10 December 2022

Joy Freier among Anglicans honoured on Australia Day 

Joy Freier was honoured for her work teaching in several Indigenous communities. Picture: Supplied

By Mark Brolly 

28 January 2022

Neurologist Professor Elsdon Storey, Joy Freier and philanthropists Graham and Louise Tuckwell were among Anglicans from the Melbourne diocese recognised in the 2022 Australia Day Honours List. 

Mrs Freier was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for services to the Anglican Church of Australia, and to education. Mrs Freier has served alongside her husband Archbishop Philip Freier, working as a teacher in several remote Indigenous communities, including those on Cape York. 

Mrs Freier said the award was completely unexpected – to the point where she thought the message she received about it might have been a scam. 

Her award citation mentioned her roles as fundraising coordinator for the Open Garden Tours at Bishopscourt, her support for the Dream Stitches Migrant and Refugee Women’s Sewing Program since 2007 and her role as a director of the Anglican Board of Mission Australia from 2009-12. 

Mrs Freier was trained as a home economics and science teacher. Her career focused on Indigenous students in far north and central Queensland, in Brisbane and the Wide Bay region. Until last year she was as wellbeing coordinator at Coburg North Primary School.  

Ms Freier said when she was young, she had been unable to understand why Aboriginal people weren’t allowed to live in townships near where she grew up at Blair Athol in Queensland. This sparked her initial interest in working with Indigenous communities. 

Read more: Vicar calls for permanent state of repentance over treatment of Indigenous peoples 

“I thought, ‘This is not right!’ So when it came time to apply after I’d done my three years’ teacher training, I said I wanted to work with Aboriginal students, so I was sent to Baralaba, which is a town in Central Queensland outside Woorabinda, an Aboriginal community,” she said. 

“In all that time, the church has been a really important part of what’s motivated me and even becoming a teacher, the sense of trying to make things better.” 

St Mary’s North Melbourne member Professor Storey was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to medicine in the field of neurology, and to professional associations.  

He said he had mixed feelings about receiving the award. 

“Whilst delighted to accept, I can’t help feeling that there needs to be some resolution of when the Australia Day [date] is celebrated,” he said. 

“The conjunction of it with the arrival of … from the Indigenous point of view, the invaders, is unfortunate.” 

Professor Storey said the date marking Australia Day should change, as a sign that Australian society had enough respect for Indigenous people that it did not have to insult them to celebrate the nation. 

Professor Storey said that what made him happiest about his award was that it was done confidentially, he didn’t know it was happening, meaning it represented what his colleagues actually thought.  

Professor Storey attended Holy Trinity Kew as a child. As an adult, he has been involved in parishes in Oxford, England, and St Jude’s Carlton, St Michael’s North Carlton. He currently attends St Mary’s North Melbourne. 

Mr and Mrs Tuckwell, parishioners of St Mark’s Camberwell, were appointed Officers of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to the community through philanthropic support of education scholarships. This is the second-highest rank of the awards after Companion. Mr Tuckwell was also recognised for his distinguished service to business. 

Other OAMs awarded to Melbourne Anglicans were to Dr Anthony Michaelson, a parishioner of St Margaret’s Eltham, for service to the community through alcohol and drug use prevention programs, and Mr John Wilson, a former board member and interim executive director of the Brotherhood of St Laurence, for service to social welfare organisations. 

Mr Wilson is a warden of St Stephen’s Richmond and a former warden of St Martin’s Hawksburn. 

Victorian Anglicans honoured included Mrs Lorraine Kinrade of Drouin, who chairs the Drouin Combined Churches Committee and has been active inDrouin Anglican Parish for 40 years; Mrs Helen McIntosh of Beechworth, a council member of Beechworth Anglican Church; Ms Christine Morris of Sale, who is active in worship, social outreach and activities through St Paul’s Cathedral there; and the late Mrs Beverley Pepper for service to the community of Coleraine, who served as a member of three General Synods, on the General Board of Religious Education in the 1990s and through the Anglican Parish of Glenelg-Wannon in Ballarat diocese. 

Have we missed an honour? Email any information about Australia Day honours received at your parish to editor@melbourneanglican.org.au.

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