Outstanding citizens honoured

Outstanding citizens honoured
Brendan Rees

From academics to doctors, outstanding Parkville figures have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday honours for their significant contributions to the community.  

One of the top awards, those appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), went to Erika Feller, a former Assistant High Commissioner of the United Nations Refugee Agency.

Ms Feller, who is the Professorial Fellow at the Melbourne School of Government at the University of Melbourne, said the news of the award was a “great honour”, which recognised her “distinguished service to the international community, to the recognition and protection of human rights, and to refugee law.”

“It was more satisfying to me because it showed that the award system can actually accommodate international work and particularly international work in the human rights and refugee area which is what I’ve been working on for a decade,” she said.

The honours list also saw Dr Elizabeth Rushen, the director of the Melbourne Maritime Heritage Network, appointed a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia for her “significant service to community history and heritage preservation”. 

World-leading plant scientist Professor Ute Roessner, who heads the School of BioSciences at the University of Melbourne, was also awarded an AM for her significant service to tertiary education, particularly to the biosciences.

She said the honour had come as a “total surprise” but was very humbled, adding her proudest achievement had been teaching students and watching them “stepping up into the working world and taking up roles and growing”. 

Others receiving AMs were Professor James Barber, the CEO of Polytechnic Institute of Australia for his service to tertiary education administration, and to youth, as well as Jaynie Anderson, an Emeritus Professor at the University of Melbourne for her “significant service to tertiary education, particularly to art history in Australia.”

Among those receiving a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) was Dr Igor Konstantinov for his service to medicine as a cardiothoracic surgeon at the Royal Children’s Hospital.

Beverley Noon, a former president of the Parkville Auxiliary at the Royal Children’s Hospital, also received an OAM for her devoted service to the community through charitable organisations.

This year’s recipients represent what Governor-General David Hurley described as the “countless examples of selflessness, commitment, and dedication” •

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