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Where Are They Now - George Helon

author: Lorrie Liston

13 Sep

Where Are They Now - George Helon

The College reconnects with George Helon (SPC 1980-1982) who has enjoyed a wide-ranging career. George is pictured this week officially receiving the Freedom of the City of London. George travelled from his home in Toowoomba to London to receive the prestigious honour. The Freedom of the City is an honour bestowed by a municipality upon a valued member of the community, or upon a visiting celebrity or dignitary. In a few weeks' time, George also plans on exercising an historic right to take sheep across the London Bridge. We spoke to George prior to his trip to London.

 

Where has life taken you since leaving SPC?

Since leaving SPC in 1982 I have pursued my writing ambitions, and have – among other occupations – been (and in some cases, I still am) – an advisor to royal and noble houses, a philanthropist, an author, historian, theologian, etymologist, ethnographer, genealogist and political activist. George’s achievements are listed at the bottom.

What are your favourite memories of your time at St Patrick’s College?

My fondest memories of my time at SPC centre around my service in the Australian Army St Patrick’s College Cadet Unit, both as a student (1980-1982), and when I returned to serve as on Officer of Cadets (OOC) in 1992. I particular enjoyed our Unit bivouacs about the region, our annual camps at Puckapunyal, and being able to assume positions of personal leadership and responsibility for time dependent tasks.

Serving in the Cadet Unit gave those of us not particularly enthused about partaking in sporting activities, or playing in the College Band with Mr Daryl Honeyman, the chance to excel and shine and in other group, leadership and outdoor team activities.

Which teacher from your time at SPC had the greatest impact on you? Why?

The teacher who had the greatest impact on my life was the late Mr Peter Farley. In my Form 4 School Report he wrote: “Always among the earliest at school and could put that time to more advantage.” That was a real wake-up call!

Mr Farley always demonstrated an unwavering commitment to education, both in the theoretical and practical sense, even though his teaching methods and disciplinary techniques seemed sometimes questionable and controversial.

I will forever be grateful to Mr Farley who taught me the rudiments of history: researching facts, analysing data at hand, questioning sources and resources, the putting forward of sustainable arguments, presenting the facts in a cohesive and easy to understand and readable format. Many of these elements, which even today, I am complimented on addressing and achieving.  Mr Farley’s commitment to the College was recognised when he became the inaugural recipient of the College’s Facere et Docere Award.

How has your education shaped your professional life?

Those subjects which I excelled at during my time at St Pats became the foundation upon which I have built my life and career. English and history (with Mr Farley), and graphics (with Mr Andrews) came easy to me, this put me in good stead to pursue a career path utilising all that I learnt: English – always write it right and mean what you say; history – investigate it, question it, remember it and record it, and graphics – picture it, design it, make it, and enjoy it.

I still get such a kick out of it these days when I take an idea, put it down on paper, revise it, and then get it manufactured.

Even though I may sometimes have reservations as to the size of a task, there is nothing I will not attempt.

And never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that little old George from Ballarat who was oozing with acne, who disliked sports, and was sometimes bullied because he had a few prominent physical ‘differences’, would rise high above adversity and be dealing with (and have the respect of) the calibre of those people around-the-world who you only read about in magazines.

How has your time at SPC shaped your personal values and your family life?

As Christ entreated his apostles: treat, respect, provide for and do unto others as you would have them do to, and for you. Look, see, and don’t wait to be asked for help; if you see a stranger in need, afford that help which you can without want of recognition, reward, or otherwise. Never judge a person by his or her looks, or treat a person with disdain because tomorrow that person could be your saviour; or worse still – your boss.

If you could pass on one message to the students of today, what would it be?

My message to the students of SPC today is simple: “never, ever, sell yourself short, you can be whatever you want to be, no matter who you are. Your life is what you make it, not what you wish it could be!”

 

Read more about George's long list of achievements:

State appointments: Justice of the Peace (Qualified) for the State of Queensland, Australia [17 January 1994].

Honours and awards: Admitted as a Freeman of the City of London [2016]; Awarded Gold Medal of Merit, Freundeskreis Hoch-und Deutschmeister Mannheim / Baden: Mannheim, Germany [2013]; conferred Academician of Honor, Academia Internacional de Heráldica, Portugal [2011] and the Academia Portuguesa de Ex-Líbris, Portugal [2011]; bestowed Royal Medal of the Lion as a Personal Gift from His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile Selassie, President of the Crown Council of Ethiopia [2011]; conferred Rank of Grand Officer Knight of the Order of the Eagle of Georgia and the Seamless Tunic of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Tiblisi, Georgia [2010], subsequently elevated to the Rank of Knight of the Grand Cross [2010]; conferred Academician of Honor, Norman Academy / L’Accademia Normanna, Rome, Italy [2007]; appointed to the Rank of Commander of Justice / Comendador de Justiça, Royal Confraternity of Saint Teotonio / Real Confraria de São Teotonio [2006], appointed Delegate / Delegado for Australia [2006], elevated to Rank of Grand Cross of Justice / Grã Cruz de Justiça [2006], elevated to Rank of Grand Cross Benemerit / Grã Cruz da Benemerência [2011], awarded Silver Collar of Office / Colar de Prata do Office [2011], appointed Assistant to the Grand Prior [2012]; appointed Grand Officer of the Imperial Ethiopian Order of Saint Mary of Zion [2006], elevated to the Rank of Knight Grand Cross [2006], Australian Commander for Debre Libanos, Webmaster and Website Sponsor [http://www.ordersaintmary.com, 2005-2007]; appointed Australian Representative of the Polish Nobility Association Foundation (PNAF), USA [2005], subsequently appointed to the Board of Directors [2016]; recipient of the Cross of Merit of the Orthodox Church of Assyria Chaldea in Western Europe / Crux Meriti, Ecclesia Orthodoxa Assiro Caldea in Europa Occidentale [2005]; conferred Rank of Knight Commander of the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great [2005]; conferred Rank of Knight Commander of the Order of Saint Stanislas [2000], elevated to the Rank of Knight Commander with Star [2005], received Justice Cross [2005], received Faithful Service Medal [2005], Webmaster and Website Sponsor [http://www.saintstanislas.com, 2004-2007] and awarded Silver Cross of Merit [2005].

Career accolades: Accorded Certificate of Appreciation by Mayor Cr Dianne Thorley and the Toowoomba City Council, Queensland for Service to the Community and the Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF) Committee [2007]; accorded Public Vote of Thanks from Mayor and Councillors of the Burnett Shire Council, Queensland for Voluntary Service on Council’s Advisory and Sub-Committees [2004]; listed in the first edition of The Bibliography of Australian Literature: F-J [2004]; awarded Queenslanders for Constitutional Monarchy Association (Inc.) Certificate of Appreciation for Outstanding Service to Crown, Flag and Australia [2002]; listed in the Bibliography of Australian Literature [2001]; awarded Certificate of Nomination Australia Day 1999 Awards in Recognition of being Nominated for the Burnett Shire Cultural Award (Senior) for 1999; endorsed as a ‘Monarchist’ Candidate for the Election of Delegates to the People’s Constitutional Convention on an Australia Republic [1997]; listed in the first edition of the Who's Who of Australian Writers [1991], Second Edition [1995]; listed in the first edition of the Who's Who of Australian Children's Writers [1992], Second Edition [1996]; special mention in the Commonwealth of Australia House of Representatives House Hansard, 6 December 1994, p.4068; received Tribal Name 'Buralnyarla' in recognition of the work undertaken and completed for, and on behalf of the Gooreng Gooreng Aboriginal Peoples of South-East Queensland [1994]; Independent Candidate for Seat of Ballarat, General Federal Election [1990].

Community Service: Founder and Coordinator Pallister-Hall Syndrome Support Hub: Toowoomba from 9 September 2013 [https://www.facebook.com/Pallister.Hall.Syndrome]; Founder and Coordinator Gelastic Seizure Support Hub: Toowoomba from 8 March 2013 [https://www.facebook.com/Gelastic.Seizures]; Member of the Regional Access & Disability Advisory Committee (RADAC), Toowoomba Regional Council from 14 December 2012 to 9 September 2013; Custodian and Curator for the Helon Theology Reference Library (HTRL): Toowoomba from 21 November 2012 [https://www.facebook.com/Helon.Theology.Reference.Library]; Committee Member of the Queensland Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF), Toowoomba City Council from 5 September 2007 to (disbandment on) 17 June 2008; Founder / Webmaster / Public Liaison and Information Officer for the Pallister-Hall Foundation (Aust.): Toowoomba from 11 April 2002 to 31 December 2005; Committee Member of the Queensland Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF), Burnett Shire from June 2000 to June 2001; Publicity Officer and Newsletter Editor for the Innes Park Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association [1996]; Literacy, Numeracy and Educational Tutor specialising in rudimentary language and reading skills programs delivered to adults, children and those with developmental reading disorders from 1990.

Memberships of Professional Organisations: Honorary Member of the Instituto de Estudos Histórico-Militares Napoleão I, Portugal [2011] and the Instituto Preste João das Índias, Portugal [2011]; Fellow of the Russian College of Heraldry / Heraldicum Collegium Russiae [2006]; Life Member of the Queenslanders for Constitutional Monarchy Association Inc. [2001], The Monarchist League in Australia [1995] and the Genealogical Society of Victoria [1986]; founded the Polish Genealogical Society of Australia in April 1993 and was President until its closure in 1997; Australian Representative of the Polish Conservative-Monarchist Club/Klub Zachowawczo-Monarchistyczny, Poland [1993-1998].

Books Published: First book published in 1984. Since that year to 2016, numerous articles and 13 further books have been written, compiled and published in Australia, the United States of America and in Poland - most notably being: Aboriginal Australia [Australia, 1998]; First Names of the Polish Commonwealth: Origins & Meanings with William F. Hoffman, Polish Genealogical Society of America [United States of America, 1998]; The English-Gooreng/Gooreng-English Dictionary [Australia, 1994]; Index to the Newsletters, Journals and Bulletins of the Polish Genealogical Society of America 1979-1993 with Rosemary A. Chorzempa [United States of America, 1994] – 2nd Ed. in CD format [2010]; Destination Australia: Extracts from the Wuerttemberg Emigration Index [Australia, 1994]; Polish-German Place Name Changes [Australia, 1994]; By Another Name: A Four Language Guide to Christian Names and Their Foreign Equivalents – English, German, Latin, Polish [Australia, 1993], and a regular contributor the WHITE EAGLE - journal of the Polish Nobility Association Foundation [since 2005].