GORDON WALLACE AO
Top scientist recognised for world-changing work
In the scientific community, Professor Gordon Wallace is a giant, recognised around the world for his remarkable work making bionic body parts, developing plastics that conduct electricity and helping to fight disease with printers that can manufacture cells.
In the past, the University of Wollongong researcher been named NSW scientist of the year, he’s long time holder of Australia’s highest academic fellowship and, last year, was lauded with a “science Oscar”: the Eureka Prize. But, amid all these, his new recognition as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his service to science and research stands out.
“This is a special because it’s an award from the general community,” he said.
“There’s also recognition that what we’re doing is of great benefit to the local community here in Wollongong, but also to all of Australia and globally.”
Professor Wallace’s AO recognises his work in the area of polymer materials and their use in biomedical applications, as well as to his collaborations with industry.
These practical applications and industry projects will be the focus of his team in the coming year.
“We will particularly be looking to build a commercial entity in Wollongong to exploit our ability to build new printers [which can print ‘scaffolds’ containing cells] ... and get them into a clinical environment around the world.”
- by Kate McIlwain
BILL LOVEGROVE AO
‘I failed at retirement’: AO recipient Bill Lovegrove
‘I failed at retirement,’ says Bill Lovegrove.
The 73-year-old has dedicated his life to higher education and when it came time to hang up his suit and tie, he didn’t like it.
The former vice-chancellor and president of the University of South Queensland and University of Wollongong psychology professor is currently acting president of the Nan Tien Institute.
He said his knowledge and networks were useless in his four years of leisure. After embarking on study at the Institute a job opportunity presented itself and staff knew he’d fit perfectly.
“It’s a terrific challenge for me to come back and apply my experience,” Mr Lovegrove said.
“It’s a different form of education, I’m not doing what I’ve done my whole life which is just focus on the academic, it’s how do you blend [academia with personal development].”
Australia Day forms a big celebration in the Lovegrove household with a number of members competing in the Aquathon before a big family celebration, this year with an added surprise.
The North Wollongong resident will celebrate receiving an Order of Australia for his service to leadership in tertiary education, developing academia in regional areas and to cooperative research in various fields.
“If these awards could be shared [my wife Desolie] would be getting some,” he said of his partner who has always been by his side.
She supported him while changing the research policy at UOW so state of the art equipment could be used for research teams, and researchers could work together to produce a greater wealth of knowledge.
“You’re not going to progress in research if everybody does their own little thing … you need to get critical mass in certain areas,” he said.
“You can’t buy equipment for 200 different researchers but you can buy good equipment for 10 research groups.
“And there’s much greater intellectual power by combining different strengths.”
Desolie was also there when he created a wine college in Stanthorpe, southwest of Brisbane.
And she was there for what he calls his greatest achievement: open a University of South QLD campus in the low socio-economic area of Springfield.
“Higher education changes lives and it changes familie’s lives,” Mr Lovegrove said.
“What I’ve been able to do in leadership terms is to improve the quality of higher education and significantly broaden the opportunity for higher education.”
- by Desiree Savage
Dr ANN ELLACOTT OAM
GP’s dedication to health, community
Thirroul GP Dr Ann Ellacott has been awarded an OAM for service to medicine, community health and education.
A senior partner of Thirroul Medical Practice for nearly four decades, Dr Ellacott is also passionate about helping victims of sexual assault.
To that end, she has worked as a specialist at Wollongong Hospital’s sexual assault unit for 20 years, and is a member of the Forensic and Medical Sexual Assault Clinicians Australia.
Dr Ellacott also trains the next generation of doctors – both at her practice as well as tutoring students at the University of Wollongong’s Graduate School of Medicine.
She also works hard in her community, and has been a leader of Thirroul Girl Guides since 1992.
‘’I’m surprised to receive this honour, but very appreciative,’’ Dr Ellacott said of her Australia Day award.
- by Lisa Wachsmuth
PATRICK ROBERTS OAM
The satisfaction of volunteering
Patrick Roberts believes volunteering is “the most satisfying thing that one can do”.
It's that selfless approach that resulted in the 77-year-old being recognised with a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) as part of this year's Australia Day honours.
“In some ways the pay isn't great, but the pay is measured by satisfaction,” the Austinmer resident said.
“Not everyone gets satisfaction from their job, but I feel most people should get satisfaction from volunteering. I still do.”
Mr Roberts, who has resided in the Illawarra for about 20 years, was honoured for service to people with a disability, and to the community of Wollongong.
This has entailed working with various groups since retiring from the banking industry two decades ago.
“If you're not working you often have that time I suppose,” he said.
“I've been involved in things, but only the ones I'm capable of being involved in.
“I enjoy what I do, which makes it an easier role to undertake.”
His service includes working with the Shellharbour-based The Cram Foundation, a not-for-profit accommodation and associated services provider for people with disabilities.
He's been chairman since 2000.
“It has been rewarding, especially when you understand who you're working for.
“Their objective is to care for those who... To provide the best possible life for those who aren't always able to do everything for themselves, and they need that 24/7 care.”
Then there was his long-time stint as a volunteer reader for the now defunct 'Talking Newspapers', a program for the vision impaired conducted in conjunction with Figtree Anglican Church.
This entailed periodically collating newspapers from throughout the region, and recording readings of a variety of news stories.
The recordings were subsequently distributed to vision impaired residents throughout the Illawarra and South Coast.
“You didn't know what their interests or needs were, so you had to vary it enough to catch someone's interest,” Mr Roberts said.
In addition to this, Mr Roberts has enjoyed a lengthy association with Rotary.
This included taking the position of District Governor, District 9750, from 2005-2006 and 2008.
This entailed being responsible for about 55 clubs and 1500 members, spanning from Sydney to Kiama.
He's also a former president of the Rotary Club of West Wollongong.
“Rotary has done a lot of good things, and we have some good Rotary clubs doing good things throughout the Illawarra,” he said.
“I'm still involved in Rotary, but more on a club level than a district level.”
Mr Roberts was surprised by his OAM honour, but hopes it will raise the profile of the groups he's associated with.
“I'm honoured to receive it; whether I'm worthy or not is for others to decide,” he said.
- by Brendan Crabb
RON DRYBURGH OAM
Men’s Shed founder delighted with OAM
Ron Dryburgh has loved helping his community over the last 20 years.
And the good news is the 75-year-old doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon – even though he will be acknowledged on Australia Day with an OAM For service to the community of Albion Park.
‘’I’m surprised but delighted. I don’t even know who nominated me,’’ he said.
‘’I just enjoy getting out in the community and helping people. That's my life now. It has been my life now since I retired work 20-years ago. I’m probably busier now then I’ve ever been.
‘’I’ve always been active and am still in good health. I’m 75 but I reckon I’ve got another good 10 years of community service left in me.’’
Mr Dryburgh is recognised for founding the Albion Park Men’s Shed in 2012.
The 2014 Shellharbour Citizen of the Year is also a warden of Albion Park Anglican Church and has served as president and vice-president of the Albion Park/Oak Flats Probus Club.
But Mr Dryburgh takes great pride in founding the Albion Park Men’s Shed.
He decided to set up the group after reading a 2007 census report about the Shellharbour municipality which mentioned there were over 400 men living alone in the Albion Park area.
‘’I thought I needed to do something about it and then I heard of the Men's Shed movement which was just getting underway and I thought that’s what I got to do,’’ Mr Dryburgh said.
‘’It took me a couple of goes over a couple of years to get funding but I finally got some state government money to build a shed and it’s just exploded since then.
‘’We have around 70 members and we're now working on the stage four extension of our shed in Albion Park.’’
Mr Dryburgh is also proud of the work he has done over the past 18 years collecting clothing from clothing manufacturers and other church groups to send to overseas’ orphanages and other needy organisations.
‘’I’ve been collecting clothing and taking it to a group called Mission Aid Group in Sydney, who send it overseas. Last year this group closed so I now take it to Mission Without Borders, which is another charity group which does the same thing,’’ he said.
Mr Dryburgh has been married to wife Roslyn for 53 years. The couple have two daughters and two grandchildren.
- by Agron Latifi
RAYMOND VINCENT OAM
Raymond no stranger to lending a hand
Raymond Vincent, of Coolangatta, has been awarded the OAM for service to the community.
Mr Vincent has been the chairperson of the Shoalhaven Heads Apex Cottages for Kids (SHACK) (respite accommodation for families of chronically ill or disabled children) Apex Foundation since 1991.
He was the fundraising coordinator for the construction of SHACK.
Mr Vincent has also been involved with Berry Apex Club and Shellharbour Apex Club for many years.
NOEL CORNISH AM
Former BlueScope boss recognised with AM
Former BlueScope boss Noel Cornish has been recognised as a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AM)
The chief executive of BlueScope Steel’s Australian and New Zealand Manufacturing Businesses between 2007 and 2011 is being honoured for significant service to business as an advocate for industry policy and development, to tertiary education administration, and to the community.
That includes being national president of the Australian Industry Group since 2013 after serving as NSW president, a director of the Forestry Corporation of NSW since 2013, a former board member of the Illawarra Business Chamber and many roles at the University of Wollongong .
He has been a deputy chancellor since 2015, council member since 2006, chair of the Finance and Resource Committee since 2015, member of the Board of Directors at University of Wollongong Enterprises since 2011, member of the Audit and Risk Committee since 2012 and member of the External Advisory Council since 2013.
His many other roles include being chair of Snowy Hydro since 2015 and a director since 2012, voluntary director of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia since 2013 and chairman of the Sailing Committee.
Mr Cornish, of Coledale, is also a former chair of the Salvation Army’s Illawarra Advisory Board and recently became chair of IMB Ltd where he has been a director since 2010.
He said everything he did was about going above and beyond the requirements of each role he has been fortunate enough to have.
“This is certainly a great honour and I feel very humbled,” he said.
Mr Cornish said in every role he always thought tertiary education was a great way to make a lasting community contribution because it helped so many people of all ages embrace and keep up with change. And that is important regionally and nationally.
“I have been privileged to be involved in the University of Wollongong,” he said.
University’s can generate new opportunities...and really assist with innovation...and help young people coming out of school get career ready. They also give people a chance to re-skill”
Mr Cornish said even when he was at BlueScope the company was always happy for him to participate in the community in many ways such as his work with Lifeline and the Salvation Army. Even in his great recreational love of sailing he is proving opportunities and three years ago helped Emma May become the youngest ever female to compete in the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.
“She has just completed her third race. She is as keen as anything,” he said.
“Emma is the bow person on the boat which is quite a complicated job. She has established herself in that role and is doing a wonderful job. It was my 10th year in the race this year and I have always wanted to give young sailors from the Youth Sailing Academy an opportunity to do ocean racing because it is pretty difficult for some to get onto boats,” he said.
Mr Cornish said he also felt blessed to be able to contribute at a national level after leaving BlueScope.
“Working with the Australian Industry Group team and being able to have input at a Federal and State level on public policies that can assist business to thrive and grow is important at a national level because business drives so much economic activity and so much wealth for a country.”
Mr Cornish said having a set of public policies that support business is something he has always considered important because it creates jobs and helps everyone.
He also loves facilities such as iAccelerate providing opportunity for new businesses getting the support they need to try and get started.
“The University of Wollongong with its Innovation Campus is I think a real leader,” he said.
“I do love it when businesses and universities can come together and collaboratively work on research and innovation. I think that is where real benefits can occur.”
Mr Cornish said one of the great things about his involvement with UOW was he appreciates it and the region’s history and how both have evolved.
He said UOW trained many engineers and accountants for the steelworks in decades past.
“But there continues to be a very strong connection between the community in Wollongong and the university. And that has resulted in a lot of collaboration that has been to the benefit of the region and the benefit of the country.”
Mr Cornish said he loved his new role as chair of IMB Bank because it was such a wonderful long established community minded Illawarra institution with a proud history that started in 1880.
“It provides traineeships for young people and has a community foundation that is very active in supporting a whole host of community projects, he said.
“And it is still a member based mutual organisation owned by the members...and headquartered in the Illawarra.”
Mr Cornish said there were many things he still wanted learn and do for business, tertiary education and in the community.
But on January 26 Australia Day he is planning to relax and do something Aussie.
“I am going to a friend’s house in Shellharbour for an Australia Day barbecue with a whole host of people and we are going to play cricket in the back yard,” he said.
“It is the time of year just to appreciate what a wonderful country we live in and what a wonderful part of the world we live in in Wollongong. I don’t think a day goes by that I am not grateful for that. I do appreciate it every day.”
- by Greg Ellis
ROBYN te VELDE OAM
Creative Robyn’s OAM
Highlights on Mental Health and Illawarra’s Top Model founder Robyn te Velde has been honoured for decades of using her many skills to make a difference in the Illawarra community. Just a week after being named Wollongong Citizen of the Year Mrs te Velde is being awarded an OAM in recognition of services to the community such as the support she has given to the Light and Hope Club House Wollongong.
She has also been a member of the International Women's Day Illawarra Committee since 2013 and an ambassador for the Creative Spirit Award.
Mrs te Velde set a new benchmark for the hair and beauty industry in Australia when she became the national top point scorer for Australia’s first ever hairdressing World Cup Team in 1974.
She was the youngest and the first ever female to break through, going on to become World Champion, winning gold in Paris in 1974, followed by silver and bronze in New York in 1976.
She also captained and coached the Australian team in 1976 and soon became known as Australia’s first lady of hairdressing.
During the creative career that followed Mrs te Velde, formerly Robyn David, was a corporate image consultant with the Accor Group in 1995, a national technical manager for Clairol Professional between 1990 and 1993 and a consultant between 1993 and 1995. She was a national fashion director and artistic team leader with L'Oreal Paris between 1978 and 1988.
Mrs te Velde has been a very successful businesswoman and was director of Robyn International and Robyn International Academy between 1983 and 1990, Robyn David Hair Design from 1977 to 1982, Robyn Hay Hair Design between 1975 and 1977 and Robyn Hay Hairstylist between 1965 and 1971.
She was also named Illawarra Business Woman of the Year in 1986
Mrs te Velde is still coming to terms with what has been an amazing week where she has been honoured by Wollongong City Council as Citizen of the Year and been awarded an OAM.
She said she has always been creative and always tried to use her skills to make a difference. Her main motivation has always been about helping others.
“After so many years of doing stuff I absolutely feel fabulous,” she said.
“It really is lovely to be acknowledged at this point in my life and feeling as tired as I did at the end of last year. It is very nice to be acknowledged in your own community. Over the years I have had a lot of state, and national and international acclaim but back her in The Gong it is very special to feel acknowledged. It has been a really lovely week I have to say.”
Mrs te Velde said she had done whatever she could to help the community she has always called home throughout her entire career.
“I have always been motivated by a will to do creative things and that has nothing to do with what money it is going to earn or any of those things,” she said.
“It is just an insatiable need to do creative things with people. I love working with people and I have a bottomless pit of creativity that never seems to be running short. So with the excitement of ideas and the excitement that comes from the challenge of doing something that hasn’t been done before that might do some good for somebody and might create something wonderful to look at, that can be enjoyed by lots of others...that was always the motivation. And it was often to the detriment in fact of my business and various other things.”
Mrs te Velde said whenever she had her heart set on an idea there was never any stopping her because she always needed to finish things and do them as well as she possibly could.
“I have to feel really pleased and proud with what I have set out to do. And so often it was to the cost of my own business or my own energy levels to follow through lots of the things I did for community. But I was always looking for ways..to help those struggling and always very willing and wanting to share,” she said.
Mrs te Velde said what she loved most over the decades was the number of times young people approached her to tell her how grateful they were for the memories they had of their time with her as a trainer in the hair and beauty industry or as a creative director for Illawarra’s Top Model.
“That really is where I get my greatest satisfaction,” she said.
- by Greg Ellis