Five Tweed residents and a former Lismore local have been awarded for their contribution to the community in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List awards announced today.
They were among 540 people honoured for their service across a range of fields by the governor-ggeneral, Quentin Bryce.
Four Tweed residents were awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the general division: longtime Murwillumbah local Arthur Holmes (for service to the performing arts and to his hometown community); retired Squadron Leader John Parker, of Tweed Heads West (for service to veterans and their families through a range of organisations); Donald Whitworth, of Tweed Heads (for service to the community through the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia, CMCA); and Reginald Arnold, of Banora Point (for service to the sport of cycling).
Volunteer marine rescue stalwart Bernie Gabriel, of Tweed Heads South, foundation member of Air Sea Rescue, Tweed Heads, was awarded the Emergency Services Medal for his longtime contribution to emergency rescue services, while police Sergeant David Wheatley, now living in Brewarrina but formerly a Lismore resident, was awarded the Australian Police Medal for his work with Indigenous communities.
Mr Holmes, the president of Murwillumbah Festival of Performing Arts since 1995 and well-known music educator, told Echonetdaily he was thrilled and honoured to be recognised.
Squadron Leader Parker, a Korean and Vietnam war veteran, has been involved in many defence welfare organisations since his retirement, including the RSL and Legacy.
Mr Whitworth founded the CMCA in 1986, which now has more than 60,000 members.
Mr Arnold, a pioneer of post-war cycling and champion six-day cyclist who was twice crowned Madison World Champion, has been patron of Murrwillumbah Cycle Club for five years.
Eight prominent Australians were honoured under the highest category of the awards, the Companion in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AC).
They were former Queensland premier Peter Beattie, former federal foreign-affairs minister Gareth Evans, cancer specialist Professor Ian Frazer, former federal defence minister Robert Hill, biologist Professor Stephen Hopper, former Victorian premier Joan Kirner, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Western Australia, Justice Wayne Martin, and philosopher Professor Peter Singer.
Ms Bryce said the awards ‘recognise shining examples of men and women who display the finest community values of respect and giving, dedication and commitment’.
‘They, and all Australian Honours recipients before them, represent what is most important and unifying in Australian life.’
All recipients will be presented with their award at investiture ceremonies in capital cities later this year.