Australians of the Year coming to Adelaide

Posted 16 June 2009 12:00am

Australian of the Year Professor Mick Dodson, Young Australian of the Year Jonty Bush, Senior Australian of the Year Pat LaManna and Australia's Local Hero Graeme Drew will visit schools and community organisations around Adelaide from Tuesday 23 June until Thursday 25 June.

The visit is part of the Australian of the Year Awards program's Tour of Honour, which brings the recipients of the nation's most respected honour into contact with school students and community members to share their inspiring stories.

During the tour, the award recipients will be special guests at a Premier's Reception and will share a busy schedule of appearances, speaking engagements and community visits.  (see separate schedule attached)

Australian of the Year Professor Mick Dodson said he was looking forward to the Adelaide tour, particularly the school visits which will allow him to meet students and see how different schools are approaching the challenges of education, such as Immanuel College which he will visit on Tuesday 23 June.  Indigenous students from Immanuel College wrote to Professor Dodson asking him to visit their school to see how the College is supportive of indigenous students and other cultures.

"I've been really enjoying the visits I've been doing as Australian of the Year but to visit Adelaide with the other major award recipients is a very special opportunity," said Professor Dodson.

"Having chosen education as my main focus for the year, I am particularly looking forward to the school visits we'll be doing in South Australia."

Professor Dodson will also take part in a panel discussion at a Reconciliation Forum hosted by Reconciliation South Australia on the evening of Tuesday 23 June at the Adelaide Town Hall.  The forum will consider how Australia moves forward on reconciliationin the wake of the national apology.

For Young Australian of the Year Jonty Bush, the Adelaide tour represents a chance to inspire other young people and to also share her message of positivity and hope in adversity with others.  Jonty manages the Queensland Homicide Victims' Support Group which helps people deal with the grief and trauma of loss through violent crime.  While in Adelaide, Jonty will visit the local Victims' Support Centre to see how the organisation works and share learnings from her own experience and those of the Queensland group. 

Jonty who will be visiting Warriappendi School, Golden Grove High School, Le Fevre High School, Immanuel College, Pasadena High School, Northfield Primary School and Ross Smith Secondary School. She will also speak at the Young Australian of the Year networking function at the Gilbert Street Hotel on the evening of Tuesday 23 June.

Australia's Local Hero Graeme Drew became a force for positive change which benefits the broader community after suffering a personal tragedy. After losing his nephew in a surf accident, Graeme has worked tirelessly to improve the ocean and coastal safety in his home state of Western Australia and nationwide. South Australia's dangerous coastal areas could become much safer thanks to this professional fisherman with a vision to help his fellow Australians. Graeme will join Jonty Bush touring schools and will also speak at a Sea Rescue Squadron function on Tuesday night.

Similarly, Senior Australian of the Year Pat LaManna, will be sharing his infectious energy, love of life and endearing warmth with Norwood's Italian seniors community group, La Mensa, and at a National Seniors function at West Lakes Community Centre on Wednesday 24 June. 

The Australian of the Year Tour of Honour will take place just one week before nominations open for the 2010 Australian of the Year Awards. Nominations for all four award categories can be submitted at www.australianoftheyear.org.au or via a nomination form available at major sponsor Commonwealth Bank branches from early July.

Professor Dodson said he would encourage all Australians to nominate someone they admired as a great Australian for the next awards.

"As a very humbled recipient of the award, I think the greatest honour in all of this is that someone thought enough of me to nominate me in the awards and for that I am very thankful albeit still a little shy," said Professor Dodson.

"More importantly, that nomination and this award mean that I have a huge responsibility to use this time to make things better in this country and it has given me a great strength and resolve to pursue a better life and a better education for our kids - all our kids.

"Nominating someone in these awards is indeed a thank you for community contribution, an acknowledgement of achievements and a way to recognise the people amongst us we find most inspiring.

"That every Australian has the chance to have their say about who should be made Australian of the Year or Australia's Local Hero or Young Australian or Senior Australian is perhaps the ultimate expression of how great our country is so don't waste that chance - get your nomination in."

Ends

For further media information on the Australian of the Year Awards or interviews prior to the Tour of Honour contact:  

Nicole Browne, Media Opps
02 9954 7677
0414 673 762 

For information about the Tour of Honour in Adelaide and interviews during the Tour contact:

Matthew Miles, Australia Day Council of SA
08 8410 2626
0439 184 020