Whyalla pharmacist John Holds was named among recipients of the Order of Australia yesterday, for service to rural pharmacy and the community of South Australia.
Holds is currently semi-retired and working as a pharmacy locum, and previously spent 30 years as a pharmacist at the Monarch Pharmacy Group, as well as having worked at the Whyalla Hospital.
He was a long-time member of the Pharmacy Guild’s South Australian Branch and the PSA, as well as a member of the National Guild Rural Working Party. Holds was also a foundation member of the West Coast Chemists Association.
“I’m very humbled to receive this honour as I get a lot of satisfaction from being a pharmacist, especially working in regional areas,” Holds says.
“I’ve lived in the country all my life and enjoy living in rural and regional communities, it’s something I know well and I enjoy making a difference in these places.
“The reason I still work is because there’s an urgent need for more rural pharmacists in Australia.”
Holds says pharmacy has changed immeasurably over the years, with one of the biggest differences being that pharmacists are now more interactive with customers.
“When I first started, we were out the back and didn’t venture into the shop to talk to customers. Nowadays, people are looking for healthcare information, which is something I have always enjoyed as a professional.”
Holds told the Whyalla News that the move towards counselling and advice were the reason he remained active in the profession.
PSA Immediate Past National President Grant Kardachi applauded John’s impressive achievements, saying he is highly-respected among the profession, especially in South Australia.
Kardachi says John was always a strong supporter of the PSA, especially by regularly attending education seminars in regional South Australia.
“I congratulate John on his OAM honour and I thank him for his outstanding service and loyalty to the PSA and regional communities,” Kardachi says.
“The fact that John’s been a PSA member for such a long time, even though he’s semi-retired, showed his dedication and loyalty to the profession.”
As well as his work in pharmacy, Holds has been significantly involved with his local community including as past president of the Rotary Club of Whyalla, as well as being a committee member of a range of community organisations including the Whyalla Players, Whyalla Tennis Club, Basketball Club and Golf Club; he was named Inaugural Citizen of the Year by Whyalla City Council in 1982. Holds was also the chairman, Board of Control, Whyalla Senior Citizens Centre and chairman of the Whyalla Health Awareness Group for several years from 1975.