News

“Extremely Honoured”: King’s Birthday Awards

By: Mike Crooks

A former ABC children’s host and a nun are amongst more than 700 Australians who have been honoured by King Charles.

Key points

  • The King’s Birthday Honours list recognises outstanding achievement and service by Australians.
  • Stephen O’Doherty received recognition for service “through a range of organisations”, which includes his work with Australian Christian Media.
  • Governor General David Hurley said that the honours and awards system belongs to all Australians.

The King’s Birthday Honours list recognises and celebrates outstanding achievement and service by Australians and includes Christian Media’s, Stephen O’Doherty.

They include the Order of Australia (General and Military Divisions), meritorious awards and recognition for service.

This year 737 Australians were named in the list. They were announced by the Governor-General David Hurley ahead of the King’s Birthday public holiday on June 10.

“Through today’s recognition we shine a light on their efforts, the impact they have and the difference they make,” the Governor-General said.

“On behalf of all Australians, I thank recipients for their service and congratulate them on their recognition.”

Highlights

Former ABC children’s TV host Jimmy Rees, radio and TV star Hamish Blake, and Catholic nun Sister Jane Keogh made the list.

Stephen O’Doherty received recognition for service to the community “through a range of organisations”, which includes his work with Christian Media since 2005.

Other notables include former Labor minister Greg Combet, former Australian cricketer Glenn McGrath, golfer Peter Senior, former Powderfinger bassist John “JC” Collins – and former premiers Dan Andrews (Victoria) and Mark McGowan (WA).

Fighting for refugees

Sister Jane Keogh, who was named a Member of the Order of Australia (AM), has long been advocating for refugees.

The 78-year-old Catholic nun spent 26 days outside Canberra’s Parliament House in 2015 to raise awareness of refugees on Nauru and Manus Island.

The Brigidine Sister told the Guardian that the plight of refugees has become a “political battle.”

“Currently it’s just a battle over fear of being wedged and trying to get back into parliament, and the people who suffer are the vulnerable – the refugees in particular,” she said.

“I am very honoured”

Comedian Jimmy Rees, who was Jimmy Giggle on ABC’s beloved kids’ show Giggle and Hoot, was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OA).

“Never thought this would be coming my way… you know the guy who talked to owls in his PJs and now making silly videos!” the 36-year-old father-of-three said.

“To the people who nominated and approved me, the Governor General, thank you, I am very honoured!”

“I feel guilty”

Hamish Blake, best-known as one-half of the enormously popular radio duo, Hamish and Andy, was also awarded an OA.

He was honoured for services to the arts as an entertainer and to the community – including being an ambassador for charity Foodbank.

“I am of course extremely honoured, and now feel very guilty I didn’t even get the King a birthday present,” said the 42-year-old.

Trailblazing chef

Indigenous Australian chef Aunty Beryl Van Oploo was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for her service to the Indigenous community – and the hospitality industry.

The 81-year-old chef, who hails from Walgett, NSW, is known internationally for using Australian bush tucker in her dishes.

She now runs a hospitality school in Sydney.

“It’s a great honour and the people that have nominated me, I thank them,” she said.

“I come from a family of 17, my aunt raised me and she never separated us because she didn’t want us to be part of the Stolen Generation.”

Covid recognition

For the fourth year, there has also been an award for Australians who contributed to the pandemic response.

South Australian epidemiologist Katina D’Onise is one of the 34 Australians who were recognised for their work.

Professor D’Onise, who oversaw Covid-19 operations, received an OA for “services to public health”.

“The pandemic was a rare opportunity for me to use everything I’ve ever learned all at once,” Prof D’Onise said.

“Role to play”

Governor General David Hurley said that the honours and awards system belongs to all Australians.

“And by nominating people for recognition in the Order of Australia, we all have a role to play,” he said.

“I have been steadfast that the Order must reflect the diversity of our community – I am pleased by the progress we have made over the last five years. For it to continue, and it must, we need people to take the time to nominate people that inspire them.”

To make a nomination for a future honours list, visit here. For the full list of recipients visit here.


Article supplied with thanks to Michael Crooks. Michael is a senior journalist and former news editor of Who magazine. His work has appeared in People, Marie Claire, The Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun, news.com.au, Qantas magazine, QantasLink Spirit, Who and The New Daily. When not reporting and writing he is trying to keep up with his two young kids.

Feature image: Stephen O’Doherty, Photo Supplied

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