Five WA Catholics have been recognised for many years of dedicated service to their communities, receiving awards as part of the Australia Day Honours List.
Alma Hudson and Michael Murray QC were appointed as Members of the Order of Australia, while Maureen Colgan, Maureen Kelly and Leonie Reid received the Medal of the Order of Australia.
Recipients of the Medal were informed via letter before Christmas and asked to keep their nomination confidential until Australia Day.
Ms Hudson was recognised for her efforts to preserve Indigenous languages, having translated parts of the Bible into Walmajarri and volunteering at St John of God Heritage Centre in Broome.
Justice Murray, a member of the advisory council of St Brigid’s College in Lesmurdie, was honoured for service to the judiciary, law reform, education and to the community.
Mrs Colgan’s service to the community through numerous organisations, including her current role as a director of MercyCare, was also recognised.
The Attadale resident told The Record it was a great honour to receive the Medal of the Order of Australia.
“To receive an award for work that you’ve thoroughly enjoyed doing and taken great pleasure out of doing is really an honour,” she said. “Everything I’ve done has been extremely rewarding, there’s no question about it.”
Mrs Colgan has been involved with the Christian Brothers in Fremantle, the restoration of St Mary’s Cathedral, and has also worked with child migrants.
“Working with the former child migrants who had been in St Joseph’s Orphanage in Wembley was absolutely profound,” she said.
“I took 40 of them to their orphanages in England and Ireland and that was a really life-changing experience for me and my family.”
South Hedland resident Mrs Kelly received the OAM title due to her work as a volunteer for the St Vincent de Paul Society and for her work with Indigenous communities.
She told The Record she felt humbled and proud to receive the award. “I’ve still got so much life in me, and if I’ve got life in me I should share it and give to others, because if you want to receive things in life, you have to give things in life first,” Mrs Kelly said.
She added that she has always advocated for equality and equity.
“Australia belongs to everybody, not only Aboriginal people, and that’s what I promote and that’s what I preach,” she said.
“We all come from a diverse culture: we have Chinese food, we have Japanese cars and German watches, so we’re very fortunate that we have all these cultures that give to us a taste of everything else in life.”
Mrs Kelly said she returned to the Catholic faith about five years ago, after almost 40 years away from it. Since then, several other members of her family have also returned to their faith.
Mrs Reid, the former CEO of Personal Advocacy Service in Perth, was honoured for her service to people with a disability.
Chair of the Council of the Order, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, said the recipients of the awards “demonstrate the qualities of positive role models” through their actions.
“The recipients are not only worthy of respect but encourage emulation,” he said.
“These awards also recognise the ‘quiet achievers’ in our midst. They are people who serve the community, but do not seek accolades.”
A ceremony presenting the Medals to the Perth recipients will be held at Government House on April 4.