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Pandemic health leader awarded Freeman of the City


Dr David Durrheim has made history, becoming the 10th Freeman of Lake Macquarie City for his contribution to public health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The leading health physician became a trusted voice during what was one of the region’s most uncertain times, offering advice in a calm and reassuring tone.

Dr Durrheim has always been generous with the media as well, offering his time and sage advice when called upon to do so.

On Tuesday 21 May, he was honoured with a formal ceremony at the Lake Macquarie City Council Chambers, where he was joined by his family, friends and colleagues.

The well-liked, well-respected doctor was presented the Freeman of the City by mayor Kay Fraser.

Dr David Durrheim and his family May 2024.

Dr Durrheim, who has served as the Director of Health Protection with Hunter New England Health since 2004, became a household name during the pandemic as the Public Health Controller for the district’s COVID-19 response.

“His ability to convey complex scientific and medical information in an understandable way kept residents well-informed and calm during an unprecedented time of fear and uncertainty,” Cr Fraser said.

“Lake Macquarie is fortunate to have such a capable and committed leader. We’re honoured to bestow the Freedom of the City upon Dr Durrheim – a worthy celebration and recognition of his immense and ongoing contributions to our community.”

The Freeman of the City honour recognises individuals for their outstanding achievements and dedicated services to the community over their lifetime.

Just nine other people have been handed the title in the past 40 years.

Mercia Buck, a performing arts advocate, was the most recent recipient in 2021.

It comes two years after Dr Durrheim was named Lake Mac Ambassador for 2022.

Dr David Durrheim awarded Freeman of the City of Lake Macquarie.

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