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Thirroul attracts two OAMs

Barrie Stanford

Barrie Stanford. PHOTO: Warren & Diana Ackary

TWO northern Illawarra residents, with close connections to Thirroul, have been named in the Australia Day Honours List announced today.

Woonona’s Barrie Stanford has received the Medal of the Order of Australia in the General Division for service to surf life saving, while Thirroul’s Philip McNamara received the same medal for his services to the community, particularly veterans and their families.

Mr Stanford, a life member of Thirroul Surf Club, retired to Magnolia Green, but his heart lies firmly two suburbs to the north. He moved to Thirroul from West Wyalong in 1958 to play for the Thirroul Butchers football club but was drawn to the surf club. He has compiled a detailed historical record of its achievements – known as Barrie’s Bible – dating back to 1907.

Mr Stanford said he was “flabbergasted” when told he would be receiving an OAM.

“I really never expected this. I feel very humbled,” he said.

Mr Stanford said he will be spending time with his family today to celebrate Australia Day today.

Also receiving recognition today is Thirroul’s Philip McNamara.

Mr McNamara was responsible for the Defence Force counter-terrorist support at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and played a leading role at the State Emergency Service (SES).

The 64-year-old retired brigadier saw active service in South Vietnam with the Second Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment, served in Papua New Guinea with the Pacific Islands Regiment and has been Honorary Colonel of the 1st Commando Regiment of the Australian Regular Army since 2005. He was also awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross, in 1999 while serving in the Army, and the Emergency Services Medal in 2008.

Mr McNamara is the president of the Legacy Club of Wollongong and South Coast and has been a member of Legacy since 1984. As a former director-general of the NSW SES, Mr McNamara said he was honoured to receive the award, but acknowledged the vast number of other volunteers in the community. He is also the chairman of the board of directors of Network Kokoda, a charitable organisation that assists communities along the Kokoda Track and preserves its military heritage.

Also recognised was Peter Woods of Gwynneville.

Mr Woods’ lifetime involvement in rugby union was acknowledged with a Medal of the Order of Australia in the general division for services to the sport as an administrator. Mr Woods, a solicitor, has been president of Illawarra District Rugby Union since 2007 and was secretary from 1980-1998.

Wollongong City Council have also announced its citizen of the year and other award winners.

The 2013 Wollongong Citizen of the Year is Martin Haynes, recognised for his fundraising efforts and contribution to Wollongong.

Martin has been a breakfast show host at i98FM Radio for more than a decade, and has been involved in fundraising activities for Camp Quality since 1997. Since the launch of Camp Quality’s Convoy for Kids in 2004, he has helped raise almost $3.2 million in the Illawarra.

Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery congratulated all of the nominees and winners on their contribution to community.

“On behalf of Council, I would like to commend all our Australia Day award winners and everyone involved this year,” he said.

“The awards honour those who have dedicated their time and efforts to enriching our community. At the end of the day winners are selected but it’s important to acknowledge everyone whose names were put forward for these awards, our community is richer thanks to their contribution.

“It’s people like Martin Haynes and his selfless contributions to the people of Wollongong that makes this place great.”

Jessica Sparks

Jessica Sparks

The 2013 Young Citizen of the Year is Jessica Sparks, a dedicated volunteer. Since receiving a double lung transplant in 2009, Jessica has founded, ‘Sparking Life,’ an organisation dedicated to increasing organ and tissue donation rates. She also won 16 medals for NSW in sports including badminton, volleyball and athletics at the Australian Transplant Games.

The winner of the Cultural Award for 2013 is Elspeth McCombe. Elspeth has been a workshop leader, guide and hard-working volunteer at Wollongong City Gallery since 1992, and is well regarded in the art community.

Red Point Artists Association Incorporated has been honoured with the Community Award. Red Point has fostered various projects in the Port Kembla community, including reinstating the Port Kembla Billy Cart Derby in November 2012 which brought thousands of people to the region.

For the first time there is an award to acknowledge the valuable contribution to sport in our region. The inaugural Sports Award winner in 2013 is Mecenzi Howard. Mecenzi has won various medals representing NSW in Boccia, a precision ball sport similar to Bocce that is designed to be played by people with Cerebral Palsy. She also received a Master of Social Change with distinction in 2007.

Twenty-nine people were nominated across the five award categories.

About Mick Roberts

A newspaper journalist, writer and local historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of pubs, inns and associated industries in the Sydney and Illawarra regions of NSW for over 30 years. He is currently working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides authoring a number of history books, Mick has owned and operated several community newspapers. He was one time editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), Sydney based, City News, and is now with Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW.

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