HUNTER Region residents have again featured in the Australia Day honours list, with 17 Hunter men and women recognised for their involvement and excellence in a range of fields.
People excelling in areas such as education, public service, the arts, the military and emergency services have been honoured.
The Central Coast was represented with two residents receiving the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) as well as one Forster and Taree with one OAM recipient each.
Former University of Newcastle deputy chancellor Professor Ken Dutton received the highest honour as a Member of the order of Australia (AM) for services to tertiary education.
Indigenous country singer Auriel Andrew (OAM) was recognised for her contribution to country music and the indigenous community.
Upper Hunter racehorse breeder Peter Andrews (OAM) was honoured for his work on developing and promoting sustainable farming practices, such as natural sequence farming based the cycle of water and nutrients.
Tireless efforts supporting veterans through the 2/2nd AIF Battalion Association has earned Shortland man Robert Argent an OAM.
Mercia Buck (OAM), president of Opera Hunter, was honoured for her service to performing arts while Justine Caines (OAM) was commended for her efforts in the area of women’s health.
Former deputy mayor of Lake Macquarie John Jenkins (OAM) was recognised for service to local government as was Coal Point’s Peter Lynn (OAM) for his commitment to the community through the Uniting Church.
Emergency services and defence force officers were also credited for their service.
Long-standing Hunter police officer Superintendent David Swilks, who has been local area commander at Tuggerah Lakes since 2008, has received the Australian Police Medal (PSM).
Williamtown-based Australian Defence Force servicemen Squadron Leader Craig Darby and Warrant Officer Craig Morris both received Conspicuous Service Medals (CSM).
Emergency Services Medal (ESM) recipient Alan Williams was acknowledged for his efforts as Port Stephens State Emergency Service local controller, a post he has occupied since 1998.
State Emergency Service deputy region manager Ken Speer (ESM) was credited for his service in a number of natural disaster efforts.
Charlestown’s Douglas Oliver will receive an OAM for more than 50 years of working with the Australian Air Force cadets where he is a squadron leader.
Former Newcastle alderwoman Alma Tate (OAM) was credited for her extensive patronage of Newcastle organisations, including New Lambton Girl Guides Support Group and the Central Newcastle Amateur Swimming Club.
Ettalong Beach’s Patricia Slattery (OAM) has been credited for serving the community through church and social welfare organisations.
Mental health advocate and author Greg Wilson (OAM) was recognised for his representative role on mental health issues and his work as an artist, sculptor and gallery owner.
Forster resident and former Great Lakes councillor Bruce Parsons (OAM) has been honoured for his extensive community service in the Forster-Tuncurry area while while Dungog Shire Council general manager Craig Deasey (PSM) was awarded a Public Service Medal.
Tony Caldersmith (OAM), of Ourimbah, was commended for service to historic car racing and motor sport while Chain Valley Bay North’s Betty Lowe (OAM) was recognised for her work through the Lake Munmorah Senior Citizen’s Club.
Taree woman Jeanette Holland (OAM) was also honoured for her work in a range of religious service organisations.