Alumni News

Auspire - Australia Day Council WA invites you to a free online lunch to celebrate two remarkable women who have dedicated themselves to driving change and fostering inclusion.

Tune in to hear from:

  • Kate Kirwin, 2024 WA Young Australian of the Year recipient, founder of She Codes Australia and women in STEM advocate
  • Madison Heady, 2024 WA Young Australian of the Year finalist, para-athlete and disability advocate

From bridging the gender gap in tech to advocating for disability rights, their insights and journeys offer invaluable lessons in resilience, empowerment and the power of inclusion. Register here

Fran's final hurruh

She was the first female nurse to study medicine in Tasmania. After an incredible career spanning decades, 2023 TAS Senior Australian of the Year Dr Frances Donaldson has decided to hang up her stethoscope. Fran's retirement after 64 years was covered across lots of Tassie local media - and rightly so. This energetic 81-year-old has been hailed as a groundbreaker and mentor for women in medicine.

Read about Fran

Taryn heads to Texas

It’s a speaker’s dream to be involved in SXSW, one of the biggest cultural events in the world. 2023 Australian of the Year Taryn Brumfitt is heading to Austin, Texas in March to deliver a presentation as part of their Culture track on a topic that’s very close to her heart: Changing our Minds about Changing our Bodies.

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PERCEPTIONS ON DISABILITY

Legally blind barrel racer and 2019 SA Local Hero Megan McLoughlin relies on echolocation to determine where to guide her trusty horse in the arena. 

Megan's been working with the ABC on a project called Real Ability, which focuses on changing people's perception on disability.

 

Finding hope

After tragedy, how do we find hope? It was an act of violence that shocked Australia. 2015 Australian of the Year Rosie Batty AO's powerful words about family violence galvanised the nation. In her inspiring and deeply moving new book, Hope, she shares what happened the day after the worst day of her life and how she reclaimed hope when all hope was lost. Released April 2024.

Learn more

Tribute to Dr Lowitja O'Donoghue

Celebrated Indigenous leader Dr Lowitja O'Donoghue has passed away. Throughout her life, Dr O'Donoghue earned a reputation as a tireless advocate and campaigner for the rights of First Nations people. Eminent Australians have united in sympathy to pay their respects to the Yankunytjatjara woman and and 1984 Australian of the Year.

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Photo of Marco Renai speaking at TEDx

When Currumbin, Queensland, decided to host their own TEDx, 2024 QLD Australian of the Year Marco Renai was a stellar choice to include in the line-up.

Marco shared his personal journey of resilience and transformation, from a rebellious child to a visionary, building a school for troubled youth. Through tales of challenges and triumphs, he shared his powerful vision where love, support, and early intervention redefine education, and calls for a united community effort to change the narrative for young men. Watch now.

‘Chief of push-ups’ challenges Canada

Exciting news to come from WA 2024 Local Hero Nick Hudson! The Push-Up Challenge is taking their mission global. In a partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association, from February 1-23, Canadians will be smashing out 2000 push-ups in 23 days for the 20% of Canadians who will experience a mental illness each year.

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Break The Barrier

2023 ACT Local Hero Dr Shamaruh Mirza has created a short documentary to discuss the intergenerational gaps that exist in multicultural families – and offer solutions to bridge them. Part of a project funded by the ACT Government, the doco by SiTara's Story encourages the viewer to learn how communication, mental health and cultural understanding can strengthen family bonds.

Watch now

Grace Forrest becomes first Aussie woman to receive Roosevelt freedom award

Anti-slavery advocate and 2021 WA Young Australian of the Year Grace Forrest has become the first Australian woman to be selected for the prestigious Roosevelt Institute Four Freedoms Award. She is set to join the likes of high-profile global advocates who’ve been honoured with this award in the past, including Malala Yousafzai, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Nelson Mandela and former German chancellor Angela Merkel. Grace is founder of Walk Free, is an international human rights group focused on the eradication of modern slavery.

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Playing to win

2020 Young Australian of the Year Ash Barty AO loves any opportunity to speak about her passion for inspiring young people. With the launch of her foundation this month, Ash shares her feelings about becoming a new mum and her ambition for making a lasting impact in the lives of Australian youth in this Vogue article.

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Next Lieutenant Governor of South Australia

Joint 2019 Australian of the Year and Thai cave rescue hero Dr Richard Harris OAM will be appointed the next Lieutenant Governor of South Australia. Richard has dedicated his life to helping others and takes over 2020 Australian of the Year Dr James Muecke.

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Seriously Social is a monthly podcast featuring insights and new research from Australia’s leading social scientists on a wide range of issues, produced by the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia.

This episode features 2023 Senior Australian of the Year Tom Calma AO. The interview spans Professor Calma’s early years, his work in social justice, education and advocacy and his hopes for the future since the Voice referendum.

Listen now on your favourite platform.

BACKTRACK: CHASING DREAMS

In 2018, the award-winning documentary BackTrack Boys followed former jackaroo and 2020 Australia's Local Hero Bernie Shakeshaft, along with the young people he was trying to keep alive and out of jail.

This shorter film traces their stories a few years on.

Grant to help Short Back & Sidewalks expand

Short Back & Sidewalks, founded by 2022 WA Local Hero Craig Hollywood, has received a Lotterywest grant of $180,000 to fund a two-year organisational development project. It's aim? To help reduce vulnerability and disadvantage across WA.

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Book release by Paul Litherland

2022 WA Australian of the Year Paul Litherland's book, Finding My Way Out of the Darkness, pulls no punches on just how difficult life was growing up in Western Australia in the 1970s. It takes you through emotional and physical ups and downs, but it's also an uplifting story of redemption, success, love and commitment.

Learn more