Alumni News Articles

NSW Australian of the Year 2013 recipients announced

26 November 2012

NSW Australian of the Year 2013 recipients announced

NSW Australian of the Year 2013 - Ita Buttrose AO OBE NSW

Senior Australian of the Year 2013 - Ron Allum

NSW Young Australian of the Year 2013 - Corey Payne

NSW Local Hero 2013 - Shane Phillips

Media icon Ita Buttrose AO OBE has been named NSW Australian of the Year 2013 for her work championing social and health issues.

Acknowledged for her brilliant and groundbreaking media career, Ita Buttrose now dedicates her considerable energy and skills to championing medical education and health care.

Starting her career as a copy girl at the Australian Women’s Weekly, she quickly became a cadet journalist at the Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Telegraph. At 23 she was appointed women’s editor at The Telegraph and in 1971 was promoted to founding editor of Sir Frank Packer’s new women’s magazine Cleo. It was an instant hit, becoming the top selling monthly women’s magazine and propelling Ita to national celebrity status.

Three years later Ita was appointed editor of Women’s Weekly and in 1989 became the first woman editor of an Australian metropolitan newspaper – the Murdoch owned Daily Telegraph and later the Sunday Telegraph – and was the first woman appointed to the News Ltd Board.

In parallel to her stellar media career, Ita continues to champion social and health issues. Since 2011 she has been National President of Alzheimer’s Australia and is also Vice President Emeritus of Arthritis Australia. She uses her national profile to raise awareness of breast cancer, HIV/AIDS and prostate cancer.

Ron Allum has been named NSW Senior Australian of the Year 2013 for his work as a submarine designer.

Ron Allum is the designer of the world’s most innovative submarine, the Deepsea Challenger. This specialised underwater craft was the first to carry a solo submariner 11 kilometres to the floor of the Mariana Trench – the deepest point in the world’s oceans.

Ron started on the Deepsea Challenger project in 2005, gradually assembling a team of engineers and technicians to build his submarine. He created a vessel of radical design that descends vertically with the pilot enclosed in a small metal sphere at the base of the vessel with the engines, lights and camera above in a chassis of hardened foam.

When he couldn’t locate the required rock-hard flotation foam, he invented it himself using a breadmixer in his Sydney workshop.

In March 2012, movie maker James Cameron who directed Titanic, climbed inside the Allum-designed submarine and descended to become the first human to tweet from the bottom of the world.

Ron, in his own right a record breaker in cave diving deep beneath the Nullarbor, describes it as one of the most satisfying moments in his life.

NSW Young Australian of the Year 2013 is 28 year old footballer and mentor Corey Payne. Canterbury Bulldogs back rower Corey Payne is a champion athlete on the field and a remarkable role model away

from the game.

In 2010, he fulfilled his childhood ambition to play for the Canterbury Bulldogs but at the same time realised he needed something more to fall back on. Completing an undergraduate commerce degree, he now juggles his postgraduate studies with top level competition and training.

Passionate about encouraging Western Sydney High School students to continue with tertiary education, Corey is on the board of the scholarship committee of Youth Off the Streets. He also established and runs the Future DirectionsNetwork to provide financial support, mentoring and careers advice for young people to go on to university.

He says he is determined that the kids on the borderline, the children of parents who didn’t go to uni and first generation Australians get every chance to continue their studies .

In 2012 Corey was awarded a prestigious Churchill Fellowship to research culturally diverse programs that build ambition and aspiration in young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to inspire them to continue their academic studies. Corey will carry out his research in South Africa, Spain, Brazil and the UK.

NSW Local Hero 2013 is Indigenous leader Shane Phillips for his work as an advocate for Aboriginal rights. Shane Phillips is a respected member of the Redfern Aboriginal Community and is regarded as the voice of the

community on issues including juvenile justice and Aboriginal deaths in custody.

He is the fulltime CEO of the Tribal Warrior Association, a non-profit organisation directed by Aboriginal people and Elders that offers training for employment and helps at the grassroots level with emergency relief for struggling families.

He also operates a mentoring program to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people. The concept is uncomplicated: it’s about forming good habits, guiding by example, including everyone and acknowledging achievements.

Shane is also credited with improving the relationship between his community and the police. Since the 2009 introduction of the Clean Slate Without Prejudice program run in collaboration with the police, the number of robberies committed by young Indigenous people has declined by 80 per cent.

Born and raised in Redfern, Shane is an outstanding community leader, respected for his great integrity and capacity to work hard and get things done.

The NSW award recipients will join recipients from the other States and Territories as finalists for the national awards announced on 25 January 2013 in Canberra.

Program Director for the National Australia Day Council, Tam Johnston, said the NSW award recipients are achieving extraordinary thing both at home and on the international stage.

“This year's award recipients are an inspiration to everyone, showing what remarkable feats New South Welshmen can achieve," said Ms Johnston.

The Commonwealth Bank has been the Major Sponsor of the Australian of the Year Awards for more than 30 years. Chief Executive Officer Ian Narev congratulated the NSW award recipients.

“The Commonwealth Bank is proud to acknowledge the NSW award recipients. You are now national finalists in the Australian of the Year Awards and should be very proud of your achievement.

“While you have each been inspiring in your own way, you all share one common quality – you continue to selflessly improve the lives of others. Congratulations to you all and enjoy your time in Canberra in January” said Mr Narev.

For more information on the NSW Australian of the Year Awards 2013 recipients visit

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