1. Rosalie Kunoth-Monks
Rosalie Kunoth Monks has for decades weighed deeply into cultural, political and social debate in Australia and as the chancellor of the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education has never been stronger in her fight for social justice and equality for her people.
After starring in world-famous film Jedda about an Indigenous girl’s search for identity at the age of 16, she moved into politics where she stood for election in the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly in 1979 to protest the proposed construction of a dam that threatened to destroy land sacred to her people.
She then focused on protesting the federal government’s intervention into Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory as a violation of human rights.
Rosalie continues to work for sovereignty and First Peoples access to basic rights such as their land, language and culture.
2. Tauto Sansbury
Tauto Sansbury, a Narungga elder, has worked to close the gap in inequality between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians for more than 30 years. In particular, he has worked to close the gap in the justice system. Tauto worked closely with Elliott Johnstone QC and the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement Justice Officer during the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.
He was the driving force South Australian Aboriginal Justice Advocacy Committee the Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committee to protect Indigenous peoples from suffering in the hands of justice, initiatives that resulted from the commission.
Tauto now works to ensure Aboriginal peoples can rightfully stay on their homelands in Western Australia after the Federal Government flagged them for closure in 2014.
3. Ryan Morich
Wheelchair basketballer Ryan Morich, founder of the Red Dust Heelers’ Wheeling and Healing program, is giving people with disabilities the support systems to integrate into life and opportunities through playing basketball.
Ryan was 12 years old when he was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer called Ewing’s Sarcoma. His leg from below his knee was amputated.
He has gone on to achieve great feats such as winning bronze at the Under 23 World Championships with his team, the Australian Spinners, in Turkey, and playing at the University of Alabama in the US. Ryan is proud to have competed at the Australian Paralympic Youth Games in Melbourne in 2009.
Through the Wheeling and Healing program he is giving more people like him the fuel to do the same.
4. Veronica Perrule
Veronica Perrule Dobson, an Arrernte elder and traditional owner, preserves her language culture as a linguist, naturalist and ecologist.
She has produced educational material to support her teachings such as the Eastern and Central Arrernte to English Dictionary with John Henderson.
Veronica works to continue culture through going out bush with other elders to teach medicine and bush skills to children.
Veronica had been an inspiration and role model for many people - both Indigenous and non-Indigenous - for the wisdom she has been carrying down.
5. Graham Taylor
When Graham arrived in Malaysia for six months of service he was assigned forward scout, at the frontline clearing pathways for the rest of the platoons. When the enemy attacked 16 men with mortar bombs and heavy rifle fire, 10 were seriously injured. Despite heavy fire he was there to help them.
Since returning from war he has worked tirelessly to ensure recognition of the ADF’s Indigenous service people.
Graham is an inspirational leader for our young people, helping them foster their culture. He has lent his time to Mullewa High School, 100 kilometres out of Geraldton, to fight racism there.
6. Ashley Farrall
He dedicates his time to studying culture and bush food with Yorta Yorta Elders and Aboriginal chefs such as Mark Olive.
Ashley, with Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park in Cairns and the Outback Academy, are committed to mentoring other Indigenous youth by leading through example.
7. Daren Dunn
He has spent his life teaching in both public and private school systems for 23 years, providing countless Indigenous students with growth and opportunities, many of whom have been at serious risk of disengaging from education.
One of his educational initiatives is the "Get Back on Ya Feet" program through teaching youth Aboriginal art and culture to empower them.
He also combines his talent for art with his passion for sport and takes his paintings around the world where they can be seen from the United Arab Emirates, Italy and Russia to China, the US, Japan and Ireland.
8. Michelle Deshong
She has a great passion for enhancing the voice of Indigenous women. Michelle is conducting a comparative analysis on First Nations women in governance roles during her internationally appraised Fullbright scholarship. Her research will be conducted with the Udall Center and Native Nations Institute, and hosted by the University of Arizona.
Michelle has dedicated much of her life to increasing opportunity for First Peoples. She was executive director at the Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre. She has worked at the federal government as a senior advisor in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
9. Chris Tamwoy
He is moving his peers forward in the reconciliation effort of breaking down barriers between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in the country through high-school workshops known as “Reconciliation Journeys.”
Chris’ passion for reducing racism grew in 2013 when his neighbourhood became the subject of national media attention. The 'race riots' in Douglas Street in the city of Logan, out of Brisbane, showed a community that was intolerant and violent.
Chris joined with other Indigenous youth to show the negative representations of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youths were unbalanced through forming the Logan First Nations Youth Assembly. The assembly used social media to provide a much-needed voice for Indigenous youth.
10. Gavin Jones 1966-2014
He was the editor-in-chief of Deadly Vibe magazine and began the Deadly Sounds radio program, which is heard on 200 Indigenous stations around the country, in the effort to ensure Indigenous voices are heard.
He was the founder and director of the annual Deadly Awards that celebrate Indigenous achievement in music, entertainment and sport.
Gavin moved across to television as the executive producer of Logie Award-nominated childrens' television program, Move it Mob Style, which encourages youth to keep fit by making it fun. He also led the health and lifestyle program, Living Strong, to be delivered by health staff across the country.