From athletes to advocates, entertainers and entrepreneurs, singers to scientists – this year’s announced NSW Australia Day Ambassadors come from all walks of life.
Together they share the common goal of banding together in solidarity, sharing stories of optimism and showing support to communities going through difficult times by being part of their Australia Day activities.
Australia Day 2020 focuses on the theme ‘Everyone, every story’. It’s a day for all Australians to reflect upon our history, diversity and culture, and unite through our shared values and experiences. Paving the way are more than 120 high-achieving Ambassadors who volunteer their time to share their inspiring messages at community-hosted Australia Day events.
This year’s mix includes long-time Ambassadors such as marathon swimmer Susie Maroney OAM, rugby league legend Peter Wynn and TV star Catriona Rowntree. Together with first-time Ambassador and local hero Sophie Smith, with her indomitable spirit to inspire others and share her story of her charity – Running for Premature Babies.
NSW Australia Day Council Chairman, Andrew Parker says, the Ambassador Program is truly remarkable and unique, and this year’s group is determined to gather with communities.
“Drawn from diverse fields, Ambassadors share common traits of achievement through hard work, talent and a strong sense of community. It is important to highlight inspirational contributors within our communities and this is what the program aims to do.
“Australia Day is a day to reflect on what’s great about our country and our people – particularly our strong sense of community in times of crisis. This year we want to bring people together to reflect on and celebrate the Australian Spirit, as well as honour and support those who are facing extraordinary hardship. All efforts large or small go a long way,” Mr Parker said.
“Now in its 29th year, the NSW Ambassador Program aims to spread the message of national pride and inclusion, whether it’s in our cities, regions or remote country towns. I would like to thank our 2020 Ambassadors for volunteering their time and sharing their stories,” he said.
Internationally recognised flautist and Australia Day Ambassador Jane Rutter says she is honoured to be part of Bega Valley Shire Council events this year.
“It’s where as a kid I learnt to value the bush, the ocean and Australian nature.”
“This Australia Day we need to pull together. As music can give hope and remind us of the best qualities about life, I look forward to being with those who have suffered and hope my presence and music will to a small degree soothe and assist the healing process,” said Ms Ruttler, known worldwide for her mastery of the flute.
With many from the bush doing it tough due to the drought, farmer John Harper will use his Ambassador status to encourage more men to talk about mental wellbeing.
“I am very proud to be part of a nation that aims to recognise the efforts of ordinary members of our communities who work tirelessly to make Australia the ‘Lucky Country’”, said Mr Harper, from Stockinbingal in the Riverina, and established a grassroots self-help program, Mate Helping Mate, more than 10 years ago.
“Australia exists because of us, ordinary individuals and every day families in local communities.”
Motivational speaker, Steve Widders from the Kamilaroi and Anaiwan people of northern NSW is set to take part in Australia Day activities in Uralla.
“The devastating drought and bushfires occurring across Australia has unified our nation over the last year. We have pulled together as a country which is a reassuring reminder that we are united as a nation, facing these challenges together,” Mr Widders said.
“This brings to light the true spirit of being Australian, which is to help one another, and we do it with pride every day, all year round.”
Antarctic station leader Narelle Campbell recalls Australia Day in the highest, driest, and coldest continent in the world.
“Regardless of where you are in the world on January 26, every Australian will take time to reflect what this day means to them,” Ms Campbell said.
A full list of 2020 NSW Australia Day Ambassadors is attached and listed on the website. For more information on the program, visit http://www.australiaday.com.au.