• Rhoda Roberts and Warren Mundine among the nine Indigenous Australians honoured in the Queen's Birthday Honours list. (National Film and Sound Archive, AAP)Source: National Film and Sound Archive, AAP
Nine Indigenous people named in Australian honours system.
Andrea Booth

13 Jun 2016 - 12:04 PM  UPDATED 17 Jun 2016 - 9:17 AM

Prime Minister Indigenous Advisory Council's Nyunggai Warren Mundine, Sydney Opera House's Rhoda Roberts, Suzanne Blacklock, Donna Odegaard, Cherry Wulumirr Daniels, Robert Isaacs, Warrant Officer Colin Francis Watego, Duncan Smith, and Wayne Justin See Kee were recognised in the 2016 Queen's Birthday Honours List.

Warren Mundine and Rhoda Roberts were named Officers of the Order of Australia for their services to the Indigenous community.

“You don’t do these things for awards, you just do these things because you think you want to help out,” Mr Mundine told SBS News.

He says his family who serve community inspired him to work for the public.

“The big vision we had was to go and work in a factory in Silverwater and just you know, feed the family, get a house and stuff like that.”

Rhoda Roberts, who coordinated this year’s laser artwork on the sails of the Sydney Opera House as part of the 'Vivid' light festival, has been the artistic force behind the 2000 Sydney Olympics to New Year’s Eve celebrations.

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Ms Roberts told SBS News being handed an Order of Australia for upholding Indigenous culture is a great privilege.  

“It’s quite honouring, particularly when I think about the people who have gone before me and how they laid down those paths,” she says.

Duncan Smith, Cherry Wulumirr Daniels and Warrant Officer Colin Watego received Medals of the Order of Australia for their contribution to the Indigenous community. Suzanne Blacklock, Dr Donna Odegaard and Dr Robert Isaacs were named Members of the Order of Australia.

Wayne Justin Kee See received a Public Service Medal.

They are eight of 565 recipients of this year's awards, approved by His Excellency the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC, Governor-General and Chancellor of the Order of Australia, on Wednesday.

"To all recipients, I offer my deepest congratulations, admiration and respect for your contribution to our nation,” Governor-General Cosgrove told media on Wednesday.

“We are fortunate as a community to have so many outstanding people willing to dedicate themselves to the betterment of our nation and it is only fitting that they have today been recognised through the Australian Honours system."

More than 40,000 people have been named on the honour’s list for their contributions in a range of fields, from medicine to human rights, since the awards commenced in 1975.

Sir Angus Houston AK AFC , Chair of the Council of the Order of Australia, says the list recognises people “who provide outstanding community service and whose achievements enhance national identity”.

“By their actions they demonstrate the qualities of positive role models. The recipients are not only worthy of respect but encourage emulation.”

Indigenous representation in Queen's Birthday Honour List

Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia

1. Mr Nyunggai Warren Mundine: "For distinguished service to the community as a leader in Indigenous affairs and advocate for enhancing economic and social public policy outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander people."

2. Ms Rhoda Ann Roberts: "For distinguished service to the performing arts through a range of leadership and advocacy roles in the development, promotion and presentation of contemporary Indigenous culture".

Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia

3. Mrs Suzanne Margaret (Aunty Sue) Blacklock: "For significant service to the Indigenous community through advocacy roles for improved child welfare, kinship care and cultural identity".

4. Dr Donna Marie Odegaard: "For significant service to Indigenous cultural heritage through roles with broadcast media organisations, to education and training, and to reconciliation".

5. Dr Robert Isaacs OAM: "For significant service to the Indigenous community through the advancement of social justice, education, health and housing initiatives, and to reconciliation".

Medal of the Order of Australia in the General Division

6. Mrs Cherry Wulumirr Daniels: "For service to the Indigenous community of the Northern Territory".

7. Warrant Officer Class One Colin Francis Watego: "For meritorious service to Indigenous Affairs in the Australian Defence Force".

8. Duncan Smith: "For service to Indigenous youth, and to the community".

Public Service Medal

9. Wayne Justin See Kee: "For outstanding public service as Chief Executive Officer of the Torres Strait Regional Authority".

See the full statements on each medal recipient here.