Catholics honoured for unstinting community service

Decrease font size
Increase font size
Print this page
Email to friend
Share to Facebook
Share to Twitter
Home > Media > News > Catholics honoured for unstinting community service
Catholics honoured for unstinting community service
L-R: Christopher Jones OAM, Colleen McGann OAM,Hugh Hiscutt AM and Lola Phillips OAM

Christopher Jones OAM

Accountant Christopher Jones OAM was recognised for his service to the community of Hobart. Mr Jones, 81, of Sandy Bay, has made many significant contributions to the Catholic community through his ongoing roles as a director and treasurer for Southern Cross Care Tasmania; serving on the Sandy Bay Catholic Parish finance committee; and a member of the Order of St Lazarus that raises funds for palliative care wards at both Calvary and the Royal Hobart hospitals. He has been a member of the Rotary Club of Hobart for 25 years. He was previously on the Calvary Hospital board for eight years; the Archdiocesan Finance Committee for six years; was secretary of Hobart Regatta Association for two and committee member for eight; a treasurer of Sandy Bay Sailing Club; and a board member and treasurer of St Virgil’s College Board for eight years.

Mr Jones said of the award: “I was somewhat surprised, but pleased, to receive it.”

When not involved in his various volunteering duties, Mr Jones enjoys gardening and travel - especially visiting grandchildren in Sydney and Wollongong – although coronavirus restrictions have halted this in recent months.

Colleen McGann OAM

Colleen McGann is quick to acknowledge the contributions of others, and to stress that she is just one part of a hard working team, when she receives awards.

Ms McGann’s OAM was for services to community health in Tasmania.

“I was pleasantly surprised and it was quite unexpected,” said Ms McGann, of Prospect Vale, who is a parishioner at St Peter’s Church, Kings Meadows.

“I see it as an award for all those who helped me achieve what I did.”

She is known for her leadership, tenacity and hard work and is regarded as a trailblazer in health industry circles and beyond.

Ms McGann joined St Luke’s Health, a Tasmanian not-for-profit private health insurer, in 1962 at 15 as a junior clerk and retired more than 50 years later as managing director.

In 2002, Ms McGann won the Telstra Tasmanian Business Woman of the Year Award. In 2003, she was the first woman elected as vice-president of the Australian Health Insurance Association. Ms McGann was chairwoman of the Health Benefits Council of Tasmania and played a leading role on a number of industry national boards and committees.

The youngest of six children, she spent her early years at Butler’s Gorge in the Central Highlands where her father worked for The Hydro before the family moved to West Riverside.

Ms McGann was educated by the Presentation Sisters in Launceston at St Mary’s School and Sacred Heart College.
She attended Mass at St Francis Church, Riverside, for many years, and now attends St Peter’s Church at Kings Meadows where she has been a welcomer, a reader and an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion.

Ms McGann is in her second term as president of the Rotary Club of Launceston. The service club had been ‘busier than ever’ during the pandemic with a variety of projects including sourcing scarce personal protective equipment for disability support staff.

Hugh Hiscutt AM

Hugh Hiscutt, of Howth, is a Mersey-Leven parishioner who was awarded Membership of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to the people and Parliament of Tasmania, and to the community of West Devon. 

His links to Church and community run deep.

Mr Hiscutt described himself as a regular at St Mary’s Church, Penguin, ‘only for about the first 90 years of my life’. He served as an altar boy and later as parish council chairman, and studied at St Virgil’s College, Hobart. His father had been a first-day scholar when the college opened in 1911.

He wed Joan Owen, of North Hobart, a fine soprano who had attended St Mary’s College, Hobart, and they enjoyed a long and happy marriage. She died in 2018.

“My great-grandparents, William and Katherine McKenna, came here in 1867, to farm. They came from Ireland so you can imagine what religion they were,” he said with a laugh. “They named the district of Howth after the district of the same name near Dublin.

“When my parents married in the mid-1920s, the North-West Coast Catholic Parish extended from Latrobe and Sheffield right through to the Blythe River [near Burnie].”
Mr Hiscutt farmed with his brothers, was a Member of the Legislative Council in state parliament (1983-’95), on Penguin Council for 21 years [now part of Central Coast Council], on the show society, arts council, North-West Regional Water Scheme board and a willing participant in countless local working bees.

A modest Mr Hiscutt, 94, said the award came as a ‘complete surprise and delight’.

“I just took it for granted that doing your bit for the community was what you were supposed to do in life.

“Probably my greatest achievement is that I had a wonderful wife for 66 years, and we raised six children, and we had a wonderful time together.

“I’m just an ordinary person. I’ve had a very fortunate life.”

Lola Phillips OAM

Former Catholic Women’s League state president Lola Phillips’ OAM is for service to women and to the Sorell community.

Mrs Phillips is also a former president and secretary of the CWL Sorell branch, a keen member of the team at the CWL craft shop in Hobart and also a CWL life member, current president of the Sorell Legacy Widows’ Club and was Sorell’s citizen of the year in 2008. She has taken on countless other volunteering roles in the community.

Mrs Phillips was raised on a farm at Triabunna, attended St Mary’s College in Hobart, and was a devoted parishioner at St Thomas’ Church in Sorell for 70 years. She was on the cleaning and flower roster, involved with World Day of Prayer events, a regular reader at Mass, prepared children for their sacraments and assisted in taking housebound Catholics Holy Communion. One of the highlights of her life was receiving Holy Communion from Pope St John Paul II at Elwick Racecourse in 1986.

“It was a beautiful occasion and I was highly honoured,” Mrs Phillips recalled.

“My faith is very important and I have known nothing else all my life.”

Since moving to Lindisfarne two and a half years ago, Mrs Phillips, 91, attends Mass at Bellerive-Lindisfarne Parish. However, during the pandemic lockdown, she has found the online almost daily Mass offerings from the parish ‘a surprise and a delight’.

She urged more Catholic women to join the CWL. Mrs Phillips treasures many great friendships from her involvement with the league, which she joined in 1962.

“It promotes the Catholic home and family living, and is great socially,” said Mrs Phillips, who is a mother of six, grandmother of ten and is due to welcome her 15th great grandchild this month.

“It is a chance for people to work with others of the same faith, and we do a lot of good work for charity too.”