1. JOHN AQUILINA
Former state parliamentarian and long-time Blacktown boy John Aquilina was accepted as a Member in the Order of Australia and Cr Lowles was awarded a Medal of the Order.
Mr Aquilina said he was honoured by the membership and hoped it was something all Blacktown residents could be proud of.
‘‘I’ve always been a proud Blacktown boy, I’ve represented the city at various levels — as a mayor and a state member of parliament,’’ he said.
‘‘I think (the Australia Day honour) is hopefully a great opportunity for people of the west to say ‘yes our sons are worth these great honours’.’’
As a migrant originally from Malta, Mr Aquilina said one of the great things about his adopted country was ‘‘that people from such diverse backgrounds can go on to be recognised with the highest honours.’’
Mr Aquilina was the Labor Party’s Member for Blacktown from 1981-1991 and member for Riverstone from 1991-2011.
He was Minister for Education and Training, 1995-2001; Minister Assisting the Premier on Youth Affairs, 1995-1999; Minister for Youth and Community Services and Assistant Minister for Ethnic Affairs, 1986-1988, and Minister Natural Resources, 1986.
Mr Aquilina was Mayor of Blacktown, 1977-1981, and an Alderman from 1977-1983.
Cr Lowles said receiving the medal was ‘‘a great honour’’ and reflected on what it meant to him as a migrant to the country, having come from Liverpool in the UK.
‘‘I’ve been here some 50 years and I just involved myself in to the he community when I came,’’ he said.
‘‘To me, Australia Day is a celebration. It shows all that’s good about migration and assimilation.’’
2. CHARLES LOWLES
Blacktown Councillor Charles Lowles was awarded the medal ‘‘for service to local government, and to the community’’.
Among his achievements, Cr Lowles served as mayor from 1995-1999 and 2008-2010, as deputy mayor and as a councillor since 1989.
He was a committee member on the Pastor and the Imam project, 2009.
He has been involved in the development of a of community projects, including the Mount Druitt Library and Community Hub the Mount Druitt Swimming Complex, volleyball and basketball courts, Emerton Youth Centre, Emerton Leisure Centre and the sister cities program.
He has been a president, coach and manager of Lethbridge Park Rangers Soccer Club, for more than 20 years.
3. JULIANA NKRUMAH
Living Legend Award winner Juliana Nkrumah of Quakers Hill has been made a member of the Order of Australia for service to women and refugees today.
She works as a coordinator of NSW Police Force’s Multicultural Community Liaison Officer Program in Parramatta.
Prior to this, Ms Nkrumah was the assistant manager of the Refugee and Network Support team in the multicultural services branch of Centrelink.
She has been an advocate in the women’s movement since 1989 and was involved at the local, regional and international levels.
‘‘I feel humbled and privileged as the award is one of the highest in Australia,’’ she said.
‘‘I have a husband who shared my passion. This award is as much for him as well as for my children, those have journeyed with me and the people of Blacktown.
‘‘My award also sends a message in our multicultural society that recognition is given to people regardless of their background.’’
4. IAN WESTRAY
Ian Westray of Blacktown received an Order of Australia (OAM) medal for administrative service to soccer.
He was the president of Blacktown and Districts Soccer Football Association from 2003 to 2010, chairman of Protests and Disputes Committee (1999-2002), P&DC committee member (1998-2002), member of General Purpose Tribunal, Football NSW since 2003 and BDSFA representative, Sydney Branch of Associations (2003-2010).
‘‘I am very honoured to receive an OAM.
‘‘Twenty-five years ago when I first accepted the role as the under- 6 manager I never thought 25 years later I would be still involved in football,’’ he said.