Kurt Fearnley AO

Athlete and advocate

2019 NSW Australian of the Year

Representing Australia over a 20-year wheelchair-racing career, Kurt Fearnley AO has captured the hearts of the nation. Born without part of his spine, Kurt's indomitable spirit was apparent at an early age, when he would crawl through paddocks with his brothers and sisters and race his wheelchair down the grass track at school athletics carnivals.

An outstanding athlete, Kurt has participated in five Paralympic games, winning thirteen medals, including three gold. This year, he ended his international career on a high – with gold and silver medals at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and carrying the Australian flag in the closing ceremony.

In 2009, Kurt acknowledged the sacrifice of Australian soldiers, crawling the entire 96km length of the Kokoda Track, to raise awareness for men's health. Then, in 2011 he crewed on the winning yacht in the gruelling Sydney-to-Hobart yacht race.
Kurt champions the rights of people with disability and advocates for greater access into communities and workplaces. His determination and love of life provides inspiration to all Australians.