Two Lane Cove Residents Honoured in Queen’s Birthday 2020 Honours List

On 8 June 2020, the Governor-General announced the Queen’s Birthday 2020 Honours List, recognising 933 Australians.

Included in the list are:

710 recipients of awards in the General Division of the Order of Australia (3 AC, 50 AO, 200 AM and 457 OAM)

28 recipients of awards in the Military Division of the Order of Australia (3 AO, 12 AM and 13 OAM); and

128 meritorious awards.

“In this list we see all the positives that are in our community – we see the great ideas, we see the hard-work, we see the love and compassion for fellow human beings – it’s a microcosm of Australia,” the Governor-General said.

“This list recognises a group of outstanding Australians who have made a contribution to their community, to Australia globally or domestically. Their efforts have been noted by their peers, they’ve been nominated and assessed independently as worthy of recognition.

Two Lane Cove residents were honoured in the list as well as one Crows Nest resident who has a special connection to Lane Cove.

Member (AM) in the General Division

Emeritus Professor Peter Julius Rice ZELAS OAM Longueville NSW 2066 For significant service to medicine, to health administration, and to humanitarian medical initiatives

Professor Zelas is a Longueville resident.

Professor Zelas is a University of Sydney graduate. His career began at Sydney Hospital before moving to the UK in 1966, where he remained until the early 1970s.

In 1967, he became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, and later in 1971 a Fellow of Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.

After returning from the UK, Professor Zelas became a Staff Specialist at Blacktown Hospital, where he was instrumental in taking Blacktown Hospital from a small regional hospital to the expanded hospital that it is today, serving a diverse and multicultural community.

Professor Zelas created one of the first colorectal surgical units in Sydney, in an era when this was still a new approach to surgery.

He has also worked as a colorectal surgeon in many other countries, including the USA, Somalia, Nepal, Indonesia and Liberia, and regularly volunteered for education tours through Specialists Without Borders, delivering much needed surgical education and training in Rwanda, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

In 2006, Professor Zelas was awarded a Master in International Public Health from the University of Sydney.

He was actively involved in health service administration and has served as Chairperson for Division of Surgery, Vice Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer of the Medical Staff Council at Blacktown/Mt Druitt Hospital, and was recently appointed to the Governing Council of Western Sydney Local Health Network.

In 2006, Professor Zelas was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for his service to medicine and to the community of Western Sydney, particularly through roles at the Blacktown Hospital and in the field of colorectal surgery.

He contributed significantly to advancing the education of medical students at Western Sydney University and was appointed Clinical Dean at Blacktown/Mt Druitt Hospital, a teaching hospital for the then newly established UWS School of Medicine.

He successfully secured funding for Professorial Chairs for the School in Medicine and Surgery.

Professor Zelas has worked tirelessly with the local hospital to fund new Chairs that are much needed in the Western Sydney region, including paediatrics, obstetrics, cancer medicine and radiology.

In 2009, he secured funding to build a state of the art facility at Blacktown Mt Druitt Clinical School. The facility is now serving the education needs of the hospital and clinical community, training the next generation of doctors and exploring new areas of research.

His retirement from Blacktown Hospital was recognised with a ceremony to dedicate the hospital library in his honour.

The following press release was issued by the Blacktown Hospital on Professor Zelas retirement:

“The library, located in the Western Sydney University Clinical School, has been officially named the Peter Zelas Library, acknowledging the outstanding contribution of one of our finest clinicians, former Dean of the WSU Clinical School, and a champion of Blacktown Hospital.

Describing him as a “cornerstone” of the hospital, Blacktown general manager Sue-Anne Redmond said Peter’s imagination, humility, clinical acumen, meticulous attention to patient care, and abiding respect for his team and his patients would long be remembered.

“Peter once said that our job was to do the very best by our patients and to return them safely home to their family,” Sue-Anne said.

“The patient and family were always uppermost in his mind.

“We also owe him a debt of gratitude for our expansion, which is a reality because of his and his colleagues’ advocacy,” Sue-Anne said.

Peter was instrumental in establishing the Clinical School and was a tireless advocate for the hospital, supporting quality of care, consumer engagement, and our major expansion.”

Medal (OAM) in the General Division

Ms Leanne NEAL Riverview NSW 2066 For service to youth, and to nursing.

Leanne is the Health Care Coordinator at Saint Ignatius’ College Riverview. Leanne founded the Ignatian Children’s Holiday Camp  which focuses on giving nearly 30 children with disabilities the best four-days of their lives.

Mrs Toni Frances FIELD Crows Nest NSW 2065 For service to netball, and to the community

Toni is a Crows Nest resident.  However, anyone who has had a child who plays Netball will know her. She has been involved with the Northern Suburbs Netball Association since 1998. She was the NSNA president and from 1993 to 2009.

The Lane Cove Connection is Toni was a founding member of the Lane Cove Public School Netball Club and is a patron of the club.

Cover Photo Credit:  NSW Government

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