2013 National NAIDOC Award winners honoured in Perth

Photograph of the Award Nominations night for NAIDOC week

Statement by National NAIDOC Committee co-chairpersons Anne Martin and Benjamin Mitchell.

Ten outstanding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians were honoured at the 2013 National NADIOC Awards Ceremony and Ball in Perth last night.

The awards highlight the outstanding contributions that Indigenous Australians make to improve the lives of people in their communities and beyond and to promote Indigenous issues in the wider community, or the excellence they’ve shown in their chosen field.

On behalf of the National NAIDOC Committee, it is with great pleasure that we announce the 2013 National NAIDOC Award winners.

Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, presented the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award to a representative for Galarrwuy Yunupingu, a prominent national leader who has the respect and admiration of many Australians including political leaders.  Galarrwuy continues to lead his people with understanding and wisdom.  He has been and continues to be a strong voice for the Yolgnu people of Arnhem land.

The 2013 Person of the Year Award was sponsored by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. This award went to Darryl Kickett who has dedicated his life to community development, land rights, education, health and policy. Darryl will receive a $20,000 bursary to assist him to continue his amazing work.

The 2013 National NAIDOC Award recipients are:

  • Lifetime Achievement Award – Galarrwuy Yunupingu, Northern Territory
  • Person of the Year – Darryl Kickett, Western Australia
  • Female Elder of the Year – Rose Richards, Queensland
  • Male Elder of the Year – John Hayden, Western Australia
  • Caring for Country – Jimmy Edgar, Western Australia
  • Youth of the Year – Kate Malpass, Western Australia
  • Artist of the Year – Tony Briggs, New South Wales
  • Scholar of the Year – Dr Mark David McMillan, Victoria
  • Apprentice of the Year – Danny Bromot, Northern Territory
  • Sportsperson of the Year – Jonathan Thurston, Queensland

Our deepest congratulations go to all the 2013 National NAIDOC Award winners. Your achievements and commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and culture is exceptional.

The 2013 National NAIDOC Awards Ceremony and Ball was the highlight of an exciting and diverse week of NAIDOC activities across Australia.

Held at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre, the event was attended by more than 1200 guests from across the country including many Perth traditional owners and community representatives, as well high profile names in Indigenous affairs such as Tom Calma and Professor Michael Dodson.

Hosted by Ernie Dingo and Narelda Jacobs, the night featured an impressive line-up of Indigenous entertainment including comedian Mary G, local sensation Urban Youth Crew, the very talented Oz Island, Deadly group The Last Kinection and music legend Christine Anu.

Once again congratulations to the National NAIDOC Poster Competition winner, Gail Naden, for her inspirational artwork based on this year’s theme We value the vision: Yirrkala Bark Petitions 1963 which celebrates the 50th anniversary of the presentation of the Yirrkala Bark Petitions to the Federal Parliament. Gail was presented with a framed copy of the National NAIDOC Poster on the night.

The National NAIDOC Committee would like to recognise the Australian Government’s support for NAIDOC events across the country. The committee would also like to thank all those volunteers and community members who have invested significant time and energy in making NAIDOC Week a huge success again this year.

Last night we announced that the Gold Coast will be the focus city for national NAIDOC celebrations in 2014. Congratulations Gold Coast!

For more information on NAIDOC Week and the 2013 National NAIDOC Award winners, visit www.naidoc.org.au

Media contact Lucy Gullett – info@naidoc.org.au or 0420 122 847.

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

Darryl is a Noongar man from the Narrogin area of Western Australia who has worked tirelessly for his people for more than 40 year.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.