A soldier awarded the second highest bravery award, former Labor science minister Barry Jones, members of Australia’s top pop group and a professional fairy godmother all feature in the latest Queen’s Birthday honours list.
They’re among 783 Australians, some well known, some quiet achievers, awarded a range of gongs to recognise their particular contribution.
That’s 393 men and 178 women. Thirteen are deceased.
Awarded the Star of Gallantry, second only to the Victoria Cross, is Private B. Neither his name, unit or many other details of his heroic action are disclosed in the citation.
It says he repeatedly exposed himself to sustained heavy fire without regard for his own safety to support his team during operations in Afghanistan. That undoubtedly saved lives.
Two special forces soldiers, Private M and Corporal W, were commended for gallantry in Afghanistan.
Seven Australians received the top honour as Companions of the Order of Australia, among then Barry Jones for his eminent service to the community as a leading intellectual and longtime politician. He remains Australia’s best known science minister, a position he held for seven years under Bob Hawke.
In the 1960s, The Seekers dominated the music charts in Australia, the UK and US and they continue to perform. Recognising that long contribution, the four members of the group Judith Durham, Athol Guy, Keith Potger and Bruce Woodley have been appointed officers of the Order of Australia.
So have Maureen and Tony Wheeler, founders of the Lonely Planet travel guide series.
Hetty Johnston, founder of the child protection group Bravehearts, is appointed a member of the Order of Australia.
Governor-General Peter Cosgrove said these awards recognised the diverse personal efforts of individuals, made willingly without thought of recognition or recompense.
“We are fortunate as a community and as a nation to benefit from your contribution, and it is fitting that you have been recognised by the Australian honours system,” he said in a statement.
“You now join the company of men and women whose actions have enriched our community and whose values we hold dear – compassion, dedication, generosity, tolerance, energetic ambition.”
Chair of the Council of the Order, former defence chief Angus Houston, said these awards were public recognition of people who provide outstanding community service.
“By their actions they demonstrate the qualities of positive role models. The recipients are not only worthy of respect but encourage emulation,” he said in a statement.
And the fairy? That’s Ms Fairy Sparkle, who, in her distinctive fairy outfit, visits sick children in hospital.
She’s described as a “24/7 fairy” who has committed more than 23 years to this worthy mission. For that she’s recognised with a medal in the Order of Australia.