Colourful career of former Commonwealth Meat Inspector celebrated with Freeman of the City honour

04 Nov 2022

A former campaigner to improve health and safety conditions for those working in abattoirs is the latest honouree to be conferred as a Freeman of the City of Newcastle.

Fletcher resident Phil Mahoney became the 16th recipient of the lifetime achievement award at Newcastle City Hall on Friday, in recognition of his work throughout the 1970s and 80s as a Commonwealth Meat Inspector, changing the way the industry responded to zoonotic diseases, such as Q-Fever, brucellosis, and leptospirosis.

Mr Mahoney was also lauded for his significant contributions to the entertainment industry as a performer, children’s show host and mentor, his past and current mentees including homegrown international country music star Morgan Evans and Derek Redfern of Young Talent Time fame, who travelled from Melbourne to perform for dignitaries and guests at the award ceremony.

Mr Mahoney’s achievements don’t end there, Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said, with Camp Quality, the Australian Heart Foundation, No Kids Hungry Australia, Black Dog Institute, Melanoma Institute, and Foster Carers Association all benefiting from his extensive charity work.

“Phil has worked tirelessly over many decades to improve the lives of others, raising the first funds for The Calvary Mater hospital’s oncology clinic and revolutionising cancer treatment for local patients by reducing travel to Sydney,” the Lord Mayor said.

“I am proud to present the city’s highest honour to such a worthy recipient who has dedicated his life’s work to these important causes.”

Mr Mahoney said it was a privilege to receive the award among friends, family and supporters.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Lord Mayor and the people of Newcastle for bestowing this honour upon me,” Mr Mahoney said.

“I’m thrilled to share this moment with those who have been part of the journey. My colourful career wouldn’t be half of what it is without their support, and I look forward to continuing to give back to the community and entertainment industry.”

Visit City of Newcastle’s website for further information about the Freeman of the City award program, including past recipients.