Honour roll

The Honour Roll recognises past State and
Territory and National Award recipients

Young Australian of the Year

Nominee

2014 TAS Young Australian of the Year Nominee

Melanie Irons

State: Tasmania

Online communicator

As Tasmania’s terrifying bushfires took hold in January 2013, psychology student Melanie Irons set up a Facebook page to connect people who wanted to help each other. In a matter of moments she was at the centre of a social media whirlwind as her page reached over two million people around the world in the first three weeks of operation. Mel became a ‘port of call’ for thousands of people – from farmers who needed feed and fencing supplies to tourists stranded on the Tasman Peninsula – simply through using a Facebook page.  Operating on just a few hours’ sleep each day, she used her psychology skills and critical thinking to moderate posts, harness the energy of volunteers and reassure people that help was on its way.  Mel has since commenced research as part of her PhD into crisis communications and disaster resilience, and with the support of local businesses, has launched her own volunteer-run website in readiness for future emergencies.

Photos