Alumni News Articles

2019 TAS Australian of the Year Awards Recipients Announced

16 November 2018

MEDIA RELEASE

FRIDAY 16 NOVEMBER 2019

2019 TASMANIA AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR AWARDS RECIPIENTS ANNOUNCED

2019 Tasmania Australian of the Year – Bernadette Black

2019 Tasmania Senior Australian of the Year – Sally Wise

2019 Tasmania Young Australian of the Year – Kirby Medcraft

2019 Tasmania Local Hero – Vicki Purnell

4:15pm, Hobart: The 2019 Tasmania Australian of the Year Award recipients have been announced this afternoon at a ceremony held at Government House in Hobart, with women taking all four titles.

The Tasmania Award recipients will become part of 32 State and Territory recipients from around the country. These recipients will represent their state at the national Awards on 25 January 2019 in Canberra, where the four Australians of the Year will be announced.

The 2019 Tasmania Australian of the Year is advocate for teenage parents, Bernadette Black GAICD, of Blackmans Bay. As a once 16-year-old mother, Bernie is the founder and CEO of BRAVE Foundation, Australia's only national organisation, supporting and representing 8,300 expectant and parenting teens in each year. This year, after over 12 years of lobbying Federal ministers and National Human Rights Commissioners, BRAVE Foundation was awarded $4.4M to run a nationwide trial connecting 350 expecting and parenting teens to education and support opportunities. With a strong sense of destiny, Bernie overcame adversity to finish her education; becoming a qualified nurse, upskilled her corporate governance capacity, enabling her to be appointed to Boards and strengthening her influence internationally to highlight acceptance and care around every person facing teenage pregnancy and parenthood, so that they can grow a healthy family. Bernie has been Awarded Barnardos Australian Mother of the Year and Telstra Tasmanian Woman of the Year

The 2019 Tasmania Senior Australian of the Year is 67 year old cookbook author, Sally Wise of Molesworth. Sally Wise is a kitchen guru, author and media presenter who is dedicated to equipping everyday people to prepare nourishing food with accessible ingredients. Sally learned cooking from her Grandma and then taught others how to cook on a volunteer basis. Sally’s skills became widely recognised and in 2006 she received a request from ABC radio in Hobart, seeking a presenter to lead a discussion on jams and preserves. This led to Sally’s book A Year in a Bottle which sold tens of thousands of copies; the first of 15 popular cookbooks. Sally launched a program at Risdon prison to teach soon-to-be released inmates cooking skills. She also speaks to community groups to promote better nutrition using accessible ingredients. In addition, Sally helps new businesses in the food sector to optimise their recipes and techniques on a pro bono basis. She has built a business from her farm at Molesworth where she demonstrates the integration of food production and cooking.

The 2019 Tasmania Young Australian of the Year is 29 year old Assistant Principal, Kirby Medcraft of Hobart. Passionate about maximising parent engagement in their child’s learning, Assistant Principal Kirby Medcraft at Windermere Primary School is an innovator. Kirby’s Bedtime Stories Afternoon inspired more 200 parents to attend school to read with their child. Her work building strong partnerships with families has seen a distinct shift in the school culture. Kirby works closely with early childhood teachers, mentoring and modelling best practice. She is responsible for leading the implementation of a play based, inquiry approach across the early years and bringing about educational change. She embraces opportunities for professional learning and in April 2018 attended an international study tour to Reggio Emilia, Italy to further develop her understanding of this approach to education. Kirby’s dedication and successful teaching practices have made her a role model with teachers and peers at other schools. Kirby won the prestigious University of Tasmania, Faculty of Education Teaching Excellence Award in the 2018 Tasmanian Young Achiever Awards and the 2014 RBF Department of Education Awards for Excellence.

The 2019 Tasmania Local Hero is volunteer and founder of Bridie’s Blossoms, Vicki Purnell of Devonport. When the daughter of a friend gave birth to a stillborn child in 2013, Vicki Purnell found a unique and compassionate way to help. Another friend had told her how, when her daughter had lost a tiny baby, the hospital simply did not have the resources to present it to her in a compassionate way. With her talent for sewing, Vicki formed Bridie's Blossoms, creating beautiful outfits for stillborn babies and keepsakes for parents. Since 2013, she has delivered more than 460 Bridie’s Blossoms packages to six Tasmanian hospitals and funeral homes. The garments are designed for ease of dressing fragile little babies. Vicki’s service is unique in Tasmania; everything is handmade, with materials purchased from her own pocket. Vicki has expanded into creating personalised memory quilt keepsake packages and until recently worked with a local woodwork guild to fit-out and line hand-crafted wooden coffins. Vicki uses her skills to ease the trauma for parents of stillborn babies and help farewell them with love and dignity. National Australia Day Council CEO, Ms Karlie Brand said the Tasmania Award recipients were extraordinary women working to make a real difference for people. “The Tasmania Award recipients are immensely caring and compassionate people, sharing their skills to help others and their own experience to affect change,” said Ms Brand. “We look forward to welcoming them to Canberra in January for the national awards.” For more information on the Australian of the Year Awards visit australianoftheyear.org.au.