Indigenous Australians honoured in 2010 National NAIDOC Awards

On behalf of the National NAIDOC Committee, it is with great pleasure that we announce the 2010 National NAIDOC Award winners.

The National NAIDOC Awards pay tribute to the outstanding contributions that Indigenous individuals make to their communities, to their chosen fields of endeavour and to broader Australian society.

2010 is the first year for a new award–the National NAIDOC Caring for Country Award–which recognises the amazing contribution Indigenous Australians make in looking after our land and tackling environmental problems.

Once again, the committee received many nominations from across Australia. Selecting award winners was a challenging but inspiring task.

The quality of nominations was so high that the committee had to choose two winners for the Male Elder of the Year Award.

The committee awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award to Vince Coulthard for his eminent leadership in Indigenous affairs, his dedication to promoting his culture and his contribution to the struggle for native title rights in South Australia.

The 2010 National NAIDOC Award winners are:

  • Person of the Year: Dennis Eggington (Perth)
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Vince Coulthard (Adelaide)
  • Caring for Country Award: Yellow Crazy Ant Management Program (Nhulunbuy, Northern Territory)
  • Elder of the Year (Female): Aunty Ali Golding (Sydney)
  • Elder of the Year (Male): Ali Drummond (Brisbane) and Lester Bostock (Sydney) – joint winners
  • Youth of the Year: Jessica Smith (Brisbane)
  • Scholar of the Year: Megan Davis (Sydney)
  • Apprentice of the Year: Lucas Kickett (Perth)
  • Artist of the Year: Lewis Langton (Canberra)
  • Sportsperson of the Year: Rohanee Cox (Townsville)

Our warmest congratulations go to all the National NAIDOC Award winners this year.

Last night’s national event in Melbourne was the highlight of a vibrant and diverse week of NAIDOC activities across Australia. The national ball is growing in popularity and spectacle each year. More than 1100 people attended the event, with tickets selling out in four days.

The Honourable Jenny Macklin MP, Federal Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, presented Vince Coulthard with his award. Other distinguished guests included the Honourable Richard Wynne MP, Victorian Minister for Housing, Local Government and Aboriginal affairs as well as key members of the newly established Indigenous representative body, the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples.

The night featured an impressive line-up of Indigenous talent.

It opened with a photography exhibition from 2009 National NAIDOC Artist of the Year, Wayne Quilliam. Entertainment included Melbourne-based national sensation Dan Sultan, the much-loved Archie Roach, local singer-songwriter Dave Arden and Darwin’s rising star Leah Flanagan.

To celebrate the success of the feature film Bran Nue Dae, presenters Deborah Mailman and Ernie Dingo collaborated with Dan Sultan for a crowd engaging performance of Nothing I Would Rather Be and Ernie Dingo performed a solo of Listen to the News.

This year’s event also paid tribute to two distinguished Indigenous Australians who passed away in the last year: legendary activist Chicka Dixon and singer Ruby Hunter. Ruby’s partner Archie Roach celebrated her life in a moving performance.

Once again congratulations to the National NAIDOC Poster Competition winner, Sheree Blackley, for her inspirational artwork based on this year’s theme Unsung Heroes – Closing the Gap by Leading Their Way.

We are very happy that NAIDOC–now in its 53rd year–continues to grow in size and reach. There are increasing numbers of grass-roots activities across Australia and more and more involvement from non-Indigenous agencies and individuals.

This year NAIDOC pays tribute to our unsung heroes and the role they play in ‘closing the gap’ our way.

The National NAIDOC Committee thanks all those volunteers and community members who have invested significant time and energy in making NAIDOC a huge success again this year.

The committee would like also to recognise the Australian Government’s support for NAIDOC events across Australia.

It was announced last night that Sydney will be the focus city for national NAIDOC celebrations in 2011–congratulations Sydney!

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