This page details National NAIDOC Awards Winners for the years 1985 to 2013.
Where individual profiles are available, clicking on the Award winners name will bring up information on their achievements.
National NAIDOC 2013 Award Winners
- Lifetime Achievement Award – Galarrwuy Yunupingu
Lifetime Achievement Award – Galarrwuy Yunupingu
Born at Melville Bay near Yirrkala in East Arnhem Land, Galarruwy Yunupingu is a prominent leader and strong voice for Aboriginal people.
With Yolngu law and land rights his life’s interest, Galarrwuy came to national attention in the late 1960’s for his role in the landmark Gove Land Rights Case. This was the first action by Indigenous Australians to challenge mining companies’ use of traditional lands.
For many years, Galarruwy held an executive position on the Northern Land Council where he helped Aboriginal people win back, and take control of their land.
To this day, Galarruwy continues his advocacy for self-determination and economic development among his people.
Leader of the Gumatj Clan since 1979, Galarruwy has gained respect and admiration from prominent political leaders and many Australians alike for his dedication and achievements.
Galarruwy has been honoured as Australian of the Year, Member of the Order of Australia, and has been named as one of Australia’s National Living Treasures.
- Person of the Year – Darryl Kickett
Person of the year – Darryl Kickett
Darryl is a Noongar man from the Narrogin area of Western Australia who has worked tirelessly for his people for more than 40 years
He has dedicated his life to community development, land rights, education, health and policy.
Beginning his career as a sportsman, Darryl enjoyed success as a champion boxer and Australian Rules footballer.
After completing a degree in social science Darryl was made Head of the Centre for Aboriginal Studies at the Curtin University. During this time, Darryl and his team developed the hugely successful Community Management and Development Course.
Darryl has made an outstanding contribution in Aboriginal health. As the CEO of the Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia, significant advancements were made in health care delivery, child and maternal health, chronic disease and mental health.
Recently, Darryl has been responsible for bringing the Red Dust Healing Program to communities in WA, a program supporting a healthy path in life. As a result of Darryl’s vision, Noongar men are coming together to work towards spiritual healing. Darryl is described as a quiet achiever who doesn’t look for praise; somebody who has generosity of spirit and strength of character.
- Female Elder of the Year – Rose Richards
Female Elder of the Year – Rose Richards
Rose Richards is a proud Yalangi and Tagalaga Elder from far north Queensland. At 83 years of age, she is still an inspirational leader and role model for her people.
Rose has worked hard all her life. As an Aboriginal Liaison Officer at the Cairns Base hospital, Rose developed a passion for improving the health and wellbeing of babies, young children and mothers.
In 1983, Rose furthered her passion by establishing her own organisation, Mookai Rosie-bi-Bayan, to continue this work. This year, Mookai Rosie-bi-Bayan will celebrate its 30th anniversary and continues to be a national leader in Indigenous child and maternal health.
Rose is warmly welcomed into communities by all who know her and her commitment to her people is acknowledged across Australia.
- Male Elder of the Year – John Hayden
Male Elder of the Year – John Hayden
John Hayden is a respected Noongar elder from Brookton in the south west of Western Australia.
He started his working life in shearing sheds and manual labour crews, but decided his passion was to be actively involved in advancing the rights and wellbeing of Aboriginal people.
John spent 12 years working in Aboriginal health, before being elected to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Regional Council where he sat for eight years.
He has also worked with Western Australia Tourism with a focus on increasing tourism to WA through promotion of Aboriginal arts, craft and tours.
More recently, John has been involved with the Department of Corrections to increase levels of understanding within the Department about Aboriginal people and culture.
John is an inspirational role model who has dedicated his life to improving the lives and wellbeing of Aboriginal people.
- Caring for Country – Jimmy Edgar
Caring for Country – Jimmy Edgar
Jimmy Edgar is a Yawuru and Karajarri man from Western Australia who has shown his passion for country and culture over many years.
Jimmy provides cultural knowledge to schools, community organisations and government bodies that are interested in respecting and connecting to country.
On a daily basis Jimmy engages with the Yawaru Rangers, using his wealth of knowledge to teach them about keeping country alive and fruitful, for people to enjoy.
He played an important part in developing the Yawaru Cultural Management Plan, which has received several awards including the Judges Recognition Award at the National Awards for Excellence.
Jimmy has become the face of Yawaru country. He continues to devote his time to maintaining strong country and culture that can be handed down to future generations.
- Youth of the Year – Kate Malpass
Youth of the Year – Kate Malpass
Kate Malpass, a Noongar girl from Perth, has been defying the odds since birth.
Being told she would never have full strength in one of her arms, she went on to play, and excel, in every sport at school.
At just 13 years of age, Kate was part of the under 16 National Championships for basketball. She has been part of two national championship basketball teams, including the Perth Lynxs team, which she captained to victory.
Off the court, Kate has completed a degree in physiotherapy and now lives in Melbourne, working as the first Aboriginal physiotherapist for the Richmond Football Club.
An outstanding role model, Kate also mentors for the David Wirrpanda Foundation and is passionate about helping younger girls through the Deadly Sista Girlz Program.
- Artist of the Year – Tony Briggs
Artist of the Year – Tony Briggs
Starting his career as an actor on Neighbours in the 1980’s, Tony Brigg’s career in the arts has gone from strength to strength.
Over the past 25 years he has performed on both stage and screen, gaining a reputation as one of Australia’s leading Indigenous performers.
Tony is best known for writing the award winning play ‘The Sapphires’, which was adapted for screen in 2012. He is currently working on projects for both TV and film.
A true leader, Tony dedicates time to sharing his knowledge and experience by mentoring younger people in his field.
Tony has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to the arts and his influence stretches beyond the Indigenous community to all Australians.
- Scholar of the Year – Dr Mark McMillan
Scholar of the Year – Dr Mark McMillan
Dr Mark McMillan is a Wiradjuri man from Trangie in central west New South Wales.
With a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice, a Master of Law and a doctorate in Juridical Science, Mark was the first Indigenous person to be appointed to senior lecturer at the University of Melbourne’s Law School.
He is passionate about rebuilding Indigenous Nations in Australia. He is committed to research and education that results in positive outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Mark has dedicated his life to extending his learning personally, professionally and academically, and continues to provide strong leadership and support to others.
Mark enjoys sharing his skills and experiences with all Australians, demonstrated by his tireless involvement with communities and organisations.
- Apprentice of the Year – Danny Bromot
Apprentice of the Year – Danny Bromot
Danny Bromot is a proud Yolngu man from Nhulunbuy in North East Arnhem Land.
Starting his career in mining at Gove Operations Pacific Aluminium Steam Power Station in 2009, Danny completed the Advanced Boiler and Turbine Operations Tickets, and is close to completing the Certificate 3 in Power generation.
He sees the growing demand for skilled workers and the future potential for employment in his region for the Yolngu people around East Arnhem Land.
Balancing family, community, study and work, Danny still finds time to encourage new recruits to grasp new opportunities and make the most of them.
Danny is a passionate family man, friend, mentor and an inspiration to everyone in his community.
- Sportsperson of the Year – Jonathan Thurston
Sportsperson of the Year – Jonathan Thurston
Jonathan Thurston is a rugby league superstar and is a Gungarri man from south-west Queensland.In 2006, Jonathan made his international debut for the Australian rugby league team, and won his first State of Origin with the Queensland side.
He was appointed captain of the North Queensland Cowboys in 2007, captained the Indigenous All Stars in 2011 and has been named in the Indigenous Team of the Century.
Off the field, Jonathan engages with school students through the Cowboys’ education-focused community programs, to promote positive messages about staying in school and working hard.
He strives to make a positive difference in people’s lives and believes that education plays an important role in closing the gap.
Jonathan is held in the highest regard by his fellow players, fans and community alike.
National NAIDOC 2012 Award Winners
- Lifetime Achievement Award – Bunna Lawrie
Lifetime Achievement Award – Bunna Lawrie
Bunna Lawrie is a respected Mirning Elder, song man, medicine man and storyteller from the coastal Nullabor in South Australia.
Bunna was a founding member of Coloured Stone, a band formed in the Koonibba Mission, west of Ceduna. In 1984 Coloured Stones single Black Boy became a number one hit in the Pacific Islands and the band went on to receive an ARIA in 1986 for their single Human Love.
Over the years the band have collaborated with other music greats including Midnight Oil, Leo Sayer, Jimmy Little and KD Lang. While Coloured Stones members have changed, Bunna has always remained the charismatic front man. Bunna also performs as a solo artist with his band Bunna Lawrie and the Whaledreamers.
Among a long list of awards and accolades, Bunna was awarded the Don Banks Music Award in 1999. This was the first time this award had ever been received by a rock musician.
As well as performing, Bunna has conducted many music workshops with organisations such as Musica Viva and Music Outback. He has taught young people to play musical instruments, compose songs and set them to music.
Bunna is a role model who helps all people through the incredible gift of music.
- Person of the Year – David Wirrpanda
Person of the year – David Wirrpanda
David Wirrpanda was raised in Shepparton and Healesville in Victoria. His father is a Yolngu Djapu man from East Arnhem Land and his mother a Dhulanyagan women of the Ulupna Clan, Yorta Yorta.
With a long history in AFL, David’s achievements on the football field include being selected in the all-Australian team in 2005 and winning a premiership with the West Coast Eagles in 2006.
In 2005, David followed his true passion and launched the David Wirrpanda Foundation. The foundation delivers programs to help young Indigenous people make healthy life choices, stay at school and enter the workforce.
David was named in the top ten most influential Indigenous Australians by The Bulletin in 2007 and 2008 and was awarded Young Western Australian of the Year in 2009.
David remains a hands-on Director of the David Wirrpanda Foundation and his important work is helping to close the gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ disadvantage.
- Female Elder of the Year – Margaret Lawton
Female Elder of the Year – Margaret Lawton
Margaret Lawton is a Ghungalu and Garingbail Elder and Traditional Owner from Central Queensland. At 82 years of age, still is still working tirelessly to achieve for her people.
In addition to rising a large family of her own, Margaret has extended her home and heart too many Indigenous foster children over her lifetime. She has also worked with other female elders offering aid and food to the homeless.
Margaret is the founder or co-founder of many Indigenous Community organisations in Rockhampton including Bidjerdii Health, Aboriginal Legal Aid, Dreamtime Cultural Centre and Fitzroy Basin Elders Committee, just to name a few.
Margaret is constantly looked to for support, advice and guidance by her community. She has successfully lobbied the causes of her people and brought many local Indigenous community and cultural issues to the public eye.
The local Indigenous and non-Indigenous community agree Margaret is a truly remarkable woman with extraordinary strength and values.
- Female Elder of the Year – Maureen Kelly
Female Elder of the Year – Maureen Kelly
Maureen Kelly is a Yindjarbarndi Elder from the Pilbara.
As a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother, Maureen has taught her family many skills. Most important, she has them respect for themselves, each other, their Elders, their country and their culture.
Maureen left school at 14 years of age to start work but returned to her education as a grandmother, obtaining a university degree in Community Management.
Having worked in government for the past 37 years, Maureen has also put countless hours into community work and been a member on numerous advisory boards and committees.
She has represented the Aboriginal people locally, nationally and internationally and was the first female Aboriginal Justice of the Peace in the Pilbara.
- Male Elder of the Year – Hezekiel Jingoonya
Male Elder of the Year – Hezekiel Jingoonya
Hezekiel Jingoonya is a Pitjantjatjara Elder, Lutheran pastor for the Mutitjulu community and mentor in the Western Desert region of Australia.
Hezekiel has worked in the region all of his life and has a passion for teaching and sharing culture. He has been a long time consultant to Parks Australia on the management of cultural heritage and is dedicated to providing cultural education to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park visitors and staff.
Committed to education, Hezekiel takes bush trips with younger Anangu to transfer knowledge and train them to gain employment at the park. He is involved in the Junior Rangers school program and interpretation programs at the cultural centre. Hezekiel speaks numerous Aboriginal Languages and teaches language and Tjkurpa stories to visitors and youth.
A relation of famous artist Albert Namatjita, Hezekiel is an artist himself and has sold several works through Walkatjara Art.
- Caring for Country Award – Bunya Bunya Country Aboriginal Corporation
Bunya Bunya Country Aboriginal Corporation
Bunya Bunya Country Aboriginal Corporation is a small group started by traditional owners that has been involved in rejuvenation work on Biodiversity hot spot, Bli Bli for the last eight years.
The main concerns for the site include extensive land clearing and river bank erosion which means the loss of mangroves, fish, mammal and bird habitat and greater sedimentation of the Maroochy River Estuary.
One inspiring project has been the rehabilitation of the mangrove on the Maroochy Estuary to benefit fish habitat and bank stabilisation. As well as providing consistent and rewarding employment, the shared love for fishing between the Kabi Kabi people, canefarmers and landowners has made this a very successful project.
The Bli Bli landscape has been a challenge for resource management, but the dedication of Bunya Bunya Country Aboriginal Corporation and their partners has seen positive changes for the waters, the wildlife and the people or the area.
- Youth of the Year – Benson Saulo
Youth of the Year – Benson Saulo
Benson Saulo has the ability to engage and encourage not only youth but people of all ages.
A born leader, Benson was the captain of his primary school and at age 15, he gained a Traineeship with the ANZ Bank through the Aboriginal Employment Strategy.
Benson was the first Indigenous Australian youth to be elected as the Australian Youth Delegate to the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly in 2011.
In April this year, Benson became the National Director for the Indigenous Australian Youth Leadership Academy.
Benson has a bright future ahead of him and may one day pursue politics, but for now, he has great plans to gain more recognition of Indigenous youth achievements and aspirations within Australia and around the world.
- Artist of the Year – Stephen Page
Artist of the Year – Stephen Page
Stephen Page is a descendant of the Nunukul people and the Munaldjali clan of the Yugambeh tribe from southeast Queensland. As the director of Bangarra Dance Theatre and a leading choreographer, Stephen has been a major contributor to Australia’s cultural landscape for 21 years.
Graduating for NAISDA in 1983, Stephen began his career dancing with the Sydney Dance Company and in 1991 was appointed Artistic Director of Bangarra Dance Theatre.
Among countless memorable works with Bangarra which have become highlights in Australian performing arts, Bangarra’s 20th Anniversary production Fire – a retrospective saw Stephen receive the 2010 Helpmann Award for Best Choreography.
Stephen has also choreographed for the Australian Ballet and the feature film The Sapphires as well as directing the Indigenous sections of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games Opening and Closing Ceremonies.
Significantly, Stephen was named New South Wales Australian of the Year in 2008 for his dedication to bringing cultures together though performing arts and developing the next generation of Indigenous storytellers.
- Scholar of the Year – Sarah Bourke
Scholar of the Year – Sarah Bourke
Sarah Bourke knew from a young age that she wanted to attend university. With the support of her family and her commitment to her academic pursuits, she has had the opportunity to follow her dreams.
At Radford College in Canberra, Sarah’s academic talent was evident. She was listed on the 2002 Radford College Academic Honour Roll and in 2007 was selected to attend the National Youth Science Forum at the Australian National University.
Sarah went on to complete a double degree in science and arts at the Australian National University and is now completing the Honours Program, researching biological anthropology from an Aboriginal perspective. While at university, Sarah received many scholarships and awards. This year Sarah received the Neville Bonner Memorial Scholarship and Sally White-Diane Barwick Award.
On top of her studies, Sarah finds time for fundraising, volunteer work and mentoring other students.
Sarah’s goal is to become a leader in her field and make lasting changes to how governments, organisations and individuals address improving the health of all Indigenous Australians.
- Apprentice of the Year – Michael Clinch
Apprentice of the Year – Michael Clinch
Michael Clinch has shown commitment and dedication to achieve his dream of becoming a motor mechanic.
Growing up in Koonibba Aboriginal Community in South Australia, Michael was inspired by his grandfather who told him he could be anything he wanted to be if he put his mind to it and was committed. Michael watched his grandfathers and uncles fixing cars for the community with pride and passion, and from a young age, he knew he wanted to do the same.
Michael recently completed his apprenticeship as a motor mechanic with Repco in Adelaide. Bright and motivated, Michael rarely missed any days of his apprenticeship despite living more than 25 kilometres away and needing to rely on public transport to get there.
As well as completing his apprenticeship, Michael also cemented his position in the North Adelaide Football league.
Michael is a loving father and partner and an inspirational role model to the Koonibba Aboriginal Community.
- Sportsperson of the Year – Vanessa Wilson
Sportsperson of the Year – Vanessa Wilson
Vanessa Wilson is a star of the Netball South Australia League Association, regarded as one of the benchmark state competitions in Australia.
She started playing netball at age 10 at the Garville Club, gained All Australian Honours as a state school girls player by 1996, and captained the Garville State League Reserves Side to a premiership in 2001.
Vanessa is known for her natural ability, calmness and intuitiveness on the court. She has gained a string of netball achievements, including being a key contributor to the Oakdale Club claiming their first premiership win in 2009.
Vanessa wanted to spread her passion for netball by encouraging participation in the sport. She was a driving force in establishing the first South Australian Nunga* Junior Netball Corporation where she is program director and head coach in the junior development programs.
- Sportsperson of the Year – Joshua Robinson
Sportsperson of the Year – Joshua Robinson
Joshua Robinson was born in Toowoomba, Queensland. At only 15 years old, he is already a gifted sportsman and has been representing Queensland in athletics since 2005.
This year at the National Youth Championships in Sydney, Joshua took out five gold medals and set a new state record, running the 400 metre sprint in just 49.31 seconds.
His immediate goal is to compete in the athletics world junior championships in London next year.
As well as a gifted runner, Joshua was recently signed to Manly Sea Eagles NRL team, with three other clubs also competing to sign the young fullback.
Already a sporting hero in his state, Joshua is working towards representing Australia at future Commonwealth and Olympic games.
National NAIDOC 2011 Award Winners
- Lifetime Achievement Award – Ned Cheedy
Lifetime Achievement Award – Ned Cheedy
Ned Cheedy is a respected elder and custodian of Yindjibarndi country, where he was born a century ago at Hooley Station in Western Australia.
At 104, Ned still contributes tirelessly to caring for Yindjibarndi law, country, culture, language and the future of his people.
After working as a skilled stockman and windmill man on the station, Ned moved to Roebourne Reserve so his children could receive an education. Concerned by the number of families losing young and older people to alcohol, he joined the Pilbara Aboriginal Church and travelled across Western Australia as a lay preacher, helping many to give up the grog.
Ned has been a cultural teacher and elder in his community for 20 years. When he travels into country with groups of up to 70 children, elders, families, anthropologists, archaeologists, biologists and environmentalists, he points out all the features of his land and tells the stories behind their creation.
Ned is generous and patient when sharing his knowledge. He participates in cultural mapping trips and teaches through books, films and recordings, sometimes working a six-hour day during the editing process to ensure accuracy.
Ned speaks out to keep his people strong and united.
National NAIDOC congratulates Ned Cheedy for his long and continuing contribution to the people and culture of Yindjibarndi and Australia’s cultural heritage.
- Person of the Year – Terri Janke
Person of the year – Terri Janke
Terri Janke was born in Cairns in Queensland, of Torres Strait Islander and Cape York Peninsula Aboriginal heritage.
A proud Meriam and Wuthathi woman, Terri is a vocal advocate of stronger intellectual property protection for Indigenous artists.
Admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of New South Wales and the High Court of Australia, she is widely regarded as one of the country’s top lawyers in Indigenous cultural and intellectual property rights.
Terri has served on the boards of many prominent Indigenous and non-Indigenous organisations and is the only Indigenous director on the Board of Tourism Australia.
In April 2008, Terri was invited by the Prime Minister to be a delegate at the Australia 2020 Summit.
As well as writing and speaking internationally about Indigenous cultural and intellectual property, Terri is an accomplished writer of fiction. Her first novel, Butterfly Song, was published in 2005 and she is currently working on a follow-up.
- Elder of the Year (Female) – Carolyn Briggs
Elder of the Year (Female) – Carolyn Briggs
Aunty Carolyn Briggs is a Boonwurrung elder from Victoria who is recognised as a keeper of the history and genealogies of her people.
She says, “It’s about the strength of families, our heritage and the sense of belonging to place.”
Aunty Carolyn is currently studying language and linguistics in the hope of recording her Boonwurrung language in oral and written form.
She has been active in community development, Native Title, cultural preservation and cultural promotion. For many years she ran the Tjanabi restaurant in Melbourne, which specialised in contemporary Aboriginal cooking, promoted the Boonwurrung culture and became “the place to meet” for Indigenous people.
Aunty Carolyn established Australia’s first Aboriginal child care centre and is CEO of the Boonwurrung Foundation, which she set up to help connect Aboriginal youth to their heritage.
Aunty Carolyn is also a member of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples.
- Elder of the Year (Male) – Eldridge Mosby
Elder of the Year (Male) – Eldridge Mosby
Eldridge Mosby is an elder on the Torres Strait Island of Poruma, where he is greatly respected for his commitment to education and the revival of language and culture.
Eldridge started teaching at just 15, when community teachers were in short supply on his island. He has been working with students ever since.
Eldridge is passionate about helping young people develop high expectations and a love of learning. His reassurance and encouragement give them the confidence to “have a go”. As a school coordinator for language and culture, he makes singing, dancing, games, story telling and music a big part of everyday island life.
A member of the Buthu Lagau Saral Torres Strait Islander Corporation, Eldridge works to maintain the traditions and language of Poruma Island. He is a tireless champion of his community and always stands ready to help where he can in matters that affect his people.
- Caring for Country Award – Warru Recovery Team
Caring for Country Award – Warru Recovery Team
The Warru Recovery Team works towards the conservation of the black-footed rock wallaby, or warru – one of South Australia’s most endangered species.The team has built a 100 hectare enclosure to reintroduce captive warru to the wild and has successfully reintroduced five individuals bred in captivity. Regular monitoring shows that warru numbers have stabilised, while more recent data indicate some colonies are recovering.
The Warru Recovery Project also fosters positive social change in community. The team has at least two senior Anangu members for each relevant community who speak and make decisions for the project. In addition, many of the permanent and causal rangers employed in the project gain TAFE land management certificates and drivers licences.
A unique part of the project has been the development of a contemporary dreaming story told through the song and dance of warru mothers, who are sad their babies have left the APY lands
- Youth of the Year – Kiel Williams-Weigel
Youth of the Year – Kiel Williams-Weigel
Twenty-four-year-old Kiel Williams-Weigel was born and raised in Brisbane and is a proud descendant of the Mununjali people of the Beaudesert region.
After immersing himself in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, Kiel developed a strong desire for a better life for Indigenous people in contemporary Australia.
He was the first in his family to attend university, graduating with a Bachelor of Education from Griffith University. He is now a literacy coordinator at Clontarf Aboriginal College in Western Australia and a lecturer at the University of Notre Dame, where he helps other teachers understand the needs of Indigenous school students.
Kiel is keen to undertake further study and hopes one day to be a principal in an Indigenous school.
Through his dedication, passion and love for his people, Kiel has influenced many young lives. He is a role model for Indigenous students and an inspiration for other young educators.
- Artist of the Year – Robyn Djunginy
Artist of the Year – Robyn Djunginy
Robyn Djunginy is a proud Yolngu woman and a respected elder. As an acclaimed fibre artist and painter she has participated in significant exhibitions nationally and internationally for two decades.Robyn maintains an open mind in her search for new forms and symbols to express the ancient wisdom of her Yolngu culture through art.
Her inspiration for her renowned fibre bottle forms and paintings comes from Italian Chianti bottles. She says, “I was inspired by the shape…My bottles represent happy times and celebrations for black and white people the same.”
A board member of the Bula’Bula Arts Aboriginal Corporation, Robyn is currently working to develop a number of projects that will have significant impact on contemporary art in Australia and provide a platform for cultural exchange.
For Robyn, there is no division between her life and her art – they are one.
- Scholar of the Year – Professor Lester-Irabinna Rigney
Scholar of the Year – Professor Lester-Irabinna Rigney
Professor Lester-Irabinna Rigney is a Nurungga man who grew up on Point Pearce Mission on the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia. Today he is one of the most influential Indigenous educationalists in Australia.
Even as a young apprentice diesel mechanic, Professor Rigney demonstrated outstanding commitment, winning both the state and national NAIDOC Apprentice of the Year awards in 1985.
Later qualifying as a teacher, he began working in secondary schools in 1989. He has a Masters of Education and a PhD, and is currently Dean of Aboriginal Education and Director of the Wilto Yerlo Centre at the University of Adelaide.
Professor Rigney’s international reputation spans Indigenous education, languages and knowledge transmission. He sits on several high-profile ministerial expert panels and has been a visiting research fellow at Cambridge University in the UK and the University of British Columbia in Canada. In 2009 he received an honorary United Nations award for his work on Indigenous education.
- Apprentice of the Year – Joshua Toomey
Apprentice of the Year – Joshua Toomey
Joshua Toomey overcame personal and educational challenges to excel as an apprentice in the electricity supply industry.
Despite being assessed as having low foundation skills, Joshua worked hard to show he had the determination and ability to succeed. When finally admitted to the Ausgrid pre-apprenticeship training program, he studied tirelessly to pass a selection test and was offered an apprenticeship almost immediately.
Joshua says, “Give yourself goals, seek out people who can help you get there and then work as hard as you can.”
Joshua was a key speaker at the annual TAFE New South Wales Gili Awards. His speech culminated in a standing ovation and was highly influential in securing the longer term future of the Ausgrid pre-apprenticeship program.
Since then, Joshua has been called on regularly as a public speaker and has been profiled in the New South Wales Department of Education and Training project Inspirational Indigenous Stories.
- Sportsperson of the Year – Preston Campbell
Sportsperson of the Year – Preston Campbell
Preston Campbell hails from Tinga in New South Wales and is a loved and respected National Rugby League player for the Gold Coast Titans.
Preston’s career highlights include winning the 2003 grand final and leading the Indigenous Dreamtime Team to victory against the New Zealand Maoris in 2008.
In 2010, Preston was the driving force behind a new Indigenous All Stars game. This annual event builds cultural connections across communities and is an important part of the healing process.
Preston says working together to create a better future is what the game is all about.
As an ambassador for the Titians’ Beyond Tomorrow program, Preston encourages year 12 students to make the transition to further education or employment.
Although his career has taken him a long way from Tinga, Preston has never forgotten his home town. He is currently working to make a difference there by helping to develop a community centre.
National NAIDOC 2010 Award Winners
- Person of the year – Dennis Eggington
Person of the year – Dennis Eggington
Dennis Eggington has been the Chief Executive Officer of the Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia for 14 years.
A Nyungar man, Dennis gained a national perspective on the racism suffered by Indigenous Australians through his work as a teacher in South Australia, the Northern Territory and Western Australia.
In 2007, he was awarded the John Curtin Medal by Curtin University, graduating in 2009 with a Master of Human Rights Education.
Dennis has addressed the United Nations Working Group for the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and recently attended the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, in New York.
Following the New York forum he said, “The world is watching and we all need to recognise that great nations can only be founded upon recognition, reparation and respect.”
Energised and motivated by his commitment to his people, Dennis Eggington plays a vital role in creating a just Australia for all Indigenous communities and individuals.
- Elder of the Year (Male) – Ali Drummond and Lester Bostock(Joint)
Elder of the Year (Male) – Ali Drummond
Ali Drummond is a much-loved and respected elder in the Torres Strait region and Brisbane. His story is told in the book Life Blong Ali Drummond: A Life in the Torres Strait, published in 2007.
His mother is from the Yadhaigana and Wuthuthi peoples, Cape York Peninsula, Australia and his father from Sarawak, Malaysia.
In World War Two, Ali served in the Civilian Construction Corporation in the Torres Strait, earning a Civilian Service Medal for his contribution.
As a pearl diver, he gained an intimate knowledge of the Torres Strait marine environment, and his advice is often sought by the CSIRO.
In 1998 he was named the National NAIDOC Sportsperson of the Year for his contribution to lawn bowls, and a year later he became Senior Australian Achiever of the Year.
At 92, Ali Drummond is an outstanding role model for healthy ageing and lifetime community service.
Elder of the Year (Male) – Lester Bostock
Uncle Lester Bostock has overcome personal challenges with dignity to represent the interests of Indigenous people regionally, nationally and internationally.
A Bundjalung man from Box River Reserve in New South Wales, Lester was unable to read or write when he left school at just 13. Undeterred, he returned to education as an adult and became a teacher.
Lester is regarded as a pioneer of Indigenous media in Australia. He helped to set up Radio Redfern, was involved in creating the first Indigenous theatre group, and was the first Aboriginal presenter on SBS Radio.
Suffering from an accident in the 1950s and needing to have his leg amputated, Lester has worked to raise awareness of the unmet needs of Aboriginal people with disabilities.
He has played important roles in many Indigenous disability and community organisations and was part of the 1967 referendum campaign and the Aboriginal Tent Embassy.
An unsung hero, Lester Bostock has made an extraordinary contribution to Aboriginal services in Australia.
- Elder of the Year (Female) – Ali Golding
Elder of the Year (Female) – Ali Golding
Auntie Ali Golding is a grassroots Indigenous leader recognised as a valued elder who demonstrates compassion, humility and justice.
A proud Bripi woman, Ali grew up on the Taree Mission in New South Wales.
In the 1980s she became one of the first Aboriginal education assistants at Cleveland High School in Queensland, and in 2004 she graduated from Nungaliya College in Darwin with a Diploma of Theology.
Ali has made important contributions to many national and international forums, including the World Spirit Healing Conference in Canada, International Women’s Day events in parliament, the Women’s Reconciliation Network, the New South Wales Reconciliation Council and AnTAR.
Ali has convened with many dignitaries including Nelson Mandela, Queen Elizabeth the second and Gough Whitlam, just to name a few.
In all that she shares so generously, Auntie Ali Golding reminds us how to stay connected and strong.
- Artist of the Year – Lewis Langton
Artist of the Year – Lewis Langton
Lewis Langton is a visual and performing artist and teacher who lives and works in Canberra.
A Murri artist from Queensland, Lewis describes himself as being a Guugu-Yimidhirr man from Cherbourg Mission in Queensland. Lewis began painting at six, despite being blind in one eye. His murals can be seen throughout Queensland and the ACT.
Lewis is also an award-winning didgeridoo player and inspiring teacher of Aboriginal dance. He is a role model for his students at Weetangera Primary School, who have formed their own Indigenous dance group. He has showcased traditional Aboriginal dance all over the world and has taken young Indigenous dancers to Samoa, the United States, South Korea, Vietnam and Taiwan.
As a multi-talented artist who nurtures and promotes Indigenous culture at home and abroad, Lewis Langton is a true cultural ambassador.
- Scholar of the Year – Megan Davis
Scholar of the Year – Megan Davis
Megan Davis is Director of the Indigenous Law Centre at the University of New South Wales and is the first aboriginal women to be appointed to a permanent United Nations Forum.
Her traditional country is Warra in Southern Queensland belonging to the Barragum language people.
Among her many achievements, she participated in drafting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and is the first Aboriginal woman to be appointed to a permanent United Nations forum. Megan has recently Megan became and independent expert on the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
Megan is a leading scholar on Indigenous legal rights and heads a team at the University of New South Wales conducting groundbreaking research into violence against women and children.
As a scholar, lawyer and human rights advocate, Megan Davis is a powerful force in bringing Australian Indigenous issues to the forefront on a national and international stage.
- Youth of the Year – Jessica Smith
Youth of the Year – Jessica Smith
Queensland Aboriginal woman Jessica Smith is an Indigenous Support Officer at Lourdes Hill College, where she ensures Indigenous girls are supported in their education, home lives and culture.
As a student herself, Jessica showed outstanding dedication by graduating from Nambour Christian College with top marks while expecting a baby.
Jessica went on to balance work, family and study to complete a Bachelor of Education with first class honours and a Bachelor of Creative Industries with distinction. During this time she also tutored refugee students as a volunteer mentor. Today she is studying for a PhD in Visual Arts.
At 24, Jessica Smith is already a leader, not only to her students, but to her colleagues and the wider Indigenous community.
- Sportsperson of the Year – Rohanee Cox
Sportsperson of the Year – Rohanee Cox
Olympic champion Rohanee Cox is captain of the WNBL team the Townsville Fire.
Rohanee is a Nyulnyul girl who grew up in Broome, Western Australia.
She won a scholarship to the AIS where she where she excelled as one of Australia’s newest talents. Missing her family, Rohanee left the AIS after two years and returned home.
Inspired by the birth of her child Alyriah and watching Cathy Freeman win gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Rohanee decided to pursue her career in basketball once again.
The first Indigenous women to represent Australia at the Olympics at Basketball, Rohanee competed with the Australian Opals in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Since Beijing, Rohanee has continued to represent her country. She has won a host of prestigious sporting awards, is an advocate for the “Go for 2&5″ fruit and veg campaign, and is an ambassador for Basketball Australia’s Indigenous talent identification.
As a mother, an Aboriginal woman and an elite sportsperson, Rohanee Cox is a true champion of Indigenous pride.
- Lifetime Achievement – Vince Coulthard
Lifetime Achievement – Vince Coulthard
Vince Coulthard has been the Director of South Australia’s only Aboriginal Radio Station, the Umeewarra Aboriginal Media Association, for 16 years and is Director of the National Indigenous Radio Service.
Vince is an Adnyamathanha man who was born in Leigh Creek and grew up on the Nepabunna Mission.
Part of the first South Australian native title claim, Vince has been Vice Chair of the Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Council for 13 years. In 2009, led by Vince, the Adnyamathanha people won a consent determination over the largest native title claim in the state.
Vince was one of the first Aboriginal rangers employed by National Parks in South Australia and helped bring about the first Indigenous land usage agreement over a national park in South Australia.
He has facilitated many significant cultural events and is founder and director of the Iga Warta community, whose members explain the Dreaming and walk their country with visitors.
Instrumental in setting up the Nunga Court in Port Augusta, Vince continues to contribute as a mediator, elder and cultural mentor.
Vince has received three local NAIDOC awards, a Premier’s Australia Day Award and the Federation Medal.
A tireless champion of Indigenous voices, land rights and justice, Vince Coulthard empowers others to fulfil their dreams and make a difference.
- Apprentice of the Year – Lucas Kickett
Apprentice of the Year – Lucas Kickett
Lucas Kickett, from Narrogin in Western Australia, is an apprentice in Heavy Metal Fabrication at Polytechnic West and works for McDougall Weldments.
Lucas was the first Aboriginal person to take out Polytechnic West’s mainstream award for Apprentice of the Year, going on to receive the 2009 Geoff Gale Award for Student of the Year.
As a basketball coach in his spare time, Lucas tells teenagers to “get a certificate, get some dollars and get respect”. His words echo those of his own late mother, who was his inspiration. She said, “Work hard to achieve your goals.”
If Lucas Kickett’s mum were here today, she would be proud to see the fine example he has set for all Indigenous school kids and apprentices.
- Caring for Country – Crazy Ant Management Program
Caring for Country – Crazy Ant Management Program
The Crazy Ant Management Program, run by Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation, works to eradicate yellow crazy ants in the NT.
The yellow crazy ant is listed among the top 100 invasive species in the world. It has reduced the abundance of ant species and other invertebrates in north east Arnhem Land.
Within five years, this program has achieved twice as many eradications as any ant eradication published globally in the past 100 years, over an area five times the size. The ecology of many of the eradication sites has recovered fully within 12 months.
The Crazy Ant Management Program – established, owned and operated by local community – is unprecedented within Australia and recognised globally as the new benchmark for invasive ant management.
National NAIDOC 2009 Award Winners
- Person of the year – Larissa Behrendt
Person of the year – Larissa Behrendt
Lawyer and author Larissa Behrendt is a passionate and articulate advocate for the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Larissa is Professor of Law and Director of Research at the Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning at Sydney’s University of Technology.
Larissa’s academic achievements alone have made her stand out. After gaining a diploma in practical legal training and graduating from the University of New South Wales Law School in 1992, Larissa went on to graduate from Harvard Law School with a Master and then a Doctorate of Laws.
She is admitted to the NSW and ACT Supreme Courts and is a Judicial Member and Alternate Chair of the Serious Offenders Review Council and a Land Commissioner of the Land and Environment Court.
As well as practising law, Larissa also teaches the subject, finding time to mentor young Aboriginal law students. Her excellence was recognised in 2002 when Larissa was announced co-winner of the inaugural Neville Bonner National Teaching Award.
During the past decade, Larissa has provided a powerful insight on major Indigenous issues and government policies in Indigenous affairs.
She has written books and articles on property law, indigenous rights, dispute resolution and Aboriginal women’s issues. Larissa leads and edits various policy journals out of Jumbunna, and has a regular column in the National Indigenous Times newspaper.
Larissa’s first fiction novel, “Home”, received great reviews for helping people understand the complexity of life for Indigenous people in Australia. The novel won the 2002 David Unaipon Award, the 2005 Commonwealth Writer’s prize for south East Asia and the Pacific best novel award.
Larissa has recently been selected to chair a committee for the Australian Research Council.
Larissa is also the inaugural Chair of National Indigenous Television, Director of Bangarra Dance Theatre and Sydney Writers Festival as well as serving on the board of the Museum of Contemporary Art.
It’s a demanding schedule, but with her talent and drive, you can be sure that Larissa will continue to be at the forefront in the national discussion of Indigenous issues and policies.
- Elder of the Year (Male) – Reg Knox and Frank Lampard(Joint)
Elder of the Year (Male) – Reg Knox
Reginald Roy Knox, or Uncle Reg, was born in 1934 at Toomelah Aboriginal Mission. He has lived in Logan City for the past 40 years, winning admiration and respect over a long period for his outstanding artwork, contribution to the community and commitment to working with young people.
Uncle Reg’s artistic ability is recognised locally, nationally and internationally with many of his works being sold and shown in galleries here and overseas. Among his many art awards and honours, Uncle Reg was commissioned in 1986 to produce an artwork as a gift for Pope John Paul the Second on his Papal visit to Australia.
Through his art, Uncle Reg has been involved with many institutions including schools, disabled and respite centres, jails and museums. Reg has spent many years working with secondary school students at risk.
A quiet achiever, Uncle Reg has worked voluntarily for many years to assist many community organisations, building bridges between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
In 1998, Uncle Reg started his own business at the ripe age of 64.When most are thinking of retirement, Uncle Reg felt there was still so much to do and so retirement was not an option for him.
Uncle Reg is one of the few speakers of the Koomiloroi language. His dream is to find funding to record Koomiloroi so that the language is there for the generations to come. He feels that traditional language is an important part of cultural identity.
Uncle Reg’s philosophy is that we are all here together and we should try to put the problems of the past behind us. There is a great future ahead of us all.
Elder of the Year (Male) – Frank Lampard
A prominent Elder in the Aboriginal community, Frank H Lampard has made a substantial contribution at the state and local level in South Australia.
Frank is the current chairperson of the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement (ALRM) and Executive Director of the Aboriginal Prisoners and Offenders Support Services Incorporated (APOSS).
Frank sees education as paramount in addressing the various social disadvantages of Indigenous people. He has been on the University of South Australia’s council for nearly 10 years. He is passionate about retaining Aboriginal languages in schools and has pursued rights of students in the tertiary sector as well as those wishing to engage in their culture, language and dance.
Frank has been Chair to the South Australian Aboriginal Training Advisory Committee and Deputy Chair of the National Aboriginal Education Consultative Committee.
Frank was a senior public servant, at one point the Acting Chief Executive, of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs in South Australia.
Frank is passionate about heritage and native title issues. This is demonstrated by his positions of Chair of the South Australia Aboriginal Heritage Committee and as the Native Title Commissioner for the state.
He is a strong advocate for early intervention programs and the reduction of violence against women and children.
At the local level, Frank has dedicated countless hours to Australian football in schools and communities.
Frank is determined for his community to fully recognise the way forward with governments and is there to support this is any way he can.
- Elder of the Year (Female) – Elsie Heiss and Doris Eaton(Joint)
Elder of the Year (Female) – Elsie Heiss
Elsie Heiss, or Aunty Elsie, is a mother of five and grandmother of six living in Sydney. While Aunty Elsie would not define herself as a leader, many follow the wisdom and direction she offers.
Aunty Elsie has worked as a coordinator of the Aboriginal Catholic Church Ministries for the past 20 years. She has built bridges between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities through hundreds of speeches on such topics as Aboriginal spirituality, the Stolen Generations, Reconciliation and justice.
Aunty Elsie’s status in community has been recognised locally and internationally. In 1995, she participated in the official smoking ceremony for Pope John Paul the Second; and in 1998, Aunty Elsie was the only Aboriginal representative at the Synod of Oceania in Rome.
As Chair of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council, Aunty Elsie played a major role in representing the Aboriginal community during World Youth Day in 2008. She welcomed Pope Benedict the sixteenth and introduced an Indigenous message stick that accompanied the cross on a journey around the country.
Aunty Elsie’s passion is educating the wider Australian community in understanding Aboriginal people, culture and history. Her knowledge and experience has seen her appointed to many boards and committees including the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Ecumenical council of NSW and Catholic Earth care Australia.
Aunty Elsie’s goal is to mentor a younger person into her high profile positions, particularly her role with the Aboriginal Catholic Church Ministries. Having said this, she has no intention of stopping.
In the future, Aunty Elsie aims to work more with non-Catholic organisations, giving her the chance to bring Indigenous issues to the table to a wider audience and enlighten those she works with along the way.
Elder of the Year (Female) – Doris Eaton
Doris Eaton is an Elder and respected law woman of the Nyamal people of the north Pilbara region in Western Australia.
Doris is an active mentor to young people in the community and her own 23 grandchildren, including Brandon Walters who recently starred in the film Australia.
Doris draws her strength from her culture and her family, demonstrating an inspirational capacity for forgiveness, tolerance and persistence.
As a leader in the Pilbara, Doris is an active force in improving her community.
She is the Chairperson of the Pilbara Native Title Service and is the first woman to be elected as co-chairperson of the Yamatji Marla Aboriginal Corporation’s board of directors.
A passionate advocate for women, Doris is also the Chairperson of the Pilbara Indigenous Women’s Aboriginal Corporation, regularly consulted by government, private and industry sectors on a wide range of issues.
Doris has been involved in the Strong Families, Strong Culture health program that promotes traditional cultural approaches to parenting and lifestyle. She was also involved in the development of an antenatal hostel for young Indigenous mothers in remote areas – the first of its kind in Western Australia.
Doris is keen for all her grandchildren to undertake Indigenous education as well as completing their school studies. Doris hopes to pass on her cultural knowledge and leadership skills, actively mentoring the next generation to take up positions of responsibility within the community.
Doris combines mainstream education and cultural pride to forge strong identities in those around her. She representing those “grassroots people” who would otherwise be unrepresented in public forums.
- Artist of the Year – Wayne Quilliam
Artist of the Year – Wayne Quilliam
Wayne Quilliam has been working on the Australian and international scene for more than 15 years, establishing a reputation as one of Australia’s leading photographers.
Wayne is a prolific artist. He has been published in more than 500 publications and has had exhibitions in Europe, USA, Asia, South America and Australia.
In 2008, Wayne was selected as the official photographer to record the Prime Minister’s Motion of Apology to the Stolen Generations. In 2009 Wayne used these images to develop the Sorry…more than a word exhibition, which was opened by the Prime Minister.
His European tour featured 80 images of Indigenous celebrations which are now included in permanent collections throughout Europe and in public displays.
Wayne’s international show, Lowanna, was first opened in Mexico by the Australian Ambassador and is now included in the permanent Australian Embassy Collection. Two alternative series of Lowanna took him again to Europe.
Wayne has also worked with high-profile celebrities, including a photo shoot with actor Russell Crowe and serving as the art ambassador for a tour of Australian rock bands Silverchair and Powderfinger.
Earlier this year, Wayne was a key speaker at the International Photographic Festival in Melbourne, making him the first Indigenous artist to do so.
Currently based in Melbourne, Wayne has spent more than 20 years working with more than 50 different communities throughout Australia, conducting talks and photography workshops in rural, remote and urban areas.
Wayne’s goal is to create opportunities for youth to showcase their talent and culture within Indigenous and mainstream areas.
Taking every experience in his Stride, Wayne follows his own life motto that there isn’t a day that goes by when you haven’t learnt something.
- Scholar of the Year – Dr Chelsea Bond
Scholar of the Year – Dr Chelsea Bond
Dr Chelsea Bond is an Aboriginal and South Sea Islander Australian and a descendant of the Munanjahli people of Beaudesert. Born and raised in Brisbane, Chelsea has forged a career in Indigenous health over the past decade working in both the government and university sectors across south-east Queensland.
Chelsea has always been determined to forge her own path. Chelsea first graduated from the University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Applied Health Science in 1998, aged only 19. She went on to graduate with First Class Honours in 2001 for her thesis examining the impact of racism and social exclusion on health outcomes in a rural Aboriginal community.
In 2007, Chelsea was awarded a Doctorate of Philosophy, with a thesis examining the construction of Aboriginality within the public health sector. Her research focused on highlighting the cultural strengths of the community she calls home – Inala.
Her thesis was rated among the top 10 per cent at the University of Queensland in her year.
Over the years Chelsea has won numerous scholarships and awards and has had her work published in many key health and medical research journals.
Chelsea has dedicated a lot of time to voluntary work. She established and continues to manage an Indigenous Community Development association in Inala, providing a range of sporting, cultural and training opportunities.
Chelsea is currently pursuing a post-doctoral fellowship to evaluate the public health benefit of a major community cultural development program including an Indigenous hip hop festival. In the future she hopes to work in Indigenous affairs to continue building upon the strengths of the community sector.
Chelsea believes that her success is not measured by personal achievements and recognition but by the achievements of those around her.
- Youth of the Year – Gemma Benn
Youth of the Year – Gemma Benn
Gemma Benn is an inspirational young leader who, through her actions, is showcasing the very best of her generation and what they can offer to the community.
Gemma completed a Bachelor of Arts at Melbourne University and went on to complete a graduate traineeship with the Northern Territory Government. Today, Gemma works in youth policy development within the NT Government
Elected by her peers, Gemma served a 12 month term as deputy chair for the Northern Territory Youth Ministers Round Table of Young Territorians in 2008.
The position gives Gemma another direct avenue to the Northern Territory Government and the opportunity to represent her community in decisions and outcomes that will affect them.
Humble and gracious, Gemma would see herself not as a leader, but simply as ‘doing what she can’. But Gemma is most definitely a leader, a quality that was recognised when Gemma was selected as a delegate at the Prime Minister’s 2020 Youth Summit in 2008.
Gemma’s goal for the future revolves around helping to create an Australia where young people feel valued and cherished with every opportunity to make a contribution to society.
Gemma sees past the divides that exist in society, and instead sees people – people with talents, abilities and visions.
- Sportsperson of the Year – Andrew McLeod
Sportsperson of the Year – Andrew McLeod
Born and raised in Darwin, Andrew McLeod must rank as one of the greatest ever Indigenous AFL players.
Andrew was drafted by the Fremantle Dockers in 1994. He was traded to the Adelaide Crows in 1995, a decision the Dockers would come to regret big time.
He has thrilled fans with artistry and dash in over 300 AFL games and has played more games than any other Indigenous player. In May 2009 Andrew claimed the all time appearance record for the Adelaide Crows. At 33 he is still going strong.
Andrew was named in the Indigenous Team of the Century and has captained the Indigenous All Stars on three occasions. He has been chosen in the All Australian side five times, including as captain in 2007.
Andrew is a dual premiership player and is the only player to have won consecutive Norm Smith medals for best player on ground in the Adelaide Crow’s Grand Final wins of 1997 and 1998.
He is a champion off the field as well. Passionate about helping the community, and in particular working with kids, Andrew has a “never say no” attitude to the vast number of requests he receives.
Of the countless stories of Andrew’s work in the community, one stands out.
In 2007 Andrew received a letter from an Aboriginal foster boy who had stopped playing football after he experienced racist bullying. Moved by his story, Andrew organised for him to attend an AFL match with his family and meet the boy in person. To this day, they are still in contact.
Andrew’s volunteer work was recognised in 2007 when he won the Variety Heart of Football for his outstanding commitment to children.
Andrew McLeod – a legend on and off the field.
- Lifetime Achievement – Lowitja O’Donoghue
Lifetime Achievement – Lowitja O’Donoghue
Born in Indulkana in 1932, Lowitja O’Donoghue was separated from her family at a young age and put in the care of missionaries at Colebrook Children’s home at Quorn.
Lowitja’s career, which spans almost 60 years, began as a nurse at the Royal Adelaide Hospital where, despite the racial discrimination at the time, she reached the position of Charge Sister.
After going to work with the Mother Teresa program in India in 1961, Lowitja returned to Australia to work as a trained nurse and welfare officer in remote Aboriginal communities. It was during her 10 years in this work that she built a reputation for her ability to advocate for justice for Indigenous people. This ability shone through in her campaigning on the 1967 Referendum, a turning point in the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
In 1972 Lowitja accepted a position as Senior Liaison Officer for the newly-created Department of Aboriginal Affairs. She saw this as a great opportunity to use her skills, passion and commitment to advance the rights of Indigenous people.
Breaking new ground for Indigenous women at the national level, Lowitja became the fulltime chairperson of the National Aboriginal Conference in 1976. Lowitja continued to take on senior leadership roles and positions among prominent agencies in Aboriginal affairs, including Aboriginals Hostels and the Aboriginal Development Commission.
In 1990 Lowitja was appointed the inaugural chairperson of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission. During her six years as Chairperson of ATSIC, Lowitja won universal admiration for her leadership, tenacity and integrity. A highlight was her pivotal role in the tense and complex negotiations which enabled the creation and passing of Prime Minister Keating’s native title legislation.
In 2000, Lowitja played a key advisory role in the lead up to the Sydney Olympic Games as Chairperson of the Sydney Olympic Games National Indigenous Advisory Committee and a member of the Sydney Olympic Games Volunteers Committee. Lowitja also carried the torch through Uluru during the Australian leg of the relay.
Lowitja’s skills, knowledge and experience continue to be highly sought after by the highest levels of government.
In 2008, Prime Minister Rudd sought Lowitja’s counsel in preparation for the historic Apology to the Stolen Generations.
Lowitja’s many successes and work on behalf of her people have been justly recognised by the large number of awards and honours she has received in her career.
To mention just a few: she was appointed a member of the Order of Australia in 1977, won the Advance Australia award in 1982, was named Australian of the Year in 1984 and became a National Living Treasure in 1998.
These awards acknowledge Lowitja’s distinguished leadership in Indigenous affairs, as well as her extraordinary ability to overcome adversity and to break down the barriers.
History will judge Lowitja as one of the great and sustaining forces for the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
- Apprentice of the Year – Danny Sebasio
Apprentice of the Year – Danny Sebasio
Danny Sebasio started with Ergon Energy as an unskilled Power Station Attendant at Hammond Island. After doing relief work on Thursday Island, Danny realised how much he enjoyed working with the tradesmen and that, with the right training, it was something he could also do.
Danny recently completed his apprenticeship with Ergon Energy. He has received a certificate three in Mechanical Engineering as well as multiple certificates for various crucial OH&S training components.
To complete his apprenticeship, Danny travelled from Hammond Island to Thursday Island by dingy five days a week, spending time away from his family during extended training periods.
Further to his apprenticeship, Danny undertook training to become one of six Indigenous mentors across the state working with Ergon Energy.
Danny wants to contribute personally and professionally to the achievement of upcoming apprentices. He is involved in the Careers Market at Tagai State College and contributed to Ergon Energy’s recruitment strategy of Indigenous apprentices and trainees.
Danny is passionate about the effects of power generation on the environment and communities and was drawn to Ergon Energy to make a difference. He is always pushing for the design and use of new, alternative energy sources to create a greener future for all.
Since completing his apprenticeship, Danny has become a fulltime tradesperson on Thursday Island, contributing to the supply of energy to over 8,000 people in the Torres Strait. Danny wants to continue his work in the Strait, offering continuity of service and making a difference.
National NAIDOC 2008 Award Winners
- Person of the year – Colleen Hayward
Person of the year – Colleen Hayward
Associate Professor Colleen Hayward is a senior Noongar woman with family ties throughout the south-west of Western Australia.
For more than 20 years, Colleen has provided high-level input to policies and programs on a wide range of issues affecting Indigenous people, including health, education, training, employment and housing.
Colleen started her working life as a teacher and has maintained an interest in, education and training for more than 30 years. Colleen is the only Indigenous member of the WA State Training Board and brings to it a wealth of policy and management expertise.
Not to mention her exuberant personality! Those who know her personally, describe Colleen as a very confident and passionate Noongar woman fiercely proud of her cultural heritage.
Her story is one of high achievement, resilience and courage. Not even a battle with cancer – which she predictably won – could diminish her output or enthusiasm.
In March 2006, Colleen was awarded the prestigious Premier of Western Australia´s Multicultural Ambassador Award for her commitment to progressing human rights and addressing racism in our community.
Most recently, Colleen was nominated and selected to undertake the Postgraduate Certificate in Cross-sector Partnership at the University of Cambridge in England.
Colleen was also one of the 1000 leading Australians selected to participate in the Prime Minister´s 2020 Summit in Canberra in April 2008.
During the summit, Colleen told ABC Radio: “Our picture for 2020 is a reconciled Australia, built on the foundation of a treaty and constitutional protections that build mutual respect and pride; equality of access to and outcomes from all issues impacting on our lives; recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, languages and unique place in this country, so that our identity and diversity is respected and affirmed into the future.”
It´s a good summary of all that Colleen has fought for in her life.
- Elder of the Year (Male) – Bob Muir
Elder of the Year (Male) – Bob Muir
Leader, speaker, activist, mentor, and innovator – all are titles that can describe Bob Muir, whose deeds in the Central Queensland region over the past two decades have become the stuff of legend.
Born in 1958, Bob Muir is a descendant of the Woppaburra people of the Dharumbal nation.
Since the age of 24, Bob has devoted his life to three major goals:
- the retention of Woppaburra history
- the reclaiming of Crown land for the Woppaburra people and;
- the maintenance of cultural heritage sites.
Bob has been a powerhouse in the Central Queensland community, working with government agencies and higher education institutions to promote awareness of Indigenous cultural heritage and environmental protection issues.
He has mentored, influenced and educated students and young adults through programs instigated by Education Queensland and Greening Australia.
Through his diverse and tireless work, and a readiness to extend the hand of friendship, Bob has won respect and admiration for himself and built bridges between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.
As an admirer observed: “He has inspired others to believe that dreams can come true and, in pursuit of his dreams, he has touched many lives and achieved many things for his people and the Reconciliation process within Queensland and the nation”.
- Elder of the Year (Female) – Carol Petterson
Elder of the Year (Female) – Carol Petterson
Carol Pettersen is a Noongar/Ngadu woman from the south-east coast of Western Australia. She has lived and worked in Albany for most of her life, and is well-known throughout the Noongar nation as a tireless worker for her people.
She has been very active in Indigenous affairs for over 40 years.
Carol was a principal adviser to the Premier of Western Australia on women´s issues, and has been appointed to many state and Commonwealth committees and boards covering issues such as Indigenous health, welfare, education and training.
Carol was a councillor with the local Shire Council of Albany, and such, is the respect she gained during her term, a chamber room in the Council was named after her.
Although officially retired, she is still very involved as a cultural spokesperson working alongside mining companies such as BHP Billiton, advising on long-term economic development and sustainability for traditional owners.
She is very passionate about Aboriginal education and has been chair of the South West Aboriginal Education Committee for over five years. Carol is involved in local primary schools doing cross-cultural workshops and liaising with teachers, parents and students to access the best possible opportunities for Noongar youth.
At Mt Lockyer Primary School, which has a high proportion of Noongar students, Carol has helped to establish an outdoor learning centre encouraging and supporting young people to embrace and be proud of their Aboriginality.
Family has always been an important focus for Carol. She is the third of 18 children and one of 10 girls. Carol says she helped raise her younger siblings from the age of eight and learnt from that early start to become a leader to make do with meagre resources.
Carol has five grown children, 13 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren – “all absolutely adorable” she says, and all imbued with the same family-based values that have guided her life.
A wonderfully gracious lady, Carol is an inspirational leader and role model in the Noongar community and indeed the wider community. She has touched – and continues to touch – many people´s lives.
As one observer commented, if there´s one thing in life Carol has failed at, it´s retirement.
- Artist of the Year – Les Elvin
Artist of the Year – Les Elvin
Les Elvin is an artist and art teacher who lives in Cessnock, NSW. He is a descendant of the Wonnaruah people of the Upper Hunter region in eastern NSW. Les has a deep love for his art and is committed to teaching the Wonnaruah style and techniques that are gradually being lost.
Les grew up on the banks of the Karuah River behind Port Stephens, where his grandfather, William Jonas, taught him about bush tucker. Les´s paintings feature the ´food chain of the bush tucker´ as he calls it. Paintings of echidna, platypus, turtle, stingray, crab and fish abound but also the kangaroo and that other all important ingredient in bush tucker – fire.
He is also an accomplished portrait artist, and has studied the traditions and art styles of other Indigenous nations across Australia.
His art has been recognised and sold internationally, but one of the things that makes Les unique is how he uses his talents. He volunteers at St Heliers Correctional Centre at Muswellbrook, teaching Aboriginal men about their culture and art.
He has organised formal exhibitions of their work, and money raised from selling art is given to their families or put aside for when they are released. His presence has a great effect on the men he teaches, bringing out the best in them and giving them pride in their culture.
Les believes that much of the criminal behaviour among the inmates is because of their loss of cultural identity. He is also a strong advocate against violence, drugs and alcohol abuse.
Les is also well-known for his work at with the Hunter Institute of TAFE as well as Upper Hunter Community Services, working with disadvantaged young people in the creation of numerous murals
Another part of his voluntary work is his leading of men´s groups and teaching art to groups of Aboriginal people in his own studio.
Les has volunteered on information campaigns for health. In 2005, he was commissioned to illustrate the successful book Bush Tucker in Kidney Disease and Diabetes, producing some beautiful paintings. Les now helps deliver messages about kidney disease and staying healthy across Australia.
He has also helped design the architecture of community centres and assisted with developing Aboriginal employment strategies in Karuah, New South Wales.
Committed to his art and also his community, Les is a role model for all Australians.
- Scholar of the Year – Dr Karen Martin
Scholar of the Year – Dr Karen Martin
In 2006, Karen Martin received a doctorate (PhD) from James Cook University for her work creating a research framework based on Aboriginal worldviews, knowledge and beliefs.
Karen has used this framework to show that detailed and useful research can be produced without undermining, belittling or silencing Aboriginal voices, and that researchers can be most effective when they respect Aboriginal perspectives and traditions, instead of treating Aboriginal people as curiosities to be observed
Karen is a Noonucal woman from North Stradbroke Island, and has Bidjara ancestry, from central Queensland. Throughout her life she has maintained a very strong sense of identity with the communities her family comes from, both in Brisbane and Stradbroke Island. She identifies with a tradition of artists, educators, storytellers and healers among her people.
For her PhD, Karen earned the University Medal, putting her in the top five per cent of PhD scholars, as well as making her the only Aboriginal student to have earned this award. It was awarded for the great depth and the wealth of original knowledge she displayed. She went on to earn the Dissertation Award from the Australian Association for Research in Education. Karen´s published research has been cited by both Australian and international writers.
Karen has lectured on Indigenous studies and written on the subject extensively. She has been involved with numerous cultural awareness programs, and assisted with the development of policy direction for Queensland educators.
Karen, 46, now holds the position of Associate Professor of Early Childhood at Southern Cross University, Lismore. She is an expert member of an advisory panel for the Quality Working Group, following an invitation by the Office for Early Childhood. The group will look at quality measures in early childhood services, including preschools and childcare centres Australia-wide.
For the past 15 years, Karen has also been a member of the steering committee of the Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children. In 2003, she was invited to be part of an international Indigenous group to develop guidelines for First Nation Canadians´ early childhood policy in British Columbia.
Karen is committed to building connections internationally, with Native Hawaiians and First Nation Canadians, and expanding the ideas she developed in her PhD.
Her desire is to make changes in how children are schooled, to help them to lead better lives and to embed Aboriginal perspectives in schools.
- Youth of the Year (joint) – Krista Moir and Angeline Blackburn
Youth of the Year – Krista Moir
Krista Moir is a law student at the University of Western Australia in Perth and a remarkable young leader in the community – a high achiever who has devoted her time helping others to achieve.
Krista distinguished herself at high school in Esperance, on the southern coast of WA. She won numerous academic achievement and excellence awards, was named Outstanding Aboriginal Student for five consecutive years between 2003 and 2007, and received the WA Outstanding Female Aboriginal Student Award in 2007.
At high school, Krista was a leader in her local Follow the Dream program, which helps Indigenous students to stay at school and work towards a university entrance. Krista encouraged fellow Indigenous students to remain dedicated to their studies, just as she remained dedicated to hers.
In 2007, Krista was presented the Esperance Shire District Positive Role Model Award. During the year Krista was part of a group that advised the Shire Council on the Esperance foreshore development.
Last year Krista was also awarded the Pride of Australia Medal, for promoting peace, tolerance and understanding in her local community.
She was also selected on the Premier of Western Australia´s ANZAC student tour, travelling to France, Belgium and Turkey and acting as an ambassador for WA. The statewide competition requires academic achievement, an understanding of Australia´s military history, good communication and media skills, a mature personality and a willingness to try new challenges.
Krista also worked with various community organisations in Esperance, including volunteering with senior citizens, assisting in school and community plays, helping out at the local football canteen and serving as secretary of the town´s Fremantle Football Club Supporters Group.
Her achievements in 2007, which culminated in her gaining entry to law studies at university, are made even more remarkable by the fact that Krista missed almost a semester of her final year due to illness.
Krista has demonstrated a maturity and understanding beyond her years, showing not only a strong dedication to her studies, but a willingness to help fellow students and others in the community.
A measure of how much Krista has achieved already is that she has been nominated for inclusion in the 2008 Who´s Who of Western Australia.
Youth of the Year – Angeline Blackburn
One of the emerging stars of Australian athletics, Angeline Blackburn will represent the country in the 2008 World Juniors in Poland, where she is competing in the women´s 400m Event.
It is the second time the 18-year-old has represented Australia, having been previously selected for World Juniors held in China in 2006. She also represented Oceania as part of the Australian Open Women´s Team competing in Greece.
Angeline´s exciting athletic career is being matched by her academic achievements. She has commenced a double degree, studying for a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Arts at the Australian National University in Canberra. To earn her place, she achieved an impressive score of 90 in her ACT Year 12 examinations.
Angeline holds an ACT Sports Scholarship and is a member of the Indigenous Jumpstart to London Talent Squad, a development program which aims to increase the number of Indigenous athletes participating at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Originally from Cann River in Victoria, Angeline has a strong sense of identity – with a deep respect for her family and her Elders – and balances her interests, her family commitments and cultural activities as she achieves her sporting and educational goals.
Along with a string of awards earned while at school, Angeline was a finalist for the ACT NAIDOC Week Student of the Year in 2005. She was also presented with the Pierre De Coubertin Award, in recognition of sporting achievements and demonstration of endeavours consistent with the aims of the Olympic movement. The award was presented to her by the Australian Olympic Committee.
She first won an Australian national athletics title in the under 20s´ 400m while only 15 years old, a title she retained in 2008.
Despite her long list of achievements and the hours spent studying or training, she remains modest.
She has achieved so much already and will no doubt continue to rise as a leader and role model for all Australians.
- Sportsperson of the Year – Stacey Porter
Sportsperson of the Year – Stacey Porter
The stellar career of softball champion Stacey Porter is adorned with a stack of representative honours and awards. Stacey first played representative softball for her hometown, Tamworth. It wasn´t too long before she was representing north-west New South Wales, then the state. In 2002, at the age of 20, she made her senior debut for Australia – becoming the first Indigenous Australian to represent her country in softball.
Fast forward to today-Stacey has now played for her country on 180 occasions, is an Olympic silver medallist and regarded as one of the best batters in the world.
She has captained a number of sporting teams and has shown the way not just through her skill at softball, but by motivating and supporting her teams. Now based in Sydney, Stacey visits her former schools whenever she returns to Tamworth and is an inspiration to the students. Stacey has not been afraid of moving away from home to pursue her dreams and this determination has taken her all over the world.
Satcey has played at the University of Hawaii on a softball scholarship from 2001-2003. She has also played in the professional softball league in Italy.
Throughout her career Stacey has won numerous awards, including Batter of the Series at three consecutive junior nationals (1997 to 1999), Most Valuable Player at the 2000 and 2001 under-19 nationals.
In 2004, Stacey won the NSW Female Softballer of the Year award and trumped that the following year, when she was named Australian Female Softballer of the Year.
Stacey also won a Deadly in 2005 for Indigenous Female Sportsperson of the Year. Throughout her career, she has been both humble and proud to be an Aboriginal sportsperson.
In 1996 softball became an Olympic sport. Stacey was determined to represent Australia on the biggest stage, and she achieved her dream at the Athens Olympics in 2004. Stacey hit the only run against the USA in the Gold Medal Match, helping Australia to a silver medal.
This year, Stacey has been selected for the Beijing Olympics. Stacey has achieved every goal she has set and says her ambition is “to play for as long as I enjoy it and to beat those damn Yanks”.
Stacey´s coach, says Stacey is a powerful international softball player who has many more representative honours ahead of her. “She has great power as a hitter, runs the bases hard and very aggressive in her role as 3rd base. She has a great attitude towards the game and will play a huge role in the Australian women´s team for many years to come.”
- Lifetime Achievement – Archie Roach, Joseph Elu, Chicka Dixon
Lifetime Achievement – Archie Roach
Archie Roach is, quite simply, a legend.
The deep yearning in the voice of the man who told the nation how “they took the children away” is not easily forgotten. Archie´s words and music communicate the stories to his audience in a direct and passionate way which official reports could never hope to achieve.
Life has not always been kind to Archie. Born in Mooroopna, in central Victoria, he spent most of his earliest years at Framlingham Mission, near Warrnambool in the south-west of the state. As a very young child, he was taken away from his family, and placed in an orphanage. Archie spent time on the streets, attempting to relocate his natural family while battling alcoholism and despair.
During this time he met his lifelong partner and musical soul mate, Ruby Hunter. They started a family, and in later years of the marriage, their place became an open house for Aboriginal teenagers living on the streets.
Archie also began to write songs. His music explored his life, his people, and his culture. In 1990 his debut album Charcoal Lane was released to widespread acclaim. The album featured the song Took the Children Away, which documented the forced removal of Aboriginal children from their families. The evocative lyrics touched the heart of a nation, and won for Archie a Human Rights Achievement Award – the first time such an award had been presented to a songwriter.
The album also won two ´Arias´ for Best Indigenous Album and Best New Talent and was named by the prestigious US Rolling Stone magazine as one of the top fifty albums of 1992.
Recently, His 1997 album Looking for Butterboy won Aria Awards for Best Adult Contemporary Adult Release and Best Indigenous Release.
In 2000 Archie won a second Human Rights Achievement Award for his narration of a documentary about the Stolen Generations entitled Land of the Little Kings. He was also a key contributor to the national ´Walking into Doors´ tour and campaign, which set out to raise awareness of the problems on family violence in Aboriginal communities.
Archie describes his new album Journey as “a reaffirmation of identity, country, beliefs, spirit, and how no-one listened to our recommendations on stolen kids, or people dying in jails.”
Archie continues to move audiences, both in Australia and internationally, with his tender and wonderfully-crafted songs about his experiences as an Indigenous man reclaiming his culture and heritage.
A story-teller with the gift of enabling other people to walk in his shoes, Archie Roach stands as an inspiration to all Australians.
Lifetime Achievement – Joseph Elu
Joseph Elu is an inspiration to all Australians, Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike.
His message is one of hope for a sustainable economic future for Indigenous Australians, regardless of whether they are living in an urban environment or a remote community. To Joseph, true reconciliation is based on sustainable Indigenous communities, with vibrant social and economic livelihoods.
Developing closer links with the private sector has been a major theme in Joseph´s work. He has encouraged joint-venturing as a means to gain access to industry expertise. He has relentlessly promoted the idea that “doing business with Indigenous Australians is good business”.
Joseph Elu was born on Thursday Island, in the Torres Strait Islands between the Australian mainland and Papua New Guinea. He was raised in Seisia, a Torres Strait Islander community located on the mainland near the tip of Cape York.
Concerned that many of the Indigenous groups who had won access to traditional lands were still suffering from the debilitating effects of poverty and poor levels of educational achievement, Joseph sought radical changes to the way in which support was provided to Indigenous communities. His firm view was that participation in the mainstream economy and strong local leadership were just as important as gaining recognition of prior ownership of traditional lands.
As Joseph was growing up, his community of Seisia and the surrounding regions were designated as reserves, without industry of any kind. In 1987, he returned to Seisia and demonstrated his leadership qualities by developing the community as a popular destination for anglers and tourists, injecting $10 million into the local economy each year.
Joseph´s influential leadership as Chairman of Indigenous Business Australia has been a focal point in his career. He has revitalised the organisation, building consolidated net assets from $58 million to $721 million, and creating many employment opportunities for Indigenous Australians.
He has advised governments of many political persuasions at the national and state levels, and represented Australia in international forums.
Joseph has earned widespread recognition for his achievements. He was awarded the Centenary Medal in 2001 and then presented with an Honorary Doctorate from Queensland University of Technology in 2002 for his work in economic development for Indigenous Australians. In 2008 he was made an Officer of the Order of Australia.
Joseph is passionate about Indigenous economic development, dedicating his life to representing the needs of his people in a range a local, state and national bodies. Through his leadership, he has encouraged participation in the mainstream economy, and developed practical measures to improve the lives of Indigenous Australians.
Joseph Elu is a tireless supporter of the economic empowerment of Indigenous Australians, equipping them to be self sufficient, and to escape reliance on social welfare.
By any measure, he is a worthy recipient of this award.
Lifetime Achievement – Chicka Dixon
Chicka Dixon has devoted his life to fighting for the rights of Indigenous Australians. Wharfie, unionist and humanitarian, Chika Dixon has made a great contribution to building a better Australia.
Born in 1928 on the south coast of New South Wales, Chicka was raised on the Aboriginal mission at Wallaga Lake. At 14, he started work as a casual labourer on the Port Kembla waterfront. For twenty-one years he was employed as a seasonal worker and as a builders labourer, before becoming a stevedore and organiser for the Waterside Workers Union. His time on the waterfront would leave him with the dreadful legacy of asbestosis, a diagnosis made on his 70th birthday.
Waterfront strikes sparked Chicka´s interest in politics, and provided him with a solid and practical political education.
During his early years Chicka fought – and won – a battle with alcohol, renouncing the drink for good in April 1959. The following year he became involved with the Federal Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders, where he contributed to the groundwork for the triumph of the 1967 referendum.
In the early 1970s, Chicka was a foundation member of both the NSW Aboriginal Legal Service and the Aboriginal Medical Service. These crucial organisations are still in operation today, and have provided the model for the establishment of many similar Aboriginal services around Australia.
Chicka was also involved with the establishment of the Tent Embassy in Canberra on 26 January 1972. In the same year he led the first Aboriginal Delegation to the People´s Republic of China in a mission to highlight Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues internationally.
In 1973, Chicka was an original member of the Aboriginal Arts Board and was the first Indigenous appointee to the Australia Council. Two years later, he was the inaugural recipient of the Aboriginal Overseas Study Award. He visited the United States and Canada to conduct research into the penal systems and to examine drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs which had been designed for Indigenous peoples.
In 2006, Chicka was awarded Honorary Doctorates from three different Sydney universities, acknowledging his contribution to the struggle for human rights for Aboriginal people and for the recognition of their culture and history.
´Chicka´ Dixon has been a mighty and long-serving warrior in the battle for Indigenous justice. His achievements stand as an inspiration to those across the country who continue the battle, and the generations to come.
- Apprentice of the Year – Amy McQuire
Apprentice of the Year – Amy McQuire
At 17, Amy McQuire´s flair for writing was strong enough that the National Indigenous Times newspaper convinced her to move from Rockhampton to Canberra to work full-time as a journalist. As a cadet journalist, it would have been standard for Amy to complete her cadetship in three years. Amy will complete it in two years, and her work with the National Indigenous Times has been anything but average.
At 18, Amy became the youngest member of the Canberra parliamentary press gallery, and the gallery´s only Aboriginal reporter. Over the same period, she began taking on the task of laying out the front of the newspaper, a skill that normally requires about ten years´ experience. In addition to a fortnightly column titled Blackcurrent, she has written several feature articles, including her first when she had been working at the paper for a little over a year.
Now 19, Amy has been invited to apply for a Myer Foundation Fellowship for a study tour of Indonesia with other journalists. One of the criteria for the fellowship is five years´ experience; however, because of Amy´s talent, they have made an exception.
With an Aboriginal and South Sea Islander heritage, she is devoted to issues of social justice for Indigenous people. She has written on a wide range of contemporary and historical subjects, from the death in custody of Mulrunji Doomadgee, to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, the stolen wages of Indigenous workers and the blackbirding of South Sea Islanders. Amy already has been interviewed many times on Indigenous and community radio stations about her work.
Amy is also deeply interested in international Indigenous issues, and proposed that the National Indigenous Times should introduce a world news page. She now writes and designs the world news page every fortnight.
She is a dedicated worker, and is completing a double degree in journalism and international relations while still working fulltime at the paper.
Her editor at the National Indigenous Times, calls Amy “quite simply, the most outstanding apprentice journalist I have seen in 20 years in the media”.
National NAIDOC 2007 Award Winners
- Person of the Year – Mark Bin Bakar
Person of the Year – Mark Bin Bakar
Known to many as Mary G, Mark Bin Bakar has dedicated much of his adult life to increasing cultural understanding amongst Australians. In the pursuit of reconciliation, he works tirelessly to provide Australians with an insight into our Indigenous culture.
Mark has created many opportunities for Indigenous musicians. Twenty years ago, he established one of the most successful Indigenous music schools in Australia, Abmusic. He was also the creator and coordinator of the Stompem Ground festivals showcasing Indigenous music.
As ´Queen of the Kimberly´, he raises awareness of social issues facing Indigenous people. Beginning as an improvised character, Mary G has developed into a national phenomenon. Her unique approach earnt Mark two Deadly Awards for Broadcaster of the Year.
As a board member of the Australian Film, Television and Radio School, Mark is involved in the Stolen Generation Oral History project. He aims to change the way Australian history is taught in the classroom by recording and sharing the stories of Aboriginal Elders.
Being the founder and Chair of the Kimberly Stolen Generation Aboriginal Committee, the Stolen Generation Oral History Project is close to Mark´s heart.
For his creative approach to reconciliation and his commitment to preserving and promoting elements of our culture and history, Mark Bin Bakar is the 2007 National NAIDOC Person of the Year.
- Elder of the Year (Dual recipients) (Male)- Boyd Scully and Jim Hagan (Snr)
Elder of the Year (Male) – Boyd Scully
He was once the Australian Junior Welterweight Boxing Champion and although Boyd Scully´s days inside the ring are long gone, his involvement with boxing continues. A local hero, he continues to be an inspirational leader for many young people.
Boyd has dedicated much of his time to giving back to young Indigenous people, holding coaching clinics for many at-risk kids in Indigenous communities throughout Australia.
He enthusiastically led teams to the Olympics, the Arafura and Oceania Games and was actively involved in the boxing program at the Melbourne Commonwealth games.
In 2000, Boyd received an Australian Sports Medal for Sporting Achievement.
He was the first Indigenous person elected to the board of Boxing Australia, and is the President of Boxing NT, a position he has held for ten years.
He´s played an important role in the coordination of many events including the Arafura Games and the Australian Boxing Titles.
Boyd´s efforts for charity have been many, including raising funds for the Tsunami Appeal and the Royal Darwin Hospital.
For his unwavering commitment to young Indigenous people, and the strong leadership he has shown within his own community, Boyd Scully is the joint winner of the 2007 National NAIDOC Male Elder of the Year.
Elder of the Year (Male) – Jim Hagan (Snr)
Jim Hagan´s dedication to raising awareness of the struggle for Aboriginal rights and his work to eliminate racism in Australian politics is nothing short of revolutionary.
Jim´s political career began as he secured a position on the National Aboriginal Consultative Committee. He was later elected as Chairperson of its successor, the National Aboriginal Conference (or the NAC). As Chairperson, he led the first NAC delegation to meet with Cabinet in Parliament House.
Jim was the first Indigenous Australian to address the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva. This historic address launched the Nookanbah debate onto an international stage and publicised the continued political struggle for Aboriginal rights in Australia.
Jim was also involved with the Aboriginal Development Commission for sixteen years.
His influence on Australian politics continues today. This year Jim joined other Indigenous leaders in Canberra to discuss the issues faced by Indigenous people. He also remains an advisor to the Queensland Minister for Indigenous Affairs.
He is the current chairman of the Toowoomba Council of Elders and the Kullilli Traditional Owners Committee. He is also an active member of a community taskforce addressing Indigenous disadvantage in Toowoomba.
For his continued commitment to bettering the lives of Indigenous Australians by working to alleviate racism, Jim Hagan is the 2007 joint winner of the National NAIDOC Male Elder of the Year.
- Elder of the Year (Female) – Dr Ruby Langford Ginibi
Elder of the Year (Female) – Dr Ruby Langford Ginibi
Dr Ruby Langford Ginibi is a remarkable woman whose sense of humour has endured through the hardships she has experienced. A brilliant storyteller, her honest and often humorous accounts of her own life and those of others has made her one of the Australia´s most celebrated writers.
Don´t Take Your Love to Town was the powerful memoir that cast her as one of Australian literature´s great survivors. It also earned her a Human Rights Award for Literature in 1988.
Her poetry and other books, including: Real Deadly, My Bundjalung People, Haunted by the Past and more recently All My Mob, have changed the face of autobiographical writing in Australia.
In 2005, Ruby received the Writers Emeritus Award, the highest honour in Australian literature. She also received History Fellowships from the Ministry of the Arts and the National Museum of Australia and an honorary doctorate from La Trobe University.
Ruby is a historian and lecturer on Aboriginal history, culture and politics. Much of her writing is also studied in schools and Universities across Australia.
Ruby Langford-Ginibi is an icon of survival and strength for Aboriginal people.
For her courage in sharing her experiences, knowledge and spirituality, Dr Ruby Langford Ginibi is the 2007 National NAIDOC Female Elder of the Year.
- Artist of the Year – Leah Purcell
Artist of the Year – Leah Purcell
Leah Purcell is one of Australia´s most established and admired performing artists. Leah draws on her own life experiences and culture to inspire her performances both on and off the stage.
Leah has wowed the critics and captured the imagination of audiences around the world. Leah has performed in many moving productions including Box the Pony, Black Chicks Talking, the Vagina Monologues, Parramatta Girls and Bran Nue Dae.
During her career, Leah has portrayed a diverse range of characters from Condoleezza Rice in Stuff Happens to her impressive roles in The Proposition, Jindabyne, Somersault and the multi-award winning Lantana.
Leah has received many awards for her work as a performing artist and as a writer including the esteemed Bob Maza Fellowship award, the Australian Film Industry awards and a Deadly in 2005 for Best Actor.
In 2004, Leah was awarded the Eisenhower Fellowship. Her reputation has helped her promote cultural understanding and raise awareness of issues such as Indigenous health and education.
Leah´s Black Chicks Talking is a multi-faceted exploration into the lives of several successful Indigenous women. The documentary earnt Leah an Independent Film Award for Best Documentary and was the audience´s choice at the Brisbane International Film Festival.
As the Artistic Director of Brisbane´s Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts, Leah will continue to provide inspiration and guidance for aspiring Aboriginal performing artists.
In 2007, Leah urged action towards Reconciliation when she became the face of the Reconciliation Australia campaign.
For her commitment to the Arts, her cultural activism and most importantly, her ability to inspire others, Leah Purcell is awarded the 2007 National NAIDOC Artist of the Year.
- Scholar of the Year – Dr Yin Carl Paradies
Scholar of the Year – Dr Yin Carl Paradies
Dr Yin Paradies is an internationally recognised Indigenous health researcher. His leadership in this field will have a revolutionary impact on the health of Indigenous populations around the world.
Yin´s research examines the links between racism and Indigenous health. His research suggests that improving social justice for Indigenous Australians could improve Indigenous health.
This research is currently in contention for three major prizes.
He was the first Indigenous Australian to gain a Master of Medical Statistics and to receive a Master of Public Health. He received a range of awards for his work including: the American-Australian Fulbright Postgraduate Award and the Territory´s Young Achiever of the Year Award.
He received scholarships from the National Health and Medical Research Council and the Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal and Tropical Health.
Graduating from the esteemed Queen´s Trust for Young Australian Indigenous Future Leaders´ Program, he is an inspiration to young Indigenous students. He is a mentor for many Indigenous students interested in pursuing a career in health.
In the future, Yin hopes to further this critical research and aims to apply his findings into anti-racism intervention programs.
For his pioneering study into Indigenous health, his dedication to his own studies, and his ability to inspire other students, Dr Yin Carl Paradies is the 2007 National NAIDOC Scholar of the Year.
- Youth of the Year – Simone Liddy
Youth of the Year – Simone Liddy
At just 20 years of age, Simone Liddy has achieved excellence in a variety of pursuits and has become an inspiration for Indigenous youth.
During high-school Simone received the Territory´s Indigenous Student of the Year Award and was placed at the top of all Indigenous graduating students. In 2003, she also represented the Territory at the Future Leaders Forum.
She is studying towards a Bachelor of Pharmacy as she wishes to assist in improving the health of the Territory´s Indigenous population. She was selected as the recipient of a Cadetship with the Territory Department of Health.
Currently in her third year of tertiary study, she is a mentor, offering support and academic assistance for other Indigenous students at the University. A commitment she will honour even after she completes her own studies
As a keen hockey-player, Simone secured a scholarship with the Territory Institute of Sport. Simone is a valued member of the NT Pearls, competing in one of the world´s most competitive national leagues. Simone also provides coaching support to aspiring hockey players.
For her ability to achieve excellence in a variety of pursuits and her willingness to assist other young people reach their own potential, Simone Liddy is the 2007 National NAIDOC Youth of the Year.
- Sportsperson of the Year – Robert Crowther
Sportsperson of the Year – Robert Crowther
Robert Crowther´s inspirational performance on and off the track has earnt him a place as a positive role model for young Australians.
Hailing from Bowen in North Queensland, Robert made history as the first Indigenous athlete to win gold at the World Junior Athletics Championships where he shattered the national junior long jump record.
At just nineteen years of age, He is already recognised as a world class athlete. Currently training to represent Australia at the Beijing Olympics and the World Athletics Titles, Robert also hopes to compete at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
After receiving a scholarship at the Australian Institute of Sport he was announced as the AIS Sports Star of the Year and won the AIS Junior Sportsperson of the Year for 2007.
He is involved with the AIS Indigenous Sports Program aimed at encouraging Indigenous participation in sporting activities. Through this program, he motivates, encourages and supports many aspiring Indigenous athletes.
For his achievement in sport and his commitment to help other Indigenous athletes reach their potential, Robert Crowther is the 2007 National NAIDOC Sportsperson of the Year.
- Lifetime Achievement – John (Jak) Ah Kit
Lifetime Achievement – John (Jak) Ah Kit
John Ah Kit, or ´Jak´ as he is affectionately known, is one of the driving forces behind Indigenous politics in Australia. His career and indeed his life, has been the source of inspiration for many of today´s Indigenous leaders.
Born the 5th of 13 children, Jak grew up in Parap Camp, a former army camp and refuge for Aboriginal families in Darwin. He commenced his working life delivering parcels for Woolworths.
At 21, he attended his first NAIDOC march in Alice Springs. It was there he met some of Australia´s most significant Aboriginal leaders including Kwementyaye Perkins, who inspired his interest in politics and sparked his desire to make a real difference for his people.
Completing studies in Community Development, he commenced work with the Department of Social Security. That year, he also became the President of the Kalano Community Association.
In 1983, Jak was elected as a Board member of the Northern Land Council. The following year he was appointed as the Director of the same Council, a position he held for six years. Today, the land councils have won back almost half of the Territory land for traditional Aboriginal land owners.
In 1991, he was appointed the Executive Director of the Jawoyn Association, establishing the foundation of what is today one of the most successful Aboriginal organisations in the country. He played an important role in the Jawoyn delegation that won the battle to prevent the mining of Coronation Hill. Jak maintains his involvement with the Jawoyn Association to this day.
1995 saw Jak begin his ten years in Parliament when he successfully contested the seat of Arnhem. He soon became the territory´s first Aboriginal Minister.
His political portfolio was impressive. He was the Territory Minister for Community Development, Housing, Local Government, Sport and Recreation and Regional Development. He was also the Minister assisting the Chief Minister on Indigenous Affairs.
Jak´s decade in parliament was one of great achievement. He often battled for and scored victories on behalf of Indigenous Australians and Territorians. He is considered an inspiration for new generations of Indigenous leadership.
Jak retired from politics in 2005 to assist with the management of the Jawoyn Association. He is the current Chairman of the both Nitmiluk National Park Board of Management and Nitmiluk Tours.
He maintains a strong association with NAIDOC and has been involved in the coordination of NAIDOC events since his first march thirty six years ago.
To be able to reflect on such a lifetime of achievement is exceptional.
For his enduring political commitment to improve the lives of others, for the humble manner in which he did so and for his legacy that remains, Jak Ah Kit is presented with the 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award.
- Apprentice of the Year – Hamid Bin Saad
Apprentice of the Year – Hamid Bin Saad
Hamid Bin-Saad demonstrates a genuine commitment to developing his skills as a plumber and has established himself as a leader and a source of encouragement for other apprentices.
Hamid´s commitment to his apprenticeship earnt him several industry awards including: the Outstanding Apprentice of the Year, the Outstanding Plumbing Apprentice of the Year and the Industry Encouragement Award.
He received the Plumbing Apprentice DUX of the year, and in 2002 was announced as Western Australia´s Indigenous Student of the Year.
The Master Builder´s Association identified Hamid´s potential as a role-model for young people when they selected him as a spokesperson to encourage young people to undertake apprenticeships.
In the workplace, he provides support, leadership and encouragement for fellow apprentices and has been largely responsible for their onsite training.
As a recent recipient of a Trade Certificate in plumbing, Hamid is working towards obtaining his plumbing licence so he can one day own his own plumbing business to employ other Indigenous tradesmen.
For his demonstrated excellence during his training and the enthusiastic manner in which he assists and inspires other apprentices, Hamid Bin-Saad is the 2007 National NAIDOC Apprentice of the Year.
National NAIDOC 2006 Award Winners
- Person of the Year – Stephen Hagan (Jnr)
Person of the Year – Stephen Hagan (Jnr)
Stephen lives in Toowoomba and is an internationally renowned academic, author, publisher and political advocate.
Stephen Hagan is a talented author who recently published a book called “The N Word” One Man Stand” that won the Deadly Award for Outstanding Achievement in Indigenous Literature in October 2005.
He has also recently written a book titled “Australia´s Blackest Sporting Moments: The Top 100‰, which he published under his new publishing house, Ngalga Warralu (Talking to Strangers) Publishing.
Stephen is currently principal columnist for the Koori Mail, writing on contemporary Indigenous issues every fortnight under Hagan´s View. He speaks regularly on Indigenous radio programs including SBS radio, Radio National, the National Indigenous Radio Network and CAAMA radio.
He was the focus of an ABC TV Message Stick documentary in November 2005, which was repeated as it was received so well. Stephen has since won a contract with the Australian Film Commission to do a follow up documentary titled: “Nigger Lovers ” A documentary of Injustice that will follow Stephen´s legal and political campaign.
He has spoken at several national and international education and racism conferences, and holds an academic position teaching Indigenous studies at the University of Southern Queensland.
This year he will publish his first children´s book, “Melly and the Bilby”, as well as his first feature book “Traditional Love Child”.
- Elder of the Year (Male) – Vince Ross
Elder of the Year (Male) – Vince Ross
Vince began from very humble beginnings, having ´no home´ other than living on the banks of the Murrimbidgee River.
Vince is now the State Director of the Victorian-Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress. He had a vision of an Aboriginal Cultural centre in Geelong, which he saw to fruition with the establishment of Narana Creations, a centre which teaches all aspects of Indigenous culture.
Narana Creations has won three Victorian Tourism awards, including a life-time achievement award. It passes on valuable cultural practices and provides traineeships and pre-employment training to Indigenous people in hospitality and administration.
An average of 300 children passes through their cultural education program in any given week.
Vince has mentored people into leadership roles and established the “Rescue Our Youth” strategy, where an Aboriginal elder is employed to visit young Indigenous people who are in trouble with the law, and supports them through the legal process.
Vince is currently working on his next vision of constructing multi-purpose buildings that will, amongst other things, provide short term accommodation for homeless Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
- Elder of the Year (Female) – Judy Tatow
Elder of the Year (Female) – Judy Tatow
Aunty Judy comes from Rockhampton, and has worked within her community for the past 30 years.
Judy has a commitment to Indigenous people and education, helping to establish the Tarumbal Kindergarten and Preschool. To this day she encourages both young and old to learn the rich and varied history of their ancestors.
For many years she has collected donations of food and delivered it to families in need. She has spent many long hours and weekends helping the plight of the homeless.
Judy has built up a strong relationship with the Rockhampton Base Hospital where she acts as a support officer for Indigenous patients experiencing difficulties being separated from family and community. She is on call 24 hours a day for crisis work within the Indigenous community, above and beyond her normal duties.
She has counselled and provided support for those people whose lives have been touched by cancer, and is a frequent speaker on cancer related topics. Her dedication to the prevention of suicide led her to becoming involved in the production of a suicide prevention video, “Shame, you are not alone”.
She continues to be a mentor to many Indigenous people and a role model to the wider community.
- Artist of the Year – Warren H Williams
Artist of the Year – Warren H Williams
Warren comes from Alice Springs and is a songwriter, recording artist and talented multi-instrumentalist who is fast becoming one of the biggest names in the country music scene. Warren first started playing guitar at the tender age of six, playing alongside his father, the legendary Gus Williams.
Warren recorded an album, Western Winds, in 1995 with some of the Northern Territory´s top musicians, and followed this up with a second album, Country Friends and Me in 1998, which featured duets with some of the Australia´s top country music singers.
He spent the next three years touring with country music greats, John Williamson and Pixie Jenkins. The trio received a standing ovation when performing at the Tamworth festival in 1998, and went on to perform at numerous country music festivals and events.
He recorded a third album, Where My Heart Is, in 2001 and also recorded a live album with John and Pixie, Mates on the Road, which was released in 2004. That same year he won “Male Artist of the Year 2004″ at the Inaugural Northern Territory Indigenous Music Awards.
Warren recently released a fourth album, Be Like Home, in 2005 which won him “Most Popular Song 2005″ for the all time favourite track, Dreamtime Baby, at the NT Indigenous Music Awards.
Warren continues to be a prolific songwriter and musician, a regular DJ on CAAMA radio, and an active supporter of country music in Australia.
- Scholar of the Year – Dr Chris Sara
Scholar of the Year – Dr Chris Sara
Chris comes from Cherbourg and has deservedly won numerous awards for his tireless efforts to improve conditions for Aboriginal school students. His accolades include the Australian of the Year, the Regional Local Hero Award for Queensland, and he was named in the Bulletin´s Smartest 100 people in Australia, which saw him recognised as one of the top 10 educators in the country.
But it is for his achievements, however, that we honour Chris today. Chris was the first Aboriginal principal of Cherbourg State School, in Queensland. School attendance, community involvement, literacy and numeracy rates were drastically low. Chris realised that he had to motivate the children to want to learn but he had to have curriculum that would also teach them to be “strong and smart”.
Chris´s phrase, “strong and smart”, has become a philosophy based around the core concept of Aboriginal Identity as a positive life force underpinning successful educational and social practices. It has inspired Indigenous school children and teachers to learn to develop higher self esteem and have higher expectations of themselves. He has lead by example – he has completed a doctorate in psychology recently at Murdoch University, thus being himself a model of academic excellence for others to follow.
Chris has the aim of developing and nurturing more Indigenous leaders, particularly principals in remote, regional, and urban schools with large Indigenous populations.
Chris inspired many young Aboriginal students to be enthusiastic about learning and to attain higher academic outcomes. Their future is bright because they know that success is very attainable and that they can be strong and smart Australians.
- Youth of the Year – Jo-Anne D´Cress
Youth of the Year – Jo-Anne D´Cress
Jo-Anne is a very popular member of the West Australian community, making outstanding contributions to help improve and empower Indigenous people, particularly young people, through her active involvement in community services.
She was invited to a private reception with the Western Australian Premier and the Queen in 2000, and during that same year won several awards including West Australian Youth of the Year, Young Citizen of the Year, and the West Australian Young Australian of the Year Community Service Award.
During Jo-Anne´s recent scholarship at the Drug and Alcohol Office in WA, she developed a booklet to support and assist Indigenous people and communities on dealing with alcohol and liquor licensing issues. The booklet is currently being produced by the Drug and Alcohol Office for distribution.
Jo-Anne is a member of the 2005 – 06 National Indigenous Youth Leadership group. She is one of only 17 Indigenous youth who are consulted directly by the Australian Government about their perspectives on Indigenous issues.
- Sportsperson of the Year – Patrick Mills
Sportsperson of the Year – Patrick Mills
Patrick lives in Canberra and is currently in his second year as a full time basketball scholarship holder at the Australian Institute of Sport.
Patrick was recently selected to join the Australian Boomers training squad for the FIBA World Championships to be held in Japan in August. His selection is a remarkable achievement for someone who is only 17 years of age.
Patrick is a member of the Australian Emus team that will contest the Under 19 World Championships in 2007. He has even travelled to the USA earlier this year to play as the starting point-guard for a world team against America´s top high school team at the Nike World Hoops Summit.
Whilst at the Nike World Hoops Summit, Patrick had a chance to meet his hero, and fellow countryman, national team centre, Andrew Bogut.
Patrick has shown great leadership in his sport and will no doubt be a role model for other young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids who aspire to play sport for their country.
- Lifetime Achievement – Elizabeth Morgan Hoffman
Lifetime Achievement – Elizabeth Morgan Hoffman
Elizabeth has won this award due to her lifelong empowerment of her people, the Yorta Yorta nation, by being an inspiration to other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to turn their vision into a reality, despite the racism and disadvantage she experienced. She has shown the way to foster strength and avoid excuses by achieving what before was thought could not be done.
Aunty Elizabeth´s achievements have been many and varied‚ starting out with a year´s apprenticeship for FCATSIA in 1972. Moving forward, she was a member of the National Council of Aboriginal Women from 1972-76, a Board Member and actor in the Nindathanan Theatre from 1973-75, a Chairperson and Director of the Aboriginal Advancement League from 1973- 1983 and spent a long and productive time on the Aboriginal Development Commission from the late 1970´s until 1985.
And more was to come Aunty Elizabeth continued to inspire and support self determination, and her passion is the safety, protection, and empowerment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children:
- she was the inaugural Chairperson of the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency in 1978, and
- she was the inaugural Chairperson in 1982 of the Elizabeth Hoffmann House the first Aboriginal Women’s refuge in Australia.
Aunty Elizabeth has also been instrumental in the land rights struggle and in the protection and maintenance of her culture and environment:
- she was the Founding member of the Yorta Yorta Local Aboriginal Land Council, and
- she was the first elected rep to the NSW State Land Council for the Murray River Region from 1984-86, and
- she was the inaugural chairperson for the Yorta Yorta Murray Goulburn Rivers Clans group from 1993-98.
Aunty Elizabeth, then, has deservedly gained our respect for the hard work she has put into exposing the plight of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people especially at a time when their issues were not being heard. We must never forget the difficulties and hurdles that Aunty Liz went through and her leadership as a strong black woman. If it weren´t for leaders like Aunty Liz who constantly challenge governments and communicate openly about domestic violence, child protection, land rights, and cultural and environmental heritage, we would not exist today.
National NAIDOC 2005 Award Winners
- Person of the Year (dual winners) – Cheryl Buchanan and Rodney Dillon
Person of the Year – Cheryl Buchanan
The winner of the female Person of the Year is one of the founding members of many Queensland Aboriginal organisations, Cheryl Buchanan.
Cheryl Buchanan she has been an author, editor, speaker, director, business-person, political activist, teacher, lecturer and negotiator as well as a mother and grandmother.
She was the founding member of numerous Queensland Aboriginal organisations, including the Aboriginal Legal, Medical and Childcare Centre in Brisbane, Black Community School, Black Resource Centre, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Womens Legal and Advocacy Service.
She was the first Aboriginal woman publisher and an acclaimed playwright and author, with many published and performed works and that is why her family describe her as an educator, and a walking history book with cultural integrity.
She has lectured throughout Australia and was a trail-blazer for women´s rights, especially Indigenous women´s rights.
During the 70´s she organised hundreds of marches for causes she believed in, including trade unionism, gay and lesbian and nuclear free groups anyone who was fighting for justice would find Cheryl Buchanan would lend a hand.
The work she has been involved in has created thousands of jobs for Indigenous people. She has established two businesses: Murrie Coo-ee Publishing and Editing Service for Aboriginal Authors and Jagera Jarjum Aboriginal Dance Group.
In 2003, she was awarded the Centenary Medal from the Commonwealth of Australia for Distinguished service to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Communities of Australia.
She is presently the Chairperson of the Kooma Traditional Owners Association and has a new goal of establishing a Cultural and Education and Research Centre on Kooma land, so that young people and old can practice traditional ways.
Person of the Year – Rodney Dillon
The winner of the NAIDOC male Person of the Year is Rodney Dillon from Tasmania.
A former ATSIC Commissioner, his most prominent role in recent times has been in the repatriation of Indigenous remains from overseas. Mr Dillon is a Tasmanian Aborigine (Palawa).
Rodney Dillon was involved in consultations with the British Government and was instrumental in changes to the British policies involved in repatriation. He successfully negotiated with the British Natural History Museum, the Royal College of Surgeons, Horniman Museum and Cambridge University. Those negotiations have led to the return of many remains back to their country.
As ATSIC Commissioner, his other achievements including pushing for the continuing presence of the Tent Embassy and undertaking various reviews of fishing rights around the country.
He is currently involved in a court case to achieve fishing rights for all Tasmanian Aboriginal people. Despite being fined thousands of dollar for poaching ” he continues his fight for cultural fishing rights.
He also has a strong commitment to the Aboriginal community, helping those in need or down on their luck. Rodney Dillon regularly visits Aboriginal inmates, especially those who do not have regular visitors and those who are ill in hospital.
Among his favourite achievements is the purchase of a sheep station on Bruny Island for the Aboriginal people of Tasmania.
- Elder of the Year (Male) – Albert Holt
Elder of the Year (Male) – Albert Holt
Albert Holt is a Queensland man who was instrumental in establishing the first Murri Court in Queensland and who continues to fight to reduce the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who come into contact with the criminal justice system, including prison.
Albert Holt from Inala is a staunch supporter of Indigenous people and their rights.
A respected Elder, he has worked as a Police Liaison Officer, visits schools to speak about culture and has published his personal story in a book called Forcibly Removed.
He consistently demonstrates excellence and a strong commitment to his people by assisting the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Learning and Engagement Centre with its´ work.
He is committed to helping ensure attendance and literacy rates are increased, so that the workforce and leadership potential of Indigenous people is fully realised.
He is regularly asked to perform welcome to country addresses and to speak about culture and Reconciliation. Like so many others of his generation, he works hard for the betterment of his people, yet he seems to go that extra mile, always available to listen, and always available to give of himself.
- Elder of the Year (Female) – Mary Jane Ware
Elder of the Year (Female) – Mary Jane Ware
This year´s female Elder of the Year goes to an outstanding woman who has made an extraordinary contribution to the people living in her community of Port Lincoln in South Australia.
Mary Jane Ware is affectionately known throughout SA as Nanna Mary and is widely regarded as a woman who freely and willingly gives her time to assist her community.
She is the coordinator of the Art and Craft Program at the Port Lincoln Aboriginal Council and as such has made an enormous positive contribution to the community.
She is actively involved in the arts, producing quality artwork of her own, using innovative ideas that she is happy to share with other artists. The National Museum of Australia recently acquired a piece of her work.
A keen volunteer, Mary often works on community arts projects, encouraging younger artists to join in.
She also works part time at the local Primary schools, encouraging and supporting young people to embrace and be proud of their Aboriginality through art, craft and dance.
She has been involved in Croc Fests and local NAIDOC Week celebrations.
Mary Ware recently gained her Masters of Education in Aboriginal Education. She has five daughters and several grandchildren. She has also been a foster parent to many children.
She is a positive role model and demonstrates leadership in the Aboriginal community and an inspiration to youth.
- Artist of the Year – Kerrianne Cox
Artist of the Year – Kerrianne Cox
The winner of the 2005 NAIDOC Artist of the Year is Kerrianne Cox, an internationally renowned independent Aboriginal performing artist.
She is best known for her signature song Beagle Bay Dreaming, a song that brought her beloved home and country into the hearts and minds of people all over the world.
In 1996, at just 22 she won the Next Big Thing Competition, followed in 1997 with the Western Australian Music Industry Award for Best Indigenous Artist and in 2000 NAIDOC´s Female Artist of the Year.
In 2001 she received the Deadly Vibe Female Artist award and in 2003 the Australian Live Music Awards Songlines Indigenous Award.
She was awarded in 2003, the Centenary Medal by the Australian Government for service to her country.
She has an impressive string of performance credits including:
- Message Stick Sorry Day Concert at Sydney Opera House
- Womadelaide 2003
- Bran Nue Dae, Broome Caberet production
- Sydney Survival Concert ’97
- Perth Artrage ’98
- Corroborree 2000
- Sydney Mardi Gras 2002
- Western Australia International Music Conference 2003
From 2000 to 2003 she toured the United States, Canada and South Africa.
Kerrianne Cox is more than an artist, she regularly conducts song writing workshops which heal, inspire and uplift. She is a catalyst for change and a fine leader. In 2004 she was elected leader of the Beagle Bay Community.
She has released two CD´s and a third about ´going back to country´ is to be released this year.
- Scholar of the Year – Simon Forrest
Scholar of the Year – Simon Forrest
A teacher from Western Australia is the recipient of the 2005 NAIDOC Scholar of the Year award.
Simon Forrest is a Nyungar-Yamaji man and a committed and dedicated educator who strives to make a difference for Aboriginal people in Western Australia and in particular the Mid-west region.
He has been involved in education in Western Australia and nationally for over 20 years working in remote Aboriginal schools, urban and country schools throughout the State. He has also taught at Fremantle Prison and lectured at Edith Cowan University where he is now an Associated Professor.
Mr Forrest is currently undertaking his PhD at James Cook University in Queensland. His thesis is: An investigation into the incorporation of Indigenous Knowledge in the Curriculum Framework for Western Australian Schools.
He is the convenor of a small group of educators who are seeking to improve the educational outcomes for Indigenous students and their communities. They are striving to develop a unique concept of community and lifelong learning.
Currently he is employed by the Western Australian Department of Education and Training, as the Manager of Aboriginal Education for the Midwest region.
He lectures part time at Curtin University and is the mentor for the Follow the Dream program run by the Department of Education and Training. The program focuses on supporting students who have the potential to achieve by completing school to Year 12.
- Youth of the Year – Joleen Ryan
Youth of the Year – Joleen Ryan
Joleen Ryan is a 22 year old Aboriginal woman from Newcombe in Victoria. A published author and fourth year Arts student at Deakin University.
Ms Ryan already has an impressive string of achievements to her name. In April this year she was honoured by the Victorian Government, receiving its Koori Young Achiever Award the Ricci Marks Award. The award recognises the contribution and achievements made by Victorian Indigenous people aged between 15 and 25.
Based in Geelong, Ms Ryan is the first Aboriginal person to be elected President of the Deakin University Student Association.
In 1993 she co-wrote a book titled Urgent which focuses on Indigenous health issues and received the Youth Health Award from the Australian Medical Association in 2004.
She was a member of the first National Indigenous Leadership Group from 2001 2002 and was the youth representative on the Victorian Indigenous Family Violence Taskforce from 2001 – 2003.
Ms Ryan is undergoing a cadetship with the Commonwealth Department of Family and Community Services (FaCS) while she is completing her studies.
When she isn´t studying or working, Ms Ryan is involved in a wide range of community activities, making a difference to her community. She is actively involved in mentoring young Indigenous students, encouraging them to continue their education so that they can have positive futures. Ms Ryan is an outstanding positive role model to Indigenous young people.
- Sportsperson of the Year – Pam Pedersen
Sportsperson of the Year – Pam Pedersen
This year´s NAIDOC Sportsperson of the Year sets an outstanding example to sportspeople of all ages.
At 62 years of age, Pam Pedersen is a swimming champion and triathlete who continues to compete at an international level.
She is a proud Yorta Yorta woman, a member of the Reconciliation Victoria Council and public officer of the Nillumbik Reconciliation Group.
She started her sports career quite late in life, initially walking for her own health and to get the message out to other Aboriginal people that they needed to take care of themselves through exercise. Walking led to jogging, which has led to fun-runs, triathlons and swimming.
Pam Pedersen is a member of the Doncaster Dolphins Swimming club and regularly competes throughout Australia. At 59 she took up triathlons and has participated in 15 events since then.
In 2002, she competed in the World Masters Games in the 100 metres breaststroke, 200 metres breaststroke and 100 metres freestyle.
This year she competed in the Aussie Masters National Swimming competition in Hobart, taking part in the 800, 400 and 50 metres freestyle and 200, 100 and 50 breaststroke in the 60 to 64 age group.
She is also a keen sailor, and is a member of the Hobson´s Bay Yacht Club. The highlight of her sporting career was taking place in the five Melbourne to Davenport Yachting races, including the 1997 race on board Stiletto, which gained first place.
- Lifetime Achievement – Arthur Murray
National NAIDOC 2004 Award Winners
- Person of the Year – Aden Ridgeway
- Elder of the Year (Male) – Steve Mam
- Elder of the Year (Female) – Merlene Mead
- Artist of the Year – Jirra Lulla Harvey
- Scholar of the Year – Kaye Price
- Youth of the Year – Michael Hayden
- Sportsperson of the Year – Adam Goodes
National NAIDOC 2003 Award Winners
- Person of the Year – Deborah Mailman
- Elder of the Year (Male) – William Kennedy
- Elder of the Year (Female) – Violet French
- Artist of the Year – Belynda Waugh
- Scholar of the Year – Frederick Penny
- Youth of the Year – Stacey Kelly-Greenup
- Sportsperson of the Year – Bo Delacruz
National NAIDOC 2002 Award Winners
- Person of the Year – Steve Gordon
- Elder of the Year (Male) – Lyal Munro Snr and Peter Coppin (Joint Winners)
- Elder of the Year (Female) – Ida West
- Scholar of the Year – Tracey Westerman
- Youth of the Year – Bruce ‘Borro’ Johnson
- Apprentice/Trainee of the Year – Michelle Tyhuis
- Sportsperson of the Year – David Peachy
- Special Achievement Award – Dr Shane Fernando
National NAIDOC 2001 Award Winners
- Person of the Year – Kutcha Edwards
- Elder of the Year (Male) – Cec Fisher
- Elder of the Year (Female) – Alice ‘Mummy’ Clark
- Scholar of the Year – Dr Cheryl Kickett-Tucker
- Youth of the Year – Vanessa Elliot
- Apprentice/Trainee of the Year – Todd Phillips
- Sportsperson of the Year – Warren Lawton
National NAIDOC 2000 Award Winners
- Person of the Year – Anthony Mundine
- Elder of the Year (Male) – James Rice
- Elder of the Year (Female) – Yvonne Agius
- Artist of the Year – Jimmy Wavehill
- Scholar of the Year – Marlina Whop
- Youth of the Year – Marie Dennis
- Apprentice/Trainee of the Year – Alison Gear
- Sportsperson of the Year – Troy Murphy
National NAIDOC 1999 Award Winners
- Person of the Year – Bob Randall
- Elder of the Year (Male) – Geoff Shaw
- Elder of the Year (Female) – Zona Martin
- Artist of the Year – Wenten Rubuntja
- Scholar of the Year – Tracey Brand
- Youth of the Year – Samantha Cook and Jeremy Geia (Joint Winners)
- Apprentice/Trainee of the Year – Gary Bonney
- Sportsperson of the Year – Nicky Winmar
- Poster Competition Winner – Warick Keen
National NAIDOC 1998 Award Winners
- Person of the Year – Patrick Dodson and Mick Dodson (Joint Winners)
- Elder of the Year (Male) – George Mye
- Elder of the Year (Female) – Queenie McKenzie
- Artist of the Year – Raymond Blanco
- Scholar of the Year – Raymond (Jack) Gibson
- Youth of the Year – Nicole Casser and Delson Stokes Jnr (Joint Winners)
- Apprentice/Trainee of the Year – June Djaigween
- Sportsperson of the Year – Ali Drummond
- Poster Competition Winner – Ray Thomas
National NAIDOC 1997 Award Winners
- Person of the Year – Ray Robinson
- Elder of the Year (Male) – Eric Walker
- Elder of the Year (Female) – Una Walker
- Artist of the Year – Ron Corbett
- Scholar of the Year – John Williams Mozeley
- Youth of the Year – Kyle Morrison
- Apprentice/Trainee of the Year – Kasey Wehrman
- Miss NAIDOC – Vicky Hextall
- Sportsperson of the Year – Kasey Wehrman
- Poster Competition Winner – Eleanor Binge
National NAIDOC 1996 Award Winners
Information not available. We are researching the history of NAIDOC to provide better information on where the national focus was celebrated over the years and who won the various awards. Our information is incomplete at the moment, but if anyone has any information to add in relation to National NAIDOC (as opposed to State or local celebrations/awards), we would appreciate your assistance. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
National NAIDOC 1995 Award Winners
- Scholar of the Year – Graham Atkinson
- Aboriginal of the Year – Reg Blow
- Apprentice of the Year – Robert Hudson
- Sportsperson of the Year – Rohan Best
- Youth of the Year – Timothy Lilley
- Artist of the Year – Richard Mullet
National NAIDOC 1994 Award Winners
- Person of the Year – Ernie Dingo
- Artist of the Year – Rex Murray
- Scholar of the Year – Rosie Smith
- Youth of the Year – Vanessa Fitzgerald
- Apprentice/Trainee of the Year – Darren Braydon
- Sportsperson of the Year – Kyle Vander Kuyp
- Poster Competition Winner – Eleanor Binge
National NAIDOC 1993 Award Winners
Information not available. We are researching the history of NAIDOC to provide better information on where the national focus was celebrated over the years and who won the various awards. Our information is incomplete at the moment, but if anyone has any information to add in relation to National NAIDOC (as opposed to State or local celebrations/awards), we would appreciate your assistance. Please email us at email@example.com
National NAIDOC 1992 Award Winners
- Aboriginal of the Year – Mrs Geraldine Briggs
- Artist of the Year – Danny Eastwood and John Harding (joint winners)
- Scholar of the Year – Natalie Barney
- Apprentice of the Year – David Pidek
- Sportsperson of the Year – Robert Peden
- Youth of the Year – Shane Simpson
- Poster Competition Winner – Heather Shearer
National NAIDOC 1991 Award Winners
Information not available. We are researching the history of NAIDOC to provide better information on where the national focus was celebrated over the years and who won the various awards. Our information is incomplete at the moment, but if anyone has any information to add in relation to National NAIDOC (as opposed to State or local celebrations/awards), we would appreciate your assistance. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
National NAIDOC 1990 Award Winners
National NAIDOC 1989 Award Winners
National NAIDOC 1988 Award Winners
- Aboriginal of the Year – Alice Kelly
- Aboriginal Scholar of the Year – Ron James
- Aboriginal Artist of the Year – Raminginning Artists Community
- Aboriginal Apprentice of the Year – Shaun Thompson
- Aboriginal Sportsperson of the Year – Tony Currie
- Aboriginal Youth of the Year – Cain Muir
National NAIDOC 1987 Award Winners
- Aboriginal of the Year – Sister Joan Winch
- Aboriginal Scholar of the Year – Ms Norma Joshua
- Aboriginal Artist of the Year – Mr Jack Wunuwun
- Aboriginal Apprentice of the Year – Miss Alanna Speedy
- Aboriginal Sportsperson of the Year – Ms Catherine Hillard
- Aboriginal Youth of the Year – Mr Ron Ingram
- Poster Competition Winner – Lawrie Nilsen
National NAIDOC 1986 Award Winners
- Aboriginal of the Year – Mrs Cathy Mills
- Aboriginal Scholar of the Year – Ms Eve Fesl
- Aboriginal Artist of the Year – James Agius
- Aboriginal Apprentice of the Year – Thomas Wear
- Aboriginal Sportswomen of the Year – Miss Phynea Clarke and Mr Warren Lawton
- Aboriginal Sportsman of the Year – Mr Warren Lawton
National NAIDOC 1985 Award Winners
- Aboriginal of the Year – Kath Walker
- Aboriginal Scholar of the Year – Rhonda Dadleh
- Aboriginal Artist of the Year – Justine Saunders
- Aboriginal Apprentice of the Year – Lester Rigney
- Aboriginal Sportsperson of the Year – Kyle Vander Kuyp