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Winners of the National NAIDOC Awards

Posted on: 16 July, 2012
Issue: Vol 12 No 3, July 2012 - September 2012
Related to Health

Twelve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians were honoured on 6 July 2012 at the National NAIDOC Awards Ceremony and Ball in Hobart. The awards highlight the outstanding contributions made by Indigenous Australians in their communities or chosen fields.

‘NAIDOC’ stands for the National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. Its origins can be traced to the emergence of Aboriginal groups in the 1920s which sought to increase awareness in the wider community of the status and treatment of Indigenous Australians.

Focusing on Indigenous health, David Wirrpanda won the 2012 Person of the Year Award for his work with Indigenous young people and the establishment of the David Wirrpanda Foundation. David Wirrpanda was raised in Shepparton and Healesville in Victoria. His father is a Yolngu Djapu man from East Arnhem Land and his mother is a Dhulanyagan woman of the Ulupna Clan, Yorta Yorta.

David has long history with the AFL, with achievements on the football field including being selected in the all-Australian team in 2005 and winning a premiership with the West Coast Eagles in 2006. In 2005, David launched the David Wirrpanda Foundation. The foundation delivers programs to help 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 Wirrapanda Foundation and his important work is helping to close the gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s disadvantage.

Awards were issued across 10 categories and included joint winners for the Sportsperson of the Year and Female Elder or the Year Awards.

The other 2012 National NAIDOC Award recipients were:

  • Lifetime Achievement Award – Bunna Lawrie, South Australia
  • Female Elder of the Year – Margaret Lawton, Queensland and Maureen Kelly, Western Australia
  • Male Elder of the Year – Hezekiel Jingoonya, Northern Territory
  • Caring for Country – Bunya Bunya Country Aboriginal Corporation, Queensland
  • Youth of the Year – Benson Saulo, Victoria
  • Artist of the Year – Stephen Page, Queensland
  • Scholar of the Year – Sarah Bourke, Australian Capital Territory
  • Apprentice of the Year – Michael Clinch, South Australia
  • Sportsperson of the Year – Vanessa Wilson, South Australia and Joshua Robinson, Queensland.



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