Congratulations to WA’s 2019 Australians of the Year
An underwater cave- rescue hero; a young identity theft law-maker, an aboriginal ex-serviceman and a youth social-wellbeing champion have all been revealed and celebrated as the Western Australian 2019 Australians of the Year.
Dr Craig Challen gained international recognition when he volunteered to form part of a dangerous cave diving mission to help free the team who had spent more than two weeks trapped underground. His Australian of the Year recognition will now sit alongside his Star of Courage and his Medal of the Order of Australia received earlier this year.
He and his mate, Dr Richard Harris an anaesthetist, put their cave-diving vacation on hold and flew out to join the rescue mission, which had the whole of Australia holding our breath as we watched on daily through the eyes of the media. Despite admitting he initially thought the rescue would be too difficult to accomplish, Dr Challen proved himself wrong, played a leading role in the successful and heroic mission to save the boys and their coach.
View the Perth Now story here
WA 2019 Young Australian of the Year is Ms Noelle Martin, who as an 18-year-old law student went public, exposing cyber-trolls who stole her face, edited it onto pornographic images and published explicit “fake” photos of her on the internet. Her actions were a major factor in new laws being introduced nationally and in WA and NSW making it a criminal offence to distribute non-consensual intimate images.
A proud Yamatji man who fought for the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s contribution to the Military is the Western Australian 2019 Senior Australian of the Year.
Frank Mallard, who was part of the Stolen Generation, served in the Australian Army and in the Army Reserves for almost 40 years. Today, despite suffering PTSD and Parkinson’s Frank is a dedicated Veteran’s Issues volunteer with the Ellenbrook RSL.
Mother of three and former state Basketball champion, Ms Cheryl Kickett- Tucker is the 2019 Local Hero for WA for her dedication to improving the lives of aboriginal and non-aboriginal kids through her Kaat, Koort and Hoops sport program.
These truly inspiring Western Australian recipients will now head to Canberra in January and stand alongside the other state and territory recipients in the National Awards ceremony on the evening of Australia Day.