What a wonderful moment for all the state finalists to be acknowledged among our peers and community leaders, and in front of the nation. What we do is not done for awards or rewards, and often goes unnoticed, so it is wonderful to be recognised for making a difference.
And on a personal note, how fitting it was to be there in Canberra, close to the land of my grandmother’s forebearers, the Ngunnawal, on the eve of what was her birthdate. Currently there are close to 66000 people living in Australia with breast cancer, and sadly 8 people a day in Australia still die of breast cancer.
A few moments to reflect on 8 people who had breast cancer and sadly have passed, I would like to pay my respects to Marti, Lisa, Margaret, George, Ros, Edyth, Barbara and Renee. Sadly, despite their will and courage to survive, these much loved members of our nation are not among us today.
This is what drives me as I contribute in my own small way within the local community. Being philanthropic is part of the human experience, and it makes an impact. The social fabric of our local communities is made up of the sum efforts of many giving individuals. ‘Giving back’ matters to our Australian society and can make a dramatic difference to someone else’s life.
It also can change your own outlook and the course of your life will never be the same, as you become richer in experiences through putting others first. It is good for the soul to put others first, and makes such a difference to our own lives when we have a purpose and passion which is focused outward to improve outcomes for others.
Being bold for change has made me more confident, and being chosen for this award shows that what I do as an individual does matter. Uniting in a common cause provides a sense of connectivity and fosters a sense of collective community spirit. Inspiring others is an aspiration, if I can inspire others to believe that they too can make a difference, that would be the most wonderful achievement. I hope that my story is able to encourage others to give back to their community.
I urge my fellow Australians to go volunteer in the community, go travel with a cause, go do something to support a charity or a local community group, go help out at a local club, go donate to an event, go find an interest or organisation that matters to you and go offer your time or resources that best utilise your skill set, and by doing so, enrich the lives of others.
All it takes is to make a start, and to believe that in doing so, you can effect positive change on Australia Day and the issue of the date:
The selfless work and contributions of individuals in our nation deserves to be recognised in some way, on a day designed to celebrate the Australian spirit of inclusion, ‘mateship’ and community. As to when this date might be will be a question for all Australians via a democratic process. Personally, our family have always celebrated the 26 January as it is the birthdate of my maternal Grandmother so this day will always hold a special significance for me and my family.
For those interested, I would like to share with you my experiences at the awards in Canberra:
Myself and my principal guest Alderman Debra Thurley arrived into Canberra ahead of the awards the day that my video was released onto the Australian of the Year (AOTY) facebook site, so I was receiving lots of comments that day from home. https://www.facebook.com/AustralianoftheYear/videos/1537351332979587/
In the lobby the afternoon that we arrived, we spotted and introduced ourselves to Emeritus Professor Alan MacKay-Sims, the outgoing Australian of the Year, and had a lovely chat with him. On Wednesday 24 January 2018 we attended an afternoon tea event hosted by the Minister of Home Affairs and staff and the Chair of the NADC Danielle Roach OAM and CEO Jenny Barbour/. This was a chance for the category sponsor to meet us all and gave us insight and the opportunity to engage with Vicki Jelly the outgoing Australian of the Year Local Hero This was held at Regatta Point and provided the opportunity for all state finalists and their guest to meet, network and get to know each other, and for the category sponsor also to meet with us in person.
After returning to the hotel and a quick change, we met in the lobby for our bus to take us to the official reception at Government House where all category finalists came together with their guests, sponsors, and other past national and state AOTY alumni from previous years, for an informal reception which included a buffet barbecue and music at Yarralumla. This wonderful event was hosted by His Excellency the Governor General and Lady Cosgrove at the official residence. We met the staff including his army Aide de Camp, who was from Tasmania.
The setting was wonderful and the food was Australian themed with barbecue finger food (yes lamb cutlets were on offer) and tri colour trifle in red white and blue, as well as lamingtons on skewers for sweets. During my audience with His Excellency I raised the possibility of lighting his premises up pink for breast cancer awareness in October, and told him of the wonderful opportunity that had presented at Government House in Hobart for Pinktober 2017. Jessica Manuela (Young Tasmanian of the year) and the Senior Tasmanian Tony Scherer and Tasmanian of the Year Scott Rankin also seized the opportunity (okay I rounded them up and forced them) to get a group photo.There followed an official photo with all finalists on the steps of Government House.
On Thursday 25 January 2018 we met in the lobby to travel to the venue for a rehearsal at Parliament House ahead of the event that evening. We were shown where our official guests and supplementary guests would be seated and run through the Live TV broadcast.
Then we headed to the Prime Minister’s abode for a morning tea at The Lodge hosted by the Prime Minister and Ms Turnbull. A formal introduction to the Prime
Minister and official photos occurred there. There was a media scrum who went into a frenzy when Samuel Johnson and Johnathon Thurston were beside the Prime Minister. Of course we all took lots of photos too, only to be handed a card to say photos are not to be taken at the Lodge, we got this too late, as we were leaving…..not sure how many of our party had already tweeted or instagrammed- woops! From there we headed in the coach to a luncheon arranged by principal partners Commonwealth Bank at the Gandel Hall at the Australian National Gallery.
I was to be interviewed by the media but Eddie Woo and Matt Bowtell were far more captivating for the awaiting media! The luncheon setting was exquisite and we were hosted by Marisa from the CBA and had the pleasure of meeting Donna Carsons the NSW 2004 Local Hero and her lovely guest Shirley, both from Dubbo. We went on the most amazing journey with Tina Brown during the Welcome to Country, and enjoyed the outgoing Australian Of the Year’s speech very much, as well as the chance to meet our MC Ita Buttrose, also part of the AOTY alumni. Video here
The surprise guest performer was Daryl Braithwate who had us all join him to sing “Horses”, which Sam, Eddie and Matt assisted with for the male chorus.
After lunch we headed back to the hotel to change for the official announcement, which was broadcast live on the ABC. This was a chance to showcase all the fabulous achievements of the finalists from each state. What a wonderful event indeed, which can be viewed on IView at: http://iview.abc.net.au/collection/australian-of-the-year-awards
After the announcement, we attended an afterparty on the Terrace above Parliament House, looking out over Anzac Parade. A chance to mingle with sponsor staff, fellow finalists and their families and guests, and to savour the opportunity to meet other Australians who do great things in our nation.
The next day we had a farewell breakfast in the Glebe Room at Crowne Plaza ahead of heading to the Flag Raising ceremony and the Citizenship event, officiated at by the Governor General and Prime Minister with the Federation Guard on parade, and the Sydney Royal Navy Band playing, what a treat indeed! A 21 gun salute and official ceremonial displays by the Army, Airforce and Navy with a RAAF fly over followed, and then 32 new citizens were conferred, and joined the ranks of the Australian population. The Australian National Anthem was sung beautifully by Lucy Sugerman a local Canberra performer, and her backing vocalists and musicians, after performing a ‘Birds Of Tokyo’ tune.
If you watch the video, that is us at the far right hand side of the screen when the camera pans across during the crowd shots! You cannot miss my Australia Day frock!
That night being Australia Day, a final event at The Deck, Regatta Point, was a highlight, an Australia Day Concert and fireworks, unlike any I have ever seen in Tasmania, all from our private viewing deck. This was a chance for all staff and remaining finalists to let our hair down and celebrate what was for us all a wonderful experience to treasure in our memories, a story for the nursing home.
I have to personally pass on my thanks to all sponsors from the Commonwealth Bank, Department of Health, Department of Home Affairs, the ANU, Woolworths, the ABC, Travel partner Qantas and all staff from the National Australia Day Council and local Department of Premier and Cabinet for the support they have provided in the lead up and across all aspects of this event, to those who sent me messages of congratulations, to my nominator and to those who travelled from Tasmania and Queensland to attend as my guests to share in this very special honour.
My next Pink Ribbon Cup will be a collaboration with Robyn Cameron at the Gold Coast Turf Club on 22 September.
Judi Adams 2018 TAS Local Hero- National Australia Day Council – Australian of the Year Awards www.facebook.com/EventsTasmania