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Andrea Mason, NT

Australian of the Year Awards 2017

Andrea Mason

Indigenous leader

2017 Australian of the Year for the  Northern Territory

Andrea Mason

Working across a 350,000-square-kilometre stretch of central Australia, Andrea Mason helps Indigenous women to raise strong, healthy children. As the Chief Executive Officer of the Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara (NPY) Women’s Council, Andrea brings together Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal thinking to create employment, support health and wellbeing, and tackle domestic violence and other social challenges.

Sports trophy and photograph

Andrea received this small sports trophy in 1972 at the North Kalgoorlie primary school sports day. It has travelled with her for years. Andrea’s parents always emphasised the importance of joining in, taking opportunities and striving to achieve your personal best. Andrea applies these values in many different aspects of her life.

Black and white photograph of a woman holding a baby; and a small mounted silver cup.
Photograph and sports trophy, on loan from Andrea Mason.

Talent and hard work

'This trophy was the first trophy I ever won. The trophy reminds me that I was born with talent and that raw talent brought me personal success early in life. However, over the years I have learned that talent alone does not guarantee success, sometimes you have to work hard and put in a mighty effort to receive a great reward.'

Continuing connections

'The photograph shows my grandmother holding my dad as a baby. It is significant as my grandmother connects me to the Ngaanyatjarra Nation, she also reminds me why I work every day for the women of the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (NPY) region.'

Identity

'My father instilled in me my strong Aboriginal identity. He also encouraged my love for service. I believe these qualities are key to working in central Australia.'

This exhibition was developed by the National Museum of Australia in collaboration with the National Australia Day Council. Portrait images courtesy National Australia Day Council.