Australian to head Order of St. John.
Written by Simon Frame   
Monday, 10 February 2014

It has been announced that an Australian, Dr Neil Conn AO, has been appointed by Her Majesty The Queen to the role of Lord Prior of the Venerable Order of St John of Jerusalem.

Dr Conn is a former Administrator of the Northern Territory and currently sits with other eminent Australians on the Queens Jubilee Trust Australia.

 

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 [Prior mantle star]

 

The Venerable Order of St John is the parent organisation of the perhaps more well known St John Ambulance Service.

 

St John Ambulance is the famed  provider of first aid services, training and equipment.

With their black and white uniforms not to mention their readiness to help all, they are a popular, well recognised part of Australian life.

 

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[St John's Ambulance volunteers]

 

Former appointments to the role of Lord Prior have included  a Canadian. 

As much as anything else this is recognition of the good work that the Order and that St John Ambulance play in those nations of which Elizabeth II is Sovereign, and also around the world.

 

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[ Sir Roden Cutler's honours]

 

In Australia, Governors-General - as the representatives of the Crown - are Priors of the Venerable Order of St John. Likewise each State Governor is a Deputy Prior of the Order.

 

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  [HE Professor Marie Bashir, Governor of New South Wales]

 

The appointment of Dr Conn reinforces the strong connections that the leadership of the Venerable Order of Saint John has with Australia. HRH Henry, Duke of Gloucester(1900-1974) was Grand Prior of the Order from 1939 until 1974, which period included his tenure as Governor-General of Australia.

 

 His son, HRH Richard Duke of Gloucester, was appointed by the Queen to succeed his father in 1974. Prince Richard is still the Grand Prior of the Order.

 

In the Jubilee Year, 2012, Prince Richard visited Australia in his role as Grand Prior and on that occasion a luncheon was held by the Honourable Don Harwin MLC, President of the Legislative Council of New South Wales in honour of the Grand Prior and in recognition of the good work that the Order does in Australia.

 

There is also a NSW Parliament Auxiliary of the Order of Saint John, which is a bi-partisan group which seeks to aid the Order and its Ambulance arm in their work.

 

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 [HRH Richard Duke of Gloucester at NSW State Parliament. By kind permission of the Honourable Don Harwin MLC, President of the Legislative Council]

 

 

 

...Alliance of the Orders of Saint John....

 

 

The Venerable Order of Saint John is one of the four legitimate Orders of Saint John which makeup the Alliance of the Orders of Saint John.

 

 Those Orders include the Brandenburg Bailiwick of the Order of St John of Jerusalem(better known as the Johanniterorden), the Order of St John in the Netherlands and the Order of St John in Sweden.

 

With the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta, which is more commonly known as the Order of Malta, these Orders make the five historically legitimate Orders of St John.

 

They are recognised as such by all the nations in which they are headquartered and which they have commanderies or priories in.

These five Orders also work together closely around the world in humanitarian aid and to help better inform the public of self-styled or false “Orders” of St John.

 

The Venerable, Sovereign and Brandenburg Orders of Saint John all operate hospices, ambulance and first aid services around the world.

 

As well as the Venerable Order of Saint John, which is recognised in the Australian Honours system, there are in Australia active representatives of the Sovereign Order of St John and of the Brandenburg Bailiwick of the Order of Saint John.

 

All are engaged in the historical mission of the Knights Hospitaller and the Order of Saint John to “care for our lords: the poor and the sick”.


ACM wish Dr Conn all the very best for his future work around the Commonwealth and the wider international community. We also acknowledge the honour that has been bestowed on Australia through this appointment.