Australia Day was marked in different ways by Red Cross volunteers, members and staff across the country.
Friday January 27, 2017
Members of the Mental Mates group in Katherine, supported by Red Cross, receive their award. Red Cross Community Development Officer Stanley Law (second from left) is pictured alongside Garry Bennett, Norman Rosas and Errol McCoy.
Some people celebrated, some took part in Survival Day festivals and marches with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, some attended citizenship ceremonies to welcome our newest Australians, and some forewent the public holiday to continue working.
At Red Cross we respect the many different meanings of 26 January for different people, and we want to contribute to building a more united, happy and strong Australia. We applaud the many Red Cross people who were recognised in the Australia Day awards for their contributions to our communities. Here are just a few of those extraordinary people whose work we are so grateful for, this week and every day.
Officer of the Order of Australia (AO)
Dr Helen Durham
Helen is the former head of international humanitarian law at Australian Red Cross who went on to smash the glass ceiling at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), becoming the first female Director for International Law and Policy and moving to Geneva. As if that weren't impressive enough, she's now been appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service to international relations in the area of humanitarian and criminal law, to the protection of women during times of armed conflict, and to legal education.
Member of the Order of Australia (AM)
President of Australian Red Cross, Michael Legge was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for 30 years of humanitarian work with Red Cross. Starting as a volunteer ambulance driver, he went on hold roles with Red Cross at the Tasmanian state level, nationally, and internationally. He has mostly contributed to our governance, but also pitched in on the ground to rebuild communities after disasters such as the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.
Julian Ferdinand Stefani
Former South Australian MP Julian was awarded the AM for service to charitable and multicultural organisations, and to the SA Parliament. He served as a member of the Red Cross Divisional Council from 1991 to 2001 and member of the Executive Committee from 1995 to 1998. He has previously received an OAM.
Jennifer is the former CEO of the Australian Red Cross Blood Service, and served as interim CEO for Humanitarian Services last year while we undertook recruitment for a permanent chief executive. She received an AM for significant service to the community through leadership roles in the public health sector, and to NGO governance.
Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)
Gloria was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to the community of Manildra, NSW. She has served with a number of community organisations, and has been a member of the Manildra Red Cross Branch since 1986. Last year she received a Red Cross award for 30 years' service.
Red Cross aid worker and nurse Libby received an OAM for services to nursing, disaster relief and healthcare assistance. Libby has taken on 23 international missions with Red Cross, including saving lives during the Ebola crisis in Liberia. She has also worked extensively in remote Aboriginal communities. In 2015 she received the Red Cross Florence Nightingale Medal, nursing's highest honour.
Stewart received an OAM applauding his work raising money for community organisations including Red Cross, the Benalla hospital auxiliary, and Riding for the Disabled. He has volunteered at his local Red Cross Shop and is a previous recipient of a Red Cross Exceptional Service Award.
Much like Libby Bowell, Noela is a nurse, international aid worker and prior recipient of the Florence Nightingale Medal. She was awarded an OAM for her years of work as a nurse in remote Aboriginal communities, as well as South Sudan, Kenya, Darfur, East Timor, Liberia, Afghanistan and other countries.
Vedran received an OAM for services to the community through a range of charitable organisations. He worked as a senior staff member at Australian Red Cross for a number of years in varied positions, and has worked for the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) in Geneva as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Sarajevo. He's previously received a Red Cross Distinguished Staff Award in 2006, and Meritorious Service Award in 2003.
Janet received her OAM for service to surf lifesaving, but has also volunteered at her local Red Cross Shop for five years, raising funds for our vital everyday services.
Ros received the OAM for service to a variety of community organisations including Red Cross. As President of the Red Cross Mount Moriac Branch she mobilised volunteers in late 2015 to visit Apollo Bay and Wye River in the wake of the Victoria Christmas Day bushfires. She's been a member of the branch since 1979.
William or Uncle Bill was awarded an OAM for service to the Aboriginal community. He established an Indigenous youth group in partnership with Red Cross, which has operated since 2010. He's involved in diverse community work, from contributions to the Birpai Local Aboriginal Land Council to being a White Ribbon Ambassador.
Goulburn Red Cross Branch member Margaret was given an OAM for service to local government, and to the community of Goulburn in NSW. She has served as a Goulburn Councillor since 1983 and contributes to a number of local organisations.
Mary received an OAM for service to botanical organisations and to philanthropy. She's a benefactor of a range of organisations including Red Cross. She's previously received a Red Cross Long Service Medal.
Margaret was awarded the OAM for service to women and to the community. She served as President of the Red Cross Mundaring Unit for 34 years. She's also active in a number of other community groups including the Country Women's Association.
Carmel is leader of the First Kerang Scout Group and received her OAM for services to scouting and to the community. She's served with the Scouts and other community organisations for many years, including volunteering with Red Cross from 1990 to 2000.
Local community awards
Dylan was named Katherine's Citizen of the Year for his suicide prevention work with the local community, supporting 100 locals to receive training to build their skills in improving mental health and preventing suicide. Dylan worked closely with Red Cross to deliver the program.
Katherine Men's Group
The Katherine Men's Group's White Ribbon Day March was awarded Community Event of the Year. More than 300 community members, including schools, businesses and more, took the pledge last White Ribbon Day to stand up against family violence.
Lady Lawley Cottage
Lady Lawley Cottage won the Town of Cottesloe's Active Citizenship - Community Group award. The Red Cross respite care service has been supporting West Australian families for more than 114 years. For 24 hours and 7 days a week, the centre's hardworking volunteers and staff provide dedicated support to children and young adults with a range of disabilities.
Matthias is Nauiyu's Citizen of the Year, recognised for his work as Chair of the Ngembimi Wirr Tal Committee - working with Red Cross to increase local school attendance, family engagement in education and community enterprise development.
Sandy was presented with an award by the ACT Government in recognition of her work in planning, driving and facilitating a recovery evacuation centre exercise in November 2016. Sandy has already started planning another exercise for later in 2017 with the ACT emergency services community.
Congratulations to all people recognised in the Australia Day honours - you make our communities better every day.