• 25 January 2019

Auspire – The Australia Day Council WA congratulate this year’s Australian of the Year Award Recipients.  A truly exceptional group of people who will no doubt continue to inspire, motivate and encourage all Australians.

Auspire is incredibly proud to announce joint winners of the 2019 Australian of the Year, Western Australia’s Dr Craig Challen SC OAM & South Australia’s Dr Richard Harris SC OAM.

For the first time since State and Territory award finalists were introduced to the program in 2004, two State finalists have been jointly awarded the title of Australian of the Year.

The Prime Minister, The Hon Scott Morrison MP, presented the Australian of the Year Award recipients with trophies at a ceremony at The National Arboretum in Canberra this evening.

In July 2018, anaesthetist Dr Richard Harris and retired vet Dr Craig Challen made worldwide headlines when they joined an international team to rescue a group of boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave in Chiang Rai, Thailand.

Both Craig and Richard were awarded the Star of Courage for unwavering and selfless bravery following the successful rescue of the trapped soccer team.

The pair have remained humble about their role in the rescue, but have been embraced proudly by Australians as quiet heroes whose efforts are admired and applauded.

The pair are long-time friends and diving buddies who were about to depart on a cave-diving holiday when they received the call for help with the delicate rescue mission in Thailand. Putting their own lives at risk and working under great pressure, the pair played crucial roles in the rescue.

The 2019 Australia’s Local Hero award was presented to Kate and Tick Everett of Katherine NT.

Following the tragic death of their teenage daughter, Amy ‘Dolly’ Everett in January 2018, following extensive bullying, Kate and Tick Everett founded Dolly’s Dream, to create positive change and a legacy to their daughter.

The 2019 Senior Australian of the Year is 76 year old Dr Suzanne Packer AM, of Canberra ACT.

Since starting her career as a paediatrician in 1972, Dr Sue Packer AM has worked tirelessly to advocate for the rights of children in our healthcare system and in the wider community.

The 2019 Young Australian of the Year is 22 year old Indigenous rapper, musician and dancer Danzal Baker, of Darwin NT.

Working across rap, dance, acting and visual art, Danzal Baker is an inspiration to indigenous youth. A multi-talented, multi-lingual, Indigenous artist, Danzal, otherwise known as Baker Boy, is the first Indigenous artist to achieve mainstream success rapping in the Yolngu Matha language.

For more information about the Finalists and Recipients of the 2019 Australian of the Year Awards, please visit:

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