submitted by Kytherian Newsletter Sydney on 13.04.2014
Australia Day Award, for Peter Prineas. 2012.
Photograph: Peter Prineas (left) with Jim Somerville an old comrade of rainforest and wilderness campaigns.
Among the honours announced by the Governor General on Australia Day 2012 was the award to Peter Prineas of an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for his "service to conservation and the environment through executive and advocacy roles".
Peter's involvement in conservation and environmental issues grew out of his early interest in bushwalking and friendship with the Sydney conservationist Milo Dunphy. While a university student in the early 1970s, Peter joined the Colong Committee and participated in efforts to save Lake Pedder in Tasmania and the Boyd Plateau forest in the mountains south-west of Sydney. Later he was appointed as the first Executive Officer of the National Parks Association of NSW where he directed his writing and legal skills into successful public campaigns to save rainforests from logging and for the establishment of new national parks. Some of the contested forests are now World Heritage Areas. He also worked for the preservation of wilderness areas and helped secure the enactment of wilderness protection legislation in 1987.
Peter contributed to community environmental organisations at a senior level for over 30 years. As well as the National Parks Association, he held honorary positions with the Nature Conservation Council of NSW and served as its Chairman for three years. He was also a long-time member of the board of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness, taking the Chair in 2007. He was Convener of the first Sydney Water Project in the 1990s and assisted the Nature Conservation Council with urban water policy up to about 2007.
Photograph: Peter Prineas (left) with wilderness photographer Henry Gold, in the Snowy Mountains 1982.
Peter also represented community environmental interests on government committees and boards including the National Parks and Wildlife Advisory Council and the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Board.
In recent years Peter has produced books on Greek Australian themes but his earlier books were about the environment. With photographer Henry Gold, he published 'Colo Wilderness' in 1977 and 'Wild Places' in 1983. These books argued for the protection of extensive tracts of bushland in the eastern highlands of NSW, most of which are now reserved in national parks.
How an Australian Day honour is awarded:
In the Australian honours system, appointments to the Order of Australia confer recognition for outstanding achievement and service. Recipients of the Order of Australia are from many fields of endeavour and all walks of life. The Order of Australia is the pre-eminent way Australians recognise the achievements and service of their fellow citizens. Nominations to the Order of Australia come directly from the community: either individuals or groups. The 19-member Council for the Order of Australia then considers the nominations. The Council makes its recommendations, independent of government, direct to the Governor-General.
Awards in the Order of Australia are publicly announced on Australia Day (26 January) and the Queen’s Birthday public holiday (June).
This article appeared in the March edition of The Kytherian, Newsletter of the Kytherian Association of Australia.
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