Indigenous Australians honoured in 2011 National NAIDOC Awards

Photograph of two women holding a NAIDOC Award

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

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.

The National NAIDOC Committee received a flood of nominations from across the country, making the selection of this year’s award winners a challenging but inspiring task.

The award winners were honoured at the National NAIDOC Awards Ceremony and Ball in Sydney on Friday 8 July.

On behalf of the National NAIDOC Committee, it is with great pleasure that we announce the 2011 National NAIDOC Award winners.

The Lifetime Achievement Award went to 104 year old Ned Cheedy from Western Australia for his tireless commitment to caring for Yindjibarndi law, country, culture, language and the future of the Yindjibarndi people. While Mr Cheedy was unable to attend the celebrations, his family accepted the award on his behalf and shared a few words with the audience.

The 2011 National NAIDOC Award winners are:

  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Ned Cheedy (Western Australia)
  • Person of the Year: Terri Janke (New South Wales)
  • Elder of the Year (Female): Carolyn Briggs (Victoria)
  • Elder of the Year (Male): Eldridge Mosby (Torres Strait Island)
  • Caring for Country Award: Warru Recovery Team (South Australia)
  • Youth of the Year: Kiel Williams-Weigel (Queensland)
  • Artist of the Year: Robyn Djunginy (Northern Territory)
  • Scholar of the Year: Professor Lester-Irabinna Rigney (South Australia)
  • Apprentice of the Year: Joshua Toomey (New South Wales)
  • Sportsperson of the Year: Preston Campbell (Queensland)

Our deepest congratulations go to all the 2011 National NAIDOC Award winners, your achievements and commitment Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander people and culture is exceptional.

The National NAIDOC Awards Ceremony and Ball was the highlight of an exciting and diverse week of NAIDOC activities across Australia. Growing in popularity and spectacle each year, the 2011 event attracted 1500 people to the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre on the famous Darling Harbour.

The Honourable Jenny Macklin MP, Federal Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, presented Ned Cheedy’s representatives with his award. Other distinguished guests included the Honourable Victor Dominello MP, New South Wales Minister for Aboriginal Affairs as well numerous celebrities and high profile names in Indigenous affairs such as the board of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples.

The night featured an impressive line up of Indigenous entertainment including Collarenebri Central School students The Colly Crew, Gondwana National Indigenous Children’s Choir, enchanting Jazz duo Microwave Jenny, local talent Blake Ralph, innovative NAISDA Dance Academy and world renowned pop sensation Jessica Mauboy.

Once again congratulations to the National NAIDOC Poster Competition winner, Matthew Humphries, for his inspirational artwork based on this year’s theme Change: The next step is ours.

We are very happy that NAIDOC—now in its 54th 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.

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.

It was announced that Hobart will be the focus city for national NAIDOC celebrations in 2012—congratulations Hobart!