Friday, June 21, 2024

Eight new Queensland Greats announced

Seven outstanding individuals and a medical research institution have joined the list of Queensland Greats, honoured for their philanthropy, innovation, advocacy and cultural impact in Queensland and abroad.

Presenting the 21st Queensland Greats Awards at the Queensland Art Gallery, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said this year’s recipients personified the caring and compassionate spirit of the state.

“I’m proud to highlight the inspiring stories of the selfless and pioneering Queenslanders honoured at this year’s Queensland Greats Awards,” the Premier said.

“They have cared for children in the Torres Strait, found emergency housing for the homeless, discovered new treatments for infectious diseases, helped to advance medical science, and championed women’s financial opportunities and reproductive health.

“Through their contributions to education, the arts, social work, housing, health and research, our Queensland Greats have helped us live healthier, happier, more informed and more fulfilled lives. 

“I thank all of our 2021 Queensland Greats for their advocacy and life-long commitment to advancing Queensland.”

The 2021 Queensland Greats are:

  • Humanitarian and women’s health champion, Professor Ajay Rane OAM
  • Wellbeing champion for the Torres Strait Islands and proud member of the Kupai Omasker Working Party, Aunty Ivy Trevallion
  • Arts and education philanthropists, the late Dr Margaret Mittelheuser AM and Dr Cathryn Mittelheuser AM (pictured)
  • Nurse, hospital administrator and advocate for homeless women, Isobel (Pixie) Annat MBE OAM
  • Social justice advocate and CEO of Micah Projects, Karyn Walsh AM
  • Scientist, bioethicist and educator, the late Sister Regis Mary Dunne AO RSM
  • Pioneering medical researchers, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute

116 individuals and 17 institutions have now been honoured as Queensland Greats since the awards began in 2001 and are honoured with a commemorative plaque at Roma Street Parkland.

“This week as we celebrate Queensland Day, and as Queenslanders share their own stories with the #myQLDstory hashtag, I also encourage everyone to reflect on other individuals and organisations to nominate for next year’s Queensland Greats,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

For more about the 2021 Queensland Greats Awards recipients and to submit a nomination for the 2022 Awards visitwww.qld.gov.au/qldgreats

Nominations close Monday 31 January 2022, with recipients announced as part of next year’s Queensland Day celebrations.

About the winners:

Professor Ajay Rane OAM Humanitarian and women’s health champion

Professor Ajay Rane OAM is an esteemed physician, philanthropist and humanitarian who has shaped the care of women with urinary incontinence and pelvic dysfunction across the state and globally. Ajay established Queensland’s first non-metropolitan urogynaecology sub‑specialty at Townsville University Hospital and is also the founding Head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at James Cook University’s School of Medicine, where he continues to undertake world-leading research in vaginal reconstructive surgery. Through his charity, Flourishing Women, Ajay has galvanised a global medical community to treat women with fistula by donating time, expertise and surgical skill. Ajay is an advocate and activist for the health and reproductive rights of the world’s disadvantaged women.

Aunty Ivy Trevallion Wellbeing champion for the Torres Strait Islands

A clinical social worker on Thursday Island since 2009, Aunty Ivy Trevallion has been responsible for leading the child and youth social and emotional wellbeing program for children and families in the region. Aunty Ivy began her journey to qualification in human services at Aboriginal Task Force, Adelaide where she completed her Community Development Certificate in 1977 and an Associate Diploma in Social Work in 1978. In 1982, she was accepted into the Social Work Facility and one of the first Torres Strait Islander social workers to have graduated from The University of Queensland in 1986. Aunty Ivy has dedicated her working life to child wellbeing and social work for more than 30 years. She helped deliver one of the most substantive developments in legislative and policy reform with the passing of the Meriba Omasker Kaziw Kazipa (Torres Strait Islander Traditional Child Rearing Practice) Act 2020. Aunty Ivy has extensive experience in contributing to the governance of organisations through board and committee roles extending into the community, regional, state, national and international levels. She is also generous with her time, experience and expertise in the pursuit of better outcomes for Torres Strait Islanders living in Queensland, their children and families.

Dr Margaret Mittelheuser AM & Dr Cathryn Mittelheuser AM Arts and education philanthropists

Margaret Mittelheuser AM (1931–2013) and Cathryn Mittelheuser AM have made transformative contributions to the arts, education and advancement of women across Queensland. Professionally, Margaret and Cathryn were pioneers for women in finance, business and science and, leading by example, created opportunities for Queensland women in these traditionally male dominated sectors. Their program of giving has significantly impacted the development of the state collection and immeasurably enriched Queensland’s cultural life. Cathryn joined the QAGOMA Foundation in 1985, with Margaret joining in 2001. Together, they have supported the acquisition of more than 100 artworks. Beyond QAGOMA, Margaret and Cathryn have provided vital education and career opportunities for women in Queensland through their support of The University of Queensland, Griffith University and Brisbane Girls Grammar School.

Isobel (Pixie) Annat MBE OAM Nurse, hospital administrator and advocate for homeless women

Pixie Annat completed nursing training at the Brisbane General Hospital in 1948–52 and the Nambour Hospital in 1953–54. Following several years working abroad, Pixie returned to the Brisbane General Hospital before joining the Royal Australian Nursing Federation, where she became the Queensland Secretary, and later the Federal President. In 1965, Pixie was appointed Matron at St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital before becoming Chief Executive Officer in 1978. Pixie worked tirelessly to raise money to advance the ground-breaking work being done at the hospital delivering improvements to medical and surgical practices. As CEO, Pixie helped St Andrew’s Hospital launch one of the first Neurosurgery Units in the country and the first Nuclear Medicine Department at a private hospital. The hospital also established a Cardiac Unit and became the first private hospital in the state to perform open heart surgery. Pixie was St Andrew’s longest serving executive and following retirement in 1992 continued service in a voluntary capacity, working on the boards of St Luke’s Nursing Service and the Lady Musgrave Trust and as a member of the Centaur Memorial Fund for Nurses, the Royal Brisbane Hospital Nurses Association and St Andrew’s Hospital auxiliary. Pixie continues to be a passionate advocate for the rights of Queensland nurses and women in the workplace and maintains a deep commitment to social activism, supporting Queensland’s elderly and homeless women, and in particular, victims of domestic violence.

Karyn Walsh AM Social justice advocate

Karyn Walsh AM established and has led Micah Projects for 25 years and has been responsible for the development and implementation of innovative and effective policies and community services that address homelessness and domestic violence, support young parents, people with disability, including mental illness and substance use, preventing child abuse, and ensuring reparations for people who have experienced institutional abuse. During COVID-19, Karyn has worked with the Department of Housing and non-government services to support homeless people in Brisbane during the lockdowns, resulting in 1700 people accessing emergency housing. This included women and children escaping domestic violence, and children and families.  Karyn advocates a ‘Housing First’ and an integrated approach, leading to state- and nation-wide homelessness practice changes that enable the most vulnerable to access healthcare and support services to sustain their tenancy.

Sister Regis Mary Dunne AO RSM Scientist, bioethicist, educator

Sr Regis Mary Dunne was a pioneer of genetics and bioethics, with her work playing an instrumental role in several Queensland ‘firsts’ during a time when few women worked in these fields. In 1960, Sr Dunne established Queensland’s first cytogenetics diagnostic laboratory at Mater Hospital, resulting in earlier diagnosis of congenital abnormalities. The following year, she co-founded the first genetic counselling clinic in Australia to assist clinicians, patients and families deal with the complexities of these genetic diagnoses. In 1981, Sr Dunne became the founding director of Queensland’s first Bioethics Centre, offering free access to a library of bioethical information which was utilised by professionals, organisations and members of the public. A pioneer in the field of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), Sr Dunne made a lifetime and ground-breaking contribution to global science, healthcare and ethics, inspiring many young scientists, researchers, students and healthcare professionals.

QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute Outstanding medical research

QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute is one of Australia’s oldest and most successful medical research Institutes. For 75 years, QIMR Berghofer has been dedicated to research that improves the health and wellbeing of Queenslanders. Originally established through an Act of the Queensland Parliament in the early 1940s, QIMR Berghofer is today home to more than 65 state-of-the-art laboratories and approximately 1000 researchers, support staff and students. The Institute focuses on research into cancer, infectious diseases, mental health and chronic disorders. It leads global advances in preventing, diagnosing and treating some of the world’s most deadly and debilitating diseases. In 2020, QIMR Berghofer one of the highest-ranked Australian institution included in the Nature index of the world’s top 100 not-for-profit science institutions. Critically, QIMR Berghofer is at the forefront of finding answers to the COVID-19 global pandemic using the most advanced purpose-built biosecurity laboratory in Queensland.

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