Some of Australia’s bravest and most hard-working men and women gathered at Government House today.

Governor Penelope Wensley announced the recipients of the Australian Honours and Awards.

Amity Neumann reports.


From the battlefield to the basketball court, 19 honourable Australians shook the Queensland Governor’s hand this morning receiving medals for outstanding work in their field.

Penelope Wensley, Qld Governor: “These awards that I’ve had the honour of presenting today are the highest in the land, the most prestigious that it is possible to give and to receive.”

The ceremony’s highest honour was given to the Honourable Michael Lavarch, appointed as an officer of the Order of Australia in the General Division.

Mr Lavarch’s been recognised for his service to the law and legal education, particularly in the community and areas of native title, human rights and constitutional law.

Honourable Michael Lavarch: “While it’s a proud personal moment, you don’t achieve anything without great people working with you or great organisations and I’ve been fortunate to have those over the years.”

Brigadier Paul McLachlan was awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross for his outstanding achievement as the Commander of Joint Task Force 637 on Operation Queensland Flood Assist early last year.

Mr McLachlan says the incredible support his team gave flood victims was a proud moment.

Brigadier Paul McLachlan: “We train to be out of our comfort zones and to be able to just turn up and give a whole lot of Queenslanders going through a tough time someone to lean on, someone to start with, start the way back, that was the best part.”

Janis Gordon accepted an award on behalf of her late Grandfather, Private William Schuberth.

He was executed as a Prisoner of War in Burma during World War Two.

His posthumous award, for acts of gallantry in action.

Janis Gordon: “I feel truly overwhelmed, very excited, but very happy and this is for my pop, and also for my dad. God love you both.”

Absent from today’s ceremony was young Jessica Watson, who received a medal for her service to sailing and youth, through her work as an Australian role model.

Jessica, whose solo sail around the world received international support, was unable to attend today’s ceremony after news a family member was hospitalised.

Amity Neumann, QUT News.