Month: December 2017

Phillip Plackett: a champ at work

Philip Plackett

NSW Champions: Pairs partner Ron Mowday (right) with Phillip Plackett

Phillip Plackett is currently the Australian and NSW Open Disability Pairs Lawn Bowls Champion. He is also a participant in Flourish Australia’s Individual Placement and Support program (IPS). Panorama spoke to him about his achievements.

“I thought I’d play a bit of sport to meet people, build some self esteem and maybe build some muscles, too,” says Phillip. He first played lawn bowls for a few months back in 2012, but in October 2016, after a break of four years, he decided to try his luck again. By June 2017 Phillip was in Queensland competing in the Australian Open in the multi-disability pairs event with his bowls partner, Bernie Wolland, from North Queensland. He wasn’t expecting to win, especially as his original pairs partner had cancelled at the last minute, but win Phillip did!

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Life and Fashion: Trans-Tasman Transgender


by Edwina Keelan


I was born as a boy known as Eddie Paranihi Keelan in Te Puia Springs New Zealand in 1975. Since 1999 I have lived full time as a woman called Edwina, or “Weena” for short. My nieces in New Zealand all call me Aunty Weena. The very first person to call me Edwina was another transgender woman, Wanita Hutchison.

A few little facts about me: My favourite colour is purple, and my most prized possessions are my hats, notebooks, diaries, papers, fashion illustrations and my DVD collection. My ideal wedding dress would be from the op shop, and my ideal man would be loyal to me and his career, and be hardworking like I am!

“At high school, my dream was to live in London and become a big fashion designer.”

Transgender people face many challenges. In my case, I’ve had a lived experience with childhood trauma, drug addiction, mental health issues and I was also homeless at one point. But I make an effort not to revisit the difficulties of my past, and instead I meditate on The Now. At this point in my life, I have many supports both old and new, such as my NDIS goals, and my religion of All Faiths. I worship at the MCC Church at Petersham, NSW.

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Mark Orr to be our New CEO from 2018

Mark Orr.jpg

As you may have read in June Panorama, Pamela Rutledge, the CEO of Flourish Australia announced her intention to retire at the end of 2017. Over the following months, the board undertook an extensive recruitment process with the assistance of an independent executive recruitment consultant from Polaris Consulting.

On 15th August, the Chair of the Board, Prof Elizabeth Moore AM was delighted to announce that as a result of the merit recruitment process, the board had appointed Mark Orr as the new Chief Executive of Flourish Australia. Mark will commence this role on January 1, 2018.

Mark is well known to many of you, having been Flourish Australia’s Chief Information Officer since the merger in 2012. He even made it onto the cover of Panorama in September 2016!

Mark has a wide and varied career history including working as a psychologist, a Commonwealth Tribunal member and as Deputy Protective Commissioner of NSW. Mark also comes well qualified for the role with tertiary qualifications in psychology, health service management, corporate governance, applied finance and health informatics.

Elizabeth said she was delighted that Mark will be taking over the mantle of Chief Executive from Pamela. Pamela and Mark have worked together for many years and Mark has been a major contributor to the strong focus on recovery and the value of lived experience which is the core of Flourish Australia’s culture and strategy.

This appointment will provide for a seamless handover that will ensure Flourish Australia continues to deliver high quality services to people with a lived experience of a mental health issue, their families and carers.

On behalf of the Board, Elizabeth congratulated Mark on his appointment as Chief Executive and said ‘we all look forward to working with Mark in leading Flourish Australia in its next stage of development.’


Backyard Breakthrough: Meeting the big recovery challenges at Ashbury


The people who live at Malleny Street, Flourish Australia’s residential service at Ashbury, are dealing with large and complex challenges on their recovery journeys. Most of the residents are making their journey with little or no contact from family members. Because of this, it can be easy to overlook their dreams and their very real achievements.

Just in time for Spring, the long-planned gardening project at Ashbury has come to fruition. It is a miniature herb garden in a bathtub complete with a colourful mural (see photo on opposite page). This program is called High And Complex Support. Although it may differ on the surface from, say, our business services, the principles behind it are the same, with the individual participants being at the centre of their own recovery journey.

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