A parachuting safety expert, a tireless community volunteer and a family violence reform advocate – all from Whittlesea – are among those included in this year’s Australia Day honours list.
Doreen’s Johannes Chitty and Whittlesea townships’s Marilyn McQualter were admitted to the Order of Australia, while Bundoora’s Claire Waterman received a public service medal.
Mr Chitty was recognised for his services to parachuting.
He has been involved in the Australian parachuting industry since 1964.
“I was a teenager and went to the local parachuting club in Chapel Street, Prahran. I found out I was too young to jump, but I hung around and learnt how to pack parachutes,” Mr Chitty said.“When I was old enough to jump, I did my one jump and realised it was much easier to pack the parachutes than unpack them in the air.”
From there, Mr Chitty worked at a Moorabbin parachute company during the Vietnam war helping to make and pack military parachutes.
He is also heavily involved in rigging, working to teach others how to pack, set up and repair parachutes, has helped design a new safety harness and is a member of the Australian Parachute Federation.
Mr Chitty said he enjoyed learning about the technical side of parachuting and working with others to improve safety.
Long-time Whittlesea resident Mrs McQualter was recognised for her service to the community.
She has lived in Whittlesea for 35 years.
Mrs McQualter is a volunteer with the Moira Kelly Creating Hope Foundation, helping to look after children and acting as Ms Kelly’s personal assistant.
She also volunteers with Oriel House, the Whittlesea Country Women’s Association, and is the welfare officer for the Rotary Club of Whittlesea. In 2015, she was named as Whittlesea’s citizen of the year.
Mrs McQualter said volunteering was “very important to her”, adding that she enjoyed giving back to the community.
She is particularly passionate about helping children, having volunteered with the creating hope foundation for 20 years.
“I enjoy my role as the foundation helps the children the rest of the world forgot,” Mrs McQualter said.
Bundoora’s Ms Waterman was honoured for her work in bringing about family violence system reforms. Her work has contributed to improved policy, legislation, training and advice on a whole-of-government level, resulting in enhance safety measures to support survivors and holding perpetrators of violence to account.