The Australian Honours List shines a spotlight on scores of South Australian heroes – and reminds everyone that if they’ve got a legendary mate doing great things for the community, it’s time to put their name forward for a future Honours List.
The Australia Day Honours List explained
The Australian Honours and Awards system recognises the outstanding service and contributions of Australians from all walks of life, backgrounds and circumstances. The recipients have served and had an impact in just about every field you can imagine – community service, science and research, industry, kingsports, the arts, you name it.
The Australian Honours and Awards system includes the Order of Australia, Meritorious Awards, Military Awards and Australian Bravery Decorations.
Order of Australia announcements are made twice a year – on Australia Day in January and the King’s Birthday in June.
Any Australian can nominate someone for an award. The process is easy – you can do it via an online portal, at any time of the year.
The awards make a difference
Professor Brenda Wilson was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2019 and says receiving the award does make a difference: “I really enjoy volunteering my time and to get this acknowledgement for work I’ve done in the health, arts and aged care sectors over many years is very humbling,” she says.
Professor Wilson, who was recognised for her significant service to community health, and to the people of South Australia through a range of roles, has nominated many other South Australians for the Honours List over the years. She says they have been people who’ve contributed significantly to the community and volunteers in all sorts of areas.
“Often those people don’t get acknowledgement or aren’t really looking for it, but it’s really great to honour those people and recognise the work they do,” she says.
This year’s award recipients
From TV personalities and poets to biologists and nurses, the 2024 local legends from SA on the Australia Day Honours List have all made a difference and had an impact on their community. Plus, they all have a fascinating story to tell. Here’s just one of their inspirational tales.
Carmen Garcia’s story
Passionate South Australian Carmen Garcia was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for significant service to the multicultural community through diversity and inclusion advocacy and programs.
Fondly known by her peers as the “diversity and inclusion warrior”, Ms Garcia is the CEO and Founder of national award-winning social enterprise, Community Corporate. Operating in the niche space of corporate social responsibility, her company specialises in recruitment with a social conscience, maximising migration opportunities.
“My work has opened hearts, minds, and doors to the untapped potential of refugees and migrants nationally. We are building inclusive workplaces and leveraging overseas skills and qualifications to meet skill shortages,” Ms Garcia says. “Most of all, the impact of my work proves that doing good is just part of good business in Australia.”
What the award means to Carmen
“This is the most humbling experience to be recognised among such esteemed Australians for doing what I love and what I believe I was born to do,” Ms Garcia AM says.
“I feel even more motivated to harness this opportunity. To me, this recognition is not just about acknowledging contribution, success and achievement. It is about giving me a license to make an even greater impact. It is my permission to shine, to go forth and conquer, and to create a more inclusive Australia for all of us.”
More local heroes on the Honours List
South Australians appointed Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) were:
- Bruce James Carter for distinguished service to business, to charitable organisations, and to the community. He is currently chair and director of Australian Submarine Corporation.
- Professor Sarah Anne Robertson for distinguished service to medical research, particularly reproductive biology and immunology, and to professional societies.
South Australians appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) included:
- Nursing educator Brigid Coombe for significant service to community health, particularly through advocacy to improve abortion care access.
- Heather Croall was appointed AM for significant service to the performing arts, as an administrator, advocate and filmmaker. She’s been the CEO and Festival Director of the Adelaide Fringe since 2015.
- Kate Llewellyn for significant service to literature as an author and poet.
- David Koch for significant service to media as a television presenter, and to economic journalism. Famous as “Kochie” during his time hosting Sunrise, he’s Chairman and CEO of Port Adelaide Football Club.
For the full Australia Day 2024 Honours List click here.
For more information visit the Order of Australia website.
Carmen Garcia was honoured as one of South Australia’s 40 Under 40 in 2019. Find out more.