A group of Maitland’s highest achievers in various fields has been honoured with induction into the Maitland City Hall of Fame.
The second round of the awards recognised 19 local heroes, 12 posthumously at a ceremony on Tuesday at Maitland Regional Art Gallery.
The hall of fame is the brain child of Maitland councillor Brian Burke, himself a renowned rugby league halfback who helped lead the Maitland Pumpkin Pickers to four premierships between 1965 and 1973. In 1972 he was named Country Rugby League Player of the Year.
It was a plan he instigated during his first term on council in 1999 and one he helped bring to fruition last year.
He said he wanted to develop the hall of fame to honour our grassroots heroes across many fields.
Cr Burke said Maitland’s diversity was one of its true strengths and that the Hall of Fame represented that.
“The Hall of Fame has unearthed some great achievements from people who make up the fabric of this city and now those achievements will be remembered for generations to come,” he said.
The Hall of Fame is available at maitland.nsw.gov.au/hall-offame
The 2017 inductees are:
Sue McNeil: Dux of Maitland Girls High School in 1972 and a distinguished civil and environmental engineer. Holds various professor positions in Australia and America, and has co-authored a range of academic journals and papers.
Nell: Maitland born artist who has had numerous solo and group exhibitions across Australia and overseas including in the Netherlands, India and USA. Her work includes paintings, installations, performances and videos.
Dr John Fraser: Migrated from Scotland and was appointed rector of the Presbyterian Maitland High School in 1861. Established his own school ‘Sauchie House’ on Church Street and was headmaster for 20 years. A talented linguist who studied indigenous dialects.
Janette Grossmann: Longest serving Headmistress of Maitland Girls High School between 1890 and 1914. She was much loved and in 1935 the school was renamed Maitland Grossmann High School in her honour.
John Robert Hinder: Helped establish Maitland Boy’s High School and was a respected headmaster for 25 years from 1889 to 1914. In 1933, the original school hostel in High Street was named Hinder House in his honour.
William S Pender: Co-founder of Pender Bros Pty Ltd Timber and Hardware Merchants and Manufacturers of Apiarists Requirements in West Maitland. Was one of Australia’s best authorities on beekeeping and founded and edited ‘The Australasian Beekeeper’ for 32 years.
Rev Thomas Pierce: Came to Maitland in 1903 but resigned as a minister in 1906 to become editor of the Maitland Mercury until his death in 1925. He also co-founded the Starr-Bowkett Society in Maitland and was a voluntary preacher at East Maitland Congregational Church.
Duncan Sim: Established the Sim and Sons Foundry Works in Morpeth in the 1850s and became a well respected resident of Morpeth. He was an alderman in the Borough Council and was elected the Mayor of Morpeth in 1873 and 1875 to 1877.
Noel Unicomb: Lived in Maitland his whole life and was a councillor between 1956 and 1995 and mayor from 1972 to 1978. He was the first Maitland Citizen of the Year in 1970, was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 1992 and was made Freeman of the City in 1995.
Don Adams: Successful international rugby league player who played three games for NSW Country First in 1955, 1956 and 1958, seven games for NSW Firsts in 1955 and 1956 and five games for Australia in 1958, scoring five tries. Played 191 games for the Maitland Pickers.
Barrie Baker: The 1964 NSW Amateur golf champion and the Australian amateur golf champion. In 1964 he also represented Australia and in 1997 he was the Australian men’s senior amateur golf champion. He was also the Maitland Golf Club A-grade golf champion from 1954 to 1960.
John ‘Whacka’ Graves: Maitland Pickers rugby league player who represented Australia in seven test matches between 1948 and 1951. He played for South Sydney from 1947 to 1952 and was the league’s top try scorer in 1951 with 28 tries.
Harold ‘Mick’ Hinman: Local cricketing legend who played for the Maitland District Cricket Club first grade team who won the Newcastle competition in 1943/44, a NSW Second XI side in 1939 and Northern NSW teams. In 2003, the grandstand at Robins Oval was dedicated to him.
Henry Meskauskas: Long term resident who was the NSW state freestyle and butterfly champion from 1960 to 1963, the Australian butterfly champion in 1963 and a member of the Australian swimming squad in 1963. Henry has continued to play a pivotal role in the sport in Maitland.
Jim Morgan: Maitland Pickers rugby league player who played for South Sydney and Eastern Suburbs. Played eight games for NSW Firsts, three games for NSW Country Firsts and four games for Australia.
Terry Pannowitz: Played a club record 270 games for the Maitland Pickers and also played for Newcastle, Country NSW and Australia. He has won the Maitland Sportsperson of the Year Award and in 2009 was inducted into the Hunter Sporting Hall of Fame.
Noel Pidding: Successful rugby league player who played for the Pickers as well as the St George Dragons, Eastern Suburbs Roosters, NSW and Australia. He was renowned for his goal kicking and is a member of the Hunter Sporting Hall of Fame.
David Trewhella; Successful Maitland Pickers player who played with the Eastern Suburbs Roosters for 5 years, for NSW Country and two State of Origin games in 1988 and 1989. In 1989 he toured New Zealand with the Australian team.
David Power: Successful distance runner who represented Australia in the 1956 and 1960 Olympic Games where he won Bronze. He also won two gold and two silver Commonwealth Games medals. Member of Sports Australia Hall of Fame and the Athletics Australia Hall of Fame.
They join the 2016 inductees:
Athel D’Ombrain: A successful photographer, optician, naturalist, author and pioneer fisherman who lived here for 66 years
Vanessa Murphy: A widely published research scientist who has a focus on asthma and has lived in Maitland for 20 years.
Mark Joseph Rowe: Attended Maitland Marist Brothers before getting 110 research papers published and securing 45 research grants in the field of neuroscience.
John Bell: Born and educated in Maitland, he founded well known theatre companies, won acting awards across the country and was a National Trust Living Treasure in 1997.
Ruth Cracknell: Spent the first four years of her life in Maitland and became a renowned TV actress, won four Logie Awards and was a National Trust Living Treasure in 1998.
David Harris: Left Maitland at age 21 and has become an accomplished stage actor who has starred in musicals like the Boy from Oz, Miss Saigon and Wicked.
William Arnott: The man behind Arnott’s biscuits, worked in Morpeth as a baker for 15 years, he established bakeries in Newcastle, Sydney and Homebush.
James Dixon Brunker: Was a Maitland resident for 54 years and worked as a businessman, politician and important legislative figure towards the end of the 19th Century.
Doc Evatt: Born in Maitland and was a respected academic, judge and politician in the mid 20th Century and was leader of the Labor Party from 1951 to 1960.
John Gillies: Spent 60 years in Maitland and worked as a newspaperman and politician. He was part owner of the Maitland Mercury and was Mayor from 1888 to 1890.
Sir Samuel Griffith: Spent four years in Maitland, was twice premier of Queensland, the principle author of the Constitution of Australia and was Australia’s first Chief Justice.
Ken Guy: Is a successful accountant and local government figure who has lived in Maitland for more than 80 years. He was an Alderman at Maitland City Council for 10 years and Mayor for two years
Eleanor Hinder: Left Maitland at 17 and became a prominent welfare officer and public servant who held a number of important leadership positions locally and internationally.
Cheryl Kernot: A writer, event speaker and lecturer who was leader of the Democrats in the 1990s and a Labor Shadow Minister from 1998 to 2001.
Milton Morris: Has lived in Maitland for 60 years, was Member for Maitland for 25 years and worked as a NSW Minister for Transport. He also headed up the Hunter Valley Training Company.
John Wiltshire Pender: Lived in the area for 56 years and was an accomplished sketcher, architect and builder who worked in West Maitland and developed buildings across the Hunter region.
Garry Barton: Has lived in Maitland his whole life and for a long time was one of the world’s most elite barefoot water skiers and 4 x Australian Mens Open Champion.
Dennis Blunden Is an award winning sportsman who has enjoyed impressive success in the sport of cycling. He lived here for 39 years.
Les Darcy: Leaving a legacy in the sport of boxing, Les Darcy lived in Maitland for 21 years. He was a champion in the middleweight and heavyweight divisions and he is a household name in Australia.
Kelly Driffield: Is one of the best open water and long distance swimmers this country has produced and she has a number of national and international titles to her name.
William Johnson Is an expert in martial arts and has been based in Maitland for the last 23 years and operates the popular Kombat Academy.
Tom Maguire: As a boxing trainer and coach, Tom Maguire spent a lot of time in this area and trained the likes of Fonce Mexon, Billy Yates and a number of other successful boxers.
Fonce Mexon: Was born in Miller’s Forrest and at one time he was the Australian Heavyweight Champion.
Gai Taylor: Was born and still resides here in Maitland and she has enjoyed immense success in the sports of touch football and BMX.
Ken Tubman: Spent his whole life in Maitland and was influential in developing the sport of rally driving. He also kept locals in good health thanks to his pharmacy on High Street.