A personal diary about life in a country town, Bungendore NSW Australia

  Tuesday 8 April 2003
View from Government House Yarralumla ACT. Jan O'Connell, Tony Eggleton and Dr. Peter Hollingsworth.Jan in front of a wall of photos of past GG's and their wives
Jan O'Connell with G-G's past.
The view from Government House, Yarralumla, ACT. 

I'm writing this at the end of May when Dr. Peter Hollingworth is no longer Australian Governor-General. I was prompted by his resignation to go back and look at the photos I took around Government House. We were there when Jan was presented with her Centenary Medal (at the ceremony the Hollingworth's invited us all to look around, so we did. Of course I took some pictures.) The house is built in the 'grand' manner, there is a great formal dining room that has a bay window which looks out at the lake, and lots of small study room areas. On the walls is a creditable collection of modern Australian paintings, and there were masses of fresh flowers in vases. As it got dark, I took this image looking towards the Brindabella Ranges. It's an attractive house set in beautiful gardens, and if I get invited again, I'll go back.

Jan is so self-effacing that she'll never get around to bragging about the award so it's up to me I guess. I think it was recognition well deserved for all the communications team, and know she was pleased. It's not often you get a medal for doing advertising, on the contrary, it's usually amongst the more forgettable things of our lives (something those of us who work in it have to face). There's been a Clio statue and a heap of framed awards around the house for her campaigns over the years but the recognition of your peers is a bit different to having the Government suggest the Queen gives you a medal for your work. Even if you are a Republican.

The medal was for 'Centenary of Federation Communications', for her part as Writer and Creative Director on the Centenary of Federation advertising and promotional campaign in 2000-2001. There were also awards made to John Attard and Graham Etherington, the Art Director and then Account Director at Grey Canberra. It was a heavy couple of years work for Jan (and the agency), and although everyone was formally thanked for their work, the medal came as a real surprise.

I guess you could say she shamed a lot of Australians into remembering the name of our first Prime Minister, but there was also an serious motivational edge to the campaign line that is pretty much her style of writing. She is always trying to find the heart of things, not frightened to be emotive, at the risk of sometimes being corny. (The campaign line was used on ACT government number plates issued in 2001, so we're still passing it in the street. It's a bit trivial on the back of a Barina.)

Australia. It's what we make it.  But of course... you knew that.


Centenary of Federation Medal
The Centenary Medal, details on Government Honours Website  

"Mum, who was our first Prime Minister?" TVC launch campaign. 

Jan and our PM John Howard ("I love your work" he said. He did, he did.)

There's a Windows Media version of the Launch TV commercial here

(782k.  Downloading it plays best. Right click and Save as...)

  Fred Harden 2003 <thinktag> After a few days, these entries are added to the Archive Menu

Bungendore Country Diary by Fred Harden