Newly appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia, Launceston’s Alan Birchmore said he has been lucky in his career to have been given tasks which many said could not be done.
“Nobody ever achieved anything alone, part of the secret I suppose is to encourage other people to work with you. I can’t think of a single thing which I have done that didn't have a good outcome because of the people that joined in,” he said.
Mr Birchmore has been the chairman of the Launceston Flood Authority since 2010, and part of the award recognises his contribution to the community of Tasmania, particularly in the area of flood mitigation and management.
After moving back to the state following a 41 year absence, Mr Birchmore said he became aware of the bad health and appearance of the Tamar River
“At that time they had started the flood levee construction program and they were after a new chairman and I put my hand up,” he said.
“In terms of the river itself I was pretty concerned, and the mayor and general manager of the Launceston City Council were very supportive of that view... and so started the battle and it’s by no means over.”
Mr Birchmore was deeply honoured upon first hearing of his award.
“I suppose my first reaction was to be very grateful to Australia for the opportunities that it gave me, I had a pretty ordinary beginning, I was a war kid that came out from England when I was 11 in 1949,” he said.
”From a simple beginning I was very fortunate to be given the opportunity to do a number of things, they were generally fairly challenging things, and I think they were the best things to have happened for me.”
Mr Birchmore was also awarded for his distinguished service to business in the maritime transport and mining fields.
From leading the listing of Bond Gold on the New York Stock exchange and managing a staff of more than 3,500 people, to making the Port of Fremantle in Western Australia the cheapest to import and export in the country, Mr Birchmore has a thirst for challenging work.
His work also included chairing the Port of Albany Authority and directing Venus Metals Corporation
”I’ve never been handed a swiss watch to run, there’s always been something with difficulties and that’s what I have enjoyed,” he said.