Locals recognised in Australia Day awards

Locals recognised in Australia Day awards
Brendan Rees

Seven inner city residents have been recognised in the 2022 Australia Day Honours list, for contributions in a range of fields including health, literature, and charitable organisations.

Leading the list was senior intensive care specialist at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and Melbourne Private Hospital, Professor Peter Morley, who was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia [AM].

He said the award, which recognised his services to intensive care medicine, professional societies, and tertiary education, was a “surprise” and something he “never considered” he would “receive or be nominated for”.

“I love the people around me, to be surrounded by interested and passionate people who are really keen to make a difference and help people, that’s the inspiring part,’ he said.

While “humbled” by the Australia Day recognition, he said the pandemic had been “quite challenging” and was “a reflection on our resilience that we can step up”.

“I’m quite proud to be a Melbournian and watch the way we can band together and get through this,” Prof Morley said.

“We’ve had the worst lockdowns and yet some of the best outcomes in the world. We should be proud of what we’ve been able to achieve.”

East Melbourne resident Andrew Wheeler was also awarded an AM for his significant service to the community through charitable organisations, including the Sentinel Foundation of which he is the founder, which focuses on supporting early childhood development and better health outcomes for young Australians.



He is also a board member of the Mornington Peninsula Foundation, “doing enormous things” to help break the cycle of disadvantage among households with children in what he described as being in “some of the worst situations”.

Mr Wheeler said he was humbled by the Australia Day honour which came as a “huge surprise”. He said making a “real difference” for children being able to read and count at a basic level was “very, very rewarding”. 

Elsdon Storey, an Adjunct Professor of neurology at Monash University, was also appointed an AM for his significant service to medicine in the field of neurology, and to professional associations.

Prof Storey said he was humbled to receive the award and appreciated the recognition for his work which he described was “something of a challenge and it still remains that way”.

“The reason I chose to study neurology was that the brain is such a complex system that I knew there was a lifetime worth of work and more there,” he said, but added it was his role in mentoring young doctors choosing a career of research and clinical medicine was something he “found very satisfying”.

Prof Storey, a former Rhodes scholar who served as head of the Alfred neurology unit for 20 years, has stepped back from clinical work after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease five-and-half years ago, but is still involved in research.  

He said his major field of work in the past few years had been the dementia aspect with a large trial of aspirin to prevent the onset of death or disability in healthy older individuals, as part of the very large Australian/USA ASPREE trial, but “unfortunately, no benefit was found”.

“This study was designed in such a way that many useful sub-studies have also been undertaken, from measuring cognition to effects of aspirin on vision and hearing,” Prof Storey said, adding he anticipated that analysis and reporting of these results would occupy him for the remainder of his research life.

The honours list also saw popular Melbourne author Alice Pung, who received a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) award, for her service to literature.

Ms Pung is an Artist in Residence at the Janet Clarke Hall at the University of Melbourne. Her first book, Unpolished Gem, won the 2007 Newcomer of the Year Award in the Australian Book Industry Award.

Others awarded an OAM included Professor Helen Margaret Rhoades, an acting president of the Australian Law Reform Commission, for her service to the law, particularly to policy reform and legal research; school teacher Elizabeth Freier for her service to the Anglican Church of Australia, and to education; and Dr Jillian Tabart, secretary of the Carlton Church of All Nations, for her service to the Uniting Church in Australia •

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