Greg Yorke AM CSC was appointed Chair, Victorian Veterans Council in February 2022. Greg is a part-time member of the Royal Australian Navy and holds the position of Senior Naval Officer Victoria. He brings to the position of Chair a wealth of experience in the Navy and the Department of Defence.
Greg Yorke joined the Navy in January 1974, rising to the rank of Commodore in June 2016 and has worked as a Principal Warfare Officer in the Executive Branch, having completed many sea postings including exchange in HMS Liverpool, and two most successful Commands, HMAS Gladstone a Fremantle Class Patrol Boat, and HMAS Arunta, an ANZAC Class Frigate.
He was awarded a Conspicuous Service Cross for his leadership role as Chief Staff Officer (Operations) Maritime Headquarters during Operation Falconer (Iraq 2) in 2003 and was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia in the 2022 Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Greg also had a successful second career as a management consultant during a ten-year absence from the RAN and has been a non-Executive Director on the Board of the Australian National Veterans Arts Museum since 2017.
Pela has been a Navy Reservist since 1986 and has attained the rank of Lieutenant Commander. She has had a variety of logistics, engineering and infrastructure-related roles.
Pela is an engineer and certified project professional. She has been the Aide-de-Camp in Waiting to His Excellency the Governor of New South Wales and the His Excellency the Administrator of the Commonwealth of Australia.
She is currently serving as a Reservist. Pela currently holds the executive infrastructure operations role with Amazon Web Services (AWS) for Australia and New Zealand.
Dan served in the Australian Regular Army as an artillery officer where he fulfilled a range of regimental, operational and training appointments. The majority of his service was with 8th/12th Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery.
His operational deployments include Iraq (Operation Catalyst) and border protection (Operation Relex II). On leaving the Army, Dan entered the construction industry where he has worked in trade and management roles on building and infrastructure projects. Dan is a graduate of the Royal Military College, Duntroon and RMIT University.
Anita is a Royal Australian Navy Veteran. She joined the Australian Defence Force at the age of 16 and served from 1994 to 2004. During that time, she trained as a Dental Assistant and worked at several ADF bases.
After leaving the Australian Defence Force, Anita retrained and works as a Medication Endorsed Enrolled Nurse, as well as having had an involvement in volunteering with RSL Cranbourne-Dandenong Sub-Branch, where she has formed strong connections with the younger veteran cohort and provided welfare and advocacy support to them.
She has also trained through RSL Victoria as a Veteran Funeral Officer.
Anita has the lived experience of many of the issues facing contemporary veterans transitioning to civilian life.
She also undertakes recognition of older Veterans' service, through collaborating with others.
She recently completed a Graduate Certificate/Master in Suicidology and volunteers for the R U OK? organisation as a Community Ambassador.
John has had extensive involvement in the veteran family advocacy and support space for the last ten years as a qualified advocate. He served as a rifleman with the First Battalion and served in East Timor in 2007.
John has battled his own personal medical constraints post service and now engages in supporting others requiring assistance throughout Australia to help them transition after service.
John holds positions on both state and national boards, such as the Deputy Commissioner’s Forum and the Operational Working Party, and is also a Level 3 Compensation Advocate with the Victorian Veterans Advocacy Centre.
John’s extensive involvement extends further by being the Director of a social enterprise - Aussie Veterans Pty Ltd - established in Melbourne in 2017.
Bruce is not a veteran but has broad experience and strong personal interest in the veteran sector. He is currently involved in commemorative activities as Chair of the Mt Macedon ANZAC Dawn Service and has assisted as support rider in the Vietnam Veteran Vetride. Bruce’s father was a Rat of Tobruk and his maternal grandfather an officer in the ANZAC Light Horse.
As a former State MP and Parliamentary Secretary for Veterans’ Affairs, Bruce assisted in the drafting of Victoria’s veterans’ legislation, the Veterans Act 2005, and led the first Premier’s Spirit of Anzac Prize tour to the Western Front.
Ken Tsirigotis completed 22 years of service in the Australian Regular Army in the Royal Australian Infantry Corps.
Throughout his Army career Ken was posted mainly to Sydney and Melbourne including instructional postings to the Melbourne University Regiment, 5/6th and 8/7th Battalions of the Royal Victoria Regiment and as the Company Sergeant Major of Headquarters 4th Brigade.
The majority of his service was however as a Reconnaissance soldier at the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (Parachute).
His overseas service has included exchanges and regimental duties to Indonesia, New Zealand, France, Belgium, Thailand, the UK and Switzerland.
Operational experiences include, International Forces East Timor (1999-2000), United Nations Transitional Authority East Timor (2002), Timor-Leste Battle Group Three as part of the Ready Company Group deployment (2008) Timor-Leste Battle Group Four (2008) and Operation Slipper as a Mobile Mentoring Team Commander in the Uruzgan Province Afghanistan (2012).
Ken has been awarded various Australian Defence Force (ADF) awards including the Soldiers Medallion for Exemplary Service, Commander 1st Division Commendation (Bronze), Deputy Chief of Joint Operations Commendation (Bronze) and ADF Commendation (Silver).
Ken transferred from the Australian Regular Army in 2016 taking up employment with Melbourne Legacy and has held various roles, most recently as the Chief Operating Officer where he manages the engagement supporting service delivery operations of the organisation.
Lucy is a risk management professional and a veteran with a passion for community resilience building.
As an Australian Army Public Affairs Officer, Lucy has deployed on warlike military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and has also supported politico-military missions in the Gulf States and North West Africa.
Working in the Office of the Defence Attaché at the Australian Embassy in Paris, France, between 2008-2013, Lucy had the privilege of supporting large scale multinational military commemorative ceremonies including the reburial of 250 Australian and British World War I soldiers at the Fromelles Military Cemetery and planning the ANZAC Centenary Commemorations in France.
In 2018, Lucy was awarded the Australia Day Medallion for service to Defence and Indigenous Communities.
With qualifications and extensive experience in risk management, strategic communications and community engagement, Lucy has held senior advisory and executive management roles in Local and State government and in 2019 was appointed the Executive Manager Community Safety at the Country Fire Authority, Victoria.
Simon is a former commissioned Australian Regular Army Officer who served in a wide variety of operational roles including in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since leaving Defence, he has held senior roles at the Office of Police Integrity and the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission. He has been the senior executive responsible for the regulation of the apprenticeship and vocational education and training (VET) sectors in Victoria, and was a senior executive with the Commonwealth VET regulator. Simon is currently working as a consultant.
Simon is a State Executive member of the Victorian Returned and Services League, where he chairs the Risk, Audit and Governance Committee. He is passionate to ensure veterans are supported through sound policy and that ex-service organisations are supported to deliver in an ever-changing environment.
He holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of New South Wales, a Master of Business Administration from Latrobe University, is a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and an ANZSOG Executive Fellow.
Jo-Anne O’Brien is a member of the ex-service community as a surviving partner and widow of a veteran. She has significant knowledge and lived experience of veterans’ welfare and the needs of veterans’ surviving partners and families.
Jo-Anne was nominated to become a member of the Council by Warrnambool Legacy Club.
In addition to her knowledge of veterans welfare issues, Jo-Anne brings to the Council significant experience working in the community and local government sectors areas relating to tourism and economic and community development, as well as a number of volunteer roles including with Rotary and the CFA.
Reviewed 20 October 2022