South Australia's Australian of the Year finalists

Professor Peter Buckskin PSM FACE

Professor Peter Buckskin PSM FACE

Professor Peter Buckskin PSM FACE - Educator (Adelaide)

A proud Narungga man from the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia, Professor Peter Buckskin is an educator and public sector professional with a passion for reform. As a schoolteacher, a ministerial adviser, superintendent of schools and a senior executive in both the state and federal public service, Peter has encouraged and enabled Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and teachers to celebrate, understand and teach Australia’s unique cultural history. A widely recognised thought leader, he has contributed to many national and international working groups, chairs numerous boards and committees and is the current inaugural Dean of Indigenous Scholarship, Engagement and Research at the University of South Australia. Peter’s life work exemplifies excellence, an unbroken commitment to making Australia a better place and a consistent humility in placing the interests of the community he serves above his own. An inspiring, determined and dedicated leader, Peter is creating change to close the education gap for his people.

Peter Drew

Peter Drew

Peter Drew - Street artist (Norwood)

Inspired by the second verse of the Australian national anthem – ‘with boundless plains to share’ – street artist Peter Drew wanted to challenge the nation to rethink its views on asylum seekers and immigrants. In 2015, Peter embarked on a three-month road trip to put up 1,000 eye-catching posters declaring “Real Australians Say Welcome”. Travelling across the country, Peter pasted posters on buildings, walls and hoardings, with many people stopping to say thank you. Peter’s campaign, which reminded people to have “courage to combine” has inspired thousands of other Australians to create their own designs. With a Master’s Degree in Research from the Glasgow School of Art, Peter’s work can be seen around the world. His Bound For South Australia project, addressed similar themes and issues around national identity. Channelling folklore and legend, Peter’s poster campaigns remind us that our nation was forged by those who crossed the seas in search of a better life and encourages Australians to give asylum seekers a ‘fair go’.

Dr John Greenwood AM

Dr John Greenwood AM

Dr John Greenwood AM - Plastic surgeon (Athelstone)

Looking after 450 acute burns patients each year might seem like a full time job, but Dr John Greenwood has set his sights on excellent and affordable burn care for every patient around the world. A plastic surgeon and Medical Director of the Adult Burn Centre at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, John cares for all adults sustaining burn injury in South Australia, Northern Territory, western New South Wales and western Victoria – an area covering some 2.4 million square kilometres. John runs state-wide education services, heads the nation’s only mobile burn response unit for burn injuries in disaster scenarios and he was dispatched to Darwin in the aftermath of the 2002 Bali bombings. Since 2003, John has been developing a suite of innovative burn care and skin substitute products based on a biodegradable polyurethane platform that replace the skin graft. John’s selfless service to burn patients is improving survival rates and making life better for people around the world.

Kate Swaffer

Kate Swaffer

Kate Swaffer - Dementia advocate (Wattle Park)

Diagnosed with a rare form of dementia in 2008 aged just 49, Kate Swaffer has been motivated to improve services and outcomes for the 342,000 Australians currently living with the disease. A poet, author and owner of a consumer website, Kate has become a globally-recognised advocate for the 47 million people with dementia around the world. With searing honesty, Kate has shared her experience on her daily blog, attracting an audience of 40,000 each month. She sits on many boards, steering committees and scientific panels, providing a consumer perspective and helping to set research priorities. Despite dementia, Kate has completed a Bachelor of Arts, a Bachelor of Psychology and a Master’s of Science in Dementia Care. The co-founder and chair of Dementia Alliance International, now the peak body for people with dementia, Kate has worked tirelessly to raise awareness and encourage others to live beyond dementia. While each day deals out new challenges, Kate continues the fight to raise awareness and empower others living with dementia.

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