Australian Of The Year (NSW)

“I’m going to go home and tell my children they’re not trying hard enough”, a friend of a friend joked tonight at the announcement of the NSW finalists for the Australian Of The Year. We agreed all of the finalists, but particularly the recipients were seriously impressive people who made us feel somewhat inadequate about the achievements in our own lives.

There was the man who was one of the Sudanese childhood soldiers who came to Australia, and was now an immigration lawyer. There was the former “TV celebrity doctor” who had amassed more than 1,000 properties which he rented at significantly reduced rents to older people in need. There was the woman in her eighties who had volunteered for local community organisations for most of her life. The list goes on.

I have had an association (through my work) with the Australian Of The Year for close to a decade. Of all the work-related things I do each year, it’s one of the most enjoyable associations I have. Great people doing great things. Here are some photographs from tonight’s announcements, held at Sydney’s Museum Of Contemporary Art.

In the midst of it all, it was also great to hear/see Microwave Jenny perform. “The last time I saw them perform she was VERY pregnant”, I told a colleague. Tonight I saw them (memorably) perform “Advance Australia Fair” with a simple, guitar-led arrangement. In contrast to most performances of our national anthem, I actually “believed” this performance. Thank goodness, we weren’t asked to sing along to the second verse.