Hastings Macleay Order of Australia Association