University staff garner honours in Australia Day list

28 January 2010

The significant community and national contribution made by University of Sydney academics and alumni has been recognised in this year's Australia Day Honours list.

University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor Dr Michael Spence warmly congratulates those who have been awarded and thanks them for making a difference in their fields spanning areas as diverse as medicine and health, social work and education and music.

"I congratulate all those members of the University community who have been awarded Australia Day Honours. Their awards reflect the breadth of teaching and research at the University as well as an outstanding commitment to the community.

The University is delighted its members have received such prestigious public recognition."

"I would also like to congratulate our new Australian of the Year, Professor McGorry who graduated from the University in 1977 with a Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery degree. The whole University community celebrates his success and recognition of his contribution to the mental health field."

University of Sydney staff members recognised in this year's Australia Day Honours include:


  • Helen Scott-Orr (for outstanding public service to agricultural and veterinary science, particularly in the area of animal disease control)

    Helen Scott-Orr has made an impressive contribution to veterinary science, animal disease control and agricultural research management in a career spanning over 40 years. Ms Scott-Orr is the former Director of Health Sciences, Strategic Alliances and Evaluation at the NSW Department of Primary Industries, as well as an honorary member of the Key Centre for Polymers and Colloids at the University of Sydney. She was the first female Chief Veterinary Officer in Australia, from 1989 to 1995, and was awarded the Seddon Memorial Prize for contributions to clinical veterinary science by the NSW Division of the Australian Veterinary Association in 1991. In addition, she has held memberships of the Invasive Animals Co-operative Research Centre (CRC) and the Cotton Catchment Communities CRC, and has been on the board of the CRC for Cattle and Beef Quality, the CRC for the Australian Sheep Industry, and the CRC for Sustainable Rice Production, among many others. Unsurprisingly then, her comprehensive understanding of animal disease control has led to the great success of disease control programs in which she has been involved. Although now retired, Ms Scott-Orr has been recently contracted back to the Department of Primary Industries to eradicate rabies in Indonesia.


  • Emeritus Professor Ken Eltis (for service to education through teaching, administrative and research roles and through the design and implementation of innovative curriculum and reporting methods)

    Professor Ken Eltis has been made a Member of the Order of Australia for his outstanding contribution to education. He is perhaps best noted for his involvement in curriculum development, both on a state and national basis. In 2003 he released a report on the evaluation of outcomes assessment and reporting in NSW government schools, entitled Time to Teach, Time to Learn. The NSW Government adopted all 29 of the report's recommendations. Professor Eltis is also a prominent member of the University of Sydney community, and was Dean of Education from 1994 to 1997 and Deputy Vice-Chancellor from 1997-2003. He also served the role of Acting Vice Chancellor during this period. In 1997, Professor Eltis received the Sir Harold Wyndham Medal, the highest state award of the Australian College of Educators.

  • Philip Bruem (for service to the dairy industry and to the community, particularly through the implementation and promotion of advanced technology)

    Philip Bruem is awarded for a lifetime of contribution to the dairy industry. He has held an impressive array of executive positions as well as building a substantial family dairy business. Mr Bruem is a former Executive Member of The University of Sydney's Dairy Research Foundation, and held the position of Chairman of the NSW Co-operative Dairy Research Centre for four years. He was also a Director and Deputy Chairman of the Dairy Farmers Co-operative, and is currently Chairman of the Australian Year of the Farmer, which will be held in 2012. Mr Bruem is an honorary fellow of the Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth, and in 2004 chaired the Australian Planning Committee in the lead up to the Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth Conference. As a Councillor and Board Member of the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW, Mr Bruem also assists each year in coordinating the dairy cattle competitions at the Sydney Royal Easter Show.

  • Roslyn Giles (for service to the community, particularly in the field of social work, as an educator, researcher and practitioner, through professional associations and health care)

    Following a 37-year career in direct social work practice and service management, Roslyn Giles turned her hand to social work education and research. She is currently Director of Field Education in the Faculty of Education and Social Work at The University of Sydney, specialising in social work in health care and knowledge building in social work practice and education. In addition, Ms Giles is a member of the Australian Social Work Review Panel, and chaired the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) Practice Standards Working Party. She is also an AASW Social Work program accreditor, a Social Work Inequalities Network member, and a member of the Australian Social Work Code of Ethics Review working party.

  • Professor John Christodoulou, Director of Western Sydney Genetics Program (for his service to human genetics, particularly the metabolic disorders of children).

  • Professor Michael Boyer, Director of Sydney Cancer Centre and Area Cancer Services, Sydney South West Area Health Service (for services to medical oncology as an education and clinical researcher, and through the development of integrated care facilities for people with cancer.)

  • Honourary Professor Bruce Thom (for service to the environment as an adviser and advocate for the ecological management of the coastal zone, as a contributor to public debate on natural resource policy, and to the academic and professional discipline of geography.


  • Dr Philomena Brennan (for service to music education)

    Throughout her 24-year career at the University of Sydney as music academic, teacher and scholar, Dr Philomena Brennan believes that watching her students graduate was the greatest reward. Dr Brennan held numerous roles at The University of Sydney's Conservatorium of Music between 1974 and 1998, including Head of Academic Studies, Postgraduate Co-originator, Senior Lecturer and Head of Music Education. Her studies also led her to international travel, particularly to the Philippines, where she gained a special appreciation for the country and its culture. Dr Brennan became President of the Australian Philippine Association in the 1980s.

  • Professor Andrew Short (for service to science in the area of coastal studies, and to the Australian Beach Safety and Management Program).

    Professor Andrew Short is one of few Australians who can claim to have visited every beach in Australia. Professor Short, who is Director of the Coastal Studies Unit at the University of Sydney, spent 27 years studying the nature, hazards and usage of each of Australia's 11,580 beaches. Completed in 2004, the study is the largest and most useful database of Australia's beaches yet compiled, and also includes a relative safety rating out of 10 for every beach. In addition, Professor Short is the National Coordinator of the Australian Beach Safety and Management Program in cooperation with Surf Life Saving Australia, a position he has held since 1991.

  • Honorary Associate Professor Joseph Canalese (for service to medicine, to rural health, and to the community of Dubbo).

When Associate Professor Joseph Canalese arrived in Dubbo for a short-term stay, it is unlikely that he would have envisaged an OAM 30 years later for service to the community. Dr Canalese has now lived and worked in Dubbo for 30 years as a physician, gastroenterologist and now as an Honorary Associate Professor at the University of Sydney's School of Rural Health Dubbo Campus. He has been awarded for his services to the Dubbo community, as well as to rural health and medicine. A staunch believer in the value of good education, Dr Canalese told Dubbo's Daily Liberal "if we don't have well-trained medical students today we won't have well-trained doctors tomorrow".


  • Professor Anthony Cunningham, Director of Westmead Millennium Institute & Centre for Virus Research (for service to medicine, particularly in the field of viral research and through the development and leadership of medical and biomedical research.)
  • Professor Michael Fraser, Sydney Law School (for service to the arts, particularly for his efforts to protect the rights and copyright of Australian authors and artisans.)

Media inquiries: Sarah Stock, 0419 278 715,