Awardees recognised for achievements

Image NCW Aust Day Awards1 Jan2017

1. L to R: Award recipient, CRRMH, UoN, Victoria Hirst;  CRRMH Research Leader and Academic Representative, Dr Hazel Dalton; Award Recipient, Music UoN Amelia Besseny; UoN Academic Representative Professor Helen English,  Award Recipient, Women’s History UoN, Elicia Taylor; UoN Academic Representative, Professor Victoria Haskins

Image NCW Aust Day Awards Jan 2017

2. L to R: CRRMH Academic Representative, Dr Hazel Dalton; Award recipient, CRRMH, UoN, Victoria Hirst; Patron NCW NSW Mrs Linda Hurley; State Honorary Secretary of CWA, Mrs Annie Kiefer

Photos courtesty of Volunteer Photorgaphy

Congratulation to all the women recognised for their remarkable abilities in their studies, across a diverse range of subjects.

Fifteen women were acknowledged during a ‘Celebrate Being an Australian’ Australia Day Luncheon Awards Ceremony held at Parliament House in Sydney on 27 January. Three of the women were from the University of Newcastle (UoN).

The awards were presented by the Patron of the National Council of Women of NSW, Mrs Linda Hurley. The UoN awardees were as follows:

Victoria Hirst -Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health, University of Newcastle

Victoria was recognised for her doctoral work on the role of carers as part of the mental health workforce – in particular the requirements of carers as part of the mental health workforce. This includes investigating specific requirements for carer inclusive practice for rural and remote, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander or other community groups. Dr Hazel Dalton is her academic representative.

The Country Women’s Association sponsored the award (Mrs Annie Kiefer, State Honorary Secretary of CWA was sponsor representative).

Amelia Besseny –Music, University of Newcastle

 Amelia, who is undertaking a PhD in music, was recognised for exploring the social tagging of music online as a creative and community building tool. Amelia's Academic Representative is Prof Helen English (

This award was sponsored by the Women’s Club.

Elicia Taylor –Women's History, University of Newcastle.

Elicia who is undertaking a PhD in Women’s history at UON was recognised for looking at whether the first world war transformed lives of widowed and unmarried women. Elicia gave a thank you speech on behalf of all recipients which was inspiring. Elicia's Academic Representative is Professor Victoria Haskins (

Elicia's award was sponsored by The Women’s Club History circle and The Women’s Pioneer Society of Asia Inc


A little bit more about Victoria’s area of research - Carers and Mental Health

How is carer inclusive practice managed in mental health practice and does this contribute to the recovery of people living with severe and persistent mental illness?

Since the 1950s in Australia, processes of deinstitutionalisation of mental health care has led to greater emphasis upon informal and family carers supporting people with severe and persistent mental illness to live within the community.

Carers, often family members or close friends, provide physical, emotional and financial support, assistance in accessing mental health services when required, monitor moods, assist in medication compliance, manage and provide transport to appointments, provide a financial safety net and advocate for individual treatment and mental health service improvements. Through exploration of the inclusion of carers in mental health services across three rural local health districts in NSW, Victoria's research aims to:

  • Understand, explain and review the processes of involving carers to understand whether recovery outcomes for people with severe and persistent mental illness can be measured and have been realised;
  • Collect evidence on the way in which carers are being included in mental health care planning and practice for people living with severed and persistent mental illness within a sample of NSW rural local health districts; and
  • Develop a theoretical model for mental health services to guide the inclusion of carers in recovery oriented mental health practice in Australia.

 Congratulations to Victoria and all the other women recognised for their significant achievements in their work. These young women have the potential to be the future leaders in their field.