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About the awards

2015 Australian of the Year Awards

About the Australian of the Year Awards 2015

Each year, the Australian of the Year Awards recognise and celebrate the achievements and contributions of outstanding Australians across four categories:

  • Australian of the Year, recognising leading Australians who are role models for us all
  • Senior Australian of the Year, rewarding Australians aged 60 and over who continue to achieve and contribute
  • Young Australian of the Year, profiling exceptional young Australians aged 16 to 30
  • Australia’s Local Hero, acknowledging extraordinary contributions made by Australians in their local community.

Recipients in each category are selected firstly at the state and territory level. On the eve of Australia Day each year, the four national award recipients are announced. As role models for us all, they inspire us through their achievements and challenge us to make our own contribution to creating a better Australia.

The National Museum of Australia uses objects to tell stories, to reach out and connect with others, to surprise us, educate us and make us think. This year, the National Australia Day Council and the National Museum have collaborated in the creation of this exhibition.

We have asked the Australian of the Year recipients for each state and territory to choose an object of deep, personal significance to themselves, that communicates something special about their lives and experiences. The recurring theme of each object’s story is of love, humility and the willingness to serve others – family, friends, colleagues, community, humankind. Their actions and their lives empower others to do the same.

How is the Australian of the Year chosen?

The awards operate in several stages. They start at the community level, with nominations being invited from the public. State and territory selection panels choose finalists in each of the four award categories, announced from October to November each year. The final stage is when the board of the National Australia Day Council chooses the national recipients, announced on the eve of Australia Day each year.

If you would like to find out more, or even nominate someone for the 2016 awards, please go to australianoftheyear.org.au.

Australian of the Year 2015 recipients

Recognising leading Australians who are role models for us all

Senior Australian of the Year 2015 recipients

Rewarding Australians aged 60 and over who continue to achieve and contribute

  • Sandra Mahlberg, humanitarian and volunteer, Australian Capital Territory
  • Jackie French, author, New South Wales
  • Eddie Robertson, elder and community leader, Northern Territory
  • Fred Hyde AM, philanthropist, Queensland
  • John Swan, musician and volunteer, South Australia
  • Professor Henry Reynolds, historian, Tasmania
  • Professor Sam Berkovic AC, neurologist, Victoria
  • Graham Mabury OAM, radio presenter and social justice leader, Western Australia

Young Australian of the Year 2015 recipients

Profiling exceptional young Australians aged 16 to 30

  • Patrick Mills, basketball superstar, Australian Capital Territory
  • Genevieve Clay-Smith, film maker and social entrepreneur, New South Wales
  • Chantal Ober, community leader, Northern Territory
  • Yassmin Abdel-Magied, engineer and social advocate, Queensland
  • Kristin Carson, scientist, South Australia
  • Adam Mostogl, business mentor, Tasmania
  • Thomas King, environmental activist, Victoria
  • Drisana Levitzke-Gray, deaf advocate, Western Australia

Australia's Local Hero 2015 recipients

Acknowledging extraordinary contributions made by Australians in their local community

  • Damian De Marco, child sexual assault campaigner, Australian Capital Territory
  • Kevin Robinson, charity founder, New South Wales
  • Ray Palmer, veterans’ champion, Northern Territory
  • Juliette Wright, social entrepreneur, Queensland
  • Vince Coulthard, Indigenous elder, South Australia
  • Mary Kay, volunteer radio operator, Tasmania
  • Louise Davidson, breast cancer fundraiser, Victoria
  • Stacy Dunbar, road safety campaigner, Western Australia