NINE Shoalhaven-based people are among the 933 recipients to be acknowledged in the 2020 Queen's Birthday Honours.
The honours are awarded in three categories: Order of Australia Honours (General and Military Divisions); Meritorious Awards; and Distinguished and Conspicuous Awards (Military).
Doctor Richard Morris, a visiting medical officer to the Intensive Care Unit at Shoalhaven District Hospital, has been awarded the AM, a Member of the Order of Australia, for significant service to medicine, and to emergency and disaster medical response.
Bomaderry's Bruce Murphy was awarded the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to the community of the Shoalhaven through Lions and the Shoalhaven Suicide Prevention and Awareness Network.
Bevin Hardy, of Bomaderry, was awarded the OAM for service to the community of Bomaderry, and to youth through Scouts.
Berry husband and wife James and Rae Doak were also awarded the OAM for service to the community of the Illawarra through Probus, Lions and various other organisations.
Christine Dunstan, of Berry, was awarded the OAM for service to the performing arts as a producer and mentor.
In the Military Division of awards Royal Australian Navy Captain Allen Whittaker CSC was awarded the OAM for meritorious service in the field of navy aviation capability development and Warrant Officer Stephen Cheeseman was awarded the OAM for his meritorious performance of duty in the fields of naval aviation and personnel mentoring and management.
Former commanding officer of the South Coast Police District, Superintendent Stephen Hegarty was awarded the Police Medal.
Doctor Richard Morris AM
Doctor Richard Morris uses the word team a lot when he talks about being named in the Queen's Birthday Hoonours list.
Dr Morris received a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) 'for significant service to medicine, and to emergency and disaster medical response'.
His career is filled with remarkable highlights and Dr Morris says his involvement with the Ambulance Service of NSW is high up on the list.
His admiration for the "team" at the ambulance service is strong.
"I have been part of a great team in all my activities," the now Dr Morris AM said.
It's hard to dissect such a wonderful career, but two activities stand out.
He received a Group Bravery Citation as part of the team who rescued two men trapped in a mine at Beaconsfield Tasmania, 2006 and got a bravery medal for his role in the rescue of a man after a landslide at Thredbo, 1997.
"Once again the real heroes are the emergency service teams - I was just the backup man," he said.
He has been a NSW Ambulance's medical advisor since 1991.
Dr Morris is a visiting medical officer to the Shoalhaven Hospital's intensive care unit and has done so for the past 10-years.
Many of his hospital colleagues may not know about his past achievements.
"I don't feel the need to advertise these things," Dr Morris said.
He jokingly added if someone asked about his past they may get a longer answer than they were expecting.
Yes, that word team was used by Dr Morris about his latest award.
"I am proud and honoured to get the award. I am accepting it for the rest of the team," he said.
He added he was both delighted and embarrassed at the same time.
Dr Morris said he enjoys his time at the Shoalhaven hospital and likes working with the nurses and junior medical staff.
He says the team at Shoalhaven hospital keeps him young.
The 66-year-old's career is punctuated with many highlights and he is an author of more than 60 peer-reviewed medical research papers, various journal articles and book chapters.
James Doak OAM and Rae Doak OAM
Berry couple James and Rae Doak have been awarded the Order of Australia, acknowledging their service to the community of the Illawarra.
Mr Doak is the long-time president of the Gerroa Community Association.
The association, run entirely by volunteers, aims to work for the benefit of all Gerroans.
He's also a co-founder of the Seven Mile Beach Landcare Group; a member of the Gerroa Probus Club; a former president.of the Gerringong Lions Club where he has also been vice-president and secretary and is also a life member; and a former member of Lugarno Lions Club, where he was awarded the Melvin Jones Fellow in 1999.
Mrs Doak is vice-president and former president of Nowra Lions Club.
She was also awarded the Melvin Jones Fellow in 2019.
She's also a member of the Gerroa Community Association; a former president and vice-president of Gerroa Probus Club; and a member of Seven Mile Beach Landcare Group.
In 2017, Mrs Doak was presented with the Living Care Volunteer of the Year award for work with hearing impaired people in the Clelland Lodge nursing home.
Bruce Murphy OAM
Bruce Murphy may be well-known for the family funeral business he started in Nowra but it is his tireless service to the community which has seen him receive an Order of Australia.
Bruce said he was "absolutely ecstatic" and very humbled to be receiving the honour.
"It was just unbelievable," he said.
"You don't do charity work expecting rewards, you do it because the work is rewarding."
His charity work began when he was in the scouts in Marulan, when one of the scouts became a quadriplegic and they decided to raise some money to support him and help get a wheelchair.
Following on, 23, he joined the Lions in Goulburn, fundraising for a number of charities.
Then when he moved to the coast became a member of the Loins club in Milton/Ulladulla and then later moved to Nowra to start a funeral business and joined the Bomaderry Lions.
"I remember many years ago I was involved in getting some money to donate a television screen to increase the size of the writing in books for Gareth Ward," he said.
Bruce has also been heavily involved in the Shoalhaven Suicide Prevention and Awareness Network since its beginnings around 15 years ago.
"We've done a lot of great things over the years. We've got a number of educational programs where we work with PCYC, Aboriginal groups and men's groups."
With the honour, Bruce hopes more people will put their hand up and contribute to their community.
"I hope to use it to try and encourage more people to join in and do voluntary work," he said.
"That would be my aim, just to see more people getting involved and serving their community."
Bevin Hardy OAM
Bevin Hardy has been volunteering with Lions for more than 43 years and is currently the oldest active member and longest-serving Bomaderry Lion.
Both Bevin and his wife Kay have received the highest recognition possible in Lions, The Melvin Jones Fellowship, and they received it on the same day.
Bevin said he was feeling overwhelmed about receiving the Order of Australia for service to the community of Bomaderry and to youth through Scouts.
"It's not something you go after or anything like that, you do it because it's a pleasure doing it," he said.
Bevin has contributed a lot to the community through his work with Lions.
Some of those that stood out for Bevin included, recently, purchasing an air purifier for a girl with cystic fibrosis who was struggling to breathe with the bushfire smoke.
He has always been passionate about helping others who are struggling.
"We've given wheelchairs to people, a lot of stuff to the hospital, a special lift to a stroke victim.
"I've also been involved with the Lions' Carols in the Park since the first event in 1978."
Lions isn't the only community work Bevin has been involved with.
As well as successfully starting and running a business with Kay, he has dedicated decades to Scouts and has been a member of the Archer Miniature Railway.
"I became involved with scouting after I left the navy in 1972, I joined and became a scout leader for a couple of years when it was first formed," he said.
"Then I started a business from scratch but I couldn't get away on weekends so I joined the camp committee and became a camp warden.
"We got the town water put into the camp, electricity, built, a new toilet block and cleared away the site.
As things have started to reopen after the pandemic, Bevin is excited to get out there again and help the community.
"One of the things with Lions that have kept us busy for a while is the canteen at the livestock exchange," he said.
"We started back there yesterday and were missed because everybody said I'm so glad to see you back."
Christine Dunstan OAM
Berry's Christine Dunstan has achieved a lot in her 54-year career including the Sydney Theatre Awards Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016.
But for Christine, the main highlight in her career so far was her very first day.
"It gave me an opportunity, which is a very rare one, to be working and paid to practice my passion," she said.
"There are also other highlights - amazing, well-known people I've worked with but also working with extraordinary artists who are devoted to their craft."
The Order of Australia for service to the performing arts as a producer and mentor, came as a complete surprise for the theatre veteran but it also came at a time where a lot of people in the industry are doing it tough.
"My industry was completely decimated overnight in March and it's not going to recover quickly," she said.
"It has had no support or recognition and that's terribly distressing.
"None of my colleagues quality for Jobkeeper - they have been absolutely left out in the cold."
Christine has had a diverse career. She started sweeping the stage and ironing costumes, then worked her way up to a stage manager, has worked in film as an arts coordinator, been an administrator for theatre companies, worked for the Australia Performing Arts Association, produced plays and more.
She has loved her 20 years living in Berry, thanks to the internet, although she still has extended periods away from home during rehearsals.
"It's a really vibrant arts community down here and that's one of the things that attracted us down to this part of the world."
Captain Allen Whittaker CSC OAM
Captain Allen Whittaker CSC has been awarded the Order of Australia in the Military Division for meritorious service in the field of navy aviation capability development.
CAPT Whittaker has demonstrated dedication, leadership and innovation across a number of Australian naval aviation capability development roles and has been a key contributor in ensuring that navy's aviation capability continues to be one of the most well trained and operationally proficient in the world.
CAPT Whittaker said he was "surprised" by the honour but also delighted as it "recognised many wonderful teams" he has worked with over the years.
He's had a long association with HMAS Albatross, arriving at the home of the Fleet Air Arm in 1979 with the then 815 Squadron.
"I've seen a few changes," he said.
"I've seen the navy's fixed-winged capabilities go, the move solely into helicopters, likewise a move away from aircraft carriers into frigates and now back to the Canberra-Class Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD)."
Now semi-retired after 39 years service and a further four years in the navy reserves, CAPT Whittaker has filled various roles, including director of aviation.
A role that saw him oversee the concept, development and delivery of many of the navy's current aviation assets including the Sikorsky MH-60 Romeo anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare helicopter, progress the development of the MRH-90 multi-role helicopter joint shared by navy and army, the new EC-135 helicopters used at the joint navy/army aircrew training school at Albatross as well as the ScanEagle unmanned aerial system (UAS) and the SchiebelS-100 unmanned aerial system (UAS).
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"It's certainly been an exciting time to be involved in naval aviation," he said.
"And it's great to see so many of these projects come into service."
Since finishing the role of director of aviation in 2016, and entering "semi-retirement" his focus has turned to another project he has been working on since its initial inception and is now through to full operation - the Multi-role Aviation Training Vessel (MATV) MV Sycamore,
While based out of HMAS Waterhen in Sydney, Sycamore regularly carries out exercises in Jervis Bay, with CAPT Whittaker the director of the program.
"That has been a thrilling role and challenging one," he said.
"A real honour to see the ship into service and be in charge. It's like a gift that keeps on giving."
MV Sycamore supports a range of navy training activities including initial helicopter deck landing qualifications as well as other navy mariner skills training, such as at sea familiarisation, practice weapon recovery, navigation training and limited fleet support duties.
He said the honour was a "lovely surprise," but "also recognition to the many small teams who have worked alongside him over many, many years to achieve their goals.
"It is their dedication that has allowed us to ensure capability across the board. They know that."
Captain Whittaker's citation states his efforts will provide enduring benefits and future effectiveness for the Royal Australian Navy and the Australian Defence Force.
Warrant Officer Stephen Cheeseman OAM
Warrant Officer Stephen Cheeseman was awarded the Order of Australia in the Military Division for meritorious performance of duty in the fields of naval aviation and personnel mentoring and management in the Royal Australian Navy.
"It was a surprise," he said of the honour.
"We don't do what we do in the navy for recognition. We do it because we love it and I've been very lucky I thoroughly enjoyed my job and given the chance would do it all again."
WO Cheeseman has served the RAN for 34 years, with aviation having been a big part of his career.
His first association with HMAS Albatross was in 1989, and he would eventually work his way from Leading Seaman all the way through to Warrant Officer.
"I became an aircrewman in 1994 and it was the best thing I ever did," he said.
He worked with the S70B-2 Seahawk "Bravo" helicopters based at 816 Squadron at Albatross for 22 years.
"Loved every minute of my aviation career," he said "and would highly recommend it to anyone. If you can, do it."
After leaving aviation in 2016, he joined HMAS Melbourne for three years as Warrant Officer, where the ship undertook numerous exercises and international engagements.
In October last year (2019) Melbourne was decommissioned, which also provided WO Cheeseman a unique opportunity.
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"I was a young Leading Seaman onboard Melbourne when she was commissioned and to be the Warrant Officer when she was decommissioned was a special honour," he said.
Now, the Commanding Warrant Officer for the RAN's patrol boats, he oversees vessel operations from Darwin to Cairns.
"While based at HMAS Kuttabul in Sydney, I like to get onboard as often as I can," he said.
WO Cheeseman's citation states his commitment to aircrewman training and naval aviation has been integral to the delivery of a sustainable, well-trained aircrewmen workforce within the Fleet Air Arm.
"Through his outstanding training and mentorship, he has contributed to the growth in capability and warfighting proficiency of naval aviation operations.
"As HMAS Melbourne's Command Warrant Officer, his commitment to maintaining morale and mentoring the crew during challenging operational deployments was first-rate and contributed to the ship's operational success."
And he's not the only family member who has decided on a life in the military, his son Corey is Boatswain's Mate on HMAS Hobart, while his daughter Gemma is a medic with the Royal Australian Air Force at Townsville.
Another award recipient with a Shoalhaven connection is Lieutenant Commander Wayne Richards who was also awarded the OAM in the Military Division for his meritorious service in the field of navy marine and port services support.
LCDR Richards made a substantial and enduring contribution to the acquisition of highly successful and innovative Multi-Role Aviation Training Vessel MV Sycamore which although based out of HMAS Waterhen in Sydney, regularly carries out exercises in Jervis Bay.
Superintendent Stephen Hegarty BA APM
Former commanding officer of the South Coast Police District, Superintendent Stephen Hegarty has been awarded the Police Medal.
Supt. Hegarty joined the NSW Police Force (NSWPF) in 1989 and subsequently performed general duties at the Auburn, Nowra and Milton Police Stations and over his 30-year career has had a strong association with the South Coast in particular.
"This is a huge honour and privilege," he said.
"You never look for these sorts of things but it is nice when your work is recognised."
It just so happens the Supt. Hegarty's Police Medal honour also coincides with his 30th year of service with NSW Police.
"That makes it even more special," he said.
Supt. Hegarty would be one of the few officers who have worked their way from a Constable through to Superintendent on the South Coast.
"I've been lucky I've had various promotions along the coast filling many different positions before reaching Superintendent, which I suppose is pretty rare," he said.
"I've performed a variety of positions and have come and gone but always manage to get back to the South Coast."
In 2003, he was promoted to Sergeant at the Shoalhaven Local Area Command (LAC) Highway Patrol Unit and in 2007 was promoted to Inspector (Duty Officer) at the Wollongong LAC.
In 2013 he was promoted to Superintendent as Commander of Radio Operations and in 2016 he took up the role of Commander of Shoalhaven LAC which is now known as the South Coast Police District.
He was transferred in 2019 to his current role as Commander, Marine Area Command.
"This is a totally different role," he said.
"It is a specialist role, with nine sectors from Tweed in the north down to the Victorian border and we undertake a variety of roles from search and rescue, to the larger crimes at sea like drug importation.
"We were part of the recent one tonne seizure of methylamphetamines."
Supt Hegarty oversees units at Tweed Heads, Coffs Harbour, Port Stephens, Newcastle, Botany, Broken Bay, Balmain, Port Kembla and Eden.
Supt. Hegarty also successfully facilitated the re-engineering of the Shoalhaven and Batemans Bay Commands into the now South Coast Police District.
This district consists of a large geographical footprint faced with seasonal tourism swells and emergency management challenges.
He also established the 'Officer in Charge Model' where a District Inspector is accountable for a large demographic area within the district.
In March 2018 he led the response to the Tathra bush fires which saw over 100 houses damaged by fire and successfully co-ordinated the emergency response and recovery phases associated with the fire.
In 2005 he was also awarded a bravery medal and valor award for his role in an ocean rescue of a drowning swimmer.