Queen’s Birthday Honours 2021: Judi Farr, Angela Bishop.
Plus: Leah Purcell, Mark Beretta, Peta Credlin, Chris Hemsworth, Peter Carroll, Simon Bouda.
Showbiz actors, presenters, journalists, commentators, producers and crew are amongst those recognised in the 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honours.
They include actors Judi Farr, Chris Hemsworth, Peter Caroll, Leah Purcell, journalists Angela Bishop and Simon Bouda, TV presenters Mark Beretta and Peta Credlin, cinematographer Russell Boyd and the late producer John Caldon of Flame Media.
Judi Farr, 82, who receives an AM significant service to the performing arts as an actor told TV Tonight she hadn’t thought about how she would celebrate today.
“I haven’t really thought about it yet. But it is an honour,” she said.
“I don’t think I’ll do anything. I’m not a big award lady.”
Her career includes productions with Sydney Theatre Company, Queensland Theatre Company, Marian Street Theatre, Old Tote Theatre Company, with films including Oscar and Lucinda, Flirting and Walking on Water.
Her early television roles in the 1960s included both My Name’s McGooley What’s Yours? and Rita and Wally alongside John Mellion whom she recalls as “a great actor.” In the 1970s she performed alongside Ross Higgins in Kingswood Country.
“I remember the cast. We’re still friends, although Ross has died. But I don’t want to remember much about it.”
She admits the sitcom wasn’t a memorable experience.
“Not really no. Apart from the cast and we were great close friends.”
Farr also appeared in Please Like Me, and commends Josh Thomas for his US successes, then A Place to Call Home, retiring from acting in 2015 after a battle with cancer.
But her fondest memories are her stage work.
“I’m afraid the highlights don’t include film or television. It’s mainly theatre that I have enjoyed. Death of a Salesman, 84 Charring Cross Road, Women of Troy, but nothing in television has filled me with great memories.”
And she offers sage advice for young performers entering the profession.
“Have another job you can turn to. It’s a good idea to have another string to your bow,” she suggests.
“It is such an elusive profession and you cannot rely on it being constant. That’s just the power of the thing. I feel sorry for people who get retrenched from their jobs that they’ve had for years and expected to have for years. Because it comes as such a shock. But an actor says ‘Oh! Lost that job! I’ll try for another one, I guess.'”
Studio 10‘s Angela Bishop receives an OAM for service to entertainment journalism, and sees the honour as a nod to showbiz.
“It’s very, very humbling, said Bishop.
“It was such a surprise when I got it, and I’m deeply honoured. I can’t describe it any other way because it really is, I suppose, an acknowledgement of the arts in a way, and the importance of the arts and entertainment belonging in mainstream journalism.”
Amongst the charities and community service organisations she has supported are Sydney Breast Cancer Foundation, Pink Ribbon Ball, Cerebral Palsy Alliance, GI Cancer Centre and Sydney Eisteddfod.
“The Grace Centre for Newborn Care is one of the ones I’m most passionate about, because that’s where (daughter) Amelia spends her first days. They actually saved her life. We have our big fundraiser for the year and raised a million dollars on the night,” she continues.
“I’ve been working with the Sydney Breast Cancer Foundation for 25 years. It’s hard to imagine now, but back then breast cancer didn’t get talked about. Nobody had heard of a pink ribbon. Nobody gave it a second thought. There were all these women who had given everything to their families, their husbands and kids, and suddenly this happens to them. There was no support no co-ordinated treatment plans so things have improved so much in that 25 years. It’s been incredible to watch.”
Receiving a Queen’s Birthday Honour also comes after her decades of covering royal events.
“I covered Princess Diana’s tour of Australia in 1996. I covered Harry and Meghan’s wedding, I uncovered the birth of Archie. I’m a pretty big fan of the constitutional monarchy as a form of democracy. I am full of admiration for the Queen. I think it’s extraordinary that we’ve had a woman consistently in that position while the world’s gone through the turmoil it has in the past 70 years.”
Here are the other Television and related honourees:
Officer of the Order of Australia, for distinguished service of a high degree to Australia or to humanity at large
- Russell Boyd for distinguished service to the visual arts as a cinematographer of Australian feature films and television productions.
- Peta Credlin for distinguished service to parliament and politics, to policy development, and to the executive function of government.
AM: Member of the Order of Australia, for service in a particular locality or field of activity, or to a particular group
- Simon Bouda for significant service to the television and print media, and to the community.
- Judi Farr for significant service to the performing arts as an actor.
- Peter Carroll for significant service to the performing arts as an actor.
- Christopher Hemsworth for significant service to the performing arts, and to charitable organisations.
- Robyn Moore for significant service to charitable organisations, and to the performing arts.
- Gina Williams for significant service to the performing arts, to Indigenous music, and to media.
- Ricci Edith Swart for significant service to the media and film industries, and to the community.
- Leah Purcell for significant service to the performing arts, to First Nations youth and culture, and to women.
OAM: Medal of the Order of Australia, for service worthy of particular recognition
- Mark Beretta for service to the community through charitable organisations.
- Jonathan Biggins for service to the performing arts through theatre.
- Angela Bishop for service to entertainment journalism.
- Ian Doyle for service to journalism, and to the community.
- The late John Caldon for service to business through media content distribution.
- Ruan Sims for service to rugby league.
“On behalf of all Australians, congratulations to all recipients. Each of these individuals are unique and their story deserves to be shared widely and celebrated,” the Governor-General said.
“Collectively, they speak to who we are as a nation. There are countless examples of selflessness, commitment and dedication. There is diversity and there are examples of exceptional achievement in almost every field imaginable.
“I am pleased that this list includes the highest ever percentage of women (44 per cent) recognised through the General Division of the Order of Australia. It is important that the Order of Australia represents the diversity and strength of Australia – for this to happen we need to ensure outstanding women, members of our multicultural community and First Nations people are nominated by their peers in the community. I am prioritising increasing awareness of and engagement with the Order of Australia amongst groups that have been historically underrepresented. We are seeing positive progress and I am determined that it continues.
“To the individuals being recognised today, many of whom Linda and I look forward to meeting over the coming year, thank you for your service and congratulations on being recognised by your peers and your nation.
“To all Australians, I encourage you to consider nominating someone outstanding from your community for recognition. The great strength of our system is that it is ‘bottom-up’ – everyone recognised through the Order of Australia has been nominated by someone else, considered through an independent process and, today, celebrated by our nation.”