Outstanding Humanist Achievers
From the year 2000, the Outstanding Humanist Achiever (OHA) award honours humanist activists who have made a substantial contribution to furthering humanism. In contrast to the Australian Humanist of the Year (AHoY) Award, recipients are not necessarily well-known public figures. The recipient is decided by delegates from each of the state humanist societies meeting at the Annual Convention of the Council of Australian Humanist Societies (CAHS). The OHA certificate is then formally presented to the recipient at the CAHS Saturday evening dinner celebration.
To be eligible for nomination, the nominee must be a current financial member of a state humanist society and have publicly demonstrated a rational and compassionate approach to human affairs in the service of humanism. They must also have been recognized for outstanding achievement in the community, in their local humanist society or on the Council of Australian Humanist Societies, or otherwise contributed significantly to public awareness of humanist values and objectives.
2016 : Mary Bergin
The Outstanding Humanist Achiever (OHA) for 2016 was awarded to Mary Bergin for her dedicated commitment to Humanism in Australia spanning four decades. Mary joined the Humanist Society of Victoria (HSV) in 1976. In 1982, she first became a committee member, and for the next four years (1983–86), Mary was Vice-president, then in 1987 President of HSV.
From 1990 to 1996, Mary was a highly efficient Secretary for the HSV. During this time, she continued to make IHEU reports, as well as making abstracts of overseas journals for the Victorian Humanist journal. She again served as Secretary from 2006 to 2009, before taking on the role of CAHS Secretary for the next 10 years. Whether for HSV or CAHS, Mary’s work as Secretary has been first class. The comprehensive detail of the papers for delegates to CAHS Annual General Meetings has been exceptional and much appreciated by those in attendance.
2015 : Stephen Nevil Stuart
Since joining the Humanist Society of Victoria (HSV) in 2000, Stephen has been a tireless contributor. In all positions, he has been thorough and meticulous. In 2001, Stephen was elected to the HSV committee as Treasurer and remained in this position until 2006. In 2007, he became President of HSV, a position he most ably held until 2013. Since then, he has held the position of HSV Secretary. During his years as President, Stephen demonstrated excellent leadership and initiative; for example, in helping HSV and kindred organisations work more closely together in achieving common goals. He has strongly formulated and advocated HSV policy on ethics and initiated a deputation to the Multifaith Advisory Group, which advises the State Government. He has also overseen the teaching of ethics in schools and the VCAT case on education.
While President, Stephen organised two very successful CAHS Conventions held in Melbourne and has acted as the webmaster for the HSV website, which has undergone major changes. At the national level, Stephen was CAHS Treasurer from 2002 to 2005. From 2002, he has continuously been a valuable member of the Australian Humanist editorial team, either as a sub-editor or consulting editor. He has also been a frequent contributor to the Australian Humanist. In 2011, he attended the IHEU World Congress in Oslo and subsequently wrote a comprehensive report of his experiences. In 2014, he attended the IHEU Congress in Oxford and wrote a detailed account.
2014 : Dennis Morris
Dennis was the founder and early President of the Society of Freethinkers in South Africa. He joined the Humanist Society of Western Australia (HSWA) when he and his wife arrived in Perth from South Africa in 1988. Dennis was elected president in 2000, a position he held for two years before becoming President again in 2003.
Dennis is the author of a number of books on religion and freethought. He also produced two CDs of African music, which he donated for fund-raising to the Humanist Society of NSW. Dennis has been a member of the Humanist Society of NSW since 2000, when he participated in the international Australis2000 Congress in Sydney. He has lived a humanistic life and contributed to Humanism in Australia.
2013 : Fred Flatow
In recognition of his long-time commitment to Humanism. Fred was a founding member of the Humanist Society of New South Wales in 1960 and its first Treasurer. Since 2004, he has been a committee member and is currently Vice-President and Humanist House manager. In these roles, Fred’s contribution has been both intellectual, as a vocal advocate of Humanist values, and practical, in renovating and maintaining Humanist House.
2012 : Harry J. GARDNER, 1927–2018
In recognition of his active involvement in ethical education. Harry was a long-time and very active Humanist Society of Victoria member. He was a committee member in the 1970s, serving as President in 1973. At that time, he played a key role in advocating for the removal of religious instruction from state schools. Although humanists were unsuccessful on this matter in the 1970s, experience from that time fed into a further successful campaign in the 2000s. Harry spearheaded this renewed action by creating ethical education lessons, which he promoted with passion and vigour. His activity was undoubtedly influential in leading to the State government removing Special Religious Instruction from classroom time and setting up the study area, ‘World Religions and other World Beliefs’, including Humanism.
2011 : Affie ADAGIO
In recognition of her active involvement in the Humanist movement since the late 1990s. She has served the Humanist Society of NSW as President (2002–5), Honorary Secretary (from 2005) and editor of Humanist Viewpoints. At the national level, she has been CAHS Secretary (2000–02) and Convener of Australis2000 Congress. Her fundraising talents included persuading the NSW Premier to grant $6000 to support the United Nations Association in its tenancy at Humanist House. Founder and Convenor of HuVAT, our monthly series of talks, Affie also successfully ran five prestigious International Women’s Day events at Parliament House. She organised our first and biggest World Humanist Day Symposium—which she unfortunately missed due to a heart attack! Her innovative style and experience as a counsellor helped steer the Humanist Society of NSW through some difficult years.
2010 : Victor Chen-teh d’IAPICO-BIEN
In recognition of his active involvement in the Humanist movement for more than five decades. Stemming from youthful curiosity to know why, Victor questioned his religious upbringing and through study for a Ph.D. in science he became a Humanist. He served as CAHS President (1972–74) and Treasurer (2000–02). His most significant commitment has been as Treasurer of the Humanist Society of New South Wales (HSNSW) from 1985 onwards, where he contributed beneficially to numerous projects undertaken by HSNSW.
2009 : Alan (1929–2016) and Maureen McPHATE
In recognition of their outstanding contributions to Humanism over more than four decades of active community involvement. Together they have been eager supporters of Humanist projects, in addition to their public-spirited involvement in many other community-based organisations. Alan served as CAHS President (2004–08), HSV President (1999–2001) and Vice-President (1997–98, 2002–08). Maureen served as HSV Secretary (1997–2005) and Minute Secretary (2006–08). By their commitment and gracious presence, they have enhanced Humanist gatherings locally, nationally and internationally.
2007 : Rosslyn Mary IVES
In recognition of her active contribution at state and national level, beginning with Editor of Victorian Humanist 1991–95, HSV committee member and Presidency 1997–98 and again 2000–06. Rosslyn served as CAHS Secretary 1997–2000 and Editor of Australian Humanist since 1998. She also resumed editorship of Victorian Humanist in 2001.
2006 : Raymond DAHLITZ, 1926–2015
In recognition of his very long involvement in several freethought organisations, beginning with him setting up a freethought group at the University of Melbourne in 1949, and especially for his 20 years of active participation in the Humanist Society of Victoria (HSV). He was a committee member from 1993–2005, President 1994–96, and organiser of HSV public meeting speakers for many years. Raymond also served as CAHS President 1997–2000. He has attended four international Humanist gatherings and conceived the idea for the Australis2000 Congress held in Sydney in November 2000. Raymond is also author of A Secular Who’s Who, published in 1992.
2005 : Laadan FLETCHER, 1920–2015
In recognition of his years of active involvement in the Humanist Society of Western Australia (HSWA). Laadan has held a range of positions on the HSWA committee, including President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer and Editor of the WA Humanist News. He is a frequent writer of articles on Humanism and letters to newspapers. Laadan has linked his support and involvement in the voluntary euthanasia society and work as a civil celebrant to humanist activities.
Laadan has also addressed the HSWA on very many occasions, including its advertised public meetings, and has conducted a series of talks entitled ‘Humanism, Ancient and Modern’ for the U3A programme. He has also served as guest speaker on the topic of Humanism for a wide range of organisations and school groups. Laadan participated in talk-back radio a few times and appeared on TV Channel 7 in a debate on ‘Religion in Schools’. In recognition of his enormous contribution to the activity of Humanism in WA, he was made a Life Member and Patron of the HSWA.
2003 : Dick CLIFFORD
In recognition of his many years of active involvement with the Humanist Society of South Australia (HSSA). Dick has been an active member of HSSA for many years and has held the offices of President and Secretary. He has edited and produced the SA Humanist Post for the past 12 years. He set up the Internet web page for HSSA in 1997 and still maintains it. Dick is a regular contributor to Australian Humanist, both as writer and photographer. Over the years, his liaising with African Humanists has been greatly valued by IHEU and by those he has helped. Dick was a key organizer of successful CAHS Conventions held in Adelaide in 1994, 1997 and 2001. In 1995–97, he was an efficient Secretary of CAHS, introducing the idea of the Travel Subsidy to help delegates from the more distant states and drawing up guidelines for AHOY and OHA awards.
2002 : Halina STRNAD
In recognition of her significant contributions to the activities of the Humanist Society of Victoria (HSV) spanning more than twenty years. Halina held positions of Treasurer 1981–82, Vice President 1983–84, 1990–92 and 1994–96, President 1993, Secretary 1985–96 and Membership Secretary 1997–2004. Her two key contributions have been as Submissions Convener and host of many humanist gatherings, including committee meetings, Sunday Discussions and Solstice socials. As Submissions Convener, Halina devoted hundreds of hours to researching and writing numerous submissions on HSV’s behalf. She was commissioned by CAHS to write a guide to effective submission writing, producing the useful booklet, Making a Submission.
2001 : Vicki POTEMPA
In recognition of her years of sustained contribution to humanism and her active involvement in the Humanist Society of New South Wales (HSNSW) over four decades. After joining the HSNSW in 1966, she served as Treasurer for twenty years from 1977 to 1997. Vicki worked on the Australis-2000 Congress steering committee and became chief cook for the Society’s Annual General Meetings and many other occasions. She has been actively involved with women’s issues and was a prime mover in the Women’s Abortion Action Campaign (WAAC). In 2000, WAAC recognised Vicki’s sustained contribution to the campaign to have Abortion Laws repealed. She has also been an active campaigner for the fairer treatment of prisoners, advocating for the right of prisoners to vote in Federal elections. She often travelled long distances on public transport to far-flung prisons and has opened her home to homeless prisoners. Vicki remains an active member of the HSNSW Committee.
2000 : Mollie CAMPBELL, 1930–2015
In recognition of her longtime involvement with the Humanist Society of New South Wales (HSNSW). After joining HSNSW in 1964, she served on the committee that raised the money to buy Humanist House in Chippendale, which was purchased in 1969. In 1983, Mollie joined the HSNSW Committee and served as Secretary for ten years from 1985. She attended a number of CAHS Conventions as a HSNSW delegate. Mollie served as President from 1997 to 2000, since retiring due to ill health. In spite of her poor health, she continued to assist with preparations for the Australis2000 Congress, principally as fundraiser. Over the years, Mollie provided hospitality to the Society and to many visiting humanists from interstate and overseas.