SA Australian of the Year Awards 2014 Recipients Announced!
South Australia’s Australian of the Year 2014 - Dr Felicity-ann Lewis
South Australia’s Senior Australian of the Year 2014 - Dr Barbara Hardy AO
South Australia’s Young Australian of the Year 2014 - Julian O’Shea
South Australia’s Local Hero 2014 - Dean Walker
His Excellency Rear Admiral Kevin Scarce AC CSC RANR, Governor of South Australia, and the Honourable Jay Weatherill MP, Premier of South Australia, have congratulated the South Australia’s Australian of the Year Award recipients at a special awards ceremony at Adelaide Oval this evening.
Community leader, Dr Felicity-ann Lewis, has been named South Australia’s Australian of the Year 2014 for her work passionately creating a better, healthier, more inclusive Australia.
57 years old Felicity-ann has worked tirelessly to further reconciliation with Aboriginal people, and to support the settlement process for refugees and migrants. Both a leader and a team player, Felicity-ann sits on many boards, including the Migrant Resource Centre and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander War Memorial Fundraising Committee.
The Glengowrie resident’s efforts alone have raised more than $100,000 towards Australia’s first memorial recognising the sacrifice of Indigenous people in war.
Her passion for the community is matched by a commitment to health promotion, and she achieved a Doctorate of Education from the University of South Australia in August 2013 and is currently a senior lecturer at Flinders University.
An inspiration to many, Felicity-ann is also the long-serving Mayor of Marion and National President of the Australian Local Government Association.
Felicity-ann’s actions, as much as her words, encourage people to make their communities the best they can be.
86 years old Dr Barbara Hardy AO has been awarded South Australia’s Senior Australian of the Year 2014 for her work as a scientist and environmental leader.
A leader in science education, environmental advocacy and charity activities, Dr Barbara Hardy has led an exemplary public life – almost all of it undertaken on a voluntary basis.
After becoming one of the University of Adelaide’s first female science graduates in 1947, Barbara’s early career was with the CSIRO.
Family camping holidays awakened her concern for the environment, and Barbara began voluntary work with the Conservation Council. A degree in earth sciences at Flinders University soon followed.
With growing expertise as a lobbyist, Barbara advised politicians, supported many organisations such as the Australian Heritage Commission and Landcare, and established the National Parks Foundation.
She was also a prime mover in the creation of the hands-on Investigator Science and Technology Centre in Adelaide.
The Seacliff resident has initiated many changes to public policy, practice and even the way people think about science and the environment, and today she is patron of the University of South Australia’s Barbara Hardy Institute which champions a more sustainable Australia.
South Australia’s Young Australian of the Year 2014, is 29 year old Wayville resident, Julian O’Shea.
An award-winning young engineer, Julian O’Shea’s vision is of a world free from poverty and disadvantage. To achieve this ambitious goal, Julian is building a movement of engineers, researchers and designers who can deliver technological solutions that improve the lives in some of the world’s poorest countries.
As the Director of the Engineers Without Borders Institute, Julian uses education programs to inform, engage and inspire the next generation of engineers to make a positive contribution.
Under Julian’s leadership, the Institute is contributing to life-changing projects – from improving pipe design in landslide-affected areas of East Timor to designing and installing rainwater harvesting systems to secure safe drinking water in Cambodian schools.
Julian also has a strong commitment to reconciliation, and has developed an iPhone App to help people give culturally-appropriate acknowledgements of country to traditional owners.
The projects Julian leads are diverse, but guided by a belief that technology can be a force for good and help serve the most disadvantaged in our community.
Coober Pedy resident, Dean Walker, has been awarded South Australia’s Local Hero 2014 for his work as a community constable.
A lynchpin in the Coober Pedy and Oodnadatta communities, 42 years old Senior Community Constable Dean Walker has shown excellence in bravery, sensitivity and cultural awareness.
From rescuing two young girls from a swollen river to helping young Indigenous offenders get their lives back on track, Dean goes beyond the call of duty to make a difference to his community and the lives of the people he serves.
Dean uses his advocacy, communication and leadership skills to connect the local Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities, and to influence society for the better.
Dean was responsible for delivering the South Australian Police Aboriginal cultural awareness program, which increased the police service’s cultural knowledge of Indigenous issues.
Dean gives back in many ways – from coaching sporting teams to bringing together young and old Aboriginal men to promote healthy living, bush skills and positive role models.
Dean’s quiet, patient and thoughtful approach to policing and community-building has won the respect of people from Coober Pedy, Oodnadatta and surrounding areas.
The South Australia’s award recipients will join recipients from the other States and Territories as finalists for the national awards announced on 25 January 2014 in Canberra.
National Australia Day Council CEO, Mr Jeremy Lasek, said the South Australia’s award recipients are all great Australians.
“The South Australian finalists are all dedicated to changing the world for the better,” said Mr Lasek.
“The variety of industries represented by the finalists shows the diverse depth of talents and passions in South Australia.”
The Commonwealth Bank has been the major sponsor of the Australian of the Year Awards for more than 30 years. Chief Executive Officer Ian Narev congratulated the South Australia’s award recipients.
“The Commonwealth Bank is proud to recognise your outstanding achievements. Congratulations on becoming national finalists in the Australian of the Year Awards - you should all be very proud,” said Mr Narev.
“We are pleased to be able to celebrate and acknowledge your ongoing dedication to building a better country for us all.”
For more information on the Australian of the Year Awards visit australianoftheyear.org.au.
Media contact: Zannie Abbott 0418 274 291 or Nicole Browne on 0414 673 762