Brendan Borellini was born completely deaf and blind and in his first decade of life had little opportunity to pursue the education most Australians take for granted. With the help of the Special Education Unit at the Cavendish Road State High School in Brisbane, Borellini became the first deaf and blind student in Australia to be integrated into a standard high school curriculum. With remarkable determination Borellini completed his secondary schooling in 1989 and was invited to London to receive a citation from the Princess of Wales.
The Young Australian of the Year expressed gratitude for the support he had received: ‘If I was not an Australian, then it is possible I would not have had the help and commitment I have received in this country. … I hope that other Australians will be encouraged by what I have done and will try their best to excel.’ Borellini subsequently studied sociology at the University of Queensland.