Yamatji Elder Frank Mallard has been named as the next WA Senior Australian of the Year.
The Stolen Generation survivor served in the Australian army from 1962 to 1985, and in the Army Reserves from 1986 to 1999.
He has been recognised for his contribution on veterans’ issues.
“To get the top award of the Senior of the Year is unbelievable,” Mr Mallard said.
“You don’t aspire to [win] because it’s not something you look forward to. You do the things that you do and you don’t look for accolades at all."
The 73-year-old served in Borneo and Vietnam and, like many Aboriginal service men and women, he faced discrimination and racism upon returning home.
“Once upon a time we weren’t accepted into the RSL because they considered us not to be soldiers, we were on a police action and it took some time… And having this award tonight will help our people to fit in better with the community.”
Mr Mallard has worked to improve awareness of the military service of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people within Veterans’ Affairs and the broader community. He now works as the Media Officer at Ellenbrook RSL.
"You do the things that you do and you don’t look for accolades at all."
He was one of four Aboriginal nominees for WA Australian of the Year awards.
Wadjuk woman Cheryl Kickett-Tucker was named Local Hero in recognition of her work with her youth basketball program Kaat, Koort and Hoops.
Ms Kickett-Tucker was unable to attend the award ceremony but thanked her family in an acceptance video.
Noongar man Mervyn Eades was also nominated in the Local Hero category for his work as the founder of Ngalla Maya Aboriginal Corporation.
Clinton Pryor, who walked from Perth to Canberra in 2017 raising awareness on Aboriginal issues, was a nominee in the young person category.
The national Australian of the Year Awards will be held in Canberra on January 25.