In 1973, the Orthoptic Association of Australia (now Orthoptics Australia) sought to honour Helen Hawkeswood for her service to the profession. Previously Miss Patricia Lance and Mrs Diana Craig (née Mann) had been made Honorary Life Members, at that time the highest honour the Association could bestow. When the Association offered Ms Hawkeswood the same award it was surprised when she refused on the grounds that Honorary Members could not vote at Association meetings. At the time she was representing orthoptics on several external committees and expressed her wish to continue being actively involved in the development of the profession.
The Association reconsidered how to acknowledge an orthoptist’s outstanding contribution while remaining a voting member. In 1973 it established the category of Fellow, which is a life-time award honour an orthoptist’s significant contribution to the Association and to the orthoptic profession.
Orthoptics Australia (OA) initiated the award of Fellow to honour orthoptists who have made a significant contribution to the development of OA and the advancement of the profession by the demonstrated performance and dedication to OA via a committee or representative position or the profession; by the demonstrated support and mentoring of OA members and by their personal conduct that reflects the values of OA. Fellows retain all rights and privileges of Ordinary members of the OA.
To date 18 orthoptists have been awarded Fellowships:
Patricia Lance MBE