Three distinguished members of the Australian rowing community have been recognised by His Excellency General, the Honourable David Hurley AC, for their outstanding service in this year’s Australia Day Honours List.
Shirley Stokes AM, Flavia Gobbo OAM and David Bean OAM were all included on the 2024 awards, with Ms Stokes becoming a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to rowing, and to people with a disability.
Ms Gobbo and Mr Bean were awarded Medals of the Order of Australia (OAM); Ms Gobbo for service to business and public administration and Mr Bean for service to secondary education and to rowing.
Ms Stokes was made a Life Member of Rowing Australia in 2021 after a decorated career as an administrator, Para Rowing classifier, volunteer and team manager.
Her contribution to Rowing Australia has been significant, and her roles varied. They include: Head, National Classification, Para Rowing, 2006-2016, Member, National Classification Committee, Adaptive Rowing, 2000-2016, Delegate, Para Rowing Commission, World Rowing, 2002-2014 and Development Director, Adaptive Rowing, 2001.
Ms Stokes was also a Rowing Australia director from 2000-2002 and was a proud volunteer at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000.
She has been a passionate advocate in Para Rowing both at home and abroad, with her international resume including being Chief Classifier at Rowing World Cups in 2017 and 2019, Chief Classifier at the Asian Championships in 2010 and 2014 and as a Paralympic Classifier from 2010-2014.
Ms Gobbo was honoured for her business and administration career and has been a wonderful contributor to Australian rowing. She was a Rowing Australia Director from 2013-2022, Deputy Chair from 2014-2022 and Chair of the High Performance Commission from 2016-2022.
Ms Gobbo has demonstrated her generous ongoing commitment to Rowing Australia and the next generation of rowing champions through the establishment of The Flavia Gobbo Bursary, which will be awarded annually from 2024 and support members of the Australian underage rowing teams.
Mr Bean’s passion for education is mirrored by his passion for rowing. He was the former editor of the Australian Rowing Magazine from 1982-1987 and has been standout contributor to rowing in Western Australia, both at the University of Western Australia Boat Club and Rowing Western Australia.
He has been a Co-Patron of Rowing WA since 2023, is the Chair of the History and Heritage Committee, former publicity officer and a board member since the 1980s.
Mr Bean was also a board member at the University of WA Boat Club since the 2010s, Club Captain in 1975-76, a Member since 1972 and a Life Member since 2016.
Rowing Australia Chief Executive Sarah Cook OLY said the sport was fortunate to have such talented, skilled and dedicated contributors.
“Shirley, Flavia and David richly deserve their Australia Day Honours. Each has made a major contribution to rowing in Australia and internationally, as well as the wider Australian community, and I congratulate them on recognition by the Governor General,” Ms Cook said.
“They epitomise the commitment, passion and dedication that makes ourssuch a special community and rowing a successful sport in this country for more than a century. On behalf of Rowing Australia, I extend my sincere thanks and gratitude.”