One of Australia’s best-loved athletes and advocate for people with disabilities, Kurt Fearnley, has been named the 2019 NSW Australian of the Year.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian congratulated Mr Fearnley and the other NSW Australian of the Year Award recipients at a ceremony at Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art on Monday night.
“The Australian of the Year Awards celebrate the achievements of people who make extraordinary contributions to the community and these four people are very deserving of our recognition,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“Kurt Fearnley has been inspiring us for more than two decades as a wheelchair athlete with an indomitable spirit. He has won 13 Paralympic medals, including three gold, as well as gold and silver medals at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
“He has captured the hearts of the nation with his positivity, refusing to let disability get in the way of his aspirations and that’s a wonderful example to us all.”
Mr Fearnley has crewed on the winning yacht in the Sydney-Hobart yacht race in 2011, crawled the entire 96-kilometre length of the Kokoda track to raise awareness of men’s health, and is a passionate advocate for people with disabilities.
Ms Berejiklian also announced the following NSW Australian of the Year Award recipients:
- 91-year old athlete Heather Lee – NSW Senior Australian of the Year
- Social entrepreneur Jarrod Wheatley – NSW Young Australian of the Year
- Community fundraiser Sophie Smith – NSW Local Hero
The NSW Award recipients will join other State and Territory recipients for the national Australian of the Year Awards in Canberra on 25 January 2019.
For more information, see: www.australianoftheyear.org.au.