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Thursday, January 28, 2021

High Commissioner honoured with Key to the City

A former Novocastrian has realised a long-held ambition after becoming an ambassador for the city of Newcastle.

Her Excellency the Honourable Patricia Forsythe AM was awarded a Key to the City today (Friday 11 December) in recognition of her lifelong service to democracy, diplomacy, and business.

Mrs Forsythe, who was appointed as the Australian High Commissioner to New Zealand, Cook Islands and Niue in March 2019, began her remarkable career in public service in Newcastle.

She was a secondary history teacher at Jesmond High School and Newcastle Grammar School, before being elected to the NSW Parliament as a Member of the Legislative Council in May 1991. 

As a Member of the NSW Upper House, Mrs Forsythe also served on the Opposition Frontbench in prominent roles such as the Shadow Minister for Education and Women’s Affairs. 

In her maiden parliamentary speech, she paid homage to her hometown. 

“Newcastle, a city I will be proud to serve,” Mrs Forsythe said.

“In my vision for the future, I want to see an outlook, not of them and us, but a shared outlook, where the economic potential of the Hunter is realised.

“I look forward to being an ambassador for the city… Newcastle has given me much.” 

Mrs Forsythe acknowledged the unwavering support of the Forsythe and Wingrove families, some of whom were present for the Key to the City ceremony and Mrs Forsythe’s induction to the City of Newcastle Ambassador Program, almost three decades later. 

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes was delighted to present Mrs Forsythe with a Key to the City during a diplomatic visit to Newcastle. 

“It was a pleasure to conduct such a special ceremony on behalf of the City with the company of Mrs Forsythe’s closest family members,” Cr Nelmes said. 

“Some of the most significant advancements of Newcastle institutions are owed to Mrs Forsythe’s advocacy work, including the establishment of the University of Newcastle’s medical faculty in the early 1970s, for which she was a major champion.

“Mrs Forsythe also helped lobby for a taxation office in Newcastle in the 1980s. 

“The City of Newcastle looks forward to continuing to work with Mrs Forsythe as a city ambassador in her current capacity as High Commissioner, as she continues to take an interest in Newcastle and advocate for the city, not least of which through the health and economic challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

Mrs Forsythe is the ninth individual or organisation to receive a Key to the City of Newcastle since the Ambassador Program’s inception in 2017. 

She joins the ranks with Director of the National Gallery of Australia Nick Mitzevich, Naval Officer Anita Sellick, former University of Newcastle Vice-Chancellor Caroline McMillen, Breast Cancer Trials, Newcastle Eye Hospital Foundation, the Honourable Michael Kirby AC CMG, Youth With a Mission medical vessel The Ruach, and businesswoman and media personality Jackie Gillies. 

An official biography for the Hon. Patricia Forsythe AM, Australian High Commissioner to New Zealand, Cook Islands and Niue, is available at the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website.