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Australian of the Year 2010

published  First Published: 24/01/2010
Article written by: News Editor: Nigel Brookson
Professor Patrick McGorry, aged 57 from Essendon Victoria, is a leading international researcher, clinician and advocate for the youth mental health reform agenda.
 
He is Executive Director of Orygen Youth Health (OYH), a world-renowned mental health organisation for young people that has put Australia at the forefront of innovation in the prevention and treatment of mental illness.
 
OYH targets the needs of young people with emerging serious mental illness, including first-episode psychosis and has become the model upon which many other youth mental health services in the world are based.
 
Professor McGorry is also a Director of the National Youth Mental Health Foundation (headspace). He believes that early intervention offers the greatest hope for recovery and therefore takes every opportunity to educate the community to recognise the early signs of mental illness, without stigmatising or discriminating.
 
His extraordinary 27-year contribution to the improvement of the youth mental health sector has transformed the lives of tens of thousands of young people the world over.
 
 
Senior Australian of the Year 2010
 
Maggie Beer Cook and restaurateur
 
Maggie Beer from Nuriootpa South Australia is an Australian culinary icon whose passion for food brings joy to many Australians.
 
Maggies focus is on using seasonal ingredients and educating people to make informed food choices. To this end she opened the famed Pheasant Farm Restaurant in 1979. Maggie and her husband ran it for just short of 15 years, winning a host of prestigious awards, before moving on to focus on producing gourmet foods.
 
In 1996, Maggie opened an export kitchen for the production of preservative-free gourmet foods for the national and international market, and in 1999 she returned to the original site of the Pheasant Farm and, having come full circle, re-opened Maggie Beers Farm Shop.
 
Maggie has written seven books, with Maggies Harvest winning the Australian Publishers Associations Illustrated Book of the Year. She also co-hosted the ABC cooking program, The Cook and the Chef, and works with Stephanie Alexander to promote the Kitchen Garden Foundation.
 
Maggie Beer hopes that through sharing her love of food she will inspire Australians to reconnect with food and appreciate what we eat.
 
 
Young Australian of the Year 2010
 
Trooper Mark Donaldson, aged 30 from Russell in Western Australia is a VC Courageous soldier medal winner.
 
Mark Donaldson enlisted in the Australian Army in 2002 and displayed an early aptitude for soldiering, winning a number of prizes for his skills.
 
As part of the Special Service Regiment he was deployed on operations to East Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq. An incident in Afghanistan led to his being awarded the Victoria Cross, Australias highest military honour for acts of bravery in wartime. When Marks unit was hit by an ambush, nine Australians were wounded.
 
As the battle raged around him, he deliberately drew enemy fire to himself on several occasions so that wounded soldiers could be moved to safety. Then when he saw a coalition force interpreter lying wounded, he ran 80 metres across exposed ground to rescue him and carry him to safety.
 
This complete disregard for his own safety displayed exceptional courage.
 
Since being awarded the Victoria Cross, Mark has conducted himself in a way that is impressive and makes him a role model for young and old. His bravery in the face of great danger saved lives and won him the highest respect.
 

Australia's Local Hero 2010
 
Ronni Kahn Food rescuer
 
Ronni Kahn, aged 57 from Bronte in New South Wales is the founder of OzHarvest, a service that collects and delivers surplus food to charities.
 
Ronnie originally ran an events business and was horrified by the amount of left over food that was thrown out, so began driving it to a hostel rather than let it go to waste.
But Ronnie knew there was much more that could be done, and in 2004, OzHarvest was born.
 
Five years later OzHarvest has over 600 food donors and delivers more than 110,000 meals each month to 163 charities in Sydney, Canberra and Wollongong.
 
Ronni plans to go national next year. Due to the perseverance of Ronni and others, the law has been changed in NSW, ACT, QLD, SA (and soon will be in WA) to ensure that food donors are safe from liability.
 
OzHarvest has had a profound impact on the environment by saving thousands of tonnes of food from landfill, and on clients of charities who are able to eat quality, nutritious food.
 

 

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