Hall of fame
The Hall of Fame recognises the achievement and contributions of those people who have a strong association with the Maitland Local Government Area and have achieved significant prominence in their field of endeavour.
To be eligible, nominations must demonstrate achievement in one of four categories – Sports, Arts, Business/Public Service, and Academic - and meet the selection criteria as outlined in the Hall of Fame Policy.
Nominations are open and applicants must complete the Hall of Fame nomination form and attach any supporting documentation. For further information call our Citizen Services Centre on 02 4934 9700 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sue McNeil grew up in Maitland and was Dux of Maitland Girls High School in 1972. Sue has gone on to have a distinguished international career in civil and environmental engineering which includes holding various professor positions in Australia and America, and co-authoring academic journals and papers. Sue is a Distinguished Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and received the Slocomb Excellence in Teaching Award at the University of Delaware in 2009 and the Convocation Medal for Professional Excellence at the University of Newcastle in 2008.
Athel D'Ombrain AM
1901 - 1985
A man of many talents, Athel D’Ombrain was a photographer, optician, naturalist, author, cricketer, pioneer angler, game fisherman and historian. He lived in Maitland for 66 years and wrote 995 articles for the Newcastle Herald. In 1938 he devised the tag and release concept for big game fish and he worked hard on protecting the flora and fauna of Port Stephens. He was also awarded a Member of the Order of Australia for his service to photography and the study of nature.
Research scientist Vanessa Murphy has lived in Maitland for almost 20 years. She is internationally renowned in the field of Asthma management in pregnancy. She holds a doctorate in philosophy, has published 54 academic papers, received 37 research grants and supervises three PHD students, two post-doctoral fellows and a research nurse. She has spoken at international conferences and won many coveted awards in her field. Vanessa is the Deputy Director of Thoracic Society of Australian and New Zealand Asthma and Allergy Special Interest Group.
Mark Joseph Rowe
1943 - 2011
Born in Sydney, Mark Rowe attended high school at Maitland Marist Brothers and went on to become an internationally renowned neuroscientist. He gained his University of NSW Lectureship in 1972, Professorship in 1988 and Scientia Chair in 2001. He published more than 110 research papers, secured 45 research grants and supervised almost 30 higher degree and honour students. Mark was also well known for his hospitality and his ability to throw great dinner parties with his beloved wife Janet.
Maitland born artist Nell has had numerous solo and group exhibitions across Australia and overseas including in the Netherlands, India and USA. Nell is renowned for creating dramatic, idiosyncratic works which draw on themes such as Buddhist philosophy, rock ‘n’ roll and mortality, and include paintings, installations, performances and videos. Her exhibitions include The National: New Australian Art at Australian Museum of Contemporary Art in 2017, Nell: Rock ‘n’ Roll and Buddhism at Shepparton Art Museum in 2015 and Black n’ White at PS Project Space in Amsterdam in 2015.
John Bell AO OBE
Born and educated in Maitland, John Bell has become an established actor, director and theatre manager. He was the co-founder of Nimrod Theatre Company and Founder of Bell Shakespeare Company. He was named a National Trust Living Treasure in 1997, won a Helpmann Award for Best Actor in 2002 and won the JC Williamson Award (2009). He is also an Officer of the Order of Australia (2009), Member of the Order of Australia (1987) and an Order of the British Empire (1978).
Ruth Cracknell AM
1925 - 2002
Ruth Cracknell spent her first four years in Maitland before going on to become a renowned actress and author. She has won four Logie Awards and was named a National Trust Living Treasure in 1998 when she also became a Member of the Order of Australia. In 2001 Ruth received the JC Williamson Award for work in live theatre. Her most endearing legacy is as Maggie Beare in the ABC’s Mother and Son.
David Harris spent his first 21 years in Maitland and has since starred in a number of stage musicals including Boy from Oz, Miss Saigon, Wicked, Legally Blonde, Les Miserables (US) and Anything Goes (US). He has appeared in TV commercials in Australia and overseas, performed concerts, including at the Adelaide Cabaret Festivals and been nominated for Helpmann awards. He has also won the McDonalds Youth in Cabaret Award (1996), the MO Award (1997) and the Australian Glugg Award.
Dr John Fraser
Born in Scotland, Dr John Fraser migrated to Australia and settled in Maitland. He was appointed rector of the Presbyterian Maitland High School in 1861 and then went on to establish his own High School, ‘Sauchie House’, located on Church Street in Maitland where he was headmaster for over 20 years. Dr Fraser was also a talented linguist, his ethnological study of Aboriginal dialects was renowned and he authored numerous scholarly articles and books, and was a fellow of the Royal Society of NSW.
Janette Grossman lived in Maitland for 24 years between 1890 and 1914, during this time she was the Headmistress of Maitland Girls High School. Miss Grossman was the longest serving headmistress of the school and guided the school to becoming well respected within the community and her leadership and values left an enduring legacy. Janette Grossman was well loved and revered by her pupils and in 1935 the school was renamed Maitland Grossman High School in her honour.
John Robert Hinder
1856 - 1918
John Robert Hinder was instrumental in the establishment of Maitland Boy’s High School and was headmaster for 25 years from 1889 to 1914. Mr Hinder was a valued resident and made a significant contribution to the Maitland community during his time in the region. He was a well respected leader, providing guidance to many students during his tenure as principal. In 1933, the original school hostel in High Street, East Maitland was named Hinder House in his honour.
William S Pender
1846 - 1931
William S Pender was a long time resident of Maitland and co-founder of Pender Bros Pty Ltd Timber and Hardware Merchants and Manufacturers of Apiarists Requirements in West Maitland. Mr Pender was widely regarded as one of the best authorities in Australia on beekeeping and was well known internationally for his work in the industry. He was an ingenious designer and manufacturer of locally customised beekeeping equipment as was the founding editor of ‘The Australasian Beekeeper’ from 1899 until 1931.
Rev Thomas Pierce
Reverend Thomas E Pierce lived in Maitland for 22 years and was a Congregational Minister who travelled throughout Australia. He was appointed to Maitland in 1903 but resigned his ministry in 1906 to become editor of the Maitland Mercury. Reverend Pierce continued as editor of the paper until his death in 1925. During his time in Maitland he co-founded the Starr-Bowkett Society in Maitland, was secretary of the British and Foreign Bible Society and was a voluntary preacher at East Maitland Congregational Church.
1818 - 1892
Duncan Sim established the Sim and Sons Foundry Works in Morpeth in the 1850s and it became well known throughout Maitland and surrounding districts. Mr Sim was a long serving well respected resident of Morpeth and was an Alderman in the Borough Council and was elected the Mayor of Morpeth in 1873 and 1875 to 1877. Following his death the business was continued by his son and it continued to expand and remained a locally owned family business for over 70 years.
Noel Unicomb lived in Maitland for his entire life and made significant contributions to the Maitland community. He was a Councillor between 1956 and 1995 and worked as mayor from 1972 to 1978. He was also the chairman of the Hunter Valley Conservation Trust for 10 years and controller of the SES for 25 years. Mr Unicomb was the first Maitland Citizen of the Year in 1970, was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 1992 for local government and community service, and was made Freeman of the City in 1995.
1827 - 1901
Born in Scotland, William Arnott was a biscuit manufacturer who worked in Morpeth for 15 years as a baker with his brother David. He then established a bakery in Newcastle (1876) and soon had factories in Sydney (1894) and Homebush (1908). William retired in 1899 and his family continued the business and Arnott’s remains a popular and successful household name. William was active with philanthropic work and valued hard work, integrity and quality.
James Nixon Brunker
1832 - 1910
Born in Port Macquarie, James Brunker was in Maitland for 54 years and was a formative businessman and politician. He founded the Hunter River Famers Association in 1882, was the Director of the Mutual Life Assurance Corporation, was a member of the East Maitland Municipal Council and was Secretary for Lands in 1888. James was also responsible for the Crown Lands Act in 1889, was a Member of the Federation Convention (1897-1898) and was on the Legislative Council between 1905 and 1907.
Herbert Vere Evatt QC KSTJ
1894 - 1965
Born in Maitland, Doc Evatt became one of the country’s most respected academics, judge and politician. He was the President of the United Nations General Assembly (1948-1949), Chief Justice of NSW (1960-1962) and leader of the Labor Party from 1951 to 1960. He also helped draft the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, was Justice of the High Court of Australia throughout the 1930s and was Attorney General and Minister for External Affairs from 1941 to 1949.
1844 - 1911
Originally from Scotland, John Gillies was based in Maitland for 60 years and worked as a newspaperman and politician. When he became part owner of the Maitland Mercury he made it a daily, he was a Justice of the Peace and he served on Maitland Municipal Council as Mayor from 1888 to 1890. He was elected to the Legislative Assembly of West Maitland in 1891 and Maitland from 1904 to 1911. Here he helped secure a courthouse, hospital, technical college, a high school and a river embankment for the city.
Sir Samuel Griffith
1845 - 1920
Born in Wales, Sir Samuel Griffith spent four years in Maitland. He was twice the Premier of Queensland and was the principle author of the Constitution of Australia. Griffith University is named after him, as is an electorate, a society and a suburb in Canberra. He played a pivotal role in drafting agreements that led to Federation and was the nation’s first Chief Justice. He was also a legal draftsman, poet, translator of Dante and an advocate of government support for education and scholarships.
Ken Guy is Maitland through and through and has lived in the area for over 80 years. He became a certified practicing accountant and was a partner at a local firm. He was an Alderman at Maitland City Council from 1977 to 1987 and Mayor from 1984-1985. He has been on the boards of multiple local committees including Maitland City Bowling Club, Telarah Bowling Club, Lower Hunter Hospital Board, Hunter District Bowling Association, Zone 6 Bowling Association and the Royal NSW Bowling Association.
Eleanor Hinder OBE
1893 - 1963
After leaving Maitland at 17, Eleanor Hinder became a prominent welfare officer and public servant. She held office in the Student Christian Movement, Sydney University Women’s Graduate Association and the Workers Educational Association Club. She worked for the YWCA of China, was an Australian delegate of the Institute of Pacific Relations at Kyoto, Japan in 1929 and joined the Foreign Office in London in 1942. She was appointed to the Order of the British Empire in 1950 and was on various United Nations commissions.
Cheryl Kernot spent the first 17 years of her life in Maitland and is a writer, event speaker and lecturer. She is the Social Business Fellow at the Centre for Social Impact and has been the Chair of Fair Trade Association for four years. Cheryl was leader of the Democrats from 1993 to 1997 and Labor Shadow Minister from 1998 to 2001. She was on the founding committee of a charity that provides shelter and education for children in Uganda and is one of the National Trust’s National Living Treasures.
Milton Morris AO
During his 60 years in Maitland, Milton ‘Mr Maitland’ Morris spent decades in the public service. He was NSW Minister for Transport and introduced the compulsory wearing of seatbelts and the L and P plate system. Milton was the Member for Maitland for 25 years and was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1988. After he finished with politics he headed up the Hunter Valley Training Company and supported more than 330 out of work apprentices to complete their training by restoring steam locomotive 3801.
John Wiltshire Pender
1833 - 1917
John Wiltshire Pender lived in Maitland for 56 years and was an accomplished sketcher, architect and builder who set up his practice in West Maitland. He was best known for the homesteads he designed and erected from the 1880s throughout the Hunter and New England area, including the two storeyed Saumarez near Armidale (1890), now owned by the National Trust (NSW) and the Presbyterian Schoolhouse at West Maitland. When he died in 1907 his son continued the practice and then his grandson.
Don ‘Bandy’ Adams was born in Maitland and was a successful international rugby league player of the 1950’s and one of Maitland Pickers top 20 players of all time, playing 191 games for the club. Don played three games for NSW Country First in 1955, 1956 and 1958 scoring two tries. He also played seven games for NSW Firsts in 1955 and 1956, scoring nine tries, and five games for Australia in 1958 scoring five tries.
Barrie Baker has lived in Maitland for many years and is an accomplished golf champion. He was the 1964 NSW Amateur Golf Champion and the Australian Amateur Golf Champion. Also in 1964, he represented Australia at the Trans-Tasman Cup and World Amateur Golf Team Championships. In 1997 he was the Australian Men’s Senior Amateur Golf Champion. Locally, Barrie Baker was the Maitland Golf Club A Grade Golf Champion from 1954 to 1960 and the Hunter River District A Grade Golf Champion in 1957 and 1959.
John ‘Whacka’ Graves was an international rugby league player who represented Australia in seven test matches between 1948 and 1951. In 1948 he played two tests and 20 tour games and was the side’s top scorer with 16 tries and 35 goals. John played for South Sydney from 1947 to 1952 and was the league’s top try scorer in 1951 with 28 tries in 17 games. In 2015, John was named one of Maitland Pickers 20 top players of all time.
Harold ‘Mick’ Hinman lived in Maitland for his whole life and was a local cricket legend. Mr Hinman was a member of the Maitland District Cricket Club first grade team who won the Newcastle competition in 1943/44, played as part of the NSW Second XI that played at the MCG in 1939 and also played for Northern NSW sides against visiting international teams such as England and West Indies. In 2003, the grandstand and facilities at Robins Oval were dedicated in his honour.
Henry Meskauskas is a national swimming champion who has lived in Maitland for many years. He was the NSW state freestyle and butterfly champion from 1960 to 1963 and the Australian butterfly champion in 1963. He was also a member of the Australian Swimming squad which took on New Zealand and Japan in 1963. Henry has continued to play a pivotal role in swimming, founding the East Maitland Swimming Club as well as coaching. Henry also was a talented cricketer and rugby league player.
1943 - 2005
Jim Morgan lived in Maitland for a number of years and was a successful rugby league player and one of Maitland Pickers top 20 players of all time. Jim played 103 games for the Maitland Pickers before going on to play as a prop forward for the South Sydney Rabbitohs and Eastern Suburbs Roosters. His representative career included eight games for NSW Firsts, three games for NSW Country Firsts and four games for Australia in international tests. This included scoring two tries during his international test debut in 1970.
Terry Pannowitz has lived in Maitland for many years and is a rugby league legend. He played a club record 270 games for Maitland Pickers and was a multiple premiership winning ¬captain and coach playing for Newcastle, Country NSW and Australia, including touring New Zealand with the Australian team in 1965. Terry is one of Maitland Pickers top 20 players of all time, has received the Maitland Sportsperson of the Year Award and in 2009 was inducted into the Hunter Sporting Hall of Fame.
Noel Pidding was born and lived in Maitland for many years. He was a successful rugby league player who began his career in Maitland in 1944 and then played for the St George Dragons, Eastern Suburbs Roosters, NSW and Australia. Noel was an exceptional goal kicker and made 35 appearances for Australia, scoring 31 tries and kicking 159 goals between 1948 and 1954. He is a member of the Hunter Sporting Hall of Fame and was named one of Maitland Pickers top 20 players of all time.
David Trewhella was born and educated in Maitland and has had a triumphant career in rugby league. David began playing with the Eastern Suburbs Roosters in 1986, going on to play 81 games for the club until 1991. Trewhella played two games for NSW Country and two games for NSW in the State of Origin in 1988 and 1989. In 1989 he was a member of the international team which toured New Zealand. In 2015, he was named one of Maitland Pickers top 20 players of all time.
David William Power
Born and educated in Maitland, David Power was a successful distance runner. He represented Australia in the 1956 and 1960 Olympic Games where he won a Bronze medal. In 1958 he won two gold medals at the Commonwealth games and then two silver medals at the 1962 Commonwealth games. In addition he won six gold and two silver medals at the national championships. In 1999, David was inducted into the Sports Australia Hall of Fame and the Athletics Australia Hall of Fame in 2010.
Garry Barton, who has spent his whole life in Maitland, was one of the world’s most elite barefoot water skiers when he competed. He was Australian Open Men’s Champion four times and went on to coach the Australian Barefoot Water Ski Team in the 1980s. Garry also designed skiing equipment, including a brand new style of wetsuit. Garry was a great cyclist too, and has a NSW Country Cycle Championship to his name. Garry was also named Maitland Mercury Sportsman of the decade for 1970 to 1979.
1936 - 2009
Originally from Queensland, Dennis Blunden lived in Maitland for 39 years. He became one of Australia’s premier cyclists and won club, state and Australian titles. He improved with age, won world titles as a veteran and was named NSW Veteran Cyclist of the Year. Dennis was a level one coach and was president of Newcastle Velodrome Trust for 10 years. He was Maitland Senior Sportsman of the Year in 2006 and Newcastle Senior Sportsman of the Year in 2007.
James Leslie Darcy (Les Darcy)
1895 - 1917
Born in Woodville, boxing champion Les Darcy lived in Maitland for 21 years. He was the Australian World Middleweight champion and also claimed the Australian Heavyweight title in 1916. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1993 and the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1998. Five years later he was inducted into the Australian National Boxing Hall of Fame. He is remembered as one of the most gifted Australians ever to enter the ring.
Kelly Driffield is one of the best open water swimmers Australia has produced. She has won countless open water events and was world number three in 1998. She won silver at the Oceania Games in 1997 and broke world records that same year. She represented Australia at the 1998 FINA World Cup Series, became the Australian Open champion and claimed the Ocean Marathon at Atlantic City, USA. She has also coached Masters and Disabled Squads at the University of Newcastle.
Martial Arts expert William Johnson has been based in Maitland for the last 23 years. He owns and runs the popular Kombat Academy and he presents at national and international martial arts conventions. He has his sixth Dan Black Belt by two different Martial Arts Associations. He was inducted into the Philippine Martial Arts Hall of fame in 2015 and the Australasian Martial Arts Hall of Fame in 2016.
1893 - 1969
Tom Maguire established himself as one of Australia’s most successful boxing trainers. He helped Fonce Mexon, Billy Yates and many other Australians to achieve 17 Australian Championships. He worked out of a gym in Hamilton and was also well regarded for his brilliant mind and keen business acumen.
1899 - 1950
Boxer Fonce Mexon was born in Millers Forrest and spent most of his life in the Hunter Region. In 1923, Fonce became the Australian Heavyweight Champion. He was extremely light on his feet and was known for his hard work in the gym and intense thirst for victory. Fonce was also renowned for his exceptional skills on the dancefloor.
Gai Taylor, who was born and lives in Maitland, is an exceptionally talented sportswoman. She played touch football when she was younger and was in the NSW Touch Football Team in 1985 and the national team in 1986. She represented her state and country for 15 years and went to three worlds cups (one as captain). In 1991 Gai founded a local junior touch competition and she has coached many teams. Gai has also won BMX State and National racing titles over the last eight years.
1915 - 1993
Ken Tubman spent his whole life in Maitland and will be remembered as a great man and one of the country’s most successful rally drivers. He drove rally cars for over 40 years and won the first Australian Redex Trial in 1953. 17 years later he won the second Special World Cup Rally. In 1978 he helped organise another World Cup Rally. Locally, Ken operated Tubman’s Pharmacy on High Street, Maitland.