The foundation headmaster of Grace Lutheran College, a coast guard volunteer and a former pharmacist were among the seven Moreton Bay Region residents recognised in this year’s Australia Day Honours List.
Owen Pezet, of Burpengary East, Nazminali Hudda, late of Bribie Island, Scarborough’s Paulus Toonen, Kippa-Ring’s Fred Stolz, Mount Crosby’s John Tilly and Woodford’s Ian Hall were awarded Medals (OAM) of the Order of Australia in the General Division.
Dalene Wray, who is the Chair of the Southern Cross Catholic College School board, was appointed as a Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia.
Fred Stolz was the founding headmaster of Grace Lutheran College and oversaw its growth from just over 50 students to more than 1500 and from one campus to two.
He says his OAM is more of a commendation for the people he’s worked with than an individual honour.
“Very good staff - that’s the secret of every school, naturally,” he says.
The OAM is not the first such honour Fred has received – in 2018 he became an Officer of the Order of Logohu, Papua New Guinea.
Like all Australia Day honours recipients, Fred was sworn to secrecy about his nomination, keeping the news even from his wife, Lois, until the last possible moment.
“(The Australia Day Honours Committee) sent me some information two or three months ago and at first I thought it was a scammer,” he laughs.
“But then the confirmation came through a few weeks ago.”
Fred grew up on a farm in Henty, NSW and, realising it was not large enough to sustain his future, he chose instead to follow in his mother’s footsteps.
“She was a teacher before she married Dad,” he says.
“I went to a one teacher school in Grubben for the first five years and then won a bursary to Albury High School – in my fifth year I was Vice-Captain of the school.”
Fred won a teachers’ college scholarship to study at Sydney University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science and a Diploma of Education and spent nine years with the Department of Education, the last three of them at Parkes as the Science subject master.
“Then I was called to go to Papua New Guinea by the Lutheran Church, to start a new teachers’ college founded by the German Lutherans,” Fred says.
He was the inaugural principal of the Balob Teachers College, in Lae, PNG.
“We opened in 1965 with 99 students. When I left at the end of 1979, we had over 300 students and had trained 1500 teachers in my time.”
Founding a teachers’ college stood Fred in good stead for his next role – as foundation headmaster at Grace Lutheran College in 1980 – a position he relished until his retirement at the age of 74 in 2009 after 54 years as an educator, having overseen the growth of Grace’s Rothwell campus and the opening of the Caboolture campus.
“I was called to be the foundation principal and we had 55 students in Grades 8, 9 and 10,” Fred says.
“Retirement was difficult, of course, because all those years you’re with a very intelligent group of people and the students are always interesting.
“In the first year of retirement we (Fred and wife Lois) bought a mobile home and went around Australia to make sure I was out of the way,” he laughs.
Fred’s seen many changes since he started his career, from the demands on students’ and teachers’ time to the rapid introduction of new technology.
“I am full of admiration for Year 12 students – a lot have jobs or are involved in sports and music and performing as well.
“They’re confident and assured and able to get up and speak, which is probably the biggest difference from when I started – I am amazed at what students can do.”
He’s proud the tradition of teaching has continued down the family line, with two granddaughters teaching at primary schools and a grandson in the Thursday Islands working as an English History teacher.
Fred and Lois’ eldest daughter is a social worker, while their second child, a son, was an aeronautical engineer in the Airforce for a time, their second son is a commercial pilot and youngest son Steven is a senior lecturer in education at the University of Adelaide.
He says two of his three sisters became teachers too, but the third “said we had enough teachers in the family and became a nurse”.
Paulus Toonan, OAM, Scarborough
Paulus is a volunteer with the Redcliffe Flotilla of the Australian Volunteer Coastguard Association.
He’s been involved in medical evacuations for the Queensland Ambulance Service and search and rescue activities with the Queensland Water Police.
Paulus was the flotilla’s finance officer from 2015-2019 and had been the assistant finance officer since 2019.
As well as his work with the Volunteer Coastguard Association, Paulus has been an active member of the Margate Conference of the St Vincent De Paul Society, serving as treasurer of the Give a Child a Chance Committee and the producer/editor of the Christian Care flyer.
He received a Defence Long Service Award from the Royal Australian Navy in 2000.
Owen Pezet, OAM, Burpengary East
Owen’s OAM honours his services to soccer.
He was the Football Queensland Tour Leader for United Kingdom tours from 2006-2019, the director between 2003 and 2006 and the co-ordinator for Ball Boys during the Australia/Columbia match in 1995.
Owen co-ordinated the Ball Boys and Pre-match entertainment for the 1993 World Youth Cup and has been heavily involved with the Queensland Junior Soccer Council since 1994.
He’s also served in many roles with the North Pine United Soccer Club and the Brisbane North and Districts Junior Soccer Association.
John Tilly, OAM, Mount Crosby
John Tilly’s OAM recognises his services to Veterans through his work with the Veterans' Support and Advocacy Service Australia, where he was a member from 1994-2022 and Secretary from 2019-2022, as well as serving as Vice-President.
John served as a soldier in the Australian Army from 1973-1993, receiving a Defence Force Service Medal with 1st Clasp, an Australian Defence Medal and a National Medal.
Ian Hall, OAM, Woodford
Ian’s OAM honours his service to veterans and their families.
He has served as the director of the Returned and Services League of Australia, Queensland since 2018, a member of the remuneration committee since 2019 and is a former member of the Bundaberg, Innisfail, and Kedron Wavell Sub-Branches.
Ian was the deputy president of the Sunshine Coast and Regional District, Returned and Services League of Australia, Queensland from 2016-2019 and has been the president since 2019.
A current member of the Woodford Sub-Branch, Ian was President between 2014 and 2016 and has been an advocate and welfare officer since 2014.
Ian was a member of the Queensland Police Service from 1972 until 2006 and prior to that a member of the Australian Army from 1964-1970
His other awards include the National Police Service Medal in 2015, a Queensland Police Service Medal in 1999 and 30 year clasp in 2006, along with a National Medal in 1994 and 1st Clasp 1999.
Ian has also been awarded an Australian Active Service Medal 1945-75 with the Clasp 'VIETNAM', a Vietnam Medal, a Vietnam Campaign Medal and an Australian Defence Medal.
The late Mr Nazminali Hudda, OAM
Nazminali received his OAM for service to the Nizari lsmaili Muslim community of Queensland, where he was the head of the Parent Liaison Team for Religious Education Program for two years.
He was also a teacher and involved in the establishment of religious education programs during the early 2000s and from 2015-2019 for the Jamat Khana Prayer Hall of the Nizari lsmaili Muslim Community, Queensland.
After beginning his pharmaceutical career in England, Nazminali moved to Australia, most recently working as the pharmacist and principal at Woorim Surfside Pharmacy on Bribie Island from 2005-2019 and the pharmacist and manager at Michaels Pharmacy, The Jetty, Redcliffe from 2004 to 2005.
Dalene Wray, AM
Dalene Wray, who serves as the Chair of the Southern Cross Catholic College School Board, received her honour in recognition of significant service to the organic beef industry, and to professional organisations.
Dalene has been the Managing Director of OBE Organic since 2017 and was the general manager from 2012-2017.
She is a Former Chair of the Communications and Advocacy Industry Reference Committee of the Australian Meat Industry Council, as well as a former member of the Meat Business Women Committee.
Dalene’s awards and recognition include the Food and Agriculture Award, Advance, 2018, the Austrade Women in Export Scholarship, Chief Executive Women, 2018 and the beef Achiever of the Year, Queensland Country Life, 2018.
Anyone can nominate any Australian for an award in the Order of Australia. If you know someone worthy, nominate them now at www.gg.gov.au.
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