Awards recog­ni­tion

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

An emer­gency ser­vice cam­paigner, pas­sion­ate arts ad­vo­cate and a per­son ded­i­cated to im­prov­ing cir­cum­stances for Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple in the North­ern Ter­ri­tory are among Wim­mera re­cip­i­ents of Aus­tralia Day hon­ours.

John Robin­son, Jan Mor­ris and Heather Hewett re­ceived Or­der of Aus­tralia Medals for their con­tri­bu­tion to so­ci­ety.

Former Grampians Ranger in Charge, Gra­ham Parkes of Halls Gap, also won recog­ni­tion for 45 years of ser­vice to Vic­to­ria’s na­tional parks, re­ceiv­ing a Pub­lic Ser­vice Award.

Mr Robin­son, a Hor­sham Ru­ral City coun­cil­lor and former po­lice­man, won recog­ni­tion for his long his­tory in emer­gency-ser­vice and fam­ily and youth ser­vice roles in­clud­ing the foun­da­tion of a Westvic He­li­copter Res­cue Ser­vice be­tween 1996 and 2008 and a Koori Court in Vic­to­ria in 2000.

A 1998 re­cip­i­ent of a Brav­ery Medal, he was also a founder and leader of Coun­try Fire Author­ity’s Dis­trict 5 Avi­a­tion Unit.

Mr Robin­son said he con­sid­ered the hon­our as recog­ni­tion for many peo­ple.

“I’m very hum­bled but it shouldn’t be seen as recog­ni­tion just for my­self, but rather a whole group of peo­ple,” he said.

“I’ve been in­volved in a lot of com­mu­nity jus­tice and cam­paign­ing is­sues, but you don’t do it by your­self suc­cess­fully.

“It is def­i­nitely team­work that gets re­sults, es­pe­cially for long-term things such as the he­li­copter ser­vice.

“I grew up in a fam­ily east of Hor­sham with strong com­mu­nity val­ues and I guess it was bred into us to sup­port the wider com­mu­nity and each other.

“I don’t think any­thing I’ve done is earth-shat­ter­ing, I’ve been in a unique po­si­tion in pub­lic life and was able to use that pro­file to good ef­fect.”

Mrs Mor­ris has been at the heart of com­mu­nity arts and ser­vice, es­pe­cially with her in­volve­ment in Hor­sham Arts Coun­cil, Lions In­ter­na­tional, Hor­sham Unit­ing Church, Hor­sham Spe­cial School and ma­jor events.

She is per­haps best known in the com­mu­nity for her in­volve­ment with the arts coun­cil since the 1980s and for dance-train­ing debu­tantes.

She too said she was hum­bled to re­ceive the award.

“My motto is that if some­thing is wrong, don’t com­plain but do some­thing about it and get a team around to make it hap­pen,” she said.

“All you need is pas­sion and some­thing where peo­ple can get on board.

“My great pas­sion is deb train­ing where you can en­cour­age peo­ple on. I see many lead­ers com­ing through.

“My late hus­band Richard also had a great motto, which was have a cup half full and not half empty, but I feel why not fill the cup up?

“I start each day ask­ing – what have you got for me to­day? Tiny things can be grat­i­fy­ing.

“I’m very hon­oured. I’m a great lover of Aus­tralia and Hor­sham and been fly­ing the flag for 30 or 40 years.

“I also have a strong Chris­tian faith and be­lieve there are things I’m meant to be do­ing, and that gives me the strength to do them.”

Heather Hewett, MBE, re­ceived her hon­our for ser­vice to the North­ern Ter­ri­tory’s in­dige­nous peo­ple in a com­mu­nity-ser­vice his­tory dat­ing back to the late 1950s.

Mrs Hewett, a nurs­ing sis­ter who spent many years with the Methodist Over­seas Mis­sion at War­rawi, has been deeply in­volved in education, lan­guage and re­li­gious pro­grams.

• For more on Aus­tralia Day cel­e­bra­tions across the Wim­mera, see pages 10 and 11.

“I’ve been in­volved in a lot of com­mu­nity jus­tice and cam­paign­ing is­sues, but you don’t do it by your­self suc­cess­fully” – John Robin­son

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