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Dr Rachel McFadyen AM celebrated as Member of the Order of Australia

16 September 2022

Pastoral Care volunteer at PA Hospital and representative on the hospital ethics committee, Dr Rachel McFadyen was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) this year for significant service to biosecurity, and to entomology.

While we know her from her pastoral visitation to patients at PAH connected to her role with the Holy Spirit Anglican Church in Kenmore, it is Dr McFadyen’s international renown as a biological control scientist for which she was celebrated in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List this year.  At this significant time, it is an honour to recognise Dr McFadyen.

She is proud to represent the industry of Biosecurity given that it is all about risk management which is very hard to showcase.

“If you do the work well, nothing happens! So I could show you paddocks full of all the weeds we do not have! All my life, I have worked in biological control of major weeds, bringing in insects and diseases to control them, while making sure these same insects do not damage other plants,” she said.

“Over the years, I have been involved in the successful control of harrisia cactus, parthenium weed, annual ragweed, and rubber vine. I was instrumental, with others, in getting the laws changed to prevent new weedy plants coming in legally – until 1984, the law only blocked importation of plants already present and weedy in Australia. This was progressively changed to the current more sensible system, where importers have to demonstrate that the proposed import will probably not be invasive.”

Dr McFadyen arrived in Australia in 1976, and was promptly at the forefront of weed control with the Queensland Department of Lands which has changed significantly since then. 

“In this photo, I’m standing in the middle of a patch of harrisia cactus in a property south of Collinsville in North Queensland; no protective gear in those days – no proper boots, no hats, no long sleeves!” she said.

At PA Hospital, Rachel is celebrated for the valuable role she plays providing spiritual and religious support to patients and their families while they are in hospital as well as for hospital staff. This insight into Rachel’s former career, alongside her enduring faith and work within the Anglican Diocese over many years, is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the impact she has had on an industry, our Queensland community, and so many individuals. 

You can read the full Q&A with Dr McFadyen in Anglican Focus here

Last updated 16 September 2022
Last reviewed 16 September 2022

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