Thai Cave-Diving Duo Named Australians Of The Year
Cave-diving duo, Dr Richard Harris and Dr Craig Challen have been named Australians of the Year.
The pair's heroic efforts in Thailand ensured the safe rescue of twelve boys and their soccer coach.
“I am feeling inspired by all the amazing people here, it's great,” Dr Harris said.
“I’ve had to spend some time thinking about what I would do with such an amazing platform,” he added.
“What I am really passionate about is young people, and trying to inspire them to be able to share the adventures and outdoor experiences that I’ve had.”
Harris believes confidence and resilience in kids can be built from "careful risk-taking" in the outdoors.
This is the first time there have been dual recipients, and the cave diving heroes were not the only double act.
The Local Hero Award went to Kate and Tick Everett who have campaigned against bullying after their 14-year-old daughter Dolly took her own life in January last year.
“Thousands of parents have reached out, and we try to help everyone the best we can,” Kate said.
“Those stories, of ‘you have changed our life’ are the most important stories that we could possibly hear.”
The 2019 Senior Australian of the Year is 76-year-old Dr Suzanne Packer AM, who has fought to stop child abuse and improve hospitals for kids.
Indigenous rapper Danzal Baker was named Young Australian of the Year, for his work inspiring teenagers to embrace their culture.
There were 33 finalists across the four categories, and they celebrated in Canberra, with a trip to Government House and the Lodge before the awards at the National Arboretum.
Like most, finalist for Senior Australian of the Year, 92-year-old athlete Heather Le, was humble.
“I feel I’m not in that category to be here - am not a mathematician or a scientist,” she said.
“My message is clear, get off the couch and get out there and get active.”
Danielle Roche, Chair of the National Australia Day Council said “they embody the very best of the Australian spirit".
"A commitment to improving the lives of others, a determination to succeed and the ability to inspire us to think about how we can contribute to our nation,” Roche said.
“They are the people that make us proud to be Australian.”
Featured Image: AAP