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Ex-Primate, retired police chaplain, benefactors among Anglicans honoured

Anglicans honoured in Queen's Birthday Honour List

By Mark Brolly

June 16 2021 

A former Anglican Primate of Australia, Brisbane’s Archbishop Phillip Aspinall, was one of only five Australians to be named a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) – the highest rank in the Order of Australia – in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Other Anglicans honoured included former Senior Police Chaplain the Revd Jim Pilmer, a benefactor of several Melbourne Anglican educational institutions Mrs Louise Gourlay, the author of a history of Bishopscourt in East Melbourne, Dr Liz Rushen – and a clergy couple from Brisbane recognised for their contribution to medicine who have also taught Zen!

Dr Aspinall, who has led the Church in Brisbane since 2002 and was Primate from 2005-14, was honoured for “eminent service to the Anglican Church of Australia, to the development of ecumenical relationships and professional standards, and through commitment to social justice and welfare”, according to his citation.

Mrs Gourlay was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to the community through charitable initiatives.

The many beneficiaries of her philanthropy include Melbourne Girls Grammar School, the Melbourne Grammar School Foundation and Trinity College at the University of Melbourne, where she was a Council member from 2009-18.

Dr Rushen also received an AM for “significant service to community history and heritage preservation”.

A former Chair of the History Council of Victoria and a co-founder of the East Melbourne Historical Society, Dr Rushen’s works include a book marking the 150th anniversary of the home of all of Melbourne’s Anglican leaders since 1853, Bishopscourt Melbourne: Official Residence and Family Home, published by Mosaic Press in 2013.

Mr Pilmer, who was founder of the Victoria Police Chaplaincy Unit in 1995, was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to the Anglican Church of Australia. He was Senior Police Chaplain from 1995 until 2008. Priested in 1969, he remains a member of the Victoria Police Memorials Committee and a voluntary Police Chaplain in the Boroondara Police District.

In 2003, he was awarded a Churchill Fellowship for identifying aspects of religious diversity that have a direct relevance to operational policing and in 2017, he published his reflections on police chaplaincy, Every Contact Leaves A Trace.

Other Anglicans or those with Anglican connections to receive an AM included a former Deputy Lord Mayor of Melbourne and later Mayor of Greater Geelong, Mr Peter McMullin, who was on the board of the Action and Resource Centre for Low Income Families at the Brotherhood of St Laurence from 1981-85; Melbourne Grammar School benefactor Mrs Elizabeth Cousins; Ms Helen Maxwell-Wright, who served the Diocese of Melbourne in several roles, including on its media committee and on the board for Supervised Theological Field Education; Ms Ann Miller of Hawthorn, whose charitable works include supporting Anglicare WA's Parent Support Suicide Prevention Program in the Western Australia’s Kimberley region; and Mrs Vivienne Ritchie for significant service to the Anglican Church and to the community, particularly in the Wangaratta diocese.

A former State Cabinet Secretary and Yarra Valley Anglican, Ms Rosemary Varty, a former self-funded missionary to East Zambia through the Church Missionary Society,  Mrs Elizabeth Hawthorne, and the CEO of Relationship Matters Counselling and Mediation (established by the Melbourne diocese more than 70 years ago to provide marriage guidance), Ms Janet Jukes, were among Victorians awarded OAMs.

Ms Varty, a member of Vestry at St Paul’s Anglican Church Seville from 1993-2017, was Parliamentary Secretary for Cabinet during Jeff Kennett’s tenure as Premier from 1992-99, serving as a Member of the Legislative Council from 1985-99. She served on the council of Tintern Schools after her parliamentary career ended until 2005.

Mrs Hawthorne has undertaken annual three-month trips to East Zambia since 2008. A former parishioner of St Stephen's Greythorn and St John's Toorak with All Saints Kooyong, she now worships at St Mary's Caulfield (Oaktree Anglican).

Ms Jukes was awarded her OAM for service to the community through LGBTIQ advocacy and social welfare organisations. Among her earlier roles, she had been a senior manager with the Salvation Army, Australia Southern Territory.

Other Victorians awarded OAMs included Ms Janice Armstrong-Conn, a former President of Friends of Melbourne Grammar School; Mrs Sarnia Birch, a churchwarden at Mount Eliza Anglican Church, for service to veterans and their families; Mr Colin Chirgwin, a Residential Youth and Childcare Officer (“Cottage Father”) with Anglicare Victoria for 18 years; Mr William Church,  an inaugural member of St Cuthbert's Yarrawonga and a member of the maintenance team at St George’s Katamatite;  Mr William Ford, who has had a long association with the Brotherhood of St Laurence, including as acting Executive Director in 1990-91 after Dr Peter Hollingworth’s move to Brisbane as Archbishop; Ms Susan Fraser for service to financial planning and counselling, a former Social Worker with Anglicare Victoria’s CHOICES – the Centre for Young Homeless Women and their Children, Anglicare Victoria; Clinical Professor Peter Gates for service to neurology, who led a friends support group for Geelong Grammar School in the 1990s; Mr Andrew Guy for service to the community through a range of organisations, including Melbourne Grammar School;  Mr Paul Hammat for service to the  community through pastoral care, including as President of Spiritual Care Australia for five years;  Mr John Harry, a former Director of the Melbourne Grammar School Foundation; Mr Alistair Horne, a parishioner of Holy Name of Jesus Anglican Parish, Vermont South, for service to youth through Scouts; Mr Graeme Hyde, a Licensed Lay Reader at St John’s Colac for 30 years, for service to conservation, particularly through aviculture; Mrs Estelle Malseed, a former social worker with the Brotherhood of St Laurence, for service to community health; and Mrs Susan Morgan, whose charitable work includes long-term support for Janet Clarke Hall at the University of Melbourne and for Melbourne Girls Grammar School.

* A Queensland clergy couple were recognised with AMs for significant service to medicine and to the Anglican Church.

The Revd Dr Cecilie Lander was honoured for her work in neurological medicine over more than 40 years and is Co-Priest-in-Charge of St Paul’s East Brisbane with her husband, the Revd Dr Mervyn Lander, who specialised in paediatric medicine.

Both are Oblates of St Mark’s Benedictine Abbey in Camperdown, Western Victoria, and both teach Zen.