2019 NT Australian of the Year Award Nominees Announced

Posted 1 November 2018 12:10pm




A rapper and dancer, an Indigenous health advocate, parents fighting against bullying, a choir director, anti-fracking activists and an AFL player championing community are among nominees for the 2019 Northern Territory Australian of the Year Awards.

The nominees announced today are in the running to be named Northern Territory Australian of the Year, Northern Territory Senior Australian of the Year, Northern Territory Young Australian of the Year and Northern Territory Local Hero.

The 2019 Northern Territory Award nominees are:


Sarah Brown - Indigenous health advocate (Alice Springs)

Yvette Clark - Advocate (Berry Springs)

Adam Drake - Social entrepreneur (Darwin)

Michael Long - AFL champion and community leader (Darwin)


Patricia Elliott AM – Teacher (Katherine)

Sally Gearin – Barrister (Darwin)

Charlie King OAM - Human rights campaigner (Darwin)

Morris Stuart - Choir artistic director and conductor (Alice Springs)


Jane Alia - Advocate for refugees (Darwin)

Danzal Baker - Rapper and dancer (Milingimbi)

Amelita John - Store manager (Bulman)

Siena Stubbs – Author (Nhulunbuy)


Georgina Bracken - Community advocate (Tennant Creek)

Kate and Tick Everett - Advocates against bullying (Katherine)

Crystal Love-Johnson - Campaigner for Indigenous trans-gender women (Tiwi Islands)

Stingray Sisters - Anti-fracking activists (Maningrida)


*see bios  following

The 2019 Northern Territory Australian of the Year, Senior Australian of the Year, Young Australian of the Year and Local Hero Award recipients will be announced on the evening of Wednesday 7 November 2018 at the Darwin Convention Centre.

The Northern Territory Award recipients will join other State and Territory recipients from around Australia in the national awards, which will be held in Canberra on 25 January 2019.

National Australia Day Council CEO, Ms Karlie Brand said the Northern Territory nominees are among more than 120 people being recognised in all States and Territories as part of the 2019 Australian of the Year Awards. “The Northern Territory Award nominees reflect the diverse communities of the Territory, the challenges and opportunities of life in our nation,” said Ms Brand. “Most of all, their stories remind us of how we can all play a role in improving our communities and our society through our talents, our tenacity and our desire to bring about change.”

For more information on the Australian of the Year Awards visit australianoftheyear.org.au 



Sarah Brown Indigenous health advocate Indigenous people living in remote areas of Central Australia suffer from kidney disease at a rate up to 30 times more than other Australians. To receive lifesaving treatment, they must leave country and travel to cities, isolating them and weakening the communities they leave behind.
After many years of working out bush as a nurse, Sarah Brown has run Alice Springs-based health service Purple
House since 2003, continually seeking ways to give Indigenous people easier access to essential renal services and
a better quality of life. Under Sarah’s guidance, Purple House provides 14 remote clinics and the Purple Truck, a
mobile dialysis unit. These innovations allow people to return to their communities and continue receiving treatment
on country. Sarah’s dedicated, courageous and consistent work has helped fund these innovative options and raised the profileof the Purple House. A creative problem-solver and compassionate advocate for human rights, she inspires all with
her resilience, humility and kindness.
Yvette Clark Advocate Yvette Clarke’s world was rocked when her teenage nephew, Thomas Snell, died suddenly from sepsis in 2017 while on a rugby trip. Determined to help prevent other families going through the unnecessary pain of losing loved ones to sepsis, in 2017 Yvette founded the T for Thomas foundation, along with Thomas’ mum, Amanda.
Called ‘the silent killer’, sepsis is hard to diagnose because its symptoms are similar to flu. In Australia, 5,000 people
lose their lives each year from sepsis. The most tragic part: the condition is preventable in 80% of cases, by early
intervention. The T for Thomas foundation builds awareness of sepsis through media appearances, public campaigns and
educational posters designed for medical clinics and public spaces. Yvette works tirelessly for the foundation;
rallying institutions and raising money for sepsis awareness. She is also advocating for research into better diagnosis, as earlier detection saves lives. Despite her grief, Yvette isselflessly committed to achieving better outcomes for others.

Adam Drake Social entrepreneur An advocate for young people and a long-term Territorian, Adam Drake founded Balanced Choice in 2014 to improve outcomes for young people in the justice system. Drawing on his 20 years’ experience in the fitness industry together with his training in acting and directing, Adam has designed unique programs that tie together fitness, team building and psychology to help troubled children make positive choices. Using a method called Hope Theory with the detainees at the Don Dale Detention Centre, Adam gives the children an avenue to share their goals and discuss ways to achieve them. Meeting with senior politicians, Adam is advocating for a mentoring program for troubled youth.
He works with organisations such as the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency and the Legal Aid Commission
and inspires many as a motivational speaker. He has a passion for people at the margins of our community and
never gives up on a client, no matter what they are going through.

Michael Long AFL champion and community leader. Darwin born, Michael Long as an Australian Rules Football icon advocate for reconciliation and fight against racism now works strongly with the Michael Long Foundation which supports the ML Learning and Leadership centre and the Long Walk. Michael played 190 games for Essendon, including two premiership wins. Awarded the Norm Smith Medal in 1993, Essendon include Michael in their 25 greatest players ever. In 1995, following an on-field taunt, Michael made a stand which led to the AFL adopting a racial abuse code. In 2004, resolving to meet with Former Prime Minister John Howard to get Indigenous issues back on the national agenda, Michael embarked on ‘The Long
Walk’, trekking 650km from his home in Melbourne all the way to Parliament House in Canberra. Michael established
the Michael Long Learning and Leadership Centre using the power of football to give young Indigenous Territorians
opportunities for the future. Today, Michael is working with the Essendon Football Club and The Long Walk Foundation to increase awareness of Indigenous culture and history. Through leadership, speaking out and hard work, Michael is tenacious in bringing real reform.

Patricia Elliott AM, 80 Teacher When Patricia Elliott AM first came to the Northern Territory in 1959, she lived on a cattle station 300km south west of Katherine. She and her husband had eight children, whom she taught via correspondence from Adelaide, as School of the Air was not available at the time. Living remotely meant her children had a few chances a year to meet someone outside their family. Her experiences sparked a lifelong passion for improving the opportunities for children living in rural and remote areas. On moving to a teaching role in Katherine, Patricia successfully lobbied the government for boarding facilities in Katherine, giving remote students access to high-school education. Patricia also co-founded the Katherine branch of The Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association, advocating for equity of access to educational opportunity for remote and rural students. Teaching children in remote Northern Territory for over 50 years, Patricia is dedicated to remote education and giving children the best possible opportunity in life.

Sally Gearin, 69 Barrister A legal trailblazer, in 1990 Sally Gearin became the first female member of the Northern Territory Bar as well as its first openly lesbian member. She was the founder of Dawn House, Darwin’s first women’s refuge, and a founder of the Northern Territory Women Lawyers Association. In 1992, Sally was awarded a fellowship to travel to the USA with another female lawyer to research responses to domestic violence. The book she subsequently co-authored, Working together to end Domestic Violence, became a blueprint for policy-response Australia-wide. She was founding editor of the Northern Territory Law Reports and President of the Northern Territory Chapter of the International Chapter of the International Commission of Jurists. In this latter role, Sally assisted with establishing the first Legal Aid office in Dili, Timor-Leste, and was an observer at the International War Crimes Tribunals during 2002. She currently advises the NT Legislature on Human Rights and Rule of Law issues. Sally is passionate about bringing justice to the powerless.

Charlie King OAM, 67Human rights campaigner Gurindji man, Charlie King OAM is a veteran sports broadcaster and human rights campaigner. His expertise on and off the sporting field has made him much-loved in the Northern Territory and around Australia. In 2008, Charlie became the first Indigenous Australian to commentate at an Olympic Games. Charlie is also a passionate campaigner against domestic violence and initiated the zero-tolerance campaign 'NO MORE' in 2006. Reaching the Indigenous and wider Australian community, the NO MORE campaign has links with more than five sporting codes and nearly a hundred teams – and is still growing. In 2015, Charlie was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for his service to broadcast media and the Indigenous community. Charlie won a Northern Territory human-rights award in 2016 and used the moment to call for an end to family violence over Christmas. For 25 years he has also volunteered to sit with children in trouble without a parent or guardian during police interviews.

Morris Stuart, 73 Choir artistic director and conductor
Morris Stuart moved to Alice Springs in 2006 to support his wife’s long-time dream to paint in the dessert. He used
his warmth and humour to start a choir. He approached strangers in the street, recruiting 50 members within months
and 100 by the third year. Subsequently, a group of Aboriginal women requested his help in restoring their extensive
choral tradition. Consequently, with Morris at its helm as artistic director, the Central Australian Aboriginal Women's Choir, has since garnered both confidence and accolades. The choir sings sacred songs in several languages including Western
Arrarnta and Pitjantjatjara including German hymns, introduced by Lutheran missionaries in the 19th century,
translated into Indigenous languages. Performing at the Sydney Opera House and touring Germany and the USA to standing ovations, many of the singers had never previously travelled outside of Central Australia, let alone Australia. Organising passports alone took 12 months. Morris has never paid attention when people said things could not be done.

Jane Alia, 24 Advocate for refugees
Born in a refugee camp in Uganda and arriving in Australia as a teenager, Jane wasted no time in giving back to her
community. In 2012 Jane received the Northern Territory School-based Apprentice of the Year as a dental assistant, was a
finalist in Australian Training Awards, and in 2013, received a Layne Beachley Reach for the Stars Foundation
academic grant. She has since achieved her Certificate III in Aged Care and Certificate IV in Disability and is a
Registered Nurse as well as completing a Bachelor of Nursing at Charles Darwin University. Volunteering with the Melaleuca Refugee Centre, she mentors refugees and immigrants helping them establish a life in Australia. Jane has chaired Multicultural Youth Northern Territory, represented Australia at South Africa’s World Youth Conference, and is Northern Territory Ambassador for World Refugee Week. She is also Northern Territory’s Youth Ambassador to MYN (Australia) promoting the needs and interests of young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds. In 2015, Jane received the Minister for Young Territorians' Excellence in Youth Leadership.

Danzal Baker, 22 Rapper and dancer Working across rap, dance, acting and graffiti, Danzal Baker is a multi-talented, multi-lingual, Indigenous artist. Danzal, otherwise known as Baker Boy, is the first Indigenous artist to achieve mainstream success rapping in the Yolngu Matha language. Raised in Milingimbi and Maningrida, Danzal rapped his way to national prominence when his single Marryuna was voted into 17th place in Triple J’s Hottest 100 for 2017; a notable follow-up from his debut single Cloud 9, which won Triple J’s Unearthed competition. Danzal is also an award winner at the National Indigenous Music Awards. He has signed a record deal with Select Music and was handpicked by English rapper Dizzee Rascal to be his Australian support act. In 2018, Danzal won the prestigious Charles Darwin University Art Award at the Northern Territory Young Achievers Awards. Touring Australia extensively, Danzal is using his talent to inspire young people in remote Indigenous communities and encourage them to embrace their culture and take up leadership positions.

Amelita John, 23 Store manager At 23, Amelita John is the first Indigenous manager of an Outback Store. Starting in 2014 as a store assistant at the Beswick Outback Store, Amelita’s managers quickly recognised her potential and encouraged her to start her VET Certificates in Store Management. Amelita was promoted to Baga l Store Manager in March 2017 at the Barunga community, south of Katherine in the Northern Territory. She took on the role just weeks before 7,000 visitors
attended the Barunga Festival, putting high demand on the store. Amelita successfully took on the challenge of
supplying these visitors, repeating the feat in 2018 for over 8,000 visitors. The store Amelita manages is 100% Indigenous-staffed. Amelita has introduced training that uses traditional and culturally appropriate methods, that put her team at ease and which foster productivity. In attaining a forklift licence to enable the unloading of trucks, Amelita is role-modelling Indigenous self-reliance. Amelita is recognised locally as a fully-involved, committed and trusted member of her community.

Siena Stubbs, 16 Author
Siena Stubbs is the author of the photography book Our Birds – or Ŋilimurruŋgu Wäyin Malaynha under its Yolngu
Matha title. Living a 700-kilometre drive from the nearest bookstore in her hometown of Yirrkala, then 14-year-old
Siena admired and photographed the rich bird life of north-east Arnhem Land. Her mother helped her identify the
names of the birds – in Yolngu culture, all the birds name themselves by the sound they make.
Siena then created a photobook, initially just for her family. But when her brother’s Facebook post about the book
exploded with interest from people wanting copies for themselves, schools and libraries, it led to a publishing deal.
Now widely-available, Ŋilimurruŋgu Wäyin Malaynha includes images accompanied by short stories, that shine a
light on the cultural significance of each bird. Through her work, Sienna encourages other Indigenous young people
to pursue their dreams, and to value the wisdom of their elders, who have so much knowledge to share.

Georgina Bracken Community advocate As CEO of Tennant Creek Women's Refuge for 10 years, ending in 2018, Georgina Bracken dedicated countless hours to helping victims of abuse. Operating 24 hours a day, 365 days per year, Tennant Creek Women’s Refuge provides crisis accommodation, support, counselling and referrals to other agencies, for women and children who are victims of family violence, are homeless or in crisis. From 2010 to 2017, Georgina was Chair of Barkly Region Alcohol and Drug Accommodation Action Group. This group provides drug and alcohol rehabilitation with outreach, transitional accommodation and sobering-up shelter programs. Currently, Georgina is Convenor of Tennant Creek Transport which launched in 2013 to operate a fixed-route bus service for the community, and which was expanded in 2016 to include a door-to-door service using a disabilityfriendly mini bus. She is also deputy chair of Barkly Regional Arts.
Living in Tennant Creek for over 25 years, Georgina is passionate about making the world a better place for all.

Kate and Tick Everett Advocates against bullying Following the tragic death of their teenage daughter, Amy ‘Dolly’ Everett in January 2018, following extensive bullying, Kate and Tick Everett founded Dolly’s Dream, to create positive change and a legacy to their daughter. Dolly’s Dream aims to raise awareness about bullying and its potentially devastating effects on children and families. It delivers community education on bullying issues and strategies for preventing and mitigating bullying, through cultural change and victim support. Over 250 communities have held fundraisers and events to support Dolly's Dream, with a particular focus on regional and rural Australia. Kate and Tick’s non-stop advocacy, meeting with the Prime Minister and Education and Health Ministers across the country, has resulted in governments taking childhood bullying and its devastating impacts more seriously. Kate and Tick advocate tenaciously on a voluntary basis while continuing to muster cattle, train horses and care for their other daughter, Megan, from their home in Katherine, Northern Territory.

Crystal Love-Johnson Campaigner for Indigenous trans-gender women As an Indigenous trans-gender Tiwi Islander, Crystal Love-Johnson is an advocate for acceptance of trans-gender Indigenous women. Not settling for anything less than sharing the same rights as any other person in society, Crystal soon became a champion and advocate for Indigenous trans-gender women known as ‘Sistergirls’ located on the Tiwi Islands. Crystal is a leader, mentor and educator among the Sistergirls, and is a respected Tiwi Island Elder. Crystal has worked for Northern Territory Family and Children Services and is fondly known as ‘Aunty’ amongst the Tiwi Islands communities. She nurtures numerous transgender Indigenous children whom she takes on as her own. In 2010 Crystal was invited to address the United Nations Working Group in Barcelona on Indigenous trans-gender issues of suicide, domestic violence and discrimination. In 2012, Crystal made Australian local-government history on her election to the Tiwi Shire Council and is now regarded as a major influence and invaluable leader for Indigenous trans-gender equality.

Stingray Sisters Anti-fracking activists When Kunibidji sisters Noni, Alice and Grace Eather received an application from a US oil company to explore for oil or gas in their home Maningrida in Arnhem Land, they knew they had to act.
To protect their elders, community, historically sacred areas and vital fishing grounds from the devastating impact of
mining, the three women shared the story with the world. Their documentary, Stingray Sisters, explores their unique
and challenging lives and their fight to save their land from fracking, which included leading a community delegation
to Sydney to confront the oil company.The three sisters grew up in two worlds, spending time in Brisbane with their father Michael Eather, and in Arnhem land with their mother, Helen Djimbarrawala Williams. These courageous, proud and passionate young Indigenous women were instrumental in the oil company withdrawing its application to drill offshore in Arnhem land. Tragically, in 2017, Alice, who suffered from depression, took her own life.

Subscribe to our Newsletter