The investiture ceremony for the Order of Australia will be held in Canberra in April.
“As a very proud Australian I am honoured to receive the Order of Australia Medal,” Mr Cunningham told The Phuket News today (Jan 26), Australia Day 2016.
“I am thankful for the assistance of my fellow Honorary Consuls during my nine years as Australian Honorary Consul for Phuket, Phang-nga and Krabi in our combined attempts to make Phuket a safer place.
“I am also grateful to my staff at The Chava Resort who assisted me greatly during my tenure, especially Khun Pinky and Khun Golf. I would also like to thank Khun Sarayuth Mallam (Vice President of the Phuket Tourist Association) for his invaluable advice over this time.”
Mr Cunningham retired from his position as Australian Honorary Consul on September 30, 2013.
At an event attended to mark his retirement, Mr Cunningham was recognised as a vocal critic of the problems that continued to plague Phuket, including corruption and crime targeting tourists.
He was also recognised as a staunch supporter of Phuket and a believer that positive change could secure the island’s position as a leading global tourism destination.
James Wise, Australian Ambassador to Thailand at the time, praised Mr Cunningham for his tireless efforts in helping Australians in need.
He described how Mr Cunningham worked “tirelessly” following the One-Two-Go airline crash at Phuket International Airport in September 2007, which killed 89 people including one Australian.
Mr Cunningham had helped “hundreds” of airline passengers on several occasions over the years – the latest of which was when Air Australia went bust in February 2012, leaving many Australians stranded at Phuket airport when flights were cancelled, Amb Wise said.
He “dealt so calmly” with jet ski owners, including one incident where one “held bamboo spikes while negotiating a fee for damage,” Amb Wise said. (See story here.)
The Australian Consulate in Phuket now operates out of the offices of Hawryluk Legal Advisors, headed by Canadian Michelle Hawryluk, at: 77/77 Unit 6D Moo 5, Chalermprakiat Rama 9 (the bypass road) in Rassada. (Tel: 076-510111; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Mrs Hawryluk, although Canadian, holds a licence to practise law in New South Wales, Australia (She attended Bond University in Queensland). She is also licenced to practise in New York State in the US. (See story here.)