Four more locals receive Australia Day honours

Professor Ian Hickie

Four more Central Coast residents have been recognised in the 2024 Australia Day Honours Awards for their service to various associations and organisations.

Coast Community News reported previously that eight residents had been honoured but four residents were overlooked due to insufficient or incorrect information being supplied to the newspaper.

Ian Hickie AO

Professor Ian Hickie of Killcare has been made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service to psychiatric research and reforms as an advocate for improved mental health care and awareness.

Hickie, Co-Director, Health and Policy at the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Centre, is a global leader in mental health research and digital innovations in care.

He was an inaugural NHMRC Australian Fellow (2007-2012), then Senior Principal Research Fellow (2013-2017 and 2018-22) and is now supported at the highest level of personal Investigator Grants (2023-2027).

As an inaugural Commissioner on Australia’s National Mental Health Commission (2012-18) he oversaw enhanced accountability for mental health reform and suicide prevention.

Hickie is an internationally renowned researcher in clinical psychiatry, with particular reference to digital innovation, youth mental health care and adolescent-onset mood disorders, notably depression and bipolar disorder.

While he lives on the Central Coast, his work means he is often in Sydney.

“I use every excuse I can to come to the Central Coast,” he said.

He loves the “physical beauty” of the coast, and says he is well aware of the issues, particularly in youth mental health which he says are “profound”, especially those surrounding social cohesion and infrastructure.

“I have specialised in mental health research and advocacy around these issues and believe the answer is the right care the first time where you live,” he said.

“It’s not a one size fits all.”

“Lifting awareness is not an action.

“We are a wealthy country that still does not deliver – in fact we have gone backwards in some areas like the Central Coast.”

As the former CEO for Beyond Blue and Headspace, Hickie said the lack of intervention services for young people was a “huge issue” for politicians and government.

“To be recognised is a surprise and flattering,” he said.

“I have been fortunate to work with very productive teams, it’s been a real team effort.

“There is a huge amount still to be done, we need to turn goodwill into action.”

Eric Flood OAM

Eric Flood

Eric Flood was awarded an OAM for service to veterans and their families.

At 98 years of age, Flood, of Erina, is as much involved in Legacy today as he was in 1967 when he first became a Legatee with Lithgow Legacy.

While a lot has changed over those years, Flood said the core business of Legacy had not.

“To care for the widows and children of veterans is the core business of Legacy,” he said.

Flood first joined Lithgow Legacy where he was secretary, and later when he moved to Sydney he was chairman at St George Legacy.

He was also a member and committee member of Sydney Legacy.

Flood joined Brisbane Water (NSW) Legacy in 1998 where he was a member of the pensions committee and a former chairman of the scholarship committee (he is still on the committee).

He was also the chairman of the Chatterbox quarterly news magazine for six years.

In 2021, he was awarded Central Coast Council’s Seniors Community Award.

Flood’s father was a WW1 veteran and Flood served in WW2.

“I remember the hardship during the Depression years where men came back from war and their families were suffering,” he said.

“I just had an inclination towards helping in some way.

“These days people’s needs are being identified more than ever and while Lagacy’s work has changed as a result of that, their core business of caring for families has not.”

Leone Meatchem OAM

Leone Meatchem

Leone Meatchem has been awarded an OAM for service to jewellery design.

Meatchem, a Central Coast resident for 37 years, said she was grateful and honoured to have been awarded an OAM.

“I was very surprised to learn of the award, but humble,” she said.

“I have never thought of what I did as work and did not deserve a reward for something I just loved doing.

“I had no idea that I had been nominated.”

While she was honoured for her service to jewellery design, she said people were often surprised to learn her work included designing medals, badges and even a championship belt for boxer Lionel Rose.

“I loved school, all the science subjects, but my favourite was always the art lesson,” she said.

“I was fortunate to have excellent, encouraging art teachers in high school.

“I left school on a Friday and started my design training at Angus & Coote on the following Monday. 

“For me, it was like one long art lesson, and I loved every minute.”

 After three years of training, Meatchem became a fully qualified artist designer, able to work for other jewellers as well. 

Noticing how a good design could be spoiled by using the wrong gemstones, she also gained a degree in gemmology enabling her to choose the best stones for her designs.

In 1972, she read that the prestigious De Beers Diamond International Award was judged on a drawing, not a finished piece, so she dared to send an entry to the USA.

“As with the OAM, I was shocked and amazed to learn I had won,” she said.

“There followed a thrilling trip to Los Angeles for the presentation.

“Jewellers make quite different products, and it was wonderful to have my designs used for many sport trophies including the World Gold Cricket Cup and several very complicated detailed designs for mayoral chains including Katherine in the Northern Territory, Wollongong and a very memorable chain for Gosford, now a City in 1980, meeting Gosford’s first mayor, Don Leggett.       

“Living in Sydney all those years, I did not know then, that by the end of 1986 we would be living on the beautiful Central Coast and are still happy Coasties now 37 years later.”

Noel Moulder OAM

Noel Moulder

Noel Moulder, of Blue Haven, has been awarded an OAM for service to veterans.

Moulder, who has been working with the National Servicemen’s Association of Australia since 1991, said he was surprised and honoured to have received the award.

“We have achieved a lot over the years, but not just me, it’s a team effort,” he said.

“It is nice to be recognised.”

Holding many positions with the association over those years, Moulder is currently vice-president of the National Servicemen’s Association, vice-president of the NSW National Servicemen’s Association and member of Tuggerah Lakes Sub-branch.

“We’re here to continue to provide welfare support for the national servicemen who served our nation,” Moulder said.

“Each sub-branch also helps and supports their community in various ways.”

He said the decline in the organisation’s members over the past three or four years had been noticeable.

“COVID was partially to blame, when people just didn’t leave their homes or their families didn’t want them to, understandably,” he said.

“The membership age now is anywhere between 72 or 73 to 90, and the older members are dropping out for various reasons.

“While this makes it a bit difficult, we continue to do our job because there’s still a lot of national servicemen out there.”

He said at one stage, the organisation had 300,000 members who had served from 1951 to 1972, and in NSW, there were 40-45 sub-branches but only 15-20 are remaining today.

Moulder was made a life member of Tuggerah Lakes Sub-branch in 2013 and in 2011 was awarded the Barry Vicary Fellowship Award, National Servicemen’s Association of Australia.

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