Ku-ring-gai Electorate Queen's Birthday Honours Recipients

Photo of Peter Kirkwood playing didgeridoo at PCYC opening
20 June 2019

Mr ALISTER HENSKENS (Ku-ring-gai) (18:08:01): In 2019 eight residents of Ku‑ring‑gai received Queen's Birthday Honours for their outstanding service to the community in various fields. Three of those people—Dr John Edmonds of Pymble, Andrew Leventhal of Wahroonga and Emeritus Professor John Pollard of West Pymble—are now proudly Members of the Order of Australia [AM]. After 50 years in practice, Dr John Edmonds retired as the head of the Department of Rheumatology at St George Hospital in 2014. He remains the chair of the St George and Sutherland Medical Research Foundation, a position that he has held since 2007, as well as the conjoint professor of the St George and Sutherland Clinical School at the University of New South Wales. Dr Edmonds received his AM for significant service to rheumatology and to medical research.

Andrew Leventhal has been recognised for his significant service to geotechnical engineering and to the community. However, his work had not gone unnoticed previously. Between 2010 and 2011 he was named by the Australian Geomechanics Society as the Geotechnical Practitioner of the Year and received the Sir John Holland Civil Engineer of the Year and the Professional Engineer of the Year awards from Engineers Australia. The first of those awards followed Andrew's work in developing a national framework for landslide risk management, an area that has occupied his attention since the 1990s. Andrew was also generous with his time as a member of the Newport beach surf patrol in the 1960s and 1970s and in the 1990s he was a senior level umpire with Baseball New South Wales.

Professor John Pollard is an insurance company director and adviser and a past president of the Statistical Society of Australia and the Institute of Actuaries of Australia, which presented him with its prestigious Silver Medal in 2001. He was the long-time head of the Department of Actuarial Studies at Macquarie University, being responsible for more than 80 research papers in refereed journals and the author of seven books about actuarial practice, one of which has been translated into Japanese, Chinese and Spanish and another of which appears in Braille. It is for his significant service to the education of actuaries and to community music events that John has received his AM. As to the latter, since 1971 he has been the principal honorary director of The Radio Community Chest, a registered charity that regularly presents Handel'sMessiah by the Combined Church Choirs in the Sydney Town Hall and assists needy persons in the Sydney region. He has also been the principal sponsor of the Sydney Eisteddfod since 2006.

Five Ku-ring-gai residents were awarded Medals of the Order of Australia [OAM]. Mike Askey of Turramurra served in the Citizen Military Forces, achieving the rank of major, and in Vietnam on attachment to the 1st Field Squadron, Royal Australian Engineers. He has sat on the Veterans' Review Board and the Repatriation Review Tribunal and is very well known in Ku-ring-gai as the outstanding president of the Roseville Sub‑Branch of the RSL from 2003 until its closure in 2018. Major Askey's OAM is for service to veterans and their families.

Ku-ring-gai's 2018 Citizen of the Year, Peter Kirkwood of Warrawee, has been awarded an OAM for service to the community of northern Sydney. His extraordinary contribution has been made through a number of voluntary organisations which include the Rotary Club of Wahroonga, the Rotary Club of Waitara, the Hornsby community safety precinct committee, the Ku-ring-gai police safety committee, St Paul's Anglican Church, Studio ARTES and the Hornsby-Ku-ring-gai Police Citizens Youth Club [PCYC]. Currently Peter is the president of the Hornsby Ku-ring-gai PCYC. He even played the didgeridoo to accompany the welcome to country at its opening in 2017.

Like Professor Pollard, Donald Mayes of Pymble has been an honorary director of The Radio Community Chest for 45 years and a director of the Sydney Eisteddfod since 1999 and is its current company secretary. Admitted to the Supreme Court of New South Wales in 1966, this accomplished and respected solicitor, who is also the current church warden of St Swithun's Pymble Anglican Church, has been awarded an OAM for services to community music. Another Pymble resident, Robin Speed, has also been practising law for over 40 years but the harmony that he has sought over the course of his professional career is equality under the law for all Australians. Robin is a co‑founder and partner of the well-known Sydney firm Speed and Stracey Lawyers but it is his establishment of the Rule of Law Institute in 2008 and the Australia's Magna Carta Institute in 2015 that provided him with the platform to promote access to justice, freedom of the press and basic legal rights. Robin has deservedly earned an OAM for his service to the law.

Jill Stevenson of North Turramurra has been recognised for her service to the community through a range of organisations, in particular the Presbyterian Church of Australia, the indigo foundation, the McIntyre Centre and St Luke's hospital, Sydney, where she was a registered nurse and an active fundraiser for the nursing school. I congratulate the Queen's Birthday Honours recipients, all of whom have done much to improve the lives of many, not just in Ku-ring-gai but across the State and across the world. In particular I note Major Askey and Peter Kirkwood, who are well known to me and are outstanding citizens. They deserve their recognition in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.