2015 Northern Territory Australian of the Year - Rosalie Kunoth-Monks OAM
2015 Northern Territory Senior Australian of the Year - Eddie Robertson
2015 Northern Territory Young Australian of the Year - Chantal Ober
2015 Northern Territory Local Hero - Ray Palmer
The Chief Minister of the Northern Territory, the Honourable Adam Giles MLA has announced the 2015 Northern Territory Australian of the Year Award recipients at a ceremony at the Darwin Conventional Centre in Darwin this evening.
Rosalie Kunoth-Monks OAM has been named 2015 Northern Territory Australian of the Year for her work as a humanitarian.
Growing up on the remote Utopia Station in the Northern Territory, Rosalie Kunoth‐Monks learnt the laws of her tribe, the Anmatjere people. After moving to Alice Springs to attend school, Rosalie was cast in the lead role in the classic Australian film Jedda in 1953. Later, Rosalie spent a decade as a nun in a Melbourne convent before leaving to establish the first Aboriginal hostel in Victoria.
In 1970 she married, settled in Alice Springs and became involved in social work and politics. Since then, she has been a government adviser, an interpreter, an environmental campaigner and has chaired or contributed to many boards and councils devoted to Indigenous issues.
Passionate about law, justice, education, children and youth affairs, Rosalie cares for other children besides her own and has an enduring commitment to her country and her community. In defending her traditional way of life and her culture, Rosalie not only stands up for Indigenous people, but for all people and is respected nationwide.
Elder and community leader Eddie Robertson has been awarded 2015 Northern Territory Senior Australian of the Year.
A peacemaker, statesman and strong family man, 65 year old Eddie Jampijinpa Robertson has been an inspirational and dedicated member of the Yuendumu community and the wider Warlpiri and Central Australian communities throughout his long lifetime.
A respected elder, Eddie holds positions on many boards and is currently Chairperson of the Warlpiri Youth Development Aboriginal Corporation. Eddie’s critical role addressing chronic petrol sniffing in Yuendumu continues to help save the lives of a generation of young people.
In his challenging role as Indigenous Engagement Officer for the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Eddie moves easily between two cultures. Yuendumu’s longest serving Mayor and a founding member of the Yuendumu Baptist Church, Eddie inspires his community, convening sporting events, supporting youth at risk and providing cultural mentoring.
A leader willing to work with everyone, renowned for his ability to broker sound compromises, mediate conflict and lead by example, Eddie has an enduring commitment to improve the lives of the members of his community.
The 2015 Northern Territory Young Australian of the Year is 25 year old Katherine resident Chantal Ober.
As a youth worker at Katherine YMCA, Chantal faces daunting challenges on a daily basis. Driven to make a difference, Chantal has implemented a number of initiatives – from the YMCA Girls Program that builds resilience and self-esteem to taking on the coordination of the Katherine Region Youth Group which encourages young people to speak up and become leaders in their community.
Chantal’s selfless contributions do not stop with her paid work. Chantal volunteers her time to run the eight weekshineGirl program in schools to help young girls gain self-worth, inner strength and purpose. She runs Youth Connect with her local church, in which she spearheads volunteer projects.
As an Indigenous young person, Chantal is a vocal advocate and a role model for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth. Through all her work, both paid and voluntary, Chantal always leads by example and remains committed to helping young people build better lives.
Ray Palmer has been awarded 2015 Northern Territory Local Hero for his work as a veterans’ champion.
After serving in the Royal Australian Air Force for 22 years, Ray was extremely proud when his son, Scott, became a Commando with the Australian Army. Scott was serving in Afghanistan when he was killed in a helicopter crash in 2010. Since then, Ray has worked tirelessly to help other parents of the fallen and the hundreds of servicemen and women who return with physical and psychological wounds.
Ray has walked 400 kilometres in the Territory heat, cycled across the Nullarbor Plain and shaved his moustache to raise awareness and funds for the Commando Trust Fund. Reaching out to support a new generation of Australian war veterans, Ray has accompanied wounded soldiers along the Kokoda Trail four times.
An inspiration and a lifeline, Ray has put aside his own grief to provide guidance, counselling and mentoring for others. Ray’s story is one of a dad and an active community member who has turned his personal tragedy into selfless action for others.
The Northern Territory Award recipients will join recipients from the other States and Territories as finalists for the national Awards to be announced on 25 January 2015 in Canberra.