By Peter Douglas, Wendy Williamson and Derek Schlennstedt
Queen Elizabeth II herself has vindicated what many in the region already know … the hills communities are bursting with amazing individuals.
An incredible seven generous high-achievers throughout the Yarra Ranges were included on the Queen’s Birthday honours list 2017 on Monday 12 June, with six residing within the Dandenong Ranges.
Those included on this year’s role are: Denis Cunningham (AM; Belgrave), Marilyn Rowe (OBE; Olinda), Dorothy Scott (OAM; Emerald), Geoffrey Fitzpatrick (OAM; Sassafras), Karin Orpen (OAM; Ferntree Gully), Donalea Patman (OAM; Ferny Creek) and Sandra Hills (OAM; Yering).
While the group’s achievements are many and vast, the link they share is an invaluable contribution to their community and country.
Donalea Patman OAM
From her home in Ferny Creek, Donalea Patman has led an international campaign on behalf of wildlife.
In 2015, her efforts resulted in the Australian Government implementing a ban on the importation of lion trophies and body parts – the first country to do so.
Ms Patman was pleased to get support from the Federal Member for Latrobe, Jason Wood, and then thrilled when in March 2015 the Minister for Environment, Greg Hunt, announced the ban.
“It was a visionary and courageous stand on the part of the minister,” she said.
It all started for Ms Patman with a trip to Africa in 2011.
It was the first sight this passionate animal-lover had of lions in the wild – and her first introduction to ‘canned hunting’, which she explained was when the lions were essentially bred to be hunted.
“I was shocked by this practice, and then when I heard that there are fewer lions in the wild than there are rhino I was motivated to do something about it,” she said.
In December 2012, Ms Patman returned to Africa and met Pippa Hankinson, who created ‘Blood Lions.’
Ms Patman hosted screenings and promoted the award-winning documentary in Australia and New Zealand.
South African conservationist Ian Michler, who has been investigating canned hunting for 20 years, became a mentor, and in 2014 Ms Patman founded ‘For the Love of Wildlife’ as a professional platform for her work.
She is now working with global partners to close the domestic trade of elephant ivory and rhino horn and is delighted to see her local MP once again championing this work.
Of her OAM, she said, “It’s fantastic! I hope it inspires other people to be courageous and speak out on behalf of animal rights. If I can do this, then anyone can. It simply requires determination and commitment.”
A lifetime of service to industrial and interior design has earned Sassafras’s Geoffrey Fitzpatrick an Order of Australia Medal (OAM).
Mr Fitzpatrick said the award was totally unexpected but greatly appreciated.
“I am absolutely delighted and thrilled,” he told The Mail.
Mr Fitzpatrick has been an active member of the Design Institute of Australia for more than 40 years.
This includes over 20 years of involvement at board level and the management process.
He was the inaugural editor of the prestigious design magazine ‘Artichoke’, which he is pleased to see still in publication 17 years later.
Published by Architecture Media, this is the official magazine of the Design Institute of Australia.
Mr Fitzpatrick worked in the commercial furniture industry for many years and then moved into practising as a design management consultant, which he continues to this day.
In 2010, he became the inaugural chairman and director of Australian Design Alliance, an alliance of the major design professions in Australia.
Although he is gradually winding back some of his activities in the design industry, Mr Fitzpatrick is still very much involved in an important project at RMIT.
“I’m working with RMIT’s design archives, archiving all the work of major Victorian designers across architecture and all the design disciplines. The results will be made available for research and prove a great resource,” he explained.
Professor Dorothy Scott
They recognise the contributions and achievements of people from all walks of life, from Hollywood stars to humble volunteers.
And, while she may not be a Hollywood star, Professor Dorothy Scott, from Macclesfield, Victoria, has dedicated a life to those less fortunate than herself.
To recognise her incredible contribution to child welfare services in Victoria, Ms Scott, is one of a select few who was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia to recognise her ‘significant service to the community, particularly to child protection and well-being, as an advocate for children’s rights reform, and to education’.
Upon receiving the award, Ms Scott, said she was deeply honoured, but, felt slightly embarrassed due to the people it overlooked.
“I felt very honoured but also humbled, because, in the field of child welfare there are many unsung heroes and heroines, particularly people who work at the coalface, like maternal and child health nurses,” she said.
“There are a lot of people who are volunteers and provide 24-hour support for children, year in year out … so part of me feels a little embarrassed and awkward because the people who make the depth of that commitment don’t get the recognition that they deserve.”
Having spent a long and distinguished career in child welfare services, Ms Scott began volunteering at the age of 15 at Allambie – an Institution to which children in Victoria were taken into care – and where Ms Scott also found her passion to improve welfare services.
Since then she has been a pioneer in child welfare services and has done various studies into improving the services and also in preventing child abuse and neglect.
Ms Scott still remains very involved in child welfare services and said there was still a lot of work to be done in preventing abuse and neglect.
“The solution is not to take children from their families, the solution is to prevent children from being abused and neglected,” she said.
“If the African proverb that it takes a village to raise a child is correct then the question is what does it take to rebuild the village?”
Marilyn Rowe has devoted her life to ballet, and from 1964 when she was one of the first students accepted into the Australian Ballet School’s inaugural two-year course until 2014 when she retired from the role of director of the Australian Ballet School, she has made many contributions to the elegant dance form.
To recognise those contributions, Marilyn, a former Order of the British Empire (OBE) awardee, has also been awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM).
Marilyn received the AM for her ‘significant service to the performing arts, particularly to ballet, as an artistic director, administrator, internationally acclaimed performer and competition jurist’.
In receiving the award, Marilyn said she was ‘deeply honoured.’
The first prima ballerina produced by the Australian Ballet School and the first graduate to become its Director, in 1965, after just one year at the school, she was invited to join the Australian Ballet.
Marilyn was also one of the first Australians to be invited to dance with the Bolshoi, Riga and Vilnius ballet companies in Russia and had many leading roles, including Glen Tetley’s Gemini, Ronald Hynd’s The Merry Widow and Andre Prokovsky’s Anna Karenina.
Her contributions to the ballet world have been vast and distinguished and she held the position of Director of the Australian Ballet School from 1999 until 2014 and was been appointed a member of the jury for the Asian Pacific International Ballet Competition, held biennially in Tokyo.
She has also sat on juries for the Prix de Lausanne, the Youth America Grand Prix, and the Beijing International Ballet Competition.
The Belgrave-based educator has filled executive roles with national and international language teaching organisations.
Mr Cunningham is the recipient of an AM in 2017 and his service is not only extensive, but occurs over many years.
Among his service includes Secretary General, International Federation of Language Teacher Associations (FIPLV), 2007-’15 and 1993-’97; President from 1998 to 2006; and Honorary Counsellor since 2015.
He has also been involved with the Organising Committee for Linguapax X – Dialogue on Language Diversity, Sustainability and Peace; as well as the Scientific Committee of the World Congress on Language Policies.
He is also a member of the Editorial Board, South African Association of Language Teachers (since 1999), a patron of Modern Language Teachers’ Association of Sri Lanka (since 1995) and member of the Association of Indian Teachers of French (since 1989).
Mr Cunningham is the author of many articles and has given many presentations in English and French on language teaching, distance education, open learning, continuity, profiling, Linguapax, language rights, policy, cultural diversity, associations and French topics in 28 countries.
The Ferntree Gully local is the recipient of a 2017 OAM for her service to local government and to the community of Ferntree Gully.
Ms Orpen has served Knox City Council since 1994 and has been a member of range of council committees.
She has also served as mayor on three occasions: 1999-’00, 2002-’03, 2012-’13.
Her involvements include roles with the City of Knox District Scout Group and Scouts Australia.
Ms Orpen has also been a supporter of the Upper Ferntree Gully and Ferntree Gully fire brigades since 1996.
She has been involved with the Knox Historical Society, Ferntree Gully Cemetery Trust, and Knox and District Woodworkers Association.