Dr Gill Hicks won the South Australian of the Year and is in the running for the national award on Australia Day, 26 January 2015.
Gill Hicks won for her global peace campaign, stemming from her experience in the London bombings of 2005. Since then she has founded, M.A.D. (Make A Difference) For Peace, and M.A.D. MINDS in Australia.
In her acceptance speech, Gill Hicks said peace building and countering an extremist narrative is difficult to quantify.
“I don’t fund raise, so there’s no sum of money to show for my achievements, my success is in the silence of someone choosing a different path other than violent extremism and in the growing understanding that what unites us all is far greater than what divides.”
The South Australian winners of the Australian of the Year award categories are:
Australian of the Year
Dr Gill Hicks MBE
When she was blown up in the tunnel between London’s King’s Cross and Russell Square Tube stations in July 2005, Dr Gill Hicks’ injuries were so severe that paramedics couldn’t even identify her gender. The last person to be rescued alive from the train, Gill was given a tag describing her as ‘One Unknown – estimated female’. Trapped in the chaos, her legs destroyed, Gill was close to death but made a vow to survive and make a difference. In the nine years since, that vow has never weakened and Gill has dedicated her life to working for world peace.
The founder of M.A.D. For Peace, Gill’s work concentrates on ending violent extremism and building sustainable peace. She is an inspiring motivational speaker, author, curator and trustee for several cultural organisations. Gill’s memoir, One Unknown, was the catalyst for a powerful play which premiered at the 2013 Adelaide Arts Festival. In January 2013, Gill gave birth to her daughter Amelie, which she calls “the second miracle” of her life.
Senior Australian of the Year
Musician and volunteer
An Australian rock legend, John ‘Swanee’ Swan’s generosity of spirit is renowned. John gives his time to countless causes – from feeding homeless people at his local Salvation Army to visiting hospitals to bring joy to terminally-ill patients – but his main focus is helping young people with drug and alcohol problems.
Young Australian of the Year
Kristin Carson, 29
One of the youngest senior medical research scientists at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Kristin Carson is responsible for more than 40 projects and 25 researchers. In the past five years, Kristin has produced more than 50 peer-reviewed publications, contributing to patient care, policy and practice both locally and internationally.
Australia’s Local Hero
A proud Adnyamathanha man, Vince Coulthard began working for his people at a time when genuine bravery and personal fortitude were required. Vince protects and conserves the cultural identity of his people and led the development of South Australia’s first Native Title claim over the Flinders Ranges.