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Rotarian humbled by prestigious award 

Rotarian humbled by prestigious award 
Brendan Rees

Rotary Club of Southbank member, Peter Lewis, who has consistently demonstrated his passion for helping others, has been recognised with a King’s Birthday honour.

Mr Lewis said he was humbled after he was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) as part of this year’s King’s Birthday honours list for his service “to the community through a range of organisations”.

“I was nothing short of shocked when I received advice from Government House, Canberra as to receiving an OAM. Clearly, someone had felt that I was worthy of getting the award,” he said.

“Over the years I have been successful in having four nominees approved. My parents struggled during the war years, depression et cetera, and I was brought up to give back where possible to those less fortunate.”

Mr Lewis has devoted 45 years to Rotary as a member and benefactor, which began when first joined the Rotary Club of Bentleigh in 1978 where he remained a member until 2021, before joining the Rotary Club of Southbank, which he said would in due course foster a new club, the Rotary Club of Elsternwick. 

He said among the rewards of being a Rotarian was that Bentleigh had operated a Sunday market for more than 40 years giving back over $1.5 million in a range of projects.

Although he is not one for awards, Mr Lewis’ dedication and selflessness to the community has seen him receive the coveted Paul Harris Fellow award on nine occasions.

The Fellow recognition acknowledges individuals who contribute, or who have contributions made in their name, of $1000 to The Rotary Foundation.

The honours list also saw the Malthouse Theatre’s co-chief executive officer and artistic director Matthew Lutton awarded an OAM for “service to the performing arts as a director”. 

The award-winning director’s highlights include the adaptation of Tim Winton’s Cloudstreet, and the world premiere of the stage adaptation of Picnic at Hanging Rock. •

 

“Rotarians, as a matter of course make themselves available for a range of community service matters,” he said.

Mr Lewis is also served as a Justice of the Peace volunteer since 1990, in which he had “come across a broad range of people needing assistance”.

Other community contributions Mr Lewis has made include being a benefactor of St Kilda Mums since 2018, treasurer of the McKinnon Football Club, (1975-1980), director of Sholem Aleichem College (1986-1994, and a Fellow of the Royal Association of Honorary Justices of Victoria.

The honours list also saw the Malthouse Theatre’s co-chief executive officer and artistic director Matthew Lutton awarded an OAM for “service to the performing arts as a director”. 

The award-winning director’s highlights include the adaptation of Tim Winton’s Cloudstreet, and the world premiere of the stage adaptation of Picnic at Hanging Rock.

Since taking on his leadership role at the Malthouse Theatre in 2015, Mr Lutton said he was very passionate and committed to bringing together international and independent artists “under the same roof”.

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