Griffith celebrates recipients of 2021 Australia Day honours

2021 Australia Day honours have been bestowed upon a number of Griffith University staff, associates and alumni. 

A former Associate Professor in Griffith’s Medical School, Dr Bruce Gregory Lister AM, has been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for his significant service to paediatric intensive care medicine and to professional societies. 

Professor Colleen Coyne Nelson AM, an Adjunct Professor at the Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery, has also been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia, for significant service to medical research, particularly prostate cancer, and to health organisations 

Griffith Vice Chancellor and President, Professor Carolyn Evans

Vice Chancellor and President of Griffith University Professor Carolyn Evans said medical research was vitally important and this had been emphatically reinforced by a global pandemic. 

I congratulate all award recipients who have served as staff members at Griffith and continue to contribute to the wider community through their important endeavours,” Professor Evans said. 

Never has medical research and innovation been more important than in the year of a pandemic, but to know that valued members of the Griffith community have also been recognised for their contributions to the fields of musicengineering, justice and the law, as well as children’s literature, the film and television industry and the transport sector is well worth celebrating. 

“Recognition like this inspires our University community and it is heartwarming to know we have such talent among us.” 

Former Lecturer in Violin at Griffith’s Queensland Conservatorium, Antoni Bonetti AM, was appointed an Honorary Member of the Order of Australia for his significant service to the performing arts as an orchestral conductor and musical director. 

He lectured at Griffith between 1982 and 1992, also founding the Brisbane Symphony Orchestra in 1990, where he served as Principal Conductor and Music Director.   

The following Griffith University alumni and associates – both past and present – have also been recognised: 

  • Judith Ann Bell AM was appointed to a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to the administration of justice, visual arts and education.
  • Michael Bruce Hawkins AM was appointed to a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to the film and television industry and screen content. Mr Hawkins is a member of the Griffith Film School Industry Advisory Board.
  • Dr Robyn Maria Sheahan-Bright AM was appointed to a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to children’s literature and to the promotion of reading.
  • Jeremy David Mansfield OAM was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his service to the building and construction industry. Mr Mansfield is a current member of Griffith’s Civil Industry Reference Group and the National Sustainability Operations Manager for Lendlease Building.
  • Rosalind Williams OAM was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her service to both the law and to the performing arts. Ms Williams currently supervises law students through clinical legal training partnerships with Griffith.
  • Dr John Glover Youngman OAM was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to medicine and medical administration.
  • Gordon James Buchanan PSM was awarded the Public Service Medal (PSM) for outstanding public service to the transport sector in Queensland.

 “The individuals we celebrate … come from all parts of our great nation and have served the community in almost every way conceivable,” the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, his Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC, said. 

“They’re diverse and unique but there are some common characteristics, including selflessness, commitment and dedication. 

“Over the last 12 months we have seen outstanding examples of achievement and service to the community as we have confronted fires and the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“Recipients have not put their hand up to be recognised. Most would consider the achievements that they are being recognised for to be ‘ordinary’ or just what they do. 

2021 Australian of the Year awards 

With nominees in three of a possible four categories, Griffith University was also well represented heading into the 2021 Australian of the Year award ceremony.  

Griffith Health alumnus and spinal injury researcher Dr Dinesh Palipana OAM won the Queensland Australian of the Year award late last year, ensuring a nomination for the national Australian of the Year title. 

“It is an honour to be recognised among my fellow citizens and peers,” he said. 

“The Australian of the Year awards are an incredible platform to spread a good message; us coming together as a nation and saying, this is what’s important to us. 

“There are some amazing people doing some incredible work.  

“Life is not about taking and what you can have but about what we can give back to the world.” 

Dinesh was the first quadriplegic medical graduate in Queensland and currently co-leads Griffith’s innovative Biospine project on the Gold Coast. 

Griffith Elder in Residence Aunty McRose Elu was nominated for Senior Australian of the Year after winning the Queensland category of the awards. Aunty Elu is a life member of the Griffith University Council of Elders, an advocate for Torres Strait communities and climate change activist. 

Queensland Conservatorium student William Clarke and his brother Daniel were also nominated for Young Australian of the Year awards for their conservation work, after earlier being named 2021 Queensland Young Australians of the Year. 

The pair launched a campaign to help protect critically endangered orangutan populations in Borneo and Sumatra.