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Perth Catholic volunteers shine in 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honours
Perth’s Catholic community volunteers Danny Murphy AM and Dr Betsy Buchanan OAM have this week been announced among the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. Photos: Ron Tan/Josh Low.
By Jamie O’Brien and Matthew Lau
Two volunteers from Perth’s Catholic community have this week been announced among the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for their exceptional service and achievements.
The 2021 Queen's Birthday Honours for Australia were announced on 13 June by Governor-General David Hurley.
The Queen’s Birthday 2021 Honours List recognises 1190 Australians, including 84 WA recipients across the following categories:
- Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), for distinguished service of a high degree to Australia or humanity at large: seven;
- Member of the Order of Australia (AM), for service in a particular locality or field of activity or to a specific group: 20;
- Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM), awarded for service worthy of particular recognition: 44;
- Distinguished and Conspicuous: six; and,
- Meritorious: five.
Urban Developer Danny Murphy AM was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia in the General Division for his significant service to urban development and to the community, and volunteer lawyer advocate Dr Betsy Buchanan OAM was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in the General Division for service to the community through social welfare organisations.
Speaking exclusively to The eRecord, Mr Murphy said receiving the award had been a humbling experience.
Mr Danny Murphy, left, with Strategic Consultant Jane Kikeros, Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB and Archdiocesan Executive Director – Finance & Administration, Greg Russo. Danny Murphy AM was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia in the General Division for his significant service to urban development and to the community Photo: Ron Tan.
“It is in these times you recognise the shared efforts of your work, particularly in my case with my wife Sue who I have been blessed to work with over the past 40 years,” Mr Murphy said.
Hailing originally from Adelaide, Mr Murphy served as chair of the Archdiocesan Property and Investment Committee and as a member of the Finance Council from 1993 to 2006. He and wife Sue moved to Perth with their family in 1992, when he was working on development of Ellenbrook.
Mr Murphy re-joined the Archdiocesan Finance Committee in 2009 and served as Chair from March 2017 to September 2020.
It was during this period as Chair of the Archdiocesan Finance Committee that Mr Murphy was instrumental in strategically shaping and delivering key aspects of the Archdiocesan Strategic Plan (2016-2021).
Mr Murphy’s commitment, expertise, strong leadership, and generosity of time have enabled the Archdiocese of Perth to implement a robust and future-focus series of strategic directions.
“This work has been my way of giving back to the Perth community,” Mr Murphy said.
“In that time, I have served two Archbishops, which has been a pleasure, and met many wonderful people.”
Dr Betsy Buchanan OAM has been a volunteer lawyer advocate at Daydawn Advocacy Centre for some 14 years.
She is credited with setting up the first community legal centre in WA in 1976 and was a former advocate with Aboriginal Medical Service Derbarl Yerrigan.
“That’s quite enough honour for me; I was pretty thrilled and very touched,” she said.
Speaking to The Record, Dr Buchanan told the story of when she needed protection as a child growing up in the Wheatbelt town of Gnowangerup, it was the local Noongar women who looked after her.
She has worked ever since to repay that kindness with more than 40 years of volunteering for the Indigenous community.
“I have had many awards from the Noongar community, which are immensely precious.
Volunteer lawyer advocate Dr Betsy Buchanan OAM was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in the General Division for service to the community through social welfare organisations. Photo: Supplied.
“[These awards] are huge in terms of reconciliation; the Noongar people have been great with reconciling, which is something the Catholic Church is committed to,” she continued.
“I am not goal-orientated; I follow what the Noongar people do, viewing Christ in each person – that’s how I read the Gospel as a child. Also, because of the Gospel story when the disciples didn’t recognise the Risen Christ until they saw His wounds.
“Noongar people are so wounded, but their response to hurt has been Christ-like. We are all part of the history that was so traumatic for them,” Dr Buchanan added.
“They are prepared to meet you as a person in a very Christ-like manner of not holding a grudge. The image of Christ is a person with deep wounds, not a perfect person. Aboriginal people come to you and expose their wounds.”
While she was grateful to add the honour to previous awards — including being inducted into the WA women’s hall of fame — she said nothing could compare to her appointment last year as an honorary Noongar for her work as an adviser and mentor.
“I want to keep on as I have; I am hoping to continue feeling a profound connection with Daydawn and the wonderful people there. I have become a friend of the Mercy Sisters and Emeritus Archbishop Barry Hickey, so it’s like a family around us,” Dr Buchanan added.
Announcing the list last Sunday, the Governor-General congratulated all recipients and commended each individual’s unique story that “deserves to be shared widely and celebrated”.
“Collectively, they speak to who we are as a nation. There are countless examples of selflessness, commitment, and dedication. There is diversity, and there are examples of exceptional achievement in almost every field imaginable,” he noted.
The Hon David Hurley said he prioritised increasing awareness of and engagement with the Order of Australia among groups that had been historically underrepresented.
“We are seeing positive progress, and I am determined that it continues.”
The Honourable Kim Beazley AC, Governor of Western Australia, will formally invest Western Australian recipients with the insignia of their appointments and awards at an Investiture Ceremony in September.