25 January 2024

A swag of Australia Day honours for Eurobodalla and Bega Valley citizens

| Katrina Condie
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Michael Fay has received an OAM for his service to international relations and education. Photo: Julie Janson.

Inspirational citizens across the Eurobodalla and Bega Valley shires have been named on the 2024 Australia Day Honours List for their dedication to business, medicine, education and the community.

Hidden Treasures Mogo owner Richard Adams has received a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the General Division for his service to the Mogo community.

The Jeremadra resident was the inaugural president of the Mogo Village Business Chamber and has been a member since 2016. He has also been a volunteer supporter of the Business Council of Australia’s BizRebuild community rebuilding initiative since 2020 when the town was impacted by the Black Summer bushfires.

Mr Adams was presented with the Outstanding Business Leader Award by the Eurobodalla Shire Council in 2019.

Moruya’s Michael Fay has received an OAM for his service to international relations and education, after having spent more than 50 years working between Australia and South-East Asia in international education.

Mr Fay has been the ASEAN Focus Group director since 2009 and head of educational services since 2001. He is the founder of the Australia Centre Medan in North Sumatra and was a board member of the Australia Indonesia Business Council from 2015-19.

An Honorary Fellow at the University of Technology Sydney, Mr Fay co-founded the uni’s Insearch Language Centre and was the managing director from 1987-2000.

“My passion has been in strengthening education diplomacy, a key feature in developing Australia’s relationship with ASEAN,” he said.

Merimbula resident Anne Bootes has received an OAM for her service to the surf lifesaving movement.

She is a life member of the Surf Life Saving NSW Far South Coast Branch and, over the past eight years, has held various positions within the organisation, including education director and assistant director.

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A member of the Pambula surf club since 1995 and a life member since 2005, Mrs Bootes founded the Special Nippers/Save Wave Program and volunteers as a training officer and assessor, and patrol vice-captain.

A teacher at Lumen Christi Catholic College, Pambula Beach, and swimming teacher, she was named the Bega Valley Shire’s Citizen of the Year in 2020 and was awarded Surf Life Saving Australia’s National Service Medal in 2014.

Associate Professor Allen-John Collins, from Tathra, has received an OAM for his service to medicine through a range of roles, including as the international director of the MercyShips Thyroid Clinic since 2014.

Currently the surgeon director at the South East Regional Hospital in Bega, he has volunteered as a thyroid surgeon with MercyShips in Africa, is a former supervisor with the NSW Board of General Surgery and has been a consultant surgeon with BreastScreen ACT since 2004.

Dr Collins has been an Associate Professor at the Australian National University School of Medicine and Psychology’s Rural Clinical School since 2014.

Another OAM recipient in the General Division is business writer and retired teacher Colin Dunn, who has been commended for his service to the community of Pambula, and to education.

The Pambula Rotary Club president, Mr Dunn is a former chair of the Sapphire Aquatic Centre and a founding member and executive officer of the Bureau of Accessible Tourism.

He has been the chair of the Pambula and District Community Development Bank (Bendigo Bank) since 2017 and is a member of the Bega Valley Shire’s Access and Inclusion Committee.

Awarded Bega’s Community Service Medallion and named the shire’s Senior Citizen of the Year in 2019, Mr Dunn is a community radio presenter, member of the Pambula Hospital Community Engagement Committee and a member of the Southern Area Health Community Consultation Committee.

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Colin Dunn received an OAM for his service to education. Photo: Supplied.

The former deputy principal of Tuggeranong College is a representative of the Bega Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund and a founder of the Pambula Beach Community Bushfire Protection Group. He is also a member of the Pambula Chamber of Commerce and Industry and a past president of both the International Council of Small Business and Small Enterprise Association of Australia and New Zealand.

Mr Dunn said he felt “very honoured” to receive the OAM.

“I began volunteering in our Bega Valley community in 2007 after I retired and moved here from Melbourne,” he said.

“Most of my volunteering has been with Rotary and probably my most satisfying achievement has been working with Rotary and the community bank to assist people recover from the 2020 fires.

“I thoroughly enjoy volunteering as, through helping others, I get a great sense of personal satisfaction.”

Vietnam veteran Darrell Hegarty received an OAM in the General Division for his service to veterans.

The Merimbula resident is a former president and secretary of the HMAS Perth National Association and is the organisation’s webmaster.

He has received numerous awards and recognition, including the Australian Active Service Medal, with clasps for service in Malaysia, Vietnam and the Far East Strategic Reserve (FESR).

Robert Johnson has been honoured with an OAM for his service to the community through a range of roles in organisations such as the Bermagui Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism’s ReBoot Bermagui program.

He has been a Red Cross Lifeblood blood and plasma donor since 1976, is a member of the Bermagui Blue Balls Winter Swimmers club and is a volunteer firefighter with the New South Wales Rural Fire Service and a team member of the Bermagui Surf Life Saving Club.

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Mr Johnson is a reading tutor at Cobargo Public School and a volunteer with the Same Wave program for children with special needs.

He has previously been awarded the National Emergency Medal, a New South Wales Premier’s Bushfire Emergency Citation and was Bermagui Surf Club’s Person of the Year in 2018.

An OAM has been given to the late Mary Kell, also for her service to the community through a range of volunteer roles including Moruya’s Red Door Theatre, where she was a former committee member, treasurer and artistic director. She was a cast member in All In A Night’s Work in 2018.

Mrs Kell was a long-time member of both the Moruya and Dorrigo branches of the United Hospital Auxiliaries of NSW, and a former member of the Moruya, Dorrigo and Tumut Lions clubs.

Over the years, she volunteered at the Dorrigo Steam Railway and Museum and Dorrigo RSL sub-branch. She also held various positions, including president and vice-president, of the Fellowship of the First Fleeters North Coast Chapter and the Dorrigo Dramatic Society.

Her service to the committee continued with the Don Dorrigo and Guy Fawkes Historical Museum, Tumut Show Society and Rodeo Club and the All Saints Anglican Parish of Tumut, where she was a scripture teacher and parish council member.

In 2010, Mrs Kell received the Lions Melvyn Jones Fellowship Award.

OAM recipients will be invested with their medals by either the Governor-General at Government House in Canberra, or by the NSW Governor in the coming months.

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