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16 December 2015

National Museum of Australia Showcases Personal Objects

Champions for gender equality, the abolition of capital punishment, conservation, personal sacrifice for others, affordable health care and the building of youth self-esteem, are honoured in a new exhibition featuring the National Australia Day Council’s (NADC) 2016 Australian of the Year finalists.

The National Museum and the NADC today launched an exhibition of personal objects representing the experiences of the state and territory recipients for the 2016 Australian of the Year Awards.

National Museum director Dr Mathew Trinca, said the 2016 Australian of the Year finalists have chosen very personal and varied objects reflecting formative events in their lives and the people who helped shape them.

'It is an honour to feature objects from these extraordinary individuals at the National Museum and to share their inspirational stories with the nation,' said Dr Trinca.

National Australia Day Council CEO Jeremy Lasek said, 'We are very proud to collaborate with the National Museum to bring together this exhibition to tell the stories of the eight incredible 2016 Australian of the Year finalists. They all have amazing stories worthy of the nation's attention, and this exhibition is a wonderful way to tell their story.'

  • Victorian barrister and death penalty opponent, Julian McMahon, has selected a portrait of Indonesian President Joko Widodo painted by Myuran Sukumaran. Sukumaran was executed in Indonesia in April 2015 following drug-related charges.
  • Queensland’s Royal Australian Air Force group captain Catherine McGregor, campaigns for transgender rights and has chosen a childhood cricket bat given to her by her late father and a ‘baggy blue’ cap presented on her debut in the RAAF women’s cricket team.
  • ACT equality advocate and former Chief of Army, David Morrison, has selected two miniature Australian First World War soldiers made from shrapnel recovered from the battlefields of WW1.
  • Northern Territory youth worker, Will MacGregor, has chosen a carved female statue from Papua New Guinea as a reminder of the strong women who have shaped his life.
  • Tasmanian conservationist, Jane Hutchinson, has selected her father’s binoculars which she used as a child.
  • Western Australian nurse and Australian Red Cross aid worker, Anne Carey, has chosen a sunhat that she wore while helping Ebola patients in Sierra Leone.
  • South Australian burns surgeon, Dr John Greenwood, has selected a unique foam dressing and equipment used to culture a patient’s skin.
  • NSW finalist and former Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick, has chosen a black and white photograph of her and her identical twin sister, Jane, alongside a small metal charm which belonged to Elizabeth’s mother, Margot.

Each year Australia celebrates the achievement and contribution of extraordinary people through the Australian of the Year Awards, by profiling leading citizens who are role models for us all. The Australian of the Year recipients will be announced in Canberra on Australia Day Eve – 25 January 2016.

Media Contacts

National Museum of Australia & Exhibition:
Tracy Sutherland, (02) 6208 5338, 0438 620 710 or

National Australia Day Council & Australian of the Year Awards:
Nicole Browne, 0414 673 762 or


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