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People > Notable Kytherians > Andrew P. Sourry OAM

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submitted by Dr. Marika A. Leibrandt on 04.06.2014

Andrew P. Sourry OAM

Andrew Peter Sourry was born in Glen Innes, NSW in 1920. Both of Andrew’s parents were born in Kythera, Greece. His father, Panayioti (Peter), who was from Agia Anastasia, first arrived in Austalia on the boat 'Australia' in 1900. Peter returned to Greece to visit family and to fight in the Balkans War in Epirus, in North Western Greece, in 1912-1913. On this visit he met and married Andrew's mother, Marika Coroneo, from Potamos and together they emigrated to Australia in 1914 from Potamos, Kythera. Five children were born to Panayioti and Marika: Effie Sourris, Charles, Andrew, Eleni Venardos and Katina (‘Betty’) Pascall.

Andrew completed schooling at Armidale High School, NSW. In 1937 he was accepted to study Pharmacy at Sydney University from where he graduated with Honors in 1941. After registration he went to Lismore and enlisted in the Army Medical Corps in the AIF, serving in Rutherford and Tamworth, between December 1941 and early 1944. During this time he married Lois, who was an army nurse.

In 1944, the newly married Andrew, with his wife Lois' blessing, was granted the opportunity to travel to Greece as part of the medical contingent with Red Cross and United Nations Rehabilitation & Adminstration ( UNRA) where he served as a Deputy Assistant Commissioner. Along with 23 other Australians including 2 other Greek-Australians he spent 18 months based in Kozani in Northern Greece as a pharmacist and interpreter with these organisations. During the time of his service, Greece was in a period of Civil War from 1944-1946. The opportunity for Andrew to assist others by practicing his profession in a time of crisis and familiarise himself with the country of his heritage, had a marked impact on his life. For his work he was awarded the Bronze Medallion of the Greek Red Cross for Meritorious and Distinguished Service and was also made an Honorary Citizen of Kozani, the provincial capital of West Macedonia.

Andrew completed 50 years in pharmacy with pharmacies in Stanthorpe in Queensland from 1946-1949, Katoomba and in Gosford from 1952-1970, including an assistant and honorary pharmacist position at Gosford District Hospital and pharmacist at Roma Private Hospital at East Gosford. He retired from full time pharmacy in 1970 and became a locum pharmacist on the Central Coast from where he retired from pharmacy in 1991. He was the first president of the Central Coast Pharmacists Association.

After he retired, together with his wife Lois then a botanist and author, Andrew joined in her work in the field of conservation and together were active nature conservationists working for the establishment of National Parks and Nature Reserves on the Central Coast of NSW. Lois was passionate about environment issues all her life and greatly influenced Andrew's interest in the same. Her book entitled 'Trees of the Australian Bush' by Lois Sourry and Eric Worrell was a testament to her dedication. Lois was also a keen photographer and the majority of the photographs contained in the book were taken by her. Andrew's interest in photography was evident at this stage and together they took many photographs of botanic specimens and wildlife which are still used as reference material for journals and other publications. Together they were inaugural members of the Gosford Photographic Society.

After Lois' death in 1987, Andrew continued the work in conservation dedicating his life to the voluntary efforts of National Parks Association (NPA) and National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). Both Andrew and Lois were founding members of the National Parks Association formed in 1957. He was an active member of the National Parks Association of NSW and the Gosford Wildlife Conservation Society. He worked in close liaison with the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Gosford City Council Coastal Open Space System Committee and in 1997 became one of only 10 people in NSW to be made an honorary life member of the National Parks Association of NSW.

In 2001 Andrew Sourry was awarded the distinctive Order of Australia Medal (OAM).The citation for his OAM states: ' For Service to conservation and the Envrionment, particularly as an advocate for establishing and maintaining national parks and nature reserves in the Gosford area '. Additionally, the citation reads : 'Involved in community efforts which resulted in the establishment or extensions of ... national parks and nature reserves in the Gosford area ... Retired member, Central Coast District National Parks and Wildlife Service Advisory Committee, assisting with the preparation of draft plans of management for various parks and reserves on the Central Coast … Honorary life member, National Parks Association of NSW and instigator of their publication A Proposal for the Protection of Remnant Rainforest in the Gosford and Wyong Area (1993).'

The areas that have been dedicated as National Parks and Nature Reserves on the Central Coast are numerous and Andrew was active in the formation of the following : Brisbane Waters National Park, the first National Park to be dedicated in 1959, Bouddi National Park, Wyrrabalong National Park on the North Entrance Peninsula, Wambina Nature Reserve, Palmgrove Nature Reserve, Cockle Bay Nature Reserve, Tuggerah Nature Reserve, Wamberal Lagoon Nature Reserve and Popran National Park north of the Hawesbury River.

The result of Andrew's hard work as cited in ' Significant Men of the Central Coast ' 2009 edition, ' can be seen in the beautiful reserved areas of the Central Coast. Many of these wild areas would have been destroyed by development if Andrew and his environmental colleagues had not worked so hard and for so long to conserve our natural environment.' His legacy lives on for the enjoyment of all those that visit the National Parks on the Central Coast of NSW.

Andrew is survived by his daughter, Dr. Marika A. Leibrandt (nee Sourry), his son-in-law, Roman and grandchildren, Julian and Tristan, together with Julian's wife Lee.

References:

1. Worrell and Sourry, Trees of the Australian Bush, Sydney, Angus & Robertson LTD, 1967.

2. Margaret Hardy, Significant Men of the Central Coast: Men Who Have Made A Difference, Gosford City Council, 2009, p.14.

3. Barbara Hobart, 'Profile : Andrew Sourry, National Parks Journal', Vol. 45, no. 2, 2001.

4. Ann Coward, The Kytherian, Newletter of the Kytherian Assocation of Australia, March 2001, pp 8-9.

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