Mernda’s John Cowan was one of 201 Australians to receive a meritorious award, receiving an Australian Fire Services Medal. ​

By Max Davies

Four City of Whittlesea residents have been recognised for contributions to their communities as part of the 2022 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

A total of 992 Australians were announced as part of the honours list, highlighting the recipients’ selflessness, excellence and a commitment to service.

Beryl and Lindsay Patullo of Thomastown and Trevor Carroll of South Morang received the Order of Australia medal, OAM, while Mernda’s John Cowan was awarded an Australian Fire Services Medal, AFSM.

Mr Cowan was recognised for his 43 years of service to the Country Fire Authority, CFA, demonstrating qualities and values the CFA encourages its members to adopt.

He played an important role as planning officer during major fires in 2009, 2013 and 2019-2020, is an experienced fire ground commander, and has shared experiences both as a one-on-one coach and mentor through more than 157 virtual sessions since March 2020.

Mr Cowan is also highly regarded by senior leaders across emergency management services in Victoria.

“A couple of friends have got the AFSM and I look up to them as role models, so this means a lot,” he said.

“We saw some really positive things come out of COVID – we were able to keep people together and talking through virtual sessions, and there was always someone there to support everyone.

“To start something off and watch it grow and develop is really special.”

Mr Carroll received an OAM for his service to people with disability, having been chief executive of Disability Justice Australia since 2009 and a founding member of the Victoria Police Disability Portfolio Reference Group and Friends of South Morang.

He is also involved with Disabled People’s International and is the vice-chairperson of the Australian Federation of Disability


Mr Carroll was formerly recognised as the City of Whittlesea Citizen of the Year in 2005.

Mr and Ms Patullo have each been awarded an OAM for their service to the community through a range of roles, including Freemasons Victoria and Aurora Support Services.

Ms Patullo is a member of the Whittlesea Historical Society and Aurora Support Services and is the current secretary and treasurer of Friends of Will Will Rook Cemetery. She is also a member of the Freemasons Victoria management committee.

Mr Patullo has been the Aurora Support Services management committee president since 2015 and has been the chairman of Greensborough District Masonic Centre since 2006, through Freemasons Victoria.

Governor-General David Hurley said the honours list recognised the efforts and contributions that people made to their communities.

“Recipients share some common traits – including selflessness, excellence and a commitment to service. They’re from different backgrounds, their stories are each unique and each has served in different ways,” he said.

“Collectively the recipients, whose achievements span community service, science and research, industry, sport, the arts and more, represent the very best of Australia.

“In addition to the characteristics of selflessness, excellence and service, each recipient in the Order [has had someone] nominate them for recognition.

“Please consider nominating someone outstanding from your community or region for recognition. The only way a person can be recognised through the Order of Australia is for someone to nominate them.”

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