Terry O'Connell OAM, a thirty-year veteran with the NSW Police Service and restorative justice pioneer, will be Cowra's Australia Day Ambassador for 2020.
Known internationally as the 'cop from Wagga Wagga', Terry developed a restorative justice model, now used to help people in prisons and juvenile justice facilities, victims of crime, school children, families and corporate organisations around the world. Terry's model fosters empathy and shared understanding among offenders, victims and their friends and family members. While it reduces crime, restorative justice is also a valuable way for schools to build healthy relationships, reduce bullying and empower children.
A father of seven, Terry left school at fourteen and says he never wanted anything more from life than to be a policeman and "try to improve the lot of others and to build decent communities."
He has featured in a number of ABC documentaries including Facing the Demons; Murder He Wrote; and, Justice for All.
Terry has a number of prestigious awards including a Churchill Fellowship, Order of Australia Medal and an Honorary Doctorate from Australian Catholic University. He is the recipient of a Paul Harris Fellowship, has a Social Welfare degree and was a NSW finalist in the 2016 Senior Australian of Year.
Married to Margaret, they have seven children and thirteen grandchildren.
Australia Day celebrations will take place from 8.30am at Cowra Civic Centre on Sunday 26 January 2020. Presentations of Australia Day Awards and School Literary Awards will be included in the annual ceremony. A free breakfast will be provided by the Rotary Club of Cowra from 8.15am and morning tea catered by the Inner Wheel Club of Cowra following the service.