Alumni News Articles

ACT Australian of the Year Award recipients honoured

25 November 2009

Human rights advocate and domestic violence prevention leader Dr Patricia Easteal was tonight named as the ACT Australian of the Year 2010 and presented with her award by the Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory Jon Stanhope MLA.

Dr Patricia Easteal has made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of human rights and justice in Australia. Her research, writing, teaching and advocacy has had a powerful impact on law reform and policy, especially in the area of violence against women. Legal practitioners, present and future, service providers and victims alike have been inspired by her passion and dedication. Her new book on women and the law is a milestone in the pursuit of justice and equity for all Australians.

The ACT Senior Australian of the Year 2010 is 62 year old breast cancer surgeon Dr John Buckingham.  Dr Buckingham is a well-loved specialist breast cancer surgeon who pioneered the sentinel node mapping technique. His interest in breast cancer surgery began when he trained in the United States and when Canberra’s Calvary Hospital opened he joined its staff.  Under his guidance Calvary was among the earliest institutions in Australia to undertake sentinel node biopsy. Each year 13,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer and Dr Buckingham’s groundbreaking work is saving women’s lives.

Pierre Johannessen was named the ACT’s Young Australian of the Year 2010 for his work with disadvantaged youth.  The 27 year old is using basketball as a way to change the world. In 2007, Pierre travelled to Bangladesh where, with three others, he established Big Bang Ballers, a basketball tournament. Big Bang Ballers is now an Australian-based organisation conducting activities in a number of countries including Bangladesh, Pakistan and the Philippines. Using basketball to tackle youth poverty and social disadvantage, it provides an outlet for those children least able to be children.

The ACT Local Hero 2010 is 56 year old Julie Grehan from Higgins.  For the last 29 years Julie has worked tirelessly to support people with disabilities. Nine years ago she set up Daryl’s Den, a craft club for people with disabilities. The club provides a valuable opportunity for those who are often isolated to socialise and join in a range of activities that build self-esteem, confidence and a sense of purpose. Julie’s love and devotion for those who have come to depend on Daryl’s Den is unmistakable.

The four ACT award recipients will now join award recipients from all other States and Territories as finalists for the national awards to be announced on 25 January 2010 in Canberra. 

Tam Johnston, Program Director for the National Australia Day Council, said the 2010 awards will also mark the 50th Anniversary of the Australian of the Year Awards program.

“All the State and Territory award recipients will attend a special anniversary dinner on 24 January before the announcement of the Australian of the Year, Young Australian of the Year, Senior Australian of the Year and Local Hero on 25 January,” said Ms Johnston.

“The ACT can be very proud of its award recipients and we hope the people of Canberra will once again be at the awards event on the lawns of Parliament House on 25 January to cheer the ACT representatives on.”

Ralph Norris, CEO Commonwealth Bank, offered his congratulations to the award recipients. The Commonwealth Bank has been the major sponsor of the Australian of the Year Awards for more than thirty years.

“On behalf of the Commonwealth Bank, I would like to congratulate all the recipients of the ACT awards. Their hard work and achievements are an inspiration to the community,” said Mr Norris.