AM. The Member of the Order of Australia, described as ‘the highest recognition for outstanding achievement and service’, has been awarded to former Smithton resident Vicki O’Halloran.
Mrs O’Halloran (nee Cuttriss) received the honour on Australia Day for her tireless commitment to helping the lives of disadvantaged people through her role as CEO at Somerville Community Services, and as chair on various boards and committees across the Northern Territory.
Now based in Darwin with husband Craig and daughter Coco, Mrs O’Halloran is still coming to terms with the events that have taken place in the past few weeks.
“It’s unbelievable, I don’t think it’s even sunk in yet,” she said.
“It’s something you don’t even dream about. I’ve always been passionate about what I do.”
Growing up on Gibson Street with her parents and four older brothers, Mrs O’Halloran attended both primary and secondary school in Smithton, before becoming the first director of the Circular Head Child Care Centre.
Speaking fondly of her home town, she admits it will always have a special place in her heart.
“I still come back at least twice a year. It’s always home, it’s in my blood.
“There’s no other feeling like it, I feel really secure driving down that straight [into town].”
Her work at the child care centre was just the beginning, on what would become a large resume of community involvement and volunteering to help those in need.
A different view on life came from working with those disadvantaged, leading Mrs O’Halloran to believe that “disability is often the least of their disability”.
“It became a passion of mine to look at people’s abilities and strengths,” she said.
“I always wondered if they had the same choices in life that I had. My work is all about improving the quality of life in communities.
“I like getting up for work, for my job.”