Members of the Victorian Veterans Council

Lists members of the Victorian Veterans Council during the annual reporting period July 2021 – June 2022.

Commodore Greg Yorke, AM, CSC, Chair

(Appointed 15 February 2022)

Greg Yorke, AM, CSC, was appointed Chair, VVC in February 2022. Greg is a part time member of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and holds the position of Senior Naval Officer Victoria. He brings a wealth of experience in the RAN and the Department of Defence to the position of Chair.

Greg Yorke joined the RAN in January 1974, rising to the rank of Commodore in June 2016 and has worked as a Principal Warfare Officer in the Executive Branch. He has completed many sea postings, including exchange in HMS Liverpool, and two successful commands on 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. He has been a non-Executive Director on the Board of the Australian National Veterans Arts Museum (ANVAM) since 2017. ANVAM is a national cultural institution, a veteran-led charity with the mission to promote the wellbeing of the veteran community through facilitated arts programs.

Lieutenant Commander Pelagia Markogiannakis, Deputy Chair

(Appointed 6 February 2018, appointed Deputy Chair 29 January 2020)

Pela has been an RAN 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 His Excellency the Administrator of the Commonwealth of Australia.

Pela holds the executive infrastructure operations role with Amazon Web Services for Australia and New Zealand.

Dan Cairnes

(Appointed 8 June 2021)

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.

Glen Ferrarotto

(Appointed 7 December 2021)

A leader in veteran employment services, Glen started in the Army Reserve, before joining the Australian Regular Army and qualifying as a heavy diesel mechanic. He served in Malaysia, Kuwait and Afghanistan. He used his expertise to repatriate a Special Forces vehicle from Afghanistan and put it in pride of place at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

Glen was awarded the Meritorious Unit Citation for his contribution to the Special Forces during the Afghanistan Campaign. Among other actions, he was recognised for calmly replacing an entire Land Rover gearbox while under enemy fire.

He now draws on his own experience of transitioning from the Army to help veterans, especially those who are wounded, injured or ill, to access and develop meaningful careers outside of the ADF.

Glen has won awards for his excellence in supporting veterans’ employment and his work in local veteran welfare in the Nillumbik Shire Council. He is the President of the Montmorency Eltham RSL and was the youngest member of the Victorian RSL State Executive Board.

Anita Hogan

(Appointed 24 March 2020)

Anita is an RAN veteran. She joined the ADF 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 ADF, Anita retrained and works as a Medication Endorsed Enrolled Nurse, as well as having had an involvement in volunteering with Cranbourne-Dandenong RSL 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 McNeill

(Appointed 3 November 2021)

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 involvement extends further by being the director of a social enterprise, Aussie Veterans Pty Ltd, which was established in Melbourne in 2017.

Bruce Mildenhall

(Appointed 7 August 2018)

Bruce is not a veteran, but he 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 was 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, and led the first Premier’s Spirit of Anzac Prize tour to the Western Front.

Jo-Anne O’Brien

(Appointed 17 May 2022)

Jo-Anne 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.

Jo-Anne also has significant experience working in the community and local government sector areas relating to tourism and economic and community development, as well as a number of volunteer roles, including with Rotary and the CFA.

Lucy Saaroni

(Appointed 8 February 2022)

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 and 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. In 2019, she was appointed the Executive Manager Community Safety at the Country Fire Authority, Victoria.

Ken Tsirigotis

(Appointed 25 August 2020)

Ken completed 22 years of service in the Australian Regular Army in the Royal Australian Infantry Corps. The majority of his service was 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 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 to take up employment with Melbourne Legacy. He has held various roles there, most recently as the Chief Operating Officer, where he manages the engagement supporting service delivery operations of the organisation.

Dr Ross Bastiaan AM RFD

(Member from 1 January 2013 to 25 March 2022)

Kim McAliney

(Member from 30 August 2016 to 27 October 2021)

Wing Commander Sharyn Bolitho RAAFAR

(Member from 4 November 2015 to 7 October 2021)

Roger Clifton

(Chair from 15 October 2019 to 30 September 2021)

S. Jamie Twidale CSM

(Member from 17 March 2020 to 20 August 2021)

Lieutenant Commander Peta Irving RAN (Rtd)

(Member from 7 August 2018 to 6 August 2021)