Flinders celebrates 2024 King’s Birthday Honours recipients

Inspiring former Flinders University staff and graduates have been celebrated in the 2024 King’s Birthday Honours List for their contributions to medical research, higher education and community service.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) and Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Raymond Chan congratulated 11 Australians with links to Flinders who have been recognised for their outstanding achievements.

“Universities are more than bricks and mortar. Flinders is the sum of its people, and the deeds and actions of our staff, students, alumni and friends of Flinders are what make us great, and we in turn celebrate their achievements. Congratulations to all.”

The Governor-General today announced Honours and Awards for 737 Australians, including awards in the Order of Australia (General and Military Divisions), meritorious awards and recognition for conspicuous service.

Professor John Furness FAA, FAHMS, AO.

Former Head of Anatomy in the Flinders University School of Medicine, Professor John Furness FAA, FAHMS, AO has been appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia, recognised for his distinguished service to medical research in the field of autonomic neuroscience and neurogastroenterology.

Lecturer and Professor of Anatomy and Histology at Flinders University from 1975-1990, his research on the autonomic nervous system pioneered understandings about the control of digestive function and drug development.

“I am very pleased to receive this honour, which shows that Australia values its scientists,” he said.

In the 1970s, Professor Furness and the late Professor Marcello Costa began to investigate the nerve circuitry and functioning of the enteric nervous system. Their work laid the foundation for the modern understanding of the organisation of the enteric nervous system.

“The opportunities provided to me and Marcello at Flinders were absolutely crucial to the development of our work on the enteric nervous system and to understanding of its essential roles in the control of digestive physiology.  It is very pleasing that this research has continued at Flinders, which remains one of the leading centres in the world for the study of the neural regulation of digestive function.”

Professor Glen Gole AM.

Paediatric Ophthalmologist Professor Glen Gole has been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to ophthalmology, tertiary education, and professional organisations.

A senior staff specialist and senior lecturer at Flinders from 1980-1990, Professor Gole remembers his time at Flinders fondly and is proud of the recognition in this year’s honours.

“I built my career at Flinders Medical Centre with the support of Professor Doug Coster (ophthalmology) and the late Assoc Professor Bren Gannon (microcirculation research). It was a tremendously stimulating time in the new medical school,” he said

“Then as now, my greatest teachers have been my patients. I am humbled by the tremendous trust placed in me by the parents whose children came into my care.”

Professor Anne Kavanagh OAM.

Professor Anne Kavanagh OAM has been appointed a Medal of the Order of Australia for her service to medicine, particularly disability health research.

Professor Kavanagh (BMBS ’87) is one of Australia’s great advocates for people with a disability. As Chair of Disability and Health at the University of Melbourne, and Director of the Alliance for Youth Disability and Mental Health, her current research addresses the inequities in health between people with and without a disability.

Her research has informed health and social policy including Australia’s response to COVID-19 for people with disability and reforms to the National Disability Insurance Scheme. She currently leads the Research Alliance

When awarded a Flinders University Convocation Medal in 2019, Professor Kavanagh said she was impressed how in the 1980s Flinders University was leading the way in innovation in teaching medicine. It influenced her choice to study at the university as well as her desire to work at the forefront of public health reform.

Graduating with a medical degree in 1987, Professor Kavanagh later conducted some of the earliest work internationally on how mammographic density reduces the accuracy of screening, before focusing on health inequalities and the health and wellbeing of people with disabilities.

Other recipients of King’s Birthday Honours with connections to Flinders University include:

  • Mr Craig Bennett AM (BEc ’74, BEc(Hons) ’75) for significant service to health administration in leadership and advisory roles.
  • Mr Ted Huber AM (BSc(Hons) ’71) for significant service to defence through science and technology development.
  • Mr Mark Turra AM (BSc ’96) for significant service to community health through pathology, particularly microbiology and infectious diseases.
  • Mr Gregory Aldridge OAM (BA ’84) for service to community health.
  • Mrs Rosemary Johnston OAM (BA ‘92, BA(Hons) ‘94) for service to the arts and to the community.
  • Dr Pauline Morgan OAM (MPsych ’91) for service to the Catholic Church of Australia, and to education.
  • Mrs Nanette Sharp OAM (BEd ‘77) for service to the community of southern Adelaide.
  • Sister Janet Woods OAM (BSocAdmin ‘92) for service to secondary education, and to the Catholic Church in Australia.


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