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The 2013 National NAIDOC award winners

Posted on: 22 July, 2013
Issue: Vol 13 No 3, July 2013 - September 2013
Related to Health

The 2013 National NAIDOC awards night was held 12 July in Perth and was the highlight of an exciting and diverse week of NAIDOC activities across Australia. The National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) thanked the volunteers and community members who invested significant time and energy in making NAIDOC Week a success and the Australian Government for supporting events across the country. NAIDOC Week provided an opportunity for all Australians to come together and celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and recognise the contributions of Indigenous Australians in various fields, events across Australia included flag-raising ceremonies, community barbecues, traditional cooking and art workshops.

The theme for 2013 was ‘We value the vision: Yirrkala Bark Petitions 1963.’ The theme proudly celebrates the 50th anniversary of the presentation of the Yirrkala Bark Petitions to the Federal Parliament. In July 1963, the Yolngu people from the Gove Peninsula in the Northern Territory sent two bark petitions to the Australian Parliament in an attempt to halt mining exploration in the area, and voice their traditional rights. Despite these petitions being unsuccessful, they are significant as the first traditional documents to be tabled in the Australian Parliament and a catalyst to changes in constitution, the statutory acknowledgment of Aboriginal land rights by the Commonwealth in 1976 and the overturning of the obstacle of the concept of terra nullius by the High Court in the Mabo Case in 1992. The National NAIDOC poster competition winner, Gail Naden, based her inspirational artwork on this year’s theme. Gail was presented with a framed copy of the National NAIDOC Poster on the awards night.

The annual 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. 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 people in Indigenous affairs such as Tom Calma and Professor Michael Dodson. It was hosted by Ernie Dingo and Narelda Jacobs and featured an impressive line-up of Indigenous entertainment including Mary G, Urban Youth Crew, Oz Island, The Last Kinection and Christine Anu.

Lifetime Achievement Award – Galarrwuy Yunupingu
Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, presented the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award to a representative for Galarrwuy Yunupingu. Born at Melville Bay near Yirrkala in East Arnhem Land, Galarrwuy has been a strong voice for the Yolgnu people of Arnhem land and his life’s interests include Yolngu law and land rights. Leader of the Gumatj Clan since 1979, he continues to lead his people with understanding and wisdom.

In the late 1960s, Galarrwuy came to national attention 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. He held an executive position on the Northern Land Council for many years, where he helped Aboriginal people win back, and take control of their land.

Galarruwy has gained respect and admiration from prominent political leaders and many Australians alike for his dedication and achievements. He continues his advocacy for self-determination and economic development among his people. Galarruwy has been honoured as Australian of the Year, Member of the Order of Australia, and named as one of Australia’s National Living Treasures.

Person of the Year – Darryl Kickett
This award went to Darryl Kickett, a Noongar man from the Narrogin area of Western Australia who has dedicated his life to community development, land rights, education, health and policy. Darryl has worked tirelessly for his people for more than 40 years, dedicating his life to community development, land rights, education, health and policy. Darryl began his career as a sportsman and enjoyed success as a champion boxer and Australian Rules footballer. He completed a degree in social science and was made Head of the Centre for Aboriginal Studies at Curtin University. He and his team developed a successful community management and development course. During his time 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. Darryl has been 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, role model for her people and has worked hard all her life. As an Aboriginal Liaison Officer at the Cairns Base hospital, she developed a passion for improving the health and wellbeing of babies, young children and mothers. In 1983, she established 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.

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. He 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 on increasing tourism through promotion of Aboriginal arts, craft and tours. More recently, John has been involved with the Department of Corrections to increase understanding within the Department about Aboriginal people and culture.

Caring for Country – Jimmy Edgar
Jimmy Edgar is a Yawuru and Karajarri man from Western Australia who provides cultural knowledge to schools, community organisations and government bodies that are interested in respecting and connecting to country. Jimmy engages with the Yawaru Rangers on a daily basis 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 award winning Yawaru Cultural Management Plan. Jimmy 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 defied the odds since birth, she was told she would never have full strength in one of her arms but has played and excelled in every sport at school. At 13 years of age, Kate was part of the under 16 National Championships for basketball and has been part of two national championship basketball teams, including the Perth Lynx team, which she captained to victory. Kate has completed a degree in physiotherapy and now lives in Melbourne, working as the first Aboriginal physiotherapist for the Richmond Football Club. Kate also mentors for the David Wirrpanda Foundation and is passionate about helping younger girls through the Deadly Sista Girlz Program.

Other awards included:

  • Artist of the Year – Tony Briggs
  • Scholar of the Year – Dr Mark McMillan
  • Apprentice of the Year – Danny Bromot
  • Sportsperson of the Year – Jonathan Thurston

In 2014, the Gold Coast will be the focus city for national NAIDOC celebrations.


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