Unsung Heros


The Unsung Hero Award was initiated by the Rotary Club of Mill Point in 2011 to recognize and celebrate the efforts of those dedicated individuals who have over many years contributed to the quality of life in our community without reward or recognition.

The Rotary Club of Mill Point select two people for the “Unsung Hero” award each year. The Award includes a trophy and cash payment of $500 to be paid to a community charity selected by each of the Award winners.

The 2021 Unsung Hero Community Service Awardees were John White for his outstanding service to the Gidgegannup community particularly during and following the catastrophic Wooroloo bushfires of February 2021 which destroyed his home as well as another 86 houses, and Peta O’Dwyer ( aka Peta Charles) for her generous time and dedicated care for more than 25 years as a hairdresser and friend to inmates at 3 prisons, and for patients at the Psychiatric and Geriatric wards at Bentley Hospital.

First Award: John White was nominated for the Unsung Hero award by our Gerry McGann who is part of the team of Wooroloo fire recovery volunteers lead by Rotarian Peter Durrant and retired and legendary SES District Officer Allen Gale ESM. Allen and his son Adam Gale have made tremendous contributions to the post-fire recovery operations and are here to witness this presentation of the RCMP Unsung Hero Award to John White.

John has lived in the hills for many years and owns a small earthmoving company. He is a dab hand at tennis, and we suspect a few other things.

When the February bushfires raged through, John was helping defend someone else’s home as he saw his own house burn and explode in the distance, destroying all his possessions and history. Some of his earthmoving machines survived.

Rotarian Gerry McGann presented the 2021 Unsung Hero Award trophy and $500 cheque to John’s preferred Charity.

Second Award: Peta O’Dwyer was nominated by Chelsea Angel who is a client at Peta Charles Hairdresser Salon and a friend of Peta and her son Jordan. Chelsea read out her nomination and introduced Michelle Parker from the Department of Justice to tell us about Peta’s service to prisoners at Boronia, Melaleuca and Wandoo Corrective Service facilities. Our Viv Adams will also told us more about Peta’s generous spirit in her dealings with her customers in her salon.

Peta O’Dwyer has had an almost lifelong affiliation with the City of South Perth, commencing her hairdressing apprenticeship on Coode Street in 1975 at the tender age of 16.  Peta eventually purchased this salon when she turned 22 and named it Peta Charles Hair Studio – where it still exists to this very day on Canning Highway in South Perth.

Peta has been servicing the community of South Perth for the last 25 years by going over and above the call of a normal ‘hairdresser’.  Peta has an almost decade long history of being the hairdresser to the women’s prisons Boronia and Melaleuca, visiting on a fortnightly basis to do their hair but also educate them on the importance of self-care.  She has recently been invited to embark on a training initiative within the prison by teaching hairdressing to the inmates in a venture to facilitate them with skills to obtain employment upon their release.

Peta has also been the visiting hairdresser to Bentley Hospital for the last 25 years visiting the Psychiatric ward and Geriatric ward on a weekly basis (on her days off).  Peta rides her bicycle to Bentley with all her tools in a basket and provides important self-care to the marginalized and often terminally ill patients caring for many of them whilst bed ridden or suffering debilitating mental illness.

President Brian Johnson presented the 2021 Unsung Hero Award trophy and $500 cheque to Peta’s preferred Charity…Alzheimer’s WA