Past Award Finalists and Recipients
Australian of the Year
State Finalist Australian of the Year 2012
Neroli Ellis grew up in a family of health professionals, but says she never had any intention to pursue a career in medicine. What she did have, however, was an abiding sense of fairness influenced when an exchange student in the United States. Struck by the consequences of the socio-economic divide in Montana, Neroli returned home committed to working with people in ways that would make a real difference. To fill in time before starting university, she took a job as a student nurse at the Royal Hobart Hospital. From day one she realised that this was her life’s calling. Since then, Neroli has been a staunch and courageous advocate for the dedicated nurses she has worked with. Since 2001 she has been the state secretary of the Australian Nursing Federation working tirelessly to improve working conditions for nurses in Tasmania and better care for all Australians in hospitals. She is widely credited as having turned around the fortunes of the Australian Nursing Foundation through her hard work and commitment. Over the past decade membership has trebled and nurses and patients have benefitted from her strong, effective advocacy. She has contributed to the re-shaping of nursing in Tasmania and raising the standard of care for patients.