Nominees for the 2023 Victoria Australian of the Year Awards Announced



Nominees for the 2023 Victoria Australian of the Year Awards include a man restoring and protecting wetland areas, a psychologist leading the way in disaster recovery, an advocate for improving health outcomes for Aboriginal prisoners and a woman using her own experience to help families of missing people.

They are just some of the 16 people in the running to be named the Victoria Australian of the Year, Victoria Senior Australian of the Year, Victoria Young Australian of the Year and Victoria Local Hero.

The 2023 Victoria award nominees are:

Victoria Australian of the Year

Meredith Allan – Disability advocate and lecturer (Surrey Hills)

Maree Clarke – Multi-disciplinary artist and curator (Yarraville)

Dr Angraj Khillan – Paediatrician and co-founder, Health Awareness Society of Australia (Essendon)

Loren O’Keeffe – Founder, Missing Persons Advocacy Network (Richmond)


Victoria Senior Australian of the Year

Dr Peter Rob Gordon OAM – Clinical psychologist and disaster recovery pioneer (Yarra Glen)

Robert Lytzki – Founder, Foundation 61 (Geelong)

David Martin OAM – Vietnam veteran and administrator/CEO, Murray Valley Centre (Wodonga)

Professor Frank Oberklaid AM – Paediatrician, founding director, Centre for Community Child Health (South Yarra)


Victoria Young Australian of the Year

Molly Fergus – Foster carer and foster care advocate (Frankston)

Noel Lim – Co-founder, Anika Legal (Coburg)

Darcy McGauley-Bartlett – Advocate for Indigenous health care in prisons (Bendigo)

Mohamed Semra – Anti-racism campaigner and co-founder, Endeavour Youth Australia (Maidstone)


Victoria Local Hero

Mark Bachmann – Ecologist and founder, Nature Glenelg Trust (Mumbannar)

Joanne Blake – Wildlife and animal companion volunteer (Sale)

Jack Levitt – Founder, Flynn’s Walk (Melbourne)

Belinda Young – Founder, Mums of the Hills (Sassafras)


The Victoria nominees are among 130 people being recognised across all states and territories.

The four award recipients from Victoria will be announced on the evening of Tuesday 8 November 2022 in a ceremony at Victoria Government House in Melbourne, which will also be available to watch via ABC iView from 6pm (local VIC time).

They will then join the other state and territory recipients as national finalists for the national awards announcement on 25 January 2023 in Canberra. 

National Australia Day Council CEO Karlie Brand congratulated the nominees on their recognition.

“The 2023 Victorian nominees are a diverse group of achievers and community contributors,” said Karlie.

“Their endeavours remind us of the power we all have to make a difference.”

20 Years Of Local Heroes

The 2023 Awards also mark 20 years of the Local Hero category. Introduced in 2003, the award acknowledges extraordinary contributions made by Australians in their local community.

Victorian recipients of Australia’s Local Hero include:
• 2017 Vicki Jellie – Community fundraising champion, bringing cancer services to SW Victoria
• 2014 Tim Conolan – Children’s charity founder
• 2008 Jonathon Welch AM – Choral conductor
• 2007 Shanaka Fernando – Social challenger



Nominee bios can be viewed on the homepage of or in the pdf attached.

Nominee photos can be downloaded from this link (note all photos provided by nominees): VIC NOMINEE PHOTOS

Media contact: Nicole Browne 0414 673 762 or 

Twitter: @AusoftheYear and #AusoftheYear
Facebook: @AustralianoftheYear