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Retired vicar, former Melbourne Grammar leaders and barrister honoured

Anglicans recognised in Australia Day Honours for 2021

By Mark Brolly

A retired vicar and pioneer of the ordination of women, a former chairman of the appeal to restore St Paul's Cathedral and the immediate past Headmaster of Melbourne Grammar School are among Anglicans recognised in the Australia Day Honours List. 

The Revd Dr Colleen O'Reilly, who was Vicar of St George's Malvern for 12 years until reaching the mandatory retirement age in 2019, was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to the Anglican Church of Australia, and to religious education.
Previously Vicar of St Faith's Burwood from 1999-2007, Dr O'Reilly was a leading advocate for women's ordination long before her own ordinations as deacon and priest in 1995. 

Her friend, fellow advocate for women's ministry and writer Dr Muriel Porter said Dr O'Reilly "could be said to be the ‘mother’ of the movement that was a key factor in bringing about the ordination of women through many years of determined struggle".  

"In 1975 she co-founded Anglican Women Concerned, the first group campaigning for women to be ordained in the Anglican Church of Australia," Dr Porter said. "In 1984, the group had become the highly influential Movement for the Ordination of Women – a spin-off of an English organisation – with Dr O’Reilly a co-founder with the late Dr Patricia Brennan." 

National Anglican legislation for women’s ordination was passed in 1985 for deacons and in 1992 for priests. 

Dr O'Reilly is an adjunct lecturer at Trinity College Theological School in Parkville. 

Mr Charles Clark, who chaired Melbourne Grammar's School Council from 2004-10, the St Paul's Cathedral Restoration and Renewal Appeal from 2003-09 and was Lay Chairman of the Brotherhood from 1997-2000, was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service to the wine industry through leadership roles, to finance and business, to the arts and to charitable initiatives. 

Melbourne Grammar School's Headmaster from 2009-19, Mr Roy Kelley, was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to education, and to professional associations. 

Barrister Mr Daryl Williams, QC, who was Church Warden at All Souls Sandringham from 2012-19, was appointed an AM for significant service to the legal profession, to the community and to cancer research. 

Mr Williams chairs the Professional Standards Committee for the Anglican dioceses of Melbourne, Ballarat, Bendigo and Wangaratta. 

At Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Mr Williams was a director from 2011-17, chaired the Human Research Ethics Committee from 2011-14 and served on the board of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Foundation from 2015-17. 

A leading Anglican on the Bellarine Peninsula, Mr Gordon Carlyle Dendle, has been posthumously awarded an OAM for service to the community of Leopold. 

The late Mr Dendle served Bellarine Gateway Anglicans as treasurer and parish warden and St Mark's Leopold as a lay preacher and church warden. 

* Melbourne Rabbi Dr John Levi was one of only four people -- and the only Victorian -- to be recognised with Australia's highest honour, the Companion of the Order of Australia (AC), for eminent service to Judaism through seminal roles with religious, community and historical organisations, to the advancement of interfaith understanding, tolerance and collaboration, and to education. 

Rabbi Levi served at Temple Beth Israel from 1960-97, the last 23 years as Senior Rabbi and as Rabbi Emeritus since 1997. 

Among his interfaith roles, he has been Patron of the Australian Council of Christians and Jews since 2005, was co-founder and co-President of the Council of Christians and Jews (Victoria) from 1985-97, Adjunct Professor at the Asia-Pacific Centre for Interreligious Dialogue at Australian Catholic University from 2008-17, Honorary International President of the World Conference on Religion and Peace (now known as Religions for Peace) from 2000-06 and a member of the Joint Committee of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry and the Uniting Church in Australia since 1991. 

The other AC recipients were tennis legend and Pentecostal pastor Margaret Court, West Australian mathematician and champion of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers Emeritus Professor Cheryl Praeger, and former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. 

Governor-General David Hurley said in announcing the Honours List that he was determined it reflect the diversity and breadth of the community. He urged Australians to nominate individuals from their own community for recognition. 

“I am determined to make sure that the Order of Australia reflects the diversity and breadth of our community," he said. "More needs to be done to achieve gender parity and increase diversity in other areas. Over the last 12 months I’ve initiated various initiatives in this regard to encourage people and organisations to nominate individuals they think are worthy. 

“The Order of Australia belongs to all Australians – my strong message to the community is that if you know someone that is worthy, take the time to nominate them. People cannot be recognised if they’re not nominated and that has to be driven from the community."