On 21 July 2018 the Maltese Community Council of Victoria marked the 60th anniversary since its formation in 1958 with a reception held at the Maltese Community Centre in Parkville. The second half of proceedings consisted of the presentation of the MCCV Annual Community Awards for 2017.
Six years ago, in 2012, the MCCV established its Annual Community Awards to publicly recognise, and show its appreciation for, the valuable contribution of Maltese people to the Maltese community in Victoria, whether by their contribution to scholarship, education, welfare services, culture and generally to the well-being of the community.
The recipients of the awards were:
- Fr Dominic DeGiorgio for his contribution to the Maltese community in the fields of spiritual leadership and welfare services.
- Fr Karmel Borg for his contribution to the Maltese community in the fields of spiritual leadership and welfare services.
- Fr Dr Victor Shields mssp for his contribution to the Maltese community in the fields of spiritual leadership and welfare services.
- Sr Lorraine Testa asjm for her contribution to the Maltese community in the fields of education and aged healthcare services.
- Mr George Saliba OAM for his contribution to the Maltese community through his leadership and general services to the community.
- Posthumous award to the late Mrs Daphne Caruana Galazia for general services to the broader Maltese community and her valuable contribution to democracy in Malta through fearless investigative journalism.
Recipients’ ProfilesFr Dominic DeGiorgio was born in Floriana, Malta, the youngest of five children. He was brought up in Vittoriosa until his family moved to Paola when he was six years old.
He attended the government primary school, although his schooling was interrupted for lengthy periods during World War II. He completed his secondary schooling at the Lyceum.
Fr DeGiorgio attended the University of Malta and graduated as Bachelor of Arts in 1955, Bachelor of Theology in 1957 and was ordained a priest in 1959, after completing his Licentiate in Theology (Lic.D).
In Malta Fr DeGiorgio served as Vice Parish Priest at the Parish of Paola until 1964. Following an earlier visit to Australia, he decided that he would like to provide pastoral services to the Maltese community and other immigrants in Australia, where there was a shortage of priests. He approached Archbishop Gonzi, who eventually consented to his migration to Australia and serving in the Archdiocese of Melbourne. He arrived in Melbourne in September 1964.
In Melbourne Fr DeGiorgio served in the parishes of Hadfield (1964-74), Altona North (1974-77), and Werribee (1977), where he started the new Parish of St Peters in Hoppers Crossing. He also started the Parish of St James in Hoppers Crossing North. In 1992 he was appointed Parish Priest of St Vincent de Paul Parish in Strathmore, where he continued to serve until his retirement in 2007.
Together with Fr Mulligan, the Parish Priest at Hadfield, Fr De Giorgio was responsible for making arrangements with the Superior General of the Dominican Sisters of Malta to provide three members of the Order to run the Parish Primary School.
While serving in the various parishes to which he was assigned, Fr DeGiorgio gave great spiritual leadership and pastoral guidance to many parishioners and families of Maltese and other non English speaking backgrounds.
At his farewell function organised by parishioners of St Peter’s Parish in Hoppers Crossing in 1992, a number of guest speakers spoke very highly of Fr DeGiorgio. One of them referred to him as a builder, not so much of bricks and mortar, but a builder of community.
With his commitment in the service of God for the last 60 years, Fr DeGiorgio has displayed dedicated community leadership to parishioners in the practice of their faith and assisting those in need of support.
Fr Karmel Borg was born in Rabat, Malta and was educated at the Rabat Primary School and later at Mater Boni Consilii Primary School. Between September 1944 and June 1951 he completed his secondary education at the Minor Seminary in Floriana.
On his return to Malta from a visit to Australia, Archbishop Michael Gonzi encouraged Fr Borg to complete his studies for the priesthood in Australia. He had commenced a course in philosophy at the University of Malta, but he had to discontinue the course after three years to pursue his studies for the priesthood in Australia.
Following his father’s death in Malta, he migrated to Australia with his mother and siblings, arriving in Melbourne in January 1955. Three months later he entered the seminary at Corpus Christi College in Werribee, where he completed courses in philosophy and theology. On 24 July 1960 he was ordained a priest by Archbishop Justin Simonds at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne.
Between 1961 and 1973 he served as Assistant Parish Priest in parishes at Belmont, Flemington, West Melbourne and Reservoir. In January 1974 he was appointed Parish Priest of the newly established St Peter Chanel Parish in Deer Park. There he was responsible for the construction of the new parish church, presbytery and parish hall. He also organised and supervised the building of three Parish Primary Schools in the region.
He held other positions as Canonical Administrator of Caroline Chisholm Catholic Regional College in Braybrook and chairman of the school board, a position he held for some 36 years. In 2006 he also founded the new parish of St Catherine of Siena in Caroline Springs.
On 12 September 2009, as required under Canon Law, he retired from active parish work. He was recognised as Pastor Emeritus by the Archbishop of Melbourne.
In May 1999 Fr Borg was appointed Canon ad honorem of the Collegiate Church of St Paul in Rabat, Malta.
Between 1 February 2010 and 30 November 2012, as a member of staff at Corpus Christi College in Carlton, he worked with seminarians through their formation years in preparation for their priestly ordination. Fr. Borg continues to assist seminarians and brother Priests when asked for pastoral assistance.
Fr Borg gave great pastoral service and spiritual leadership to his parishioners who were of various nationalities, particularly the large number of Maltese residing in his parishes.
Fr Dr Victor Shields mssp was born in Zebbug, Malta. He pursued his secondary school studies at St Aloysius College.
Between 1961 and 1964 he read history of philosophy with London University. In 1970 he received his theological training at the Gregorian University in Rome.
A member of the MSSP, he was ordained priest in Rome in 1967. From the Pontifical Gregorian University, he obtained a Bachelor of Sacred Theology degree in 1966 and licentiate in sacred theology in 1968. From Rome he also gained a diploma in classical Latin in 1969.
In 1970 he also completed a post-graduate biennium in moral theology under the Jesuit moral theologian Joseph Fuchs at the Gregorian University. Between 1970 and 1971 he taught religious studies in Windsor, Canada.
In 1971 Fr Shields moved to Melbourne, graduating in psychology from MeIbourne University in 1976. Subsequently, he completed a three-year period of training in the practice of Clinical Psychology at the Melville Mental Health Clinic in Melbourne. This led to his registration in 1979 as a clinical psychologist in Victoria.
In 1982 he earned a doctorate in theology from the Melbourne College of Divinity. The subject of his doctoral dissertation with an emphasis on moral theology and psychology of religion, was: Religious Freedom: New Directions in Catholic Neology.
Alongside his academic and professional work, Fr Shields was extensively involved in pastoral work in Melbourne, particularly amongst Maltese migrants.
In this area, his outstanding achievement has been his concern and work for the social organization of the Maltese community in Victoria. He was one of the main promoters of the Maltese community centre which the MSSP, in conjunction with the Maltese Community Council of Victoria, built in the early 1980s in Melbourne. This centre caters for the cultural, social and spiritual welfare of the Maltese community there.
In 1982 Fr Shields returned to Malta when he was elected assistant general of the MSSP. Since then he has practised locally as a clinical psychologist. Besides, he lectured in moral theology at INSERM, and in clinical pastoral psychology at the former faculty of theology at Tal-Virtu’. He also lectures in psychology and theology at the University of Malta and in psychology at the Police Academy.
Fr Shields has worked in broadcasting for several years, contributing weekly programmes on the Public Broadcasting Service as well as on the Voice of the Mediterranean.
Fr Shields has published several articles in academic journals and is a regular contributor to local papers. He has authored several publications including books, booklets and an extensive series of lectures on cassette, both in English and Maltese, aimed at educating the general public on psychological issues.
Fr Shields has worked tirelessly to set up Maltese community associations in the various areas and parishes, where mass was celebrated in the Maltese language. He played a significant role in uniting the Maltese community and seeing to the establishment of the Maltese Community Centre at Parkville.
Fr Shields visits Melbourne every year to further his studies and assist his fellow priests in the pastoral work among our Maltese community.
Sr Lorraine Testa asjm was born in Melbourne of Maltese parents. She completed her primary education at St Paul’s Primary School in Sunshine and her secondary schooling at Marian College in West Sunshine and Chisholm College in Braybrook.
In 1977 Sr Testa completed her Diploma of Teaching at the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne. She has also completed further studies in Religious Education, Teaching English as a Second Language. In 2005 she graduated Master of Education in Student Welfare.
In 1982 Lorraine joined the congregation of the Augustinian Sisters, Servants of Jesus and Mary. She completed her initial training and preparation for religious life in Rome and over the years in Malta and the Philippines.
After 13 years as a generalist primary school teacher, she was appointed Principal of St Bernadette’s Primary School in 1991, a position she held until 2009. Sr Testa was instrumental in having the Maltese language incorporated into the school curriculum.
In 1994 her contribution to the Maltese community was publicly acknowledged when she was awarded the Manoel de Vilhena Medal.
In 2009 Sr Testa received the Victorian Premier’s Award for her valuable service to multicultural education.
In 2010 Sr Testa moved into the area of aged healthcare and is currently the Pastoral Care Co-ordinator at Villa Maria Catholic Homes, coordinating spiritual and emotional support to individuals of all cultures, faiths and nationalities, who access their services, and their families.
As part of her duties as a religious, Sr Testa has represented Australia in various international conferences in Malta, Italy and the Philippines. She is currently the Augustinian Congregation’s delegate in Australia.
Sr Testa has given excellent service particularly to Maltese students and the Maltese aged.
Mr George Saliba OAM was born in Senglea in Malta. He attended the Hamrun Government Primary School and completed his secondary education at St Michaels College in Fleur-de-Lys. He completed a six and a half years trade apprenticeship at Her Majesty’s Naval Dockyard Base qualifying as an electrical fitter in October 1957.
In April 1958 he left Malta to migrate to Australia accompanied by his wife Lena. George and Lena have been married for 60 years and they have 2 children and 2 grandchildren.
Shortly after his arrival in Melbourne, George obtained employment with Westinghouse Brake and Signal Company. Following further studies, he was promoted from the position of electrical fitter to Divisional Manager.
In 1983 the company transferred its operations to New Zealand. George had been employed there for a period of 25 years. That year George took up a position at the Public Transport Commission as Senior Electrical Training Officer. He retired from work in December 1995.
In 1973 George was one of the founding members of the Newport Maltese Association and was its first President, a position he held for 22 years. In 1994 he decided to give others an opportunity to participate in its leadership. So he occupied the position of Vice President from 1994 to 2010.
In 2003, George was appointed Co-Ordinator of the Association’s Seniors Group. In 2010, at the request of his fellow committee members, George once again accepted the position of President of the Association.
In 1978 George was elected Senior Vice President of the MCCV, a position he held for 16 years. In 2002, George was again elected to the MCCV Vice-Presidency and served in that position for the next 6 years.
George has been one of the Maltese Community stalwarts in fundraising for the building of the Maltese Community Centre at Parkville. One of the earliest fundraising activities that George helped create was the “Miss Maltese Community of Victoria Quest”. During its run of 15 years, the quest raised $400,000 for the Maltese Community Centre building fund.
In 1980, George was instrumental in helping to organize the first ever Maltese Song Festival. He continued to present the 1981 and 1982 Festivals at the Melbourne State Theatre and the 1983 Festival at the Melbourne Town Hall. These festivals were met with great success and many new Maltese-Australian talents were discovered.
In 1977 George coordinated the opening of the first Maltese Cultural Festival at the City Square in Swanston Street to promote Maltese culture among other nationalities.
In 1999, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to Community Service, George Saliba was awarded the Manoel De Vilhena Award.
On the occasion of the 150 years anniversary of the State of Victoria, the Victorian Government presented George with a “Certificate of Appreciation” in recognition and appreciation of his voluntary work in the community.
In November 2007, George was presented with an award for “Excellence in Multicultural Affairs” by the Governor of Victoria.
In June 2011, in recognition of his contribution to the Maltese community, George was awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in that year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
For the past 45 years, George has worked very hard on activities aimed at developing the Maltese Community in every aspect, with some outstanding results to his credit.
Mrs Daphne Caruana Galizia was born on 26 August 1964 in Sliema, the eldest of three daughters of Michael Vella and his wife Rose Marie née Mamo. She was educated at St Dorothy’s Convent in Mdina and St Aloysius College in Birkirkara. She attended the University of Malta as a mature age student and in 1997 she graduated BA (Hons) in Archaeology and Anthropology.
Mrs Caruana Galizia became politically active in her late teens and was first arrested in 1982 at 18 years of age, when she was held in detention for 48 hours, following her participation in a pro-democracy protest.
In 1985 she married her lawyer husband Peter Caruana Galizia and they have three sons, Matthew, Andrew and Paul.
In 1987 Mrs Caruana Galizia began her career as a columnist with the Sunday Times of Malta. She later became associate editor of The Malta Independent, and continued to write columns for the publication after stepping down from that role.
In 2008 she set up her own blog entitled Running Commentary, which included investigative reporting and commentary on various people in positions of power on both sides of politics. Some of her blog posts were labelled as personal attacks by her critics. Her blog eventually became the most popular website in Malta and read around the world, in recent years attracting over 400,000 readers every day.
Mrs Caruana Galizia was harassed relentlessly and intimidated for her work and opinions. According to her son Matthew, death threats were almost a daily occurrence. These took the form of phone calls, letters, notes pinned to the front door, text messages, emails, and comments on her blog. By the time of her death, she was involved in legal proceedings with twelve persons in 42 different libel suits.
Mrs Caruana Galizia was the first person to learn of the use of Panamanian companies for money-laundering purposes before the Panama Papers leak of April 2016.
In 2017 the Europe edition of Politico, a global nonpartisan politics and policy news organization, included her in a list of 28 people who were “shaping, shaking and stirring Europe”. They described her as a “one-woman WikiLeaks”, crusading against corruption and the lack of transparency in Malta.
At around 3 pm on 16 October 2017, Mrs Caruana Galizia paid the ultimate price for her fearless investigative journalism, when she was assassinated in a car bomb attack on her leased car, as she was driving down the road from her home in Bidnija. The explosion left her body and the vehicle scattered in several pieces across nearby fields.
Her assassination made front page news headlines in both local and international media around the world. In no time, Daphne Caruana Galizia’s name began trending worldwide on Twitter and other social media.
There was widespread condemnation of the assassination by political, religious and community leaders in Malta. The President of the European Parliament called the death of Mrs Caruana Galizia a “tragic example of a journalist who sacrificed her life to seek out the truth”. Pope Francis sent a letter of condolence, saying he is praying for the journalist’s family and the Maltese people.
Late last year the press room in the European parliament building in Strasbourg was renamed in her honour. A debate on freedom of the press and the protection of journalists in Malta also took place in the European Parliament. Following this debate, a delegation of the European Parliament visited Malta to investigate the state of the rule of law, high-level cases of alleged money laundering and corruption in Malta.
On 4 December 2017 ten individuals were arrested in connection with the car bomb investigation, which was being conducted with the assistance of the American FBI, Interpol and Dutch forensic specialists. Three of those arrested have been charged with executing the assassination, but none of them appear to have any personal motive to commit this shocking crime, as they never featured in any of her blog posts. Whoever commissioned the murder is still at large.
Many posthumous awards have been bestowed on Daphne Caruana Galizia since her death by several journalism and media organisations, as well as universities from around the world. As an example, in April 2018 the Swedish National Press Club awarded its 2018 Freedom of Speech award to her “for independent journalism with courage and integrity in times when investigative journalism is under hard pressure”.
The MCCV is proud to join these organisations in recognising, remembering and honouring Daphne Caruana Galizia for her outstanding achievements with this posthumous MCCV award.
Community acknowledgement of recent OAM Award
At the end of proceedings, a bouquet of flowers was presented to Mrs Frances Bonnici in recognition of the recent Order of Australia Medal award to her which was announced in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List.