Learn about the objects of personal significance from the 2019 Award recipients
State & Territory Recipients
2019 NSW Australian of the Year
Mr Kurt Fearnley AO
Representing Australia over a 20-year wheelchair-racing career, Kurt Fearnley AO has captured the hearts of the nation. Winning thirteen medals across five Paralympic games, Kurt now champions the rights of people with disability and advocates for greater access into communities and workplaces. Kurt’s determination and success are an inspiration.
2019 NSW Senior Australian of the Year
Ms Heather Lee OAM
At 92, Heather Lee is an unstoppable Australian. Taking up elite competition in her eighties, Heather currently holds eight Australian, and five world, records in race-walking for her age group. Remarkably, Heather is one of the few people who walks the full 24 hours of the Hawkesbury Relay for Life.
2019 NSW Young Australian of the Year
Mr Jarrod Wheatley
As founder of two innovative, not-for-profit organisations, Jarrod Wheatley is creating positive change in the community. Professional Individualised Care works to improve the well-being of children in care. Meanwhile, Street Art Murals Australia helps solve the graffiti problem, by connecting street artists with paying clients, to create commissioned murals.
2019 NSW Local Hero
Ms Sophie Smith
After losing their prematurely-born triplets in 2007, Sophie and her husband Ash formed a running team ‘Running for Premature Babies’ to fundraise for life-saving neonatal equipment. Since then, the team has become a charitable foundation, raising over $3 million to give premature babies a better chance of survival and directly benefitting over 5000 premature babies and their families so far.
2019 VIC Australian of the Year
Mr Mark Sullivan
Founder and managing director of not-for-profit Medicines Development for Global Health (MDGH), Mark and his team develop medicines based on public health rather than commercial needs. MDGH received a world first FDA approval for its new medicine, moxidectin, which treats river blindness, a debilitating disease endemic amongst the world’s poorest people.
2019 VIC Senior Australian of the Year
Ms Alison Harcourt
As a woman in mathematics and statistics, Alison Harcourt’s seminal work was overlooked. She is now best known for developing integer linear programming, the basis of efficient computer processing. Her other research, on the poverty line and randomisation of ballot papers, led to a Royal Commission and electoral law changes.
2019 VIC Young Australian of the Year
Dr Skye Kinder
Dr Skye Kinder has dedicated her career to improving the health of rural and other marginalised patients throughout Australia. As a passionate advocate, she brings awareness of rural health issues to local, national and international audiences, through her research, ongoing speaking engagements, press appearances, workshops, and articles.
2019 VIC Local Hero
Ms Carol Matthews
In 2009 Carol Matthews home was destroyed and her 22-year-old son Sam was killed in the Black Saturday bushfires. Since then, Carol has advocated for emotional preparedness to be included in bushfire preparation. She was the lead litigant in the biggest class-action in Australian history, securing a record $500 million settlement for bushfire survivors.
2019 QLD Australian of the Year
Mr Jon Rouse
Since 1996, Detective Inspector Rouse has undertaken the heart-breaking yet vital work of investigating crimes against children. Jon implemented the Australian National Victim Image Library to assist police to identify victims. His dedication and hard work has rescued many children from the most horrendous situations throughout Australia and the world.
2019 QLD Senior Australian of the Year
Professor James Dale AO
Scientist, researcher and humanitarian Professor James Dale has led significant research in agricultural biotechnology and is founder of Australia’s first molecular farming company, Farmacule Bioindustries. His ground-breaking work includes modifying bananas to treat Vitamin A deficiency in developing countries and creating strains of disease-resistant bananas to protect Queensland’s banana crops.
2019 QLD Young Australian of the Year
Ms Angel Dixon
The first agency signed model with a physical impairment to feature in a national television campaign, Angel Dixon challenges Australians’ perceptions of disability. She is a passionate activist for disability inclusion. She is a blogger, speaker, advocacy manager for not-for-profit, Starting With Julius, CEO of the Attitude Foundation and designer of an upcoming range of walking canes.
2019 QLD Local Hero
Mr Elijah Buol
Since arriving as an unaccompanied minor from South Sudan, Elijah Buol – a Criminologist, former refugee, father of four and Director of Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland – has been a tireless advocated for the young and disadvantaged. His advocacy work was instrumental in removing children under 18 from adult prisons in Queensland.
2019 WA Australian of the Year
Mr Craig Challen SC OAM
In June 2018, cave diver Craig Challen was about to go on holiday, when he was asked to help on a rescue mission in Thailand. Craig helped rescue a soccer team of 12 boys and their coach from flooded Thailand caves, receiving the Star of Courage for his selfless bravery.
2019 WA Senior Australian of the Year
Mr Frank Mallard
Ex-serviceman and Yamatji elder, Frank Mallard, is a proud ambassador for the contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander servicemen and women, Chairperson Voice of the Voiceless Ministry, and an active volunteer for Ellenbrook RSL. In 2018, he received Ellenbrook’s Citizen and Senior Citizen of the Year awards.
2019 WA Young Australian of the Year
Ms Noelle Martin
After discovering that sexual predators had stolen social media photos of her and edited them onto pornographic images, Noelle Martin bravely spoke out about her experience – despite the abuse escalating after she shared her experience publicly. Her activism has led to new laws that criminalise image-based sexual abuse across Australia.
2019 WA Local Hero
Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker
In 2015, Wadjuk traditional owner, ex-state and Women’s National Basketball League player Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker, launched the basketball lifestyle program Kaat, Koort and Hoops – an after-school program for five to 14-year-old children. By 2018, 250 children had participated, learning basketball and improving their social, physical and emotional wellbeing.
2019 SA Australian of the Year
Dr Richard Harris SC OAM
In July 2018, anaesthetist and cave-diver Dr Richard Harris joined an international team to rescue 12 boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave in Thailand. He risked his life swimming through the narrow cave system to assist with the rescue, giving the all-clear for them to be evacuated.
2019 SA Senior Australian of the Year
Mr Reginald Dodd
Arabunna elder Reg Dodd has spent his lifetime advocating for his people. Making his first Native Title claim in 1998, his initiative also created Lawyers for the Arabunna Marree People (LAMP), who provided millions of dollars of pro bono legal assistance – including support for Native Title, finally granted in 2012.
2019 SA Young Australian of the Year
Ms Eleni Glouftsis
Eleni Glouftsis made history at the age of 25 – by becoming the first woman to officiate Australian Football League (AFL) games as a field umpire. Her tenacity and commitment to overcoming barriers have enabled her to smash through this glass ceiling and redefine the role of women in sport.
2019 SA Local Hero
Ms Megan McLoughlin
Megan McLoughlin is the founder of Herd of Hope, which promotes organ donation to the community. After facing serious medical complications, she has dedicated her life to supporting donor families and guiding organ recipients through the recovery process – Megan continues to inspire the community with a positive message of hope.
2019 TAS Australian of the Year
Ms Bernadette Black GAICD
After personally experiencing the stigma associated with teenage pregnancy, Bernadette (Bernie) Black founded Brave Foundation in 2009 to provide resources and education opportunities to support teenage parents. She aims to build a village of support and acceptance around teenage parents so that they can grow healthy, happy families.
2019 TAS Senior Australian of the Year
Ms Sally Wise
Sally Wise is a kitchen guru, author and media presenter who is dedicated to equipping people to prepare nourishing food with accessible ingredients. Her cookbooks have sold tens of thousands of copies, and she volunteers with prisoners, community groups and new businesses to teach them to cook for better nutrition.
2019 TAS Young Australian of the Year
Ms Kirby Medcraft
Passionate about maximising parent engagement in their child’s learning, Assistant Principal Kirby Medcraft is an innovator. Kirby’s Bedtime Stories Afternoon inspired over 200 parents to attend school to read with their child and her work in leading the early years team has made her a model for teachers at other schools.
2019 TAS Local Hero
Ms Vicki Purnell
When the daughter of a friend gave birth to a stillborn child in 2013, Vicki Purnell found a compassionate way to help. With her talent for sewing, she formed Bridie's Blossoms, creating more than 460 beautiful outfits for stillborn babies, so they can be farewelled with love and dignity.
2019 ACT Australian of the Year
Ms Virginia Haussegger AM
For over 25 years, Virginia Haussegger AM has built a career as a television journalist, writer and commentator. She is also a leading advocate for women, and was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2014 for service to the community, gender equity and the media.
2019 ACT Senior Australian of the Year
Dr Suzanne Packer AM
Since starting her career as a paediatrician in 1972, Dr Sue Packer AM has worked tirelessly to advocate for the rights of children. Sue has been a leader in child abuse prevention and treatment and a champion of the importance of early childhood environments for the developing brain.
2019 ACT Young Australian of the Year
Ms Hannah Wandel
Concerned by the challenges faced by young women in regional Australia, Hannah Wandel founded Country to Canberra to help break down the barriers to success. In 2018, Hannah travelled over 32,000kms to 80 bush communities nationally, reaching over 3,500 teenage girls to run gender equality, leadership and empowerment workshops.
2019 ACT Local Hero
Mr David Williams
David Williams encourages people with intellectual disabilities to speak up for themselves, rather than relying on others to speak on their behalf. David founded the Confident Speakers program 22 years ago, providing participants with a structured communication course and personal mentoring, to help their voices be heard.
2019 NT Australian of the Year
Mr Michael Long
Darwin born, Michael Long uses his voice as an Australian Rules Football icon to fight against racism. In 2004, Michael embarked on ‘The Long Walk’ from his home in Melbourne to Canberra and established the Michael Long Learning and Leadership Centre in Darwin to put Indigenous issues on the national agenda.
2019 NT Senior Australian of the Year
Mr Charlie King OAM
Gurinjdi man, Charlie King OAM is a veteran sports broadcaster and human rights campaigner. Charlie is a passionate campaigner against domestic violence and initiated the zero-tolerance campaign 'NO MORE' in 2006. Today, the NO MORE campaign has links with more than five sporting codes and nearly a hundred teams.
2019 NT Young Australian of the Year
Mr Danzal Baker
Working across rap, dance, acting and graffiti, Danzal Baker is a multi-talented, multi-lingual, Indigenous artist. He achieved mainstream success rapping in the Yolngu Matha language, coming 17th in Triple J’s Hottest 100 2017. He uses his talent to inspire Indigenous youth to embrace their culture and take up leadership positions.
2019 NT Local Hero
Kate and Tick Everett
Following the tragic death of their teenage daughter, Amy ‘Dolly’ Everett in January 2018, following extensive bullying, Kate and Tick Everett founded Dolly’s Dream to create positive change and a legacy to their daughter. Their advocacy has resulted in governments taking childhood bullying and its devastating impacts more seriously.