Shrine of Remembrance Medal - Past Recipients

Since 2008 the Shrine of Remembrance Medal has provided recognition to an individual or group that has made outstanding contributions to the advancement of community knowledge and understanding of the service and sacrifices made by Victorians for their country in times of war and peacekeeping.  Past recipients have been drawn from a range of disciplines, each working tirelessly to support the objective of honouring service men and women, past an present.

2018 Recipient—Mr Graham Christie

Queenscliff resident and Vietnam Veteran Graham Christie was declared the recipient of the 2018 Shrine of Remembrance Medal at an event following the Victorian State Remembrance Day Service.

Nominated by Simon Ramsay MP, Member for Western Victoria Region, who described the recipient as, ‘a selfless man of integrity and decency,’ Mr Christie served in Vietnam at Fire Support Patrol Bases of Coral and Balmoral.

The winner’s outstanding achievements in promoting the contribution of veterans in his community were commended. Credited as being the driving force behind many initiatives that had elevated the honouring of service men and women from the Western Victorian region, Mr Christie regularly speaks at local schools in the precinct with the aim of ensuring future generations understand and value service and sacrifice. Additionally, Mr Christie has taken an active, ongoing role in convening local commemorations for Vietnam Veterans’ Day and Remembrance Day and has also worked as a delegate and advocate for the Geelong and District Vietnam Veterans’ Association.

Shrine CEO, Dean Lee, strongly endorsed the decision to award Mr Christie or the 2018 Shrine Medal:
Mr Christie has worked tirelessly over many years to promote community understanding of veteran service and sacrifice. His commitment to support and honour commemoration will have long-ranging impact on current and future generations.

It was indeed Mr Christie’s dedication to support remembrance in his local area that meant he was unable to attend the medal announcement at the Shrine. As the convenor and Master of Ceremonies for the Remembrance Day March and Service in the Borough of Queenscliffe, Mr Christie’s commitment to his local community remained paramount.

Mr Christie is pictured above, in centre, with Shrine CEO Mr Dean Lee on his left and Shrine Chairman of Trustees, Air Vice-Marshal Chris Spence AO (Retd), after receiving his award on 23 November at a lunch held for the ‘Friends of the Shrine’ on 23 November.

2017 Recipient—Mr Steven Bloxham

Described as a 'breath of fresh air’ for the RSL in the Western District, Mr Steven Bloxham was announced as the 2017 Shrine of Remembrance Medal recipient in a special presentation following the Remembrance Day Service.

Nominated by his local MP, Richard Riordan, Member for Polwarth, Mr Bloxham’s outstanding achievements in promoting the contribution of veterans in his community were recognised. Mr Bloxham was credited as being the driving force behind a number of initiatives that had elevated the honouring of service men and women from the Terang area and the surrounds.

Among his many accomplishments was the establishment of a museum at the RSL in Terang. Mr Bloxham worked tirelessly to research and amass memorabilia and information from local ex-servicemen and their families, so that their stories were appropriately recognised, ensuring that their contributions are not forgotten.

As well as being a repository of local service history, the museum has become a centre for learning, offering programs for local school groups, engaging students so they can understand more about Australia’s war history. Mr Bloxham was also instrumental in reviving the Anzac Day Dawn Services in both Terang and nearby Noorat, where he assisted locals there in accessing a community grant to create a memorial garden and install a flagpole.

2016 Recipient—Mr Robert Winther

Robert is Veteran Liaison at Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital and has dedicated more than 50 years’ service to this role. He has been the driving force of numerous projects at the Hospital including The Anzac Memorial Chapel, The Remembrance Garden and the Jessie Mary Vasey Labyrinth. Robert’s commitment to the veteran community is apparent in his long incumbency and the support he provides in ensuring veterans’ stories are accessible to current and future generations through tours for school and community groups.

The high calibre of nominations for the Shrine Medal each year makes the selection of a recipient a difficult task and is testimony to the continued hard work which goes into increasing community knowledge and understanding of the service and sacrifice of Victorian men and women in war and peacekeeping.

2015 Recipient—Dr Rosalie Triolo

Dr Triolo is a Senior Lecturer, History/ Humanities Education at Monash University and Life Member of the History Teachers’ Association of Victoria. Rosalie's work has extended into many different realms to support and honour service men and women. As well as being involved with the Shrine as a volunteer in an advisory capacity to develop student and teacher resources, Rosalie was awarded a Monash University Mollie Holman Doctoral Medal in 2008. A published author, her book “Our Schools and the War was released in 2012. In addition,Rosalie has authored and co-authored numerous schools resource publications covering topics about the home front, indigenous service and schooling service. A regular speaker for public programs, teacher workshops and conferences, Rosalie has been a DVA secondary judge for Anzac Day Awards (2004–2015) and also contributed to the development and delivery of Victoria’s Anzac Centenary events.

2014 Recipient—Bill Rudd OAM

Sergeant Bill Rudd was a Sapper captured at Ruin Ridge, Alamein, by the Italians during the Second World War. After being torpedoed when aboard the Italian transport ship Nino Bixio, Bill was sent to Campo 57 at Grupignano, Italy, before escaping to Switzerland. Since 1999, Bill has compiled a nominal roll of 419 POWs who escaped to Switzerland. On suggestion of the Australian War Memorial, Bill compiled other rolls of POWs such as those that died in captivity and those that were killed by ‘friendly fire’. The result has been the establishment of a website dedicated to the POW camp at Grupignano. Along with a fellow New Zealander, Bill created a memorial wall to commemorate those who lost their lives on the Nino Bixo.

2013 Recipient—Maxwell “Sparra” Folan

Maxwell “Sparra” Folan is a Korean War veteran and a peacekeeper whose dedication amongst school and community groups has ensured that the Korean War is not forgotten. Serving on the frigate HMAS Culgoa on operational service during the Korean War, Sparra was involved in the Amgak Peninsular bombardments at the entrance of the Tredonga estuary, a rescue mission to save a small force from the island of Yongmae Do when 300 Chinese troops invaded during 1953. He then continued on after the cease fire until the Commonwealth Naval Forces finished in 1954. Sparra has dedicated many hours to travelling around to school and community groups, RSL’s and cadet groups in order to educate young people on the Korean War. In 2004 a permanent memorial to Korea was unveiled within the grounds of Goorambat Primary School—Sparra was instrumental in building a link between this School and to that of the service of Victorians during the Korean War.

2012 Recipient—Norm Furness

This year’s winner is Norm Furness. Norm is a veteran and one of the few surviving members of the 2/22nd Battalion Lark Force Association. He has been the President of the Association since 1999. Norm has played an active role in ensuring that the memory of those who lost their lives in the fall of Rabaul and in the sinking of the Montevideo Maru the biggest single loss of POW’s at sea during WWII—is never forgotten. Norm’s dedicated role in promoting the remembrance of Lark Force has led to Memorials being erected at the original campsite Trawool, in Rabaul Harbour in 1993; Ballarat in 2004; Subic Bay in 2009 and Bendigo in 2011. Norm has also provided assistance with the newly erected Memorial at the Australian War Memorial which was dedicated on 1 July 2012.

2011 Recipient—Dr David Holloway

David had been a strong advocate for the remembrance of Australia’s Light Horse Heritage. He has undertaken a mostly lone campaign in order to ensure that the memory of the men and horses of Victoria’s 4th Light Horse Regiment is not forgotten. Recently David self-published ‘Endure and Fight: a detailed history of the 4th Light Horse Regiment, AIF 1914-1919 Gallipoli, Sinai and Palestine, France and Belgium’. This work is 853 pages in total and has been a labour of love for David over many years. David’s book is regarded as one of the most comprehensive unit histories ever written. His work was endorsed by HRH Prince Charles, who personally contributed to the publication. David continues to promote the history of this important Victorian Regiment, by speaking to many different organisations and continuing his work as a volunteer guide at the Shrine of Remembrance

2010 Recipient—Mac Gregory

Entering the Royal Australian Navy College in 1938 as a 13 year old Midshipman, LCDR Mac Gregory spent most of the Second World War almost entirely at sea. Following his service career he maintained an active awareness of naval matters. Today his main objective continues to be the promotion, education and preservation of Australia’s naval heritage. He is a frequent speaker at Rotary Clubs, RSL Branches, charity organisations, schools and also the Shrine of Remembrance. Mac was instrumental in creating an internationally recognised website dedicated to naval heritage (www.Ahoy-Mac’s) and also founded the Naval Heritage Foundation.

2009 Recipient—John Hamilton

Journalist and author for the last 30 years, John Hamilton has been a respected Herald Sun reporter and foreign correspondent. Nominated twice for the Walkley Award and the Graham Perkin Journalist of the Year Award, John is an author of two bestselling books—‘Goodbye, Cobber, God Bless’ and ‘Gallipoli Sniper’. He is a regular contributor to the Herald Sun and has written numerous feature articles on the significance of wartime events and remembrance. He is responsible for raising the profile and awareness of ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day in recent years through the media. John served in the Royal Australian Navy and is a lifetime Australia Day Ambassador.

2008 Recipient—Lambis Englezos (Inaugural medal recipient)

Mr. Englezos is a founding member of the Friends of the 15th Brigade in the early 1990s. Lambis has been instrumental in creating the association, responsible for guiding its direction and holding regular commemorative ceremonies of the group. He was one of the key activists in campaigning to have a replica of the Fromelles sculpture Cobbers—in memory of those who fought and fell in the Battle of Fromelles 19-20 July 1916 installed at the Shrine. In 2008 Lambis’ role in the discovery of mass graves of Australian and British soldiers at Fromelles led to the decision by the Australian Government to unearth the graves and provide proper burial grounds for the bodies. Lambis’ passionate and persistent search has received international media coverage and has drawn considerable attention to the significant events of the First World War and the Battle of Fromelles.