Autumn 2017

Australia Day Honours for Vincentians

On 26 January, numerous volunteers and members of the St Vincent de Paul Society were recognised across Australia, for tirelessly providing a hand up to people in need.

They included the following:


Ken Wilson (OAM) in the General Division. For service to people who are homeless, and in the community. Mr Wilson has worked as a volunteer on the Fitzroy and Collingwood Vinnies Soup Vans for more than 30 years, and has made an outstanding contribution to recording its treasured history through written works.

John Gerrard O’Loughlin (OAM) in the General Division, for service to the community through church and social welfare groups. Mr O’Loughlin has served as a member of the St Vincent de Paul Society Benalla Conference for more than 40 years as president, secretary, treasurer and/or committee member.

Linda Marion Dessau (AC) in the General Division, for eminent service to the people of Victoria through leadership roles in the judiciary, the advancement of economic ties and business relationships, and as a supporter of charitable, sporting and arts organisations. Linda has generously given her time to serving people experiencing hardship and homelessness, through being a member of the Vinnies Soup Van team in Victoria, and taking part in the CEO Sleepout event.

Vedran Drakulic (OAM) in the General Division, for service to the community through a range of charitable organisations. He was the highest fundraiser at the 2016 Vinnies CEO Sleepout event and is a consistent supporter of the works of the St Vincent de Paul Society.

Gavin Houlihan. Local Australia Day Committee Recognition, for his contribution to the Dairy Farmers Day Out initiative, hosted on 9 October 2016. Mr Houlihan is President of the Rochester Conference.

Two men standing in a work area.
Gavin Houlihan (right) received recognition for his contribution to the Dairy Farmers Day Out initiative in Rochester, Victoria.


Paul Finch (OAM), for service to the community, particularly to social welfare. Paul has been Conference President of Our Lady of the Way Catholic Church, Petrie, since 2013. He was treasurer from 1984 to 2013. His work with Vinnies has included crisis care, fundraising and administration.

Paul’s son Michael, who nominated him for the award, estimates he has made around 5000 crisis care visits, whereby he has provided food and clothing, nancial and emotional support to people suffering from domestic violence, the mentally ill, and the drug and alcohol dependent.

Paul and Michael Finch.
Paul and Michael Finch. Paul (right) received an OAM for his outstanding volunteer work with the St Vincent de Paul Society over more than 37 years. Photo courtesy of the Catholic Leader.

Peter Conaghan was named Livingstone Shire Council’s Citizen of the Year, for giving back to the community through volunteering with the St Vincent de Paul Society for more than half a century.

Phillip Hoy was one of 20 individuals acknowledged at the 2017 Lord Mayor’s Australia Day Awards, at a ceremony at Brisbane’s City Hall. The annual awards celebrate the achievements of otherwise unsung Brisbane heroes whose efforts have signi cantly improved the lives of individuals and communities.

Western Australia

Michael Playforth was named the Stirling Community Citizen of the Year. Michael has been a volunteer at the St Vincent de Paul Society in Osborne Park for 30 years.

Kerry Bayley was awarded the City of Busselton’s Citizen of the Year Award, for her tireless work in the community towards helping disadvantaged people.

Marion Sewell OAM, for services to youth in the communities of Albany and Tambellup.

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