Five Shoalhaven residents have been honoured in this year's Queen's Birthday Honours.
Sue Davies, Laurie McGinty, Clem McNamara, all of Nowra and Dr Mary Moran, of Kangaroo Valley and Phillip Brown, of Milton have each been awarded Order of Australia Medals.
Ms Davies and Mr McNamara were recognised for their service to the community through social welfare organisations, Mr McGinty for service to the community through a range of roles, Dr Moran for her service to medical research, and to global health initiatives and Mr Brown for service to the community of Milton-Ulladulla.
Three locals were also honoured in the military division of the awards.
Former Commanding Officer of the Army's Pararchute Training Centre, Colonel Robert Calhoun was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) and naval personnel Petty Officer Lauren Carruthers and Lieutenant Commander Belinda Finlay the Conspicuous Service Medal (CSM).
Sue Davies OAM
THE woman who established and ran the groundbreaking Domestic Violence Intervention Service in Nowra for 13 years has been recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours.
Sue Davies has been awarded an Order of Australia Medal for service to the community through social welfare organisations.
But it is through her work in establishing the first Shoalhaven based Domestic Violence Intervention Service at the Nowra Police station that she is best known.
And it was her efforts and those of her team that saw the Nowra service often highlighted as an example for others and referred to as best practice.
The service was the brainchild of Beverley Dobie who was the lone DV worker in Nowra for 20 odd years.
Along with then officer in charge of Nowra police, Wayne Starling, they saw the need for the service to be expanded.
And for it to work it needed to operate out of the police station.
"I'm still a bit dumbstruck by the whole thing to be honest," Ms Davies said.
"It borders on being extremely proud and overwhelmed through to extremely embarrassed.
"I just did my job. A lot of other people did the work as well.
"I couldn't have done it without the support of so many wonderful local community agencies - the likes of SAHSSI (Supported Accommodation and Homelessness Services Shoalhaven Illawarra), Waminda, FACS - all the agencies.
A great honour but it borders on being extremely proud and overwhelmed through to extremely embarrassed. I just did my job. A lot of other people did the work as well.Sue Davies OAM
"We built up some wonderful relationships and were all working towards the one goal with the service.
"But it really is lovely for that work to be recognised."
In the 13 years Sue was manager/program coordinator, the service helped 5400 clients.
"I just loved my job and being able to help people, often at their worst and most vulnerable times," she said.
However, Sue was known to go way above and beyond in her job, often staying in her own time to ensure her clients were looked after.
The service expanded to not only help DV victims in their time of crisis, but also accompany them to court, with the establishment of the Domestic Violence Court Assistance Service.
"We were there from the crisis point through until the matter was finalised," she said.
"Our clients had the same team working with them, and I believe that did make the whole experience a lot easier."
Mind you it wasn't all plain sailing for Ms Davies and her team and it took some time for them to be accepted by police.
"It took a long while for the cops to trust and want to work with us," she said.
"For the first year I was honestly like a tea lady but eventually they saw the work we were doing and we became part of the fold.
"And it was through those relationships with police and other local services that the service became the success it is."
Since 2017 she has been the family counsellor at the Shoalhaven Homeless Hub in Nowra, while prior to her DV work she was a case worker/house supervisor for the NSW Department of Community Services for 17 years.
Laurie McGinty OAM
Nowra man Laurie McGinty said it was "the shock of his life" to be awarded the Order of Australia Medal in the Queen's Birthday Honours.
Mr McGinty was recognised for service to the community through a range of roles.
"It was the shock of my life," he said.
"When I received the letter, I was stunned. I initially thought it was a joke, but it seemed really official.
"Then it hit me it was real, I was stunned. I ended up in tears. I had no idea who would have nominated me."
Incredibly the award is announced six years to the day Mr McGinty arrived in Nowra and a day after his birthday.
"A pretty good birthday present," he said.
"It has been a very humbling experience. It's not just me, there are a lot of people who have helped me achieve everything I have."
Mr McGinty has been a Justice of the Peace since 1975, sworn in as an 18-year-old.
"Back then it was the done thing," he said.
"My family has a history of service, my father was a JP, a role he performed for close to 50 years so I guess I just continued the tradition.
"Although he [his father] wasn't really impressed when I turned up to Campsie Courthouse in thongs, shorts and a T-shirt to be sworn in."
Over the years he has helped thousands of people.
Mr McGinty is currently vice-president of the Shoalhaven Branch, NSW Justices Association, and over oversees JP activities in both Nowra and more recently Kiama.
It has been a very humbling experience. It's not just me, there are a lot of people who have helped me achieve everything I have.Laurie McGinty OAM
"We have a team of seven or eight local JPs who make themselves available to sign documentation for residents," he said.
"In the Nowra office alone we have signed just under 8000 pieces of paper."
He was involved in the Scouting Australia movement for 22 years being a scout and venturer leader, a group leader and district commissioner.
One of his proudest achievements was as coordinator of the 'Christmas Light Show on Second Street', in Ashbury, Sydney for 25 years.
"We started that with my late parents and it has been running for 33 years now," he said.
"The whole street gets involved in the event which over the years has raised money for various charities including Bill Crew's Exodus Foundation in Ashfield, which feeds the homeless, or as it is better known the Loaves and Fishes Free Restaurant."
That serves 800 meals to the needy every day.
Despite now living in the Shoalhaven he is still involved in the light show, organising the invites each year for residents to take part.
"It's just a great family event and it builds a community," he said.
"It made Second Street one of the places to see Christmas lights. Second Street was just like a country street in the city."
Mr McGinty's working life included 45 years in retail.
He worked for Waltons for 20 years and Grace Brothers for 20 years where he had stints as store manager, including the final manager of the Nowra outlet, as well as shorter stays at Bunnings and Telstra before operating his own business.
During his time with Grace Brothers he was heavily involved in the company's fundraising efforts for the Sydney Children's Hospital at Westmead and was also the chairperson of the Myer/Grace Bros Community Fund which raised money for many charities across the country.
"My time with Nowra Grace Bros was extremely rewarding even if it finished on a sad note and closure of the local store," he said.
"I made some great friends and a number of us, including some even from the Emmotts and Youngs days, get together a couple of times a year."
He said he has lived by a simple message he was given by Waltons' store manager Bede Bennett in 1969: "Whatever role or position you are gifted, say thank you, and continue doing what you normally do."
Another was "treat your customers the way you would like to be treated if you were the customer".
He said he has enjoyed his move to the Shoalhaven.
"The Shoalhaven is just a great place," he said.
"With all the people in the Shoalhaven and in the Gilmore Electorate if everyone contributed in one way or another to help each other it would even better. It doesn't matter who you are.
"We have a number of great organisations locally who are doing some wonderful things in the community, which is great value adding to the people of the area and that's what makes the Shoalhaven such a good place to live."
Clem McNamara OAM
When he was young, the priesthood beckoned, but Clement 'Clem' McNamara found other ways to help others.
And that has led to him being awarded the Order of Australia Medal for service to the community through social welfare organisations,
"When I was young, I joined the Catholic Youth Organisation - I was 18 or 20 - we used to take the orphanage kids out," he said.
"We'd take these poor little buggers, tiny little kids with no parents, down the river for a picnic. You get to know that little kid, and you want to go back. That's how it starts off."
Mr McNamara now has three children, with wife Carole, and 10 grandchildren, but his passion for helping others is undimmed.
After decades of work with those who are homeless, alcoholics, drug addicted, or in trouble with the law, he said the sweetest moments were much the same.
"I enjoyed most seeing the satisfaction people got when they feel they're on the road to Mandalay," he said.
"They feel they have overcome the terrible problem that they've got, and they can see a future for themselves. And to get somebody to do that, it's hard."
Mr McNamara co-founded St Jude's Refuge for men in Bankstown in 1992, after seeing a need in the area.
"St Jude is the saint of the hopeless, and we needed somebody with a name like that," he said.
"In the Bankstown area, where most of my work happened, there were lots of alcoholics - in later years, the drugs started to come in.
"DOCs was in its infancy, to start a new place you had to rely on the church.
"St Jude's was an old weatherboard building - about a hundred years old, it was before OHS and it was a fire trap."
He was successful in getting finance to tear down and rebuild the structure, and obtain trained staff.
A short time later he was made aware of another need.
"Women started to come. I had to tell them I was sorry, but we didn't have any women's refuges," he said.
"The men could go and sleep in the park, but a woman can't do that. They'd sleep in shop doors, or the back of McDonald's.
I enjoyed most seeing the satisfaction people got when they feel they're on the road to Mandalay.Clem McNarmara OAM.
"Or they went to the clubs, and wait to be picked up, so they would have a bed for the night - it was a drastic thing to have to do.
"I thought we had to open up a place for these women. And one night I was having a dream, and I dreamt of Mary, Jesus' mother, and I thought we'll call it St Mary's House.
"And we did. We couldn't look after women, [as men] we didn't know their problems or their troubles.
"We asked the Sisters of Mercy, and they said they would take it up."
Mr McNamara followed that up with work in the pilot for Volunteer Policing, which led to a role hearing cases for first offenders.
He retains a great faith in people's ability to grow and change.
"Absolutely - I've seen so much real change in people," he said.
"People's environment is the main influence.
"That goes with love and care given to them when they need it the most.
"And encouragement. Everybody needs a form of encouragement, no matter what they do, because no one is perfect. Then advice, financial help, if you can, spiritual help, if it suits the situation."
He encouraged anyone who felt a pull towards community work to have a go.
"I think everybody likes to help somebody, it's just if you're cut out for this type of work," he said.
Dr Mary Moran OAM
Order of Australia recipient Dr Mary Moran has dedicated her life to the improvement of global health.
Dr Moran has been awarded an OAM for service to medical research and global health initiatives.
Mary has more than 20 years experience in health policy and practice which includes 10 years specialising in neglected disease policy.
Dr Moran said some people thought it was hopeless to help the third world but through her efforts she has proven otherwise.
"You can help people one at a time but there are seven billion people in the world," Dr Moran said.
Mary said her passion was to get people to make the things we need.
This isn't flying to mars this is making medicine, we know how to do that. The Ebola vaccine is nearly 100 per cent effective, we've saved whole villages.Dr Mary Moran OAM.
"The Ebola vaccine is nearly 100 per cent effective, we've saved whole villages," Dr Moran said.
"There have been no confirmed cases of Meningitis since 2012.
"I do it because it's incredibly rewarding and fun."
The founder of Policy Cures research group said her greatest achievement was publishing her first report at London School of Economics in 2005.
"[The report] proved we could make medicines for the developing world," Dr Moran said.
"It started things rolling.
"This isn't flying to mars this is making medicine, we know how to do that."
She said she would celebrate by going on a bushwalk and drinking lots of champagne.
Phillip Brown OAM
Milton's Phillip Brown was rewarded for his service to the region in this year's Queen's Birthday Honours.
Mr Brown has had a huge hand in reviving the Blessing of The Fleet Festival in Ulladulla, having been the chairman of the festival's committee since 2007.
The Rotary Club of Milton-Ulladulla was approached, as community non-for-profit organisation, to revive and run the Festival and have run it, under the stewardship of Mr Brown for 12 years.
The volunteer said the recognition was a "huge" honour.
"It's very humbling, I'm just one of the many volunteers in this town," he said.
Mr Brown is also a past president of the Rotary Club of Milton Ulladulla (2008-09 and 2017-18) and has been an active member of the club since 2001. During this time he was Paul Harris Fellow sapphire recipient and a past community director.
A surveyor by trade, has also been heavily involved with the Milton-Ulladulla Baptist Church since becoming a member in 1985.
It's very humbling, I'm just one of the many volunteers in this town.Phillip Brown OAM.
He is a member of the church's building committee since 1997, he's helped bring Christmas cheer through combined Christmas Carols organising committee, he was a deacon from 2000 to 2005 and a past Sunday School teacher.
Mr Brown is also known for his support of Jindelara Respite Cottage, his membership and leadership of Milton Ulladulla Apex Club in the 1990s and his leadership of the Milton Public School's P and C from 1995 to 2001.
Mr Brown said he appreciated the support of Rotarians and Apexians over the years and he also praised the support of his wife Rose.
"We've been here for 34 years in Ulladulla [region] and we've had a fantastic time making friends through our volunteering," he said.
Some of Mr Brown's awards and recognition include:
- Community Service Award, Ulladulla Milton Lions Club, 2014.
- Margaret Horan Memorial Award, Ulladulla Milton Lions Club, 2014.
- Citizen of the Year Award, Ulladulla Milton Lions Club, 2010.
- South Coast Regional Tourism Awards for Business Excellence, 2008.
- Rotarian of the Year, Rotary Club of Milton-Ulladulla, 2003-2004 and 2005-2006.
- Joanna Gash MP Community Award, 2009.
Colonel Robert Calhoun - Distinguished Service Cross (DSC)
The former Commanding Officer of the Army's Parachute Training Centre at HMAS Albatross, Col Calhoun was awarded the DSC for distinguished command and leadership in warlike operations while deployed as the Commander of Task Group Taji VI in Iraq from December 2017 to June 2018.
Colonel Calhoun's distinguished command and leadership of Task Group Taji VI improved the operational effectiveness of Iraqi Security Forces and contributed to the denial of operational freedom of manoeuvre of Da'esh forces in the North Baghdad area of operations.
The centralised training facility concept and coalition partner force arrangements consolidated by Colonel Calhoun was a significant achievement.
His efforts enabled the Baghdad Fighting School to assume broader responsibility for training and his leadership has improved the overall effectiveness of the Iraqi security forces.
Petty Officer Lauren Carruthers - Conspicuous Service Medal (CSM)
PO Carruthers was awarded the CSM for meritorious achievement in the field of aviation technician training.
Petty Officer Carruthers consistently demonstrated superior knowledge and skills in the development and delivery of the MH-60R Seahawk Helicopter technical training.
She has been integral to the efforts of creating a training system that increases the competency and operational proficiency of the Fleet Air Arm's Maritime Combat Helicopter force.
Her contribution assisted in developing the Training Authority - Aviation to be one of the foremost technical training systems in Australia.
Lieutenant Commander Belinda Finlay - Conspicuous Service Medal (CSM)
LCDR Finlay was awarded the CSM for meritorious devotion to duty as the First Lieutenant, HMAS Albatross.
LCDR Finlay's commitment to duties has been outstanding.
She has been instrumental in enhancing security arrangements, expertly coordinated high profile visits and ceremonial activities; developed constructive relationships across the base and with the local community, and compassionately supported members under her command.
She demonstrated exceptional leadership and her commitment to duties has been inspirational; and ensuring that Albatross is held in the highest regard.