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Maitland’s new Hall of Fame inductees

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Five of Maitland’s most successful individuals have been inducted into the city’s Hall of Fame.

Flood historian Peter Bogan, playwright Nicholas Enright and cricketer Colin Johnston were all recognised posthumously, while broadcaster and journalist Gary Harley and athlete Melinda Thompson both attended the special event at Maitland Regional Art Gallery.

The inductees’ families and friends were joined by council staff and local dignitaries, including mayor Loretta Baker, to celebrate their achievements during the Hall of Fame’s third induction ceremony last week.

“It’s important that we recognise success and acknowledge the unique nature of the Maitland area and the individuals who were brought up or lived here,” Cr Baker said.
“Many of our inductees have lived their whole life in Maitland and we celebrate their place in the rich fabric of this community.”

Mr Harley, who has years of media experience in regional television, newspaper and radio, has proudly promoted Maitland through his broadcasts on rugby league, greyhound and horse racing.

He played first grade cricket and rugby league in Maitland, while he is also a member of the Newcastle and Hunter Racing Hall of Fame.

Fellow inductee Melinda Thompson is in the Guinness Book of Records as the winner of the first professional women’s foot race over 100 metres in Australia.

She won titles in athletics at regional, state, national and international level and was the first woman to run professionally against men and win in a 70 metres race.

Mr Bogan, who passed away late last year, highlighted and preserved the city’s flood history. He was acknowledged by the State Emergency Service (SES) on the 60th anniversary of the 1955 flood for his in-depth and detailed knowledge of the event.

As one of Australia’s most important and prolific playwrights, Mr Enright achieved national and international success.

Among his many accolades were two Green Room awards for Best Play, the 1998 Sidney Myer Performing Arts Award and the NSW Premier’s Special Award, as well as an Academy Award nomination for Best Screenplay and a posthumous Member of the Order (AM).

Mr Johnston, known as Mr Maitland Cricket, made an outstanding contribution to the sport, both as a player and administration, for more than 50 years.

He received a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to sport and the community, helped put the city on the map as a strong country cricket centre, was active in encouraging state teams to visit Maitland, and won 11 premierships as captain of Northern Districts Cricket Team.

Established in 2016, the Hall of Fame also boasts the likes of champion boxer Les Darby, actress Ruth Cracknell, most remembered for her role on ABC’s hit sitcom Mother and Son, Arnott’s biscuit entrepreneur William Arnott, and other famous identities such as Milton ‘Mr Maitland’ Morris.

Nominations for the next biennial induction are now open. Visit maitland.nsw.gov.au/hall-of-fame for more information.

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