Alumni News Articles

Victoria's Australian of the Year Award Recipients annuonced

16 November 2007

Victorian Australian of the Year award finalists 2008A philanthropist golfer, a choirmaster, a young man leading the fight against poverty and a pillar of the cultural community were today named as the Victorian recipients in the Australian of the Year Awards 2008.

The Governor of Victoria, Professor David de Kretser AC, presented the recipients with their awards in a ceremony this afternoon, congratulating all finalists on their varied contributions to the Victorian community.

The Victorian award recipients are:

Victoria 's Australian of the Year 2008 is sportsman and benefactor Stuart Appleby.

Stuart has won our most important golfing honour, the Australian Open, and consistently features in the top ten of world golf rankings, but he is also a committed philanthropist who gives his time, energy and funds to various charities. He is a strong supporter of the Challenge Foundation, raising money for children with cancer and personally donating more than a million dollars. The 36 year old grew up in Cohuna and, after visiting his parents' farm he saw firsthand the devastation and despair caused by drought and now Stuart also supports beyondblue, with a special focus on combating depression in rural communities. Through his 'birdie meter' he raises donations for every birdie he makes in tournaments. Stuart is the driving force behind Victoria's junior golf foundation and is a role model as an international achiever and a caring contributor to the community.

Victoria 's Senior Australian of the Year 2008 is Carillo Gantner AO.

The actor, director, theatre founder, and philanthropist, Carrillo Gantner, has for many years been dedicated to the development of the arts and culture across the breadth of Australian society, directed financial support for worthy activities and the people who drive them, and pursued a more global cultural awareness. This year Carrillo celebrates 25 years as a cultural leader in his numerous roles over the years, including cultural counsellor at the Australian embassy in Beijing; Melbourne city councillor; chair of Asialink, the Sidney Myer fund, the Australia Council Theatre Board, and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival; and his present position as chair of the Victorian Arts Centre. Carrillo's hands-on involvement with the arts as the Chairman of The Myer Foundation and the President of the Sidney Myer Fund, has made a major and lasting difference to the arts in Victoria and enriched the cultural life of the whole community.

Victoria 's Young Australian of the Year 2008 is poverty fighter Daniel Adams.

At just 20 years of age, Daniel (Dan) Adams is a change maker, social justice advocate, educator, innovator and project director. He was instrumental in organising the 2005 concert for the

Make Poverty History campaign, the largest youth-run event ever held in Australia. The concert united 24,000 people at live sites across Australia and reached an audience of 500,000. Dan started out with no music industry contacts, events management experience or financial backers but his determination to make a difference brought together a huge event of this magnitude happen supported by 50,000 young Australians. Since the concert Dan has continued as a passionate advocate for social justice, channelling his energy into a new project. 'Schools 4 Schools' creates links between schools and students in Victoria and Natal in a peer-to-peer leadership program. He has inspired thousands of young people to actively engage in seeking solutions to world poverty.

Victoria's Local Hero 2008 is Jonathon Welch, best known for leading the 'Choir Of Hard Knocks'.

Jonathon touched the heart of the nation when he demonstrated the power of singing in building and renewing promising lives that had been saddened and defeated by circumstance. His 'Choir of Hard Knocks', one of Jonathon's community choir initiatives, Australia's awareness of the problems of homelessness, depression and addiction raised to new levels. This is just one of many community projects to which Jonathon has given his time. Others include Geelong Pop Kids, the Australian Pop Choir, the Sydney Street Choir and the Melbourne Gay and Lesbian Chorus. Jonathon is also well known to young singing students and choirs as an adjudicator at community eisteddfods and competitions. He continues to perform as a singer in his own right and is a member of Tenor Australia, a trio of professional tenors. Most of all he has shown that engaging with creativity, expression, and most of all, with each other, brings new hope.

"In Victoria, the award recipients demonstrate how someone's passion can be used to benefit others," said Tam Johnston, National Manager of the Australian of the Year Awards.

"These four, exceptional Victorians have been truly inspirational in their own fields and in our broader community."

All Victorian award recipients now become national finalists in the Australian of the Year Awards to be announced in Canberra on 25 January 2008

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