THREE inspirational people from Katherine were this morning named as finalists in the Northern Territory Australian of the Year awards.
The NT award finalists are in the running to win the overall Australian of the Year award.
Actor and musician Tom E. Lewis has been named a finalist in the NT Australian of the Year.
Healthy living advocate Bridie Duggan is a finalist in the NT Young Australian of the Year.
“Social entrepreneur” Laurie Egan is one of four finalists in the NT “local hero” section.
The award recipients will be named in Darwin on Wednesday, November 2.
Finalists are: Australian of the Year – Tony Burns (Karama), Tom E. Lewis (Katherine), Andrea Mason (Alice Springs), David McMicken AM and Timothy Newth AM (Darwin/Nightcliff).
NT Young Australian of the Year – Bridie Duggan (Katherine), Tristan Duggie (Tennant Creek), Cj Fraser-Bell (Moil), Daniel Yore (Tiwi).
2017 NT Local Hero – Laura Egan (Katherine), Tejinder Pal Singh (Malak), Jane Vadiveloo (Melbourne), Gayili Marika (Nhulunbuy).
The national awards will be held in Canberra on January 25.
National Australia Day council CEO, Chris Kirby, said the NT finalists are among 131 great Australians being recognised as State and Territory finalists in the Australian of the Year Awards.
"The Australian of the Year Awards allow us to recognise and celebrate the achievements of outstanding Australians – people making extraordinary contributions to our society," Mr Kirby said..
Tom E. Lewis:
From Jimmie Blacksmith to King Lear, Tom E. Lewis has delivered critically-acclaimed and thought-provoking acting performances during his 40-year career.
Born in Ngukurr on the banks of the Roper River in South Eastern Arnhem land, Tom is the son of a Welsh father and an Indigenous mother.
Brought up traditionally, he left school at 12, working as a bricklayer and stockman before he was discovered for the role of Jimmy Blacksmith while waiting at an airport.
His documentary film, Yellow Fella, is an exploration of his mixed race heritage, and was the first Australian Indigenous documentary selected to screen at the Cannes Film Festival.
Tom’s retelling of Shakespeare’s King Lear transformed the mad king into an Aboriginal elder, challenging Australians to examine Indigenous culture in new ways.
A unique singer-songwriter, Tom pioneered the use of didjeridu in contemporary music, and runs an arts centre and cultural festival called Walking with Spirits. With deep insight and feeling, Tom is a campfire storyteller for a modern world.
Shocked by the suicide of a close friend in Katherine, Bridie Duggan decided to take action.
Setting herself an extreme challenge, Bridie travelled around Darwin, each day for a month and raising $27,000 for the Livin Foundation in the process.
Determined to raise awareness and funds to support the one in four Australians who will suffer from mental illness during their lives, Bridie wants others to know that speaking up and out is not weak.
A qualified life coach and personal trainer with a degree in exercise and sports science and currently studying her Masters of Physiotherapy, Bridie inspires people to strive for healthy mind, body and spirit.
She devoted countless volunteer hours to her community – helping people to lose weight and gain self-esteem, volunteering as a strapper for football clubs of all codes, and instructing fitness classes for children with autism.
With a reputation as superwoman within her community, Bridie draws on an endless supply of energy to encourage others.
When she first began working in a remote Aboriginal community in 2006, Laura Egan was astonished at the lack of opportunities for young people to learn, work and contribute.
Exposed to the idea of enterprise as a tool for development after a stint in India, Laura established Enterprise Learning Projects in 2010.
Starting with a pop-up milkshake stand, Laura was inspired by the community’s appetite for learning and creativity, and has since helped a number of micro-businesses gain momentum.
She teaches skills that can be applied to employment, leadership and entrepreneurship, while building confidence, teamwork skills and a stronger sense of purpose.
Maintaining a deep connection to the people of the Katherine region, Laura has helped kick-start an impressive array of projects including bush soap and bush tea, a coloring book and community calendar, greeting cards and family portraits.
Often living in isolated locations, Laura has shared her skills and energy with many people without asking for reward in return.