The 2018 Queensland Australian of the Year Award recipients have been announced and presented with trophies last night (November 8) at a ceremony at the Old Museum Building in Brisbane.
The Queensland Award recipients will join a cohort of 32 State and Territory recipients from around the country.
These recipients will represent their state at the national Awards on January 25, 2018 in Canberra, where the four Australians of the Year will be announced.
National Australia Day Council CEO, Ms Jenny Barbour said the Queensland Award recipients reflect the diverse ways in which Queenslanders are achieving and contributing.
“The Australian of the Year Awards allow us to recognise and celebrate the achievements of outstanding Australians – people making extraordinary contributions to our society,” Ms Barbour said.
“The stories of the Queensland Award recipients inspire us all to consider how we approach challenges, how we treat others and how we too can make a difference.”
Commonwealth Bank has proudly sponsored the Australian of the Year Awards for over 30 years. Chief Executive Officer, Ian Narev, said it was an honour to acknowledge the Queensland Award recipients.
“We would like to congratulate Johnathan Thurston, Dr Dimity Dornan, Phillip Thompson and Pip Russell on becoming State and Territory recipients in the Australian of the Year Awards,” Mr Narev said.
“All recipients should feel extremely proud of their achievements. We wish them all the very best in the national Awards on January 25.”
The 2018 Queensland Australian of the Year is Indigenous mentor Johnathan Thurston.
He may be one of the most accomplished footballers to ever lace on a boot, but Johnathan Thurston has made an off-field commitment to the community which is just as impressive. The captain of the North Queensland Cowboys; Johnathan uses his profile to help others, particularly Indigenous people, reach their potential. Johnathan champions ARTIE, Achieving Results Through Indigenous Education, is the face of Synapse's campaign to prevent acquired brain injury in the Aboriginal community, and is an ambassador for the Apunipima Cape York Health Council's anti-ice campaign. He is an ambassador for the Queensland Reconciliation Awards, and actively supports the Beanies for Brain Cancer initiative. In 2017, Johnathan helped launch the $9.5 million NRL Cowboys House, a home for 50 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from remote north Queensland. Johnathan’s qualities of humility, sportsmanship, leadership and loyalty are admired both on the football field and off, making him an inspiring role model for Indigenous people and a great Australian.
Read about the other Queensland winners below:
The 2018 Queensland Senior Australian of the Year is hearing health specialist and bionics advocate Dr Dimity Dornan AO.
A speech pathologist for more than five decades, Dr Dimity Dornan has changed the lives of thousands of children and young adults. Through Hear and Say, an organisation she established 25 years ago, Dimity has devoted her career to helping deaf children to listen and speak by training their brains to use implantable bionic technologies, like the cochlear implant. Hear and Say currently provides services for more than 900 children and their families. Dimity also established several national and global research collaborations, as well as Hear and Say WorldWide, to expand the opportunities for deaf children in developing countries. As a past Chair and cofounder of First Voice, she played a significant role in raising the profile of hearing health globally. Recognised internationally for her work, Dimity is now building Human Bionics Interface, a global network of bionics thought leaders, researchers, clinicians, businesses, start-ups and investors collaborating to accelerate the delivery of bionic solutions that will address previously untreatable medical conditions.
The 2018 Queensland Young Australian of the Year is 29-year-old veterans’ champion, Phillip Thompson.
After enlisting in the Australian Army in 2006 at the age of 17, Phillip Thompson was deployed to East Timor and later Afghanistan. While on a dismounted patrol in 2009, Phil was wounded when an improvised explosive device detonated just a metre away. The incident left Phil with an array of medical conditions – including hearing loss and tinnitus, post-traumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder and a traumatic brain injury – all of which have changed Phil’s life dramatically. Since recovering from his injuries, Phillip has advocated for veterans’ employment, health and wellbeing, which has seen him appointed to national and government boards on mental health, self-harm and suicide. He has competed at the Invictus Games in London and coached at Orlando in 2016. Phil also volunteers his time to listen to his fellow veterans, and has saved countless lives. Phil shares his story and his life experiences to empower other injured and ill ex-servicemen to have meaningful employment and community engagement.
The 2018 Queensland Local Hero is Brisbane children’s entertainer and innovator Philippa ‘Pip’ Russell.
A much-loved host of national children’s television, Philippa Russell launched a program that makes hospital patients the stars. Using her experience gained on programs like Toasted TV and Totally Wild, Pip created Juiced TV, the first ever television show made by kids in hospital, for kids in hospital. Since launching in January 2015 at Queensland’s Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital, Pip has touched the lives of more than 1,800 patients and their families by improving the hospital journey and creating a unique way for kids to communicate with one another. Each week, Pip and her team create a 25-minute high-quality TV program which gives patients and their siblings the chance to star in their own TV show. Episodes feature animal encounters, behind-the-scenes tours of concerts and film sets, and interviews with favourite idols. More than 1.5 million people have viewed Juiced TV on YouTube. Through Juiced TV, Pip gives sick and injured kids a reason to smile.
For more information on the 2018 Australian of the Year Awards recipients visit the Honour Roll.
More information on State and Territory selection panel members can be found here.