2019 Recipients

2019 Australian of the Year

Dr Richard Harris OAM and Dr Craig Challen SC OAM

Dr Richard Harris OAM from South Australia and Dr Craig Challen SC OAM from Western Australia are the 2019 Australians of the Year for their heroic efforts as part of an international rescue mission to save 12 boys from flooded caves in Thailand.

In July 2018, anaesthetist Dr Richard Harris and retired vet Dr Craig Challen made worldwide headlines when they joined an international team to rescue a group of boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave in Chiang Rai, Thailand.

Richard is a diver with 30 years' experience and a specialist in aeromedical retrieval. He has previously participated in complex diving recoveries, appeared in National Geographic documentaries and, in 2015, was recognised for his outstanding contribution to cave exploration. In 2017 he was awarded The Australasian Technical Diver of the Year.

Craig has dived some of Australia's deepest wrecks and has set depth records in diving, including diving to 194m in the Pearse Resurgence, New Zealand in 2011. He was awarded Technical Diver of the Year 2009 at the Australian technical diving conference Oztek.

Both Craig and Richard were awarded the Star of Courage for unwavering and selfless bravery following the successful rescue of the trapped soccer team.

2019 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.

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.
Since starting her career as a paediatrician in 1972, Dr Sue Packer AM has worked tirelessly to advocate for the rights of children in our healthcare system and in the wider community.
She has been involved in child abuse prevention through the National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect since its very early days and has treated babies and children suffering terrible trauma from child abuse and neglect.
In addition, Sue has championed the importance of early childhood environments for the developing brain, leading to recognition by education and government agencies. Sue was one of the driving forces behind the acknowledgement of the importance of creating child-friendly spaces in hospitals and the value of play in recovery.
Presenting papers at conferences internationally and still volunteering on a number of boards to improve health and well-being of children . She maintains an interest in the adult lives of children she has seen. Sue stands up for the rights of children at every opportunity and encourages others to do the same.

2019 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.

Working across rap, dance, acting and graffiti, Danzal Baker is a multi-talented, multi-lingual, Indigenous artist. Danzal, otherwise known as Baker Boy, is the first Indigenous artist to achieve mainstream success rapping in the Yolngu Matha language.

Raised in Milingimbi and Maningrida, Danzal rapped his way to national prominence when his single Marryuna was voted into 17th place in Triple J's Hottest 100 for 2017; a notable follow-up from his debut single Cloud 9, which won Triple J's Unearthed competition.

Danzal is also an award winner at the National Indigenous Music Awards. He has signed a record deal with Island Records Australia and was handpicked by English rapper Dizzee Rascal to be his Australian support act. In 2018, Danzal won the prestigious Charles Darwin University Art Award at the Northern Territory Young Achievers Awards.

Touring Australia extensively, Danzal is using his talent to inspire young people in remote Indigenous communities and encourage them to embrace their culture and take up leadership positions.

2019 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.

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.

Dolly's Dream aims to raise awareness about bullying and its potentially devastating effects on children and families. It delivers community education on bullying issues and strategies for preventing and mitigating bullying, through cultural change and victim support.

Over 250 communities have held fundraisers and events to support Dolly's Dream, with a particular focus on regional and rural Australia. Kate and Tick's non-stop advocacy, meeting with the Prime Minister and Education and Health Ministers across the country, has resulted in governments taking childhood bullying and its devastating impacts more seriously.

Kate and Tick advocate tenaciously on a voluntary basis while continuing to muster cattle, train horses and care for their other daughter, Megan, from their home in Katherine, Northern Territory.