Teen mum gets top Tassie award

A teenage mum who overcame adversity to establish a charity for young parents has been named the 2019 Tasmania Australian of the Year.

A teenage mum who became an advocate for other young people facing parenthood has been named the 2019 Tasmania Australian of the Year.

Bernadette Black was one of four women recognised at Government House in Hobart on Friday and is now in the running for the national award to be presented on the eve of Australia Day.

Ms Black first gave birth when she was 16 but went on to finish her education, qualify as a nurse and set up the BRAVE Foundation, a not-for-profit charity which annually supports 8300 expectant and parenting teens in Australia.

The organisation received $4.4 million in federal funding this year to run a national trial connecting 350 young parents to educational and support opportunities.

Ms Black will be joined by three other Tasmanians at the national awards in Canberra on January 25, when categories of Australian of the Year will be named.

Tasmania's Senior Australian of the Year is 67-year-old cookbook author Sally Wise, who works with the community to promote nutritious food using accessible ingredients, as well as new businesses starting out in the food sector.

Kirby Medcraft, a 29-year-old assistant principal at Windermere Primary School, was named Tasmania Young Australian of the Year for her dedication to teaching.

The Tasmania Local Hero is Vicki Purnell, a volunteer and founder of Bridie's Blossoms, which creates outfits for stillborn babies and keepsakes for their parents, paying for the materials and delivering them to hospitals.

"The Tasmania Award recipients are immensely caring and compassionate people, sharing their skills to help others and their own experience to affect change," Karlie Brand, chief executive of National Australia Day Council said.


* Tasmania Australian of the Year - Bernadette Black

* Tasmania Senior Australian of the Year - Sally Wise

* Tasmania Young Australian of the Year - Kirby Medcraft

* Tasmania Local Hero - Vicki Purnell

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