By Abbey Cannan
Two outstanding members of the Noosa community will soon be recipients of a Queen’s Birthday Honour and appointed as a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia.
The Order of Australia was established in 1975 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II with the purpose to recognise, by national honour, those who have made outstanding contributions that benefit their communities, and ultimately our country.
Peregian Beach resident Emeritus Professor Richard Fotheringham is being recognised for his significant service to higher education and to the performing arts, while Noosa Heads resident Dr William Sultmann is being honoured for his significant service to education and to the community.
Professor Fotheringham has had a lengthy career, with his areas of research including Australian drama, Australian performing arts policy, English Renaissance staging, textual criticism, and Australian stage comedy.
Dr Fotheringham said that it was lovely to be recognised.
“I’ve had a long career, both in university education and the performing arts and it’s really great to be recognised,” he said.
Dr Fotheringham moved to Peregian Beach in 2011 after retiring from his last position in Brisbane.
“Peregian is home for us and it’s a lovely place to be. I still do some research for the university and I’m still a member of the board of the Queensland Theatre Company. I was the Chair of the Queensland Theatre Company for six years so I thought it was time to give someone else a go,” he joked.
Dr Fotheringham said he feels very strongly about the arts.
“I grew up in Rockhampton so I know what it feels like to not have access to any performing arts opportunities. I was a really shy kid and I found that drama and performing arts was a terrific way of taking myself out of my comfort zone and it gave me confidence,” he said.
Dr Fotheringham said he believes his greatest achievement was in his role as Executive Dean in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Queensland, where he managed to turn around a very difficult financial situation and get the course running smoothly again.
Although he has had a long career, Fotheringham said it has been a very fun one and he is now enjoying retirement in Peregian Beach.
“My wife and I always come up to Noosa Beach to swim, we do a lot of cooking and walking in the national parks and I still do a little bit of researching specialising in Australian Theatre and Shakespeare as well,” he said.
Another local being honoured is Dr Sultmann, who has been a teacher, psychologist, practical theologian and administrator with expansive executive and governance roles in education, health and welfare.
His latest appointments include Director of Catholic School Identity and Mission, Associate Professor, and Deputy Dean within the La Salle Academy of the Australian Catholic University.
Dr Sultmann said he was really pleased and thankful to be receiving the honour, but is aware that it is more than just an individual effort.
“It’s a great honour of course but the bottom line is it’s because you’ve been privileged by experiences. Whatever you contribute is a means by the contributions of the people around you,” he said.
Sultmann has lived in Noosa Heads for a number of years, after retiring and moving to the area with his wife to be closer to family.
“I think my greatest achievement would be just focusing on the mission of each of the enterprises that I’ve been in. I’ve done a lot of different things in essence and each had its own mission. Whether it’s a welfare or government sector each has its own intention. The greatest achievement is to try and understand those parameters that you’re empowered to work within,” Dr Sultmann said.