Honour roll

Past Award Finalists and Recipients

Australian of the Year

State Finalist

Date of birth: 14 July 1968
State: Victoria

State Finalist Australian of the Year 2014

David Jacka

Aviator and Disability Advocate

Life changed forever after a motorcycle accident in 1988 left David Jacka with high-level quadriplegia, with just six per cent of normal physical function.  David re-learnt how to feed himself, returned to full time work, established a charity, married, and is now a well respected aviator.  David has become a master of finding solutions to seemingly insurmountable obstacles.  David designed and developed novel modifications to enable him to fly a powered hang glider, becoming the first person with quadriplegia to do so.  He re-engineered the controls of a fixed-wing aircraft, qualified as a pilot and became the first person in the world with quadriplegia to fly solo around the coast of Australia – a feat he achieved in 2013.  An educator, David aims to smash disability stereotypes.  David founded the charity On a Wing & a Chair to raise the public’s expectations about what people with disabilities can achieve.  He inspires both disabled and able-bodied people to reach their full potential.