I am writing on behalf of the Governor-General to inform you that you are being considered for the award of the Medal of the Order of Australia……….
These were the words which hit me after I opened the letter from the Governor-General’s office in April 2013. I was to go from “anticipation vibes” to “good vibes” in a matter of seconds.
Towards the conclusion of the letter were the words …”After the Governor-General has considered all the proposed awards, I shall advise you of the outcome….”
The anticipation vibes returned.
On May 28th my worries disappeared with the advice “your award… ..has been approved by the Governor- General.”.. There was great jubilation. Very “good vibrations”.
The award was announced in the Queen’s Birthday honors list on 10th June, and I was the subject of many phone calls, cards, and personal well wishes. Letters were received from the Victorian Governor, the Premier and more politicians than I knew existed, from the north-eastern area of the state. I even received a congratulatory letter from Latrobe University who were claiming me as an alumni after having studied one solitary subject at it’s Bendigo campus.
Friday 1st November was to be the investiture date at the Victorian Government house, with Governor Eric Churnov officiating. I was allotted “three Entrée Cards for yourself and two guests.” The letter added .. “we are unable to meet any requests for additional guests”.
Bad vibes. I have a wife and four children and only two tickets. Who do I invite? How could I not offend someone? Fortunately the boys were not interested in formalities and so weren’t phased about attending . However, the girls, in their own little way, made it obvious that each of them expected to attend. Problems!
In desperation I phoned Government House and spoke to a very understanding lady, (Wendy). She advised me to put my problem in writing to the Governor, which I did. Several days later I received unobstrusively in the mail, a third Entrée Card with only a handwritten note “herewith an extra Entrée Card”. How grateful I was! Family harmony had been saved!
Investiture day was a lovely sunny day. Guests were to be seated in the main hall, while recipients were to assemble in an adjourning dining room, prior to investiture. We were seated in alphabetical order, and I had the privilege to be seated beside Ross Oakley, former CEO of the prior VFL and then AFL. He also played football with the St.Kilda football club. As I am a St.Kilda fan we chatted.
The Investiture went swimmingly and everyone gathered in the main hall afterwards, prior to nibblies and a drink, and an inspection of the Government House surrounds.
We met Cadel Evans, Tour de France winner and OAM recipient and obtained his autograph on replicas of his riding shirts, which son Anthony, and son-in-law Heath had provided in anticipation.
In the evening, the whole O’Shannessy clan, grandchildren and all, celebrated at a restaurant in Springvale Road.
Ray O’Shannessy OAM