Jan (John) Tadeusz Gebhardt OAM was born in a displaced persons camp at Heileromm in Germany after World War II. His family emigrated to Australia in 1949. He completed graduate and postgraduate studies at Newcastle University and was involved in the public and private education sector for 36 years.
John established one of the first Multicultural Education Resource Centres in NSW. He was the President of the Ethnic Communities Council of Newcastle and the Hunter Region (ECCNHRI) and was also involved with the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia, the then Ethnic Affairs Commission and the State Ministerial Multicultural Education Advisory Committee.
John was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 1991 for his services to the Polish Community and to multiculturalism. In 2001 he was awarded a Centenary Medal for services to the Hunter Region Community and people with non-English speaking backgrounds. John was also a recipient of a Community Relations Medal for lifetime achievement and multicultural community service.
He became a Cavalier of the Polish Order of St. Stanislaw’s for his contribution to the promotion of Polish culture, education and youth in Australia.