Past Award Finalists and Recipients
Young Australian of the Year
Young Australian of the Year 2011
From the age of 12 Jessica Watson dreamt of sailing solo, unassisted, non-stop around the world, and at the age of 16 she made it happen. She overcame a lack of funding and respect, along with her own fears, to circumnavigate the world. Defying criticism from those who said her task was destined to fail, she sailed through dangerous conditions and some of the world’s most challenging seaways, such as Cape Horn and the Southern Ocean. The teen adventurer survived multiple knockdowns in her yacht, Ella's Pink Lady, and endured 12-metre seas, 75-knot winds, storms and loneliness throughout the seven month journey. She kept in contact with followers through her blog and after 210 days out at sea, returned to a hero’s welcome as she sailed into Sydney Harbour. Since her voyage she has displayed maturity and dignity, becoming a role model for young people all over the world. Her voyage has inspired thousands of people of all ages to take up sailing, and has shown that if you put your mind to it you can achieve what may at first seem impossible. Her courage and determination to defeat all odds is truly exceptional.