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South Australia's Australian of the Year award recipients announced
Ivan Copley, John Halbert, Matthew Cowdrey OAM, Beverley Langley
The National Australia Day Council congratulated all finalists on their achievements and acknowledged the recipients of this year's South Australian awards for their outstanding contributions.
"The four South Australian award recipients are contributing quite diverse areas of our community and will be wonderful ambassadors for South Australia," said Tam Johnston, Director of the Australian of the Year Awards.
"As the first State award recipients to be announced this year, South Australia sets a high standard for our national finalists."
All South Australian award recipients now become national finalists in their categories for the Australian of the Year Awards to be announced in Canberra on 25 January 2009.
South Australia 's Australian of the Year 2009 is Indigenous community worker Ivan Copley.
South Australia 's Senior Australian of the Year 2009 is Australian Rules legend John Halbert MBE
John Halbert has served the South Australian National Football League, the Australian Football League, the Australian Football Foundation and the sport of Australian Rules at the community level with the greatest distinction and continues in many of his roles serving the game at a national level. He made his debut with Sturt in 1955 and was an immediate success. By the time he retired from the game he had established a new record for the Blues by playing 260 games. John has had an exceptional career as an academic, sportsman, educator, mentor and public speaker. His dedication to the development of young people has been a focus, and this was recognised when he was made a Member of the
South Australia 's Young Australian of the Year 2009 is swimming champion Matthew Cowdrey OAM (19)
South Australia's Local Hero of the Year 2009 is wildlife rescuer Beverley Langley of Cherry Gardens
Bev Langley runs a voluntary animal rescue service and has rescued and rehabilitated more than 6,000 injured and orphaned animals. Without the support of government funding she relies on donations and the goodwill of others to carry out her work. More than 120 volunteers assist her with feeding animals, building enclosures and collecting or donating food for the Minton Farm Native Animal and Bird Refuge that she set up on her property. Her residents include everything from horses, cows and kangaroos to geese, sugar gliders and kookaburras. Those animals unable to be released due to injuries that would prevent them from fending for themselves are retained at the farm and used to educate the community. Many school groups visit the farm and Bev takes every opportunity possible to teach both children and adults about wildlife, helping promote respect and understanding towards all animals. Every day Bev responds to many calls for help from organisations like the RSPCA, Belair National Park and the public. She is always there to assist community members, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with any injured or orphaned native animal or bird. Without financial reward, Bev has selflessly invested all her spare time into responding to the plight of our wildlife.