Amazing Program

Kurt Fearnley (AO)

Kurt Fearnley (AO)

Officer of the Order of Australia, Paralympic gold medalist

Born without the lower portion of his spine, Kurt Fearnley OAM has crawled along the Great Wall of China, completed the Kokoda Trail and is an Australian Paralympic gold medallist. At the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Kurt finished his incredible career by winning Gold in the gut wrenching Marathon. He was the flag bearer at the closing ceremony and as usual made every Australian proud of not only his achievements but by the way he conducted himself.

  •  Kurt was a Gold medal winner and Australian Flag bearer at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
  • He is the winner of some of the world’s most prestigious marathons including London, Paris, Rome and Los Angeles, and 5 times winner in Chicago and New York.
  • He has won 13 Paralympic medals across 5 games and is a 6 times world champion from 800m to marathon.
  • Kurt has been a winning crew member of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.
  • He is well known for his amazing feat of crawling the 96km Kokoda track.
  • Kurt is actively involved in various charities as a board member, patron and ambassador.
  • In 2005, Kurt was awarded an OAM
  • In 2018 received an even higher honour, an AO and in 2019 was awarded NSW Australian of the Year in 2019.
Andréa Simmons

Andréa Simmons


Andréa Simmons has owned and operated several successful businesses throughout her life and has achieved her milestone by becoming a millionaire by age 21.


After having a life changing experience and losing everything including almost her life to the drug lCE, Andréa began devoting her life to the needs of those suffering from ICEaddiction and began educating others of the dangers and effects of ICE use. Over the past 6 years Andr6a has collated with service providers nationally to act as a referral point for addicts & families in need.


Andréa (AAIC) has partnered up with Optimal Health Group (OHG) to deliver this training to communities throughout Australia, equipping them with early intervention tools and establishing family support groups nationally.


AAIC is a registered DGR approved charitable organisation who have been working with kids and youth for several years, and recognize the desperate need of this program’s implementation.


Andrea’s vision is to show that lCE, kills, steals and destroys anyone who tries it, even once.

Professor Michael Sawyer

Professor Michael Sawyer

Medal Of The Order of Australia, Medical Adviser for Australian Rotary Health

Professor Michael Sawyer, OAM, MBBS, PhD, Dip Child Psych., FRANZCP, FRCPC is Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in the School of Paediatrics and Reproductive Health at the University of Adelaide and Head, Research and Evaluation Unit at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in South Australia. He is currently the Honorary Medical Advisor for Australian Rotary Health. Prior to this appointment he was Chair of the Australian Rotary Health Research Committee and a Director on the Australian Rotary Health Board.  He has also previously been Head, Department of Paediatrics and Associate Dean (Research) in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Adelaide. In 2008, Professor Sawyer was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for services to the field of child and adolescent mental health as a researcher and educator.

Dorothy Hoddinott AO

Dorothy Hoddinott AO

Principal of Holroyd High School in Sydney

Protecting the human rights of refugee and disadvantaged students in the community is an ongoing responsibility, according to Dorothy Hoddinott AO. Ms Hoddinott is the former principal of Holroyd High School in Sydney and the winner of the 2014 Australian Human Rights Medal.

“When I look at the communities that represent my school, I see continuing injustice and a need to support people in dealing with, sometimes institutional, blindness to their plight. Between asylum seekers, refugees and migrants the need doesn’t go away.”

Ms Hoddinott has spent her career working in schools where there are substantial numbers of children with refugee backgrounds.

“I first came across the importance of speaking up about the rights of young students when I was teaching in the 1970s and encountered refugee children from the Lebanese Civil War. “Then I went to Leichhardt High School and met Vietnamese students of refugee status, many of whom had been through appalling situations.”

From her current vantage point at Holroyd High School, Ms Hoddinott believes that little has changed. “We have had waves of refugee and asylum seeker children in the school since 1995 -from the disaster that was Yugoslavia, from Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Burma. “If you think about where the conflicts and humanitarian disasters have happened, that has pretty much been the nature of the school’s student population.”

More than simply accommodating these students, Ms Hoddinott argues the importance of empowering them to become active citizens. She established the ‘Friends of Zainab’ trust fund in 2002 to help disadvantaged children to obtain crucial secondary and tertiary education opportunities.  Ms Hoddinott, appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2008 for commitment to social justice, also stresses the benefits of English as a second language (ESL) education.

“ESL plays a very important role in helping people integrate themselves into Australian society. “If people don’t have the language tools to manage both the school curriculum and the curriculum of everyday intercourse in the community, they are condemned to a life on the margins of the community.” Seeing formerly disempowered and illiterate students enjoy success in the education system helps inspire Ms Hoddinott to continue her work.

“Those sorts of stories just bring goose pimples to the skin of teachers, to think that we can take a child who has that degree of disadvantage and move that person through to complete a university degreeand aspire to pursue postgraduate tertiary education. It is highly motivating.”  More than anything, however, Ms Hoddinott remains energised by the ongoing need for community advocacy in protecting young refugees. “The past and current treatment of children in immigration detention and some aspects of the treatment of young asylum seekers in the community are in breach of child protection legislation at a state level. “The vulnerability of those children continues to be a major issue and, by extension, the vulnerability of their families.

“I think that we need to do a great deal more in that regard. It’s essential if we are to avoid ghettos of poverty and resentment in newly arrived communities.”

Lieutenant General John Caligari AO, DSC (Retired)

Lieutenant General John Caligari AO, DSC (Retired)

Chair of the North Queensland Community Foundation (NQCF), member of the Rotary Club of Townsville

John Caligari served in the Australian Defence Force for 36 years. He retired in 2015 as a three-star general and returned to Townsville where he had spent 12 years in command positions. His last posting to Townsville was as Commander 3rd Brigade at Lavarack Barracks. He has served on combat operations in Somalia, East Timor and Afghanistan.

He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his command and leadership as the Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion Group, an 1100 strong force operating on the Indonesian border with East Timor in 2000. In 2014 he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service and leadership in the fields of modernisation and capability development in the most senior ranks in the Department of Defence. Since transitioning out of the Army, John has taken up nonexecutive director positions on several company boards and has devoted his spare time to supporting the Ex-ADF Community in Townsville.

In 2017, John was appointed by Federal Minister for Health as the Chair of the Ex-ADF and Families Suicide Prevention Project (codenamed Operation COMPASS) and he Chairs the Board of The Oasis Townsvilte Limited, an organisation established in 2018 to serve as a ·’single front door’ for veterans seeking assistance with connecting and integrating into the Townsville community.

He is also-

  • Chair of the North Queensland Community Foundation (NQCF)
  • Patron of Townsville Legacy;
  • Patron of the 1 RAR Association;
  • a White Ribbon Ambassador and
  • a member of the Rotary Club of Townsville.

He is married to Narelle and they have three children – twin sons are Australian Army officers and their daughter is a qualified lawyer serving in the Australian Public Service.

Mario DeJesus and Judite Martins

Mario DeJesus and Judite Martins

Timor-Leste Rotarians from the Rotary Club of Dili

Mario DeJesus and Judite Martins, of the Rotary Club of Dili, Timor-Leste, run the small but vital program Rotarians Helping Timor.  A major component of their work is accepting sea containers full of goods from Australia for distribution to people in Timor-Leste. They have an agreement with a business in Dili, which allows them to hire a truck, forklift and drivers at a discounted price to remove the containers from the wharf and unload and store them at their premises, free of charge. This huge effort is managed within three days of the container landing at the wharf, in order to save a large daily holding fee. Mario and Judite then distribute donated goods to the many people, groups, schools and others in need throughout Timor-Leste.  The Rotary Club of Melbourne, Vic, helps to cover administration and removal costs to support Mario and Judite’s efforts.


Judite has additionally become an advocate and trainer for the Days for Girls program, which provides quality menstrual care solutions to women who otherwise may be excluded from education and employment. She works with schools in Dili and Bacau to promote the program and provide instruction . She has already helped distribute around 700 kits to students with support from Days for Girls groups in Australia, with plans in place to extend the program to Atauro Island next year. Judite also liaises with groups in Dili and Bacau that are making Daysfor Girls kits to sell to women outside the age limit to receive a free kit. This involves ensuring the quality of kits is maintained and proper education for use of the kits is provided. Mario has taken on the role of managing the ROMAC program in Timor. He liaises with families of children and medical officers and coordinates the paperwork, including passports, customs declarations, airfares and transport to ensure the children arrive at their allocated destination. So far, Mario had organised for 20 children to travel to Sydney, Melbourne and New Zealand under the ROMAC umbrella. Mario and Judite also assist with the Timor-Leste Leavers Experience, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Margaret River, WA, and the Lions Clubs of Augusta, Cowaramup and Margaret River, which sees graduates travel to the islands for a combination of adventure and service. Mario and Judite have assisted with transport to and from Atauro and Bacau and arranged accommodation and transport around Dili. They have further helped identify potential projects in Timor-Leste in need of support for inclusion in future trips.  Tireless in their service to the community, in 2018 they organised a Christmas party for orphans and disadvantaged children at Timor Lodge, with almost a thousand children and families showing up to experience the fun. In recognition of the work they do, the Rotary Club of argaret River held a special dinner ·in their honour, where Mario and Judite were presented with Paul Harris Fellowship awards.

Dr James Daveson, MBBS(Qld) FRACP

Dr James Daveson, MBBS(Qld) FRACP

Maintains a private practice in both Mackay and Brisbane

Dr James Daveson, MBBS(Qld) FRACP, completed his medical degree at the University of Queensland and completed his physician training in gastroenterology at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s, and the Princess Alexandra Hospital. Post fellowship Dr James Daveson accepted a consultant position at the Princess Alexandra Hospital where he introduced balloon enteroscopy.


With an interest in facilitating safe regional access to investigations traditionally located within central metropolitan locations, he has subsequently established capsule endoscopy and double balloon enteroscopy at both the Mackay and Logan Hospitals in Queensland. He now continues to run a small bowel clinic at Logan hospital whilst maintaining a private practice in both Mackay and Brisbane (located at St Andrew’s Hospital).


During his training he received the Blackwell Publishing Clinical Award for excellence as well the Queensland Gastroenterology Society Young Investigator of the Year. He is a senior Lecturer with the University of Queensland School of Medicine, with research and clinical interests including coeliac disease as well as small bowel imaging techniques such as capsule endoscopy and double balloon enteroscopy.


He has been published internationally in peer-reviewed journals and is regularly asked to speak on coeliac disease.


USC’s Clinical Trials Centre

USC’s Clinical Trials Centre will launch a clinical trial of a new vaccine on 23 March that aims to improve the lives of those with coeliac disease by ‘switching off’ the immune response to gluten.


Coeliac disease is a serious chronic medical condition in which the ingestion of gluten, even in small amounts, leads to an immune response that causes damage to the small intestine.  Sufferers struggle with various gastrointestinal symptoms and, if untreated, face potentially serious complications. Currently, the only way to manage the disease is by the strict avoidance of gluten in the diet. USC’s Clinical Trials Centre Director Lucas Litewka said the investigational vaccine would be given to trial participants as an injection twice a week for seven weeks.


He said the trial would be conducted alongside gastroenterologist Dr James Daveson at the Clinical Trial Centre on Sippy Downs Drive, Sippy Downs.


Dr Daveson said a gluten-free diet was exceptionally demanding for patients, expensive and difficult to maintain as gluten was used extensively in modern food production.


“There is a real unmet need for therapies other than the gluten-free diet for some people with coeliac disease,” he said. “This is a very exciting potential new therapy that has been undergoing clinical trials for several years now.”  Dr Daveson said the investigational vaccine might potentially restore gluten tolerance in coeliac disease sufferers.


Adults between the ages of 18 and 70 can take part in this trial if they have medically diagnosed coeliac disease and have been following a strict gluten-free diet for 12 months or more.

Allan and Diana Binks

Allan and Diana Binks

Rotarians Rotary Club of d9560 Passport

Allan has been a Rotarian for over 20 years and was previously in Apex for about 10 years.

After leaving school Allan worked for 20 years for Bank of New South Wales (Westpac).

On leaving Westpac, Allan & his wife Diana bought & ran a wholesale/retail milk distribution business in Caboolture for over 5 years, until the government deregulated the milk industry.

Following deregulation, Allan & Diana, with their daughters Amanda & Danielle, then bought a caravan & travelled around Australia for nearly 2 years, mainly bush camping & fishing.

Reality finally set in so they bought Mackay Camping World, which both ran for about 23 years. Business was sold in 2014 & Allan & Diana retired.

As both their girls now live in the south east corner, they sold their Mackay home and moved to the Sunshine Coast and now spend a lot of time travelling.

For this reason Allan & Diana have both joined the Passport Rotary Club.

Allan’s sister Annette was struck down with polio in the 1950  epidemic, so the family sold their farm in New South Wales & relocated to Brisbane in 1954 to get treatment for her.