Tamworth man honoured for 55 years of service
Updated: Jan 27
For 55 years, one Tamworth man has dedicated his career to improving the health and education sectors.
David Briggs has been honoured with an Order of Australia medal for significant service to community health management and education.
He said it was incredibly humbling, and that he would be accepting it on behalf of all colleagues "because they have been significant contributors to my career and my lifelong work".
Dr Briggs also heartwarmingly thanked his wife, Valerie, for being his rock.
"In retrospect, I think family turns out to be the most significant achievement in a lifetime," he said.
As a young man, Dr Briggs envisioned a future in agriculture but stumbled into a different career by accident.
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He started working in the NSW Department of Health and then the NSW Health
Commission and served as a member of Army Reserve, in the Medical Corps.
From there, Dr Briggs worked his way through a rapidly changing health sector.
Tuberculosis was a significant problem, and those tackling mental health issues could still be locked in what was called a mental asylum.
Dr Briggs said an important aspect of his career while at Tamworth was developing Indigenous Australian specific employment opportunities in the health service.
"I understand we were the first public hospital to raise the Aboriginal flag," he said.
"I and some others convinced the federal government to establish an Aboriginal Health Management Training Program.
"This gave career opportunities with work placements across the State health system and
enrolment in a graduate diploma in health management at UNE."
After living in Tamworth for forty years, Mr Briggs considers himself a local and calls the city home.
Listen to the full chat with David Briggs here (click play in browser if you do not have the Soundcloud app):