11 September 2019

Queen's Birthday Honours for Eurobodalla and Bega Valley locals

| Ian Campbell
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Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove. Photo: Governor-General Facebook page.

Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove. Photo: Governor-General Facebook page.

Eleven people from the Eurobodalla and Bega Valley “whose actions have set them apart and enriched our community across a broad range of professional, public and community service sectors” have been recognised on the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

“In their daily lives, these admirable people demonstrate those values that we as a nation hold dear—compassion, civility, dedication, courage, kindness, tolerance, and energetic ambition. They inspire us all to be more enthusiastic and giving, to uphold the responsibility of being fully engaged citizens,” Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove says.

Included in the national list are:

  • 993 recipients of awards in the General Division of the Order of Australia
  • 221 meritorious and military awards
  • The highest ever percentage of women recipients in the Order of Australia – 40%.

Strangely no one from the Snowy Monaro received a gong this year.

“This is my last honours list as Governor-General. Over the last five years, it has been the greatest honour and privilege to recognise and celebrate over 80,000 recipients through the Honours and Awards System,” he says.

“These awards are our opportunity to say to fellow Australians, ‘thank you – without you and your tireless service we wouldn’t be the community or nation that we are’.

A full list of recipients is available on the Governor-General’s website.

Locally honours go to…

David John Papps of Tathra has been made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to public administration.

Mr Papps’ career includes:

  • Department of Environment and Energy, Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder, 2012-2018.
  • Chief Executive, Department of Environment, Climate Change, Energy and Water ACT.
  • Former Deputy Secretary, Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment.
  • Former Executive Director, New South Wales Department of Planning.
  • Former Deputy Director-General, New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Locals receiving a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) include:

Dierdre Elizabeth Landells of Narooma for service to the community of Narooma.

Ms Landells contribution includes:

Narooma Legacy Group

  • Vice-President Wollongong Board, since 2018.
  • Coordinator and Legatee, since 2007.
  • Organiser, annual Legacy Golf Days, since 2010.

Narooma Golf Club

  • Former Director.
  • Former Committee Member and President, Ladies Club.
  • Has held various positions with the Far South Coast Ladies Committee.

And as a nurse of 50 years; predominantly as a Clinical Nurse Specialist and midwife at Moruya Hospital.

Laurelle Pacey of Narooma for service to community history.

Ms Pacey’s contribution includes:

Narooma School of Arts and Soldiers War Memorial Hall Inc

  • Secretary, since 1995.

Narooma Historical Society

  • President, current.
  • Founding Member, 1990s.
  • Former Secretary.

Rotary Club of Narooma

  • Member, since 2000.
  • Bulletin Editor and Club Historian, current.
  • Vice President/Forme, President, Youth Director and Vocational Service Director.

And as a member of the Heritage Advisory Committee, Eurobodalla Shire Council, since 2008.

Author of many local history books

  • Tilba Times Revisited, 2015.
  • Bodalla and the Morts, 2010.
  • Narooma’s Past- steamers, sawmills and salmon, 2001, 2005 and 2016.
  • Tilba Times, 1995.
  • The Lure of Montague, 1991, 2001 and 2013.
  • The Story of the Wagonga Inlet, 1990.

Speaking to Region Media, Ms Pacey says, “I am somewhat overwhelmed that someone appreciated my historical research and writing to such an extent that they nominated me for an OAM. Very humbling.”

“My career has been in journalism, particularly agricultural journalism but I have always been interested in why places are where they are and what makes them tick.

“I was frustrated when I moved to Narooma 30 years ago that there was nothing that really explained the area’s fascinating history and so my digging began.

“I’ve now published 10 books about four subjects – Narooma, Montague Island, Bodalla and Tilba – the books are constantly evolving as I find more pieces to the jigsaw. As one sells out I add more and publish a revised edition.

“What has been so absolutely wonderful is finding that so many others share my fascination with the area’s history.”

Leanne Barnes of Merimbula for service to water polo.

Ms Barnes service includes:

Water Polo Australia

  • Chair, Water Polo Australian Hall of Fame Induction Committee, since 2019.
  • Inducted into the Hall of Fame, 2011.
  • Director, 1996-2011.
  • Chair, Australian Water Polo Incorporated’s Gender Equity Committee, 2004-2010.
  • Member, High Performance Management Committee for Men’s Water Polo National Program, 2001-2004.
  • Head of Delegation, World Swimming Championships, 2007.
  • SOCOG IOC Relations and Protocol Manager, Water Polo, Sydney Olympic Games, 2000.
  • Junior National Team Manager, World Championships, 1999.
  • Member and Representative for Oceania, FINA Technical Water Polo Committee 1988-1992.
  • National Team Manager, 1983-1991.
  • Former State Coach, Victoria, 1990.
  • Former State Women’s Manager, Victoria, 1983-1987.
  • National Player, 1978-1982.
  • State Player and Captain, Victoria, 1976-1983.

Other Sporting roles:

  • Chairperson, Beijing Athlete Program, Australian Sports Commission/Australian Olympic Committee, 2006-2007.
  • Chairperson, Olympic Women’s Program and High Performance Committee 1997-2004.

Bega Valley Shire Council

  • General Manager, current.
  • Former Director.

Bass Coast Shire Council

  • Vice-President, Phillip Island Aquatic Centre Project, 2000-2001.
  • Member, Local Priority Policing, Community Safety Committee Bass Coast, 1997-2000.
  • Member, Bass Coast Municipal Fire Prevention Committee, 1997-2000.
  • Chair, Bass Coast Stay and Play Safe Committee, 1997-2000.
  • Member, Economic Development Board, 1996-1999.


  • Board Member, Far South Coast Regional Development Australia, since 2014.
  • Board Member, Health Panel Southern New South Wales Local Health District Pambula Hospital Review, 2012-2013.
  • Former Board Member, Eden Community Training Partnership-Ex officio adviser Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre.
  • Board Member, South East Arts New South Wales Regional, 2001-2007.

Ms Barnes says it’s been a long journey to get media and community respect for the skill and talent of women’s sports and there is still work to do.

“We need to move to a more desexualized presentation of women’s sport,” Ms Barnes says.

“And our language needs to change, they are water polo players, not female water polo players.

“But this award has made me realise how far we have come since I first got involved in the 1970’s and I will continue to help in the change and growth,” Ms Barnes says.

The Stingers, Australia’s women’s water polo team are in Budapest right now competing in the FINA World League Finals.

Christopher Sparks of Kalaru for service to people with a disability.

Mr Sparks contribution includes:

Physical Disability Council of NSW

  • President, since 2017.
  • Board Member, since 2016.

Assistive Technology Suppliers Australasia

  • Senior Adviser, since 2016.
  • Executive Officer, 2007-2016.


  • General Manager (Asia), 2005-2006.
  • General Manager (Australia), 2000-2005.

Northcott Disability Services (formerly known as the Northcott Society)

  • Board Member, 1993-2002.
  • Former Vice-President.

Other Disability work

  • Dynamic Living Designs, Director and General Manager, 1993-2001.
  • Director, Seating Dynamics, 1999-2015.
  • Vice-Chair, Access and Inclusion Advisory Committee, Bega Valley Shire Council, since 2012.
  • Consultant, 3 Wheeled Ute Pty Ltd, since 2007.
  • Member, Disability Council NSW, 2012-2015

Wheelchair Sports NSW

  • President, 1986-1991.
  • Board Member, 1984-1993.
  • Member, 1981-1996.

Other Sports

  • Commissioner, National Wheelchair Basketball League, 1990s.
  • Representative, Australian Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Team, 1985-1990.
  • Representative, NSW Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Team, 1983-1991.

Other awards and recognition

  • Australian Sports Medal, 2000.

Speaking to Region Media just last month about his work, Mr Sparks said, “without people kicking the door, change comes slowly.”

The comment came in response to proposed funding cuts from the NSW Government to disability advocacy groups.

“If funding is cut, these organizations won’t be coming back, we just can’t do it with no money at all, we’re barely managing on the budget we have.”

Mr Sparks is encouraging people who have concerns to write to their local MP or request a meeting.

Ross Francis Williams of Kalaru for service to the community through social welfare organisations.

Reaching Out Foundation

  • Founding Chairman, since 2013.

Dining with Dignity

  • Founder, Ricky’s Place Cafe, since 2009.
  • Co-founder, Monty’s Place, Narooma, 2015.
  • Co-founder, Pearls Place Pambula.
  • Co-founder, Snowy’s Place, Cooma.

Bridget McPherson Foundation

  • Director, since 1988.

Other community roles

  • Member, Rotary Club of Merimbula, since 1988.
  • Member, St John’s Church Bega, current.
  • Former Board Member, Bimbimbie Retirement Village.
  • Former Deputy Chairman, Imlay Nursing Home.
  • Former Vice-President, Good Neighbour Council of NSW.
  • Founder, Merimbula Branch, ANZ Bank.
  • Former Volunteer, World Council of Churches Refugee Service (Austria and London).
  • Former Executive Board Member, Western Australian Red Cross.

Other awards and recognition

  • Anglican Church of Australia’s award for innovation and leadership (Ricky’s Place), 2011.
  • Prime Minister’s Centenary Medal, 2001.

Of note in this year’s list are three residents of the small village of Mossy Point, between Batemans Bay and Moruya…

The Reverend Linda Jane Chapman of Mossy Point for service to the Anglican Church of Australia.

Moruya Anglican Parish

  • Rector, St John’s Anglican Church, since 2010.

Assisted with the foundation of the following:

  • Peace Park, 2015.
  • South Coast Health and Sustainability Alliance, 2014.
  • Moryua Red Door Cafe, 2012.
  • Slightly Bent Choir.

When Region Media called to congratulate Rev Chapman she said when the email first come through from the Honours office she ignored it thinking it was a scam.

“It’s unbelievable, a real surprise and a little bit embarrassing but a huge honour,” she says.

“What I am conscious of is the privilege of living in a community where there are so many people working for the common good.

“For me, the critical and wicked problem of our time is climate change and the need for action. We have a responsibility to the common good to reduce our carbon emissions.”

Arthur John Coorey of Mossy Point for service to rugby league, and to the community.

Canterbury-Bankstown Rugby League Club

  • Vice-President, 2010-2018.
  • Director, 2008-2018 and 1994-2002.
  • Deputy Delegate to New South Wales Rugby League.
  • Life Member.

Canterbury League Club Limited

  • Deputy Chairman, 2010-2018.
  • Member, Disciplinary Sub-Committee, 2011-2018.
  • Member, Building and Project Control Group, 2011-2018.
  • Founder, Maronite Church of Australia Mission Food Run Partnership, 2015.


  • Patron, Canterbury-Bankstown Referees Association.
  • Member, Royal Motor Yacht Club of NSW.
  • Volunteer, St Patrick’s Catholic Church, Sydney, since 2008.
  • Director, Stewarts Gentlemen’s Outfitters, Sydney.

Elaine Jean Heskett of Mossy Point for service to the community through a range of roles.

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT

  • Public Relations Speaker, current.
  • Vision Advocate, current.

Country Women’s Association of New South Wales

  • Treasurer, Moruya Branch, current.
  • Vice President, Far South Coast Group, current.

Other awards and recognition

  • Member, Hidden Treasure Honour Roll, New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, 2011.

Robert Thatcher of Bega receives a Fire Service Medal

Mr Thatcher joined the Jellat Rural Fire Brigade in 1958 and over the ensuing 60 years he has been a pivotal member of the Brigade taking on several administrative and operational roles which culminated in his appointment as Captain in 2000.

He has been the backbone of the Jellat Brigade for the past 19 years in his roles of either Captain, President or Vice-President. He has led the Brigade through major reform, focusing on developing the Brigade into the modern professional organisation that exists today, while ensuring the values, and lessons of the past are passed down to new members.

He has been instrumental in the mentoring of all members of the Brigade and in times when membership numbers are low, he goes above and beyond to recruit members who have the right skills, the right attitude, and fit in with the values and culture of the NSW Rural Fire Service.

He is the public face of the Jellat Brigade, taking all opportunities to be involved in community engagement and awareness activities such as the Get Ready Weekend, Australia Day and ANZAC Day Activities.

His fundraising efforts and his knowledge of the community, and his reputation within it, ensures that the Brigade maintains the ability to purchase new equipment and maintain the facilities.

The achievements of the Jellat Brigade over the past 60 years, particularly during the past 19 years, are in no small way due to Mr Thatcher’s leadership and his dedication to the safety of the community of New South Wales.

Glenn Norman Felkin of Batemans Bay receives an Emergency Services Medal

Mr Felkin has been a member of Marine Rescue New South Wales (MRNSW) Batemans Bay Unit since 2009 and has contributed in a distinguished manner to the safety of the boating community of the New South Wales Far South Coast as a Marine Rescue Volunteer, Trainer, Assessor and Director.

As a skilled and professional Watch Officer and Marine Rescue Master, he placed the highest priority on the safety of his fellow MRNSW volunteers and the boaters they serve. He has responded to numerous emergencies on the Far South Coast, often in extreme conditions, to save lives on the water and has provided steady leadership and assistance in extensive searches in response to fatalities at sea.

Through his commitment to volunteer education in his roles as a Trainer and Assessor, he has made a lasting contribution to the operational capability of MRNSW and to the skills, capacity and safety of its members. As well as his contribution to the management and operations of the Batemans Bay Unit, he has selflessly committed additional time and energy to train and assist other units.

He has been pivotal to the development of Marine Rescue Moama, travelling long distances to train the members of the new inland unit in the skills required to provide a vital emergency service on the high-risk Murray River.

In his position as the elected Monaro Regional Director on the MRNSW Board since 2015, he has provided strategic leadership to the organisation and its 3,000-plus volunteer members, promoting strong, transparent and ethical corporate governance.

Mr Felkin epitomises the skill, dedication and altruistic commitment to community service of the Australian emergency services volunteer and he has served MRNSW and the community of NSW with pride and distinction.

Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove says “I encourage all Australians, if ever you see someone with an Order of Australia lapel badge, or see an Order of Australia post nominal after their name, to recognise that the person is extraordinary and has served their community and nation.”

“And if, in doing so, you think of someone you know that is similar then consider nominating them for an award so that they too can be celebrated.”

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So happy to see that Narooma residents Laurelle Pacey and Dierdre Landells have been honoured for their wonderful contributions to our town. Congratulations to all.

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