Honour roll

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

Australian of the Year


2011 NT Australian of the Year Nominee

David Cole

Town: Casuarina
State: Northern Territory

Indigenous youth worker

David Cole works tirelessly to increase the self-esteem, confidence and emotional and spiritual wellbeing of troubled Indigenous youth so that they can create positive pathways for future generations. David created the Balunu Foundation with his own funds to try and break the cycle of Indigenous disadvantage. The organisation runs Indigenous youth healing programs which focus on reconnecting young people with their culture. During the dry season David takes youth on camps for healing, leadership and cultural strengthening. He is also on call 24 hours a day seven days a week to help young people in need. In 2008, David discovered that a young man who had been selected to play national rugby league had been injured. His dreams crushed, the young man turned to substance abuse to cope with the pain. David began campaigning to raise $25,000 for the operation he needed and helped set him on a more positive path. The young man has now been drafted for a national club. This is just one of the many young people who David has helped steer toward a successful and productive life. David’s long-term vision for Balunu is to establish a remote healing retreat where long-term residential healing programs can be delivered.