2015 SA Australian of the Year Recipients Announced
2015 South Australia's Australian of the Year - Dr Gill Hicks MBE (Wayville)
2015 South Australia's Senior Australian of the Year - John Swan (Millswood)
2015 South Australia's Young Australian of the Year - Kristin Carson (Somerton Park)
2015 South Australia's Local Hero - Vince Coulthard (Port Augusta)
The Governor of South Australia, His Excellency the Honourable Hieu Van Le AO and The Honourable Jay Weatherill MP, Premier of South Australia, have announced the 2015 South Australia’s Australian of the Year Award recipients at a ceremony at the Adelaide Oval this evening.
Dr Gill Hicks MBE has been named 2015 South Australia's Australian of the Year for her work as a peace campaigner.
When she was caught in an explosion, in the tunnel between London’s King’s Cross and Russell Square tube stations in July 2005, Gill’s injuries were so severe that paramedics couldn’t even identify her gender. The last person to be rescued alive from the train, Gill was given a tag describing her as ‘One Unknown - estimated female’. Trapped in the chaos, her legs destroyed, Gill was close to death but made a vow to survive and make a difference.
In the nine years since, that vow has never weakened and Gill has dedicated her life to working for world peace. The founder of M.A.D. For Peace, Gill’s work concentrates on ending violent extremism and building sustainable peace.
She is an inspiring motivational speaker, author, curator and trustee for several cultural organisations. Gill’s memoir, One Unknown, was the catalyst for a powerful play which premiered at the 2013 Adelaide Arts Festival. In January 2013, Gill gave birth to her daughter Amelie, which she calls “the second miracle” of her life.
Musician and volunteer John Swan has been awarded 2015 South Australia's Senior Australian of the Year.
An Australian rock legend, John, better known as ‘Swanee’, joined the Australian music scene when he was just
14 years old, performing first as a drummer, then as a singer with many of the nation’s iconic bands and as a successful solo artist. After living the rock and roll lifestyle for decades, Swanee, chose to clean up his act in 2000 and now helps young musicians to focus on creativity without drugs and alcohol.
John’s generosity of spirit is as legendary as his voice. Twice a week, John rolls up his sleeves to help homeless people at his local Salvation Army sourcing the food which he serves to people in need. He is an ambassador for Ovarian Cancer SA and also a member of Music Matters which involves visiting hospitals to perform and bring joy to terminally-ill patients.
Now 62 years of age, John donates his time to perform at countless fundraising balls, also raising money for kids who need lifesaving surgery. He is co-founder of the Autism Music Fund and his Swags for the Homeless charity helps people who are sleeping rough. Giving so much, John expects nothing in return.
The 2015 South Australia's Young Australian of the Year is 29 year old Kristin Carson.
Scraping through Year 12 with barely a pass, Kristin was unable to study science at university. Undeterred, Kristin studied at TAFE while working multiple jobs as a research assistant. Hard work eventually delivered a PhD in medicine and Kristin is now one of the youngest senior medical research scientists at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and is responsible for more than 40 projects and 25 researchers. In the past five years, Kristin has produced 50
peer-reviewed publications and over 250 media citations, contributing to patient care, policy and practice both locally and internationally. With a specific interest in respiratory illnesses, Kristin’s research into patient self-management of asthma has been acknowledged and applied internationally.
Kristin combines the theoretical with the practical, building a collaborative relationship with the Port Adelaide Football Club to roll out a program that encourages children to embrace healthy lifestyles. Passionate about the role of science in society, Kristin actively mentors and encourages the next generation of scientists.
Vince Coulthard has been awarded 2015 South Australia's Local Hero for his work as an Indigenous elder.
A proud Adnyamathanha man, Vince began working for his people at a time when genuine bravery and personal fortitude were required. Vince honed his strong advocacy skills at a very early age when he accompanied his grandfather to land rights meetings. Later, as Chairperson of the Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association, Vince led the development of South Australia’s first Native Title claim over the Flinders Ranges, which was awarded in 2009. Director of Umeewarra Aboriginal Media Service in Port Augusta for two decades, Vince protects and conserves the cultural identity of his people and has fulfilled many leadership positions, including nine years as a regional councillor for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission.
At the heart of Vince’s philosophy is the recognition of the dignity and worth of every human being. A man of quiet dignity, personal warmth, extensive knowledge, unparalleled personal initiative and unwavering courage, Vince has enriched the lives not only of his own community, but of all Australians.
The South Australian Award recipients will join recipients from the other States and Territories as finalists for the national Awards to be announced on 25 January 2015 in Canberra.
Australia Day Council of South Australia Chair, Ms Adriana Christopoulos said the Award recipients are South Australians who we should all be proud of.
“The recipients represent a wide variety of endeavour and expertise from the arts, indigenous rights, health and science and campaigning for peace,” Ms Christopoulos.
“They are an amazing group of people pushing the boundaries of excellence for the greater good of our state and our nation."
National Australia Day Council CEO, Jeremy Lasek, said the South Australian Award recipients are four inspirational Australians.
“We congratulate and thank the South Australian recipients for the passion with which they have committed to each of the causes they work within to make society better,” said Mr Lasek.
The Commonwealth Bank is a major sponsor of the Australian of the Year Awards.
“For more than 35 years, we have been pleased to support the Australian of the Year Awards - a national program that recognises outstanding individuals. Each year we are inspired by the calibre of recipients from each State and Territory. We congratulate this year’s recipients from South Australia and wish them all the best for the national Awards,” said Commonwealth Bank CEO, Ian Narev.
For more information on the Australian of the Year Awards visit australianoftheyear.org.au.