The 2021 Tasmanian Australian of the Year Awards were announced on 30th October 2020 at Hobart Town Hall in the presence of Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Kate Warner AC, Governor of Tasmania, and the Honourable Peter Gutwein MP, Premier of Tasmania.
The four Tasmanian recipients will join those from the other states and territories for the national awards to be announced on 25 January 2021.
The 2021 Tasmanian Australian of the Year is advocate for survivors of sexual assault and #LetHerSpeak campaigner Grace Tame.
Grace is an outspoken advocate for survivors of sexual assault, particularly those who were abused in institutional settings. From age 15, Grace was groomed and raped by her 58-year-old maths teacher, who was found guilty and jailed for his crimes.
However, under Tasmania’s sexual-assault victim gag laws, Grace couldn’t legally speak out about her experience – despite the perpetrator and media being free to do so.
Working with the #LetHerSpeak campaign, Grace applied to the Supreme Court to win the right to publicly self-identify as a rape survivor – becoming the first Tasmanian woman to do so.
Now 25, Grace has demonstrated extraordinary courage championing the #LetHerSpeak campaign – using her voice to push for legal reform and raise public awareness about the impacts of sexual violence. She is a regular guest speaker for high-profile events and television programs and uses her media profile to advocate for other vulnerable groups in the community.
Scout leader and mentor Brian Williams is the 2021 Tasmanian Senior Australian of the Year.
Brian has devoted more than 50 years to Scouts and has been a highly respected mentor to thousands of youth.
Under his leadership, the Blackmans Bay Scout Group has become one of the largest and most successful in Tasmania.
Brian organised the inaugural Australian Venture in Launceston, bringing together young people from around Australia and overseas for 12 days of fun and activities.
Due to the success of this event, the state has been invited to run several additional national events.
At 73, Brian is deputy chair on the committee for A Day on The Beach, a local Australia Day celebration of Australian life and culture.
His efforts mean his scouts can participate in these local events, gaining valuable community engagement and life experience.
Since 1983, Brian has been on the state training team, where he has trained and nurtured more than 100 leaders in the Venturer Scout Section – ensuring the ongoing success of the organisation.
The 2021 Tasmanian Young Australian of the Year is advocate for youth empowerment and climate action, Toby Thorpe.
At 18, Toby is a passionate advocate for youth empowerment and climate action.
Through his initiatives, Huonville High School became the second Australian winner of the international Zayed Sustainability Prize – launching Tasmania as a global leader in renewable energy innovation.
Toby organised the first state-wide climate leaders’ conference in three Tasmanian cities, attracting more than 350 student participants.
Now in its third year, the Global Energy Award-winning program empowers young people to lead sustainability projects that will contribute positively to the environment and their communities.
Toby has twice led the Tasmanian Youth Delegation, as part of the United Nations Climate Change Conference.
He worked tirelessly to enable students to meet with Australian Government representatives as well as international changemakers such as Greta Thunberg.
Toby is executive director at the Climate Justice Initiative, which runs in-school workshops to help young people understand their power to make a positive impact and connects them with activists around the world.
Founder of Kingborough Helping Hands, Edna Pennicott OAM, is the 2021 Tasmanian Local Hero.
Edna’s organisation provides support to people facing financial hardship.
Kingborough Helping Hands (KHH) delivers care packages of food and other essential items for community members who have fallen on hard times.
Edna collects these goods herself and personally delivers many of the packages.
At Christmas, she organises the packing and delivery of around 250 hampers and 300 children’s presents for families in need.
Through KHH, Edna supports several local women’s shelters, providing household essentials, furniture and clothes for women and children who are fleeing domestic violence.
She also operates an after-hours mobile van service that offers hot food and support to people who are sleeping rough.
The majority of KHH’s programs are community-funded, and Edna is the driving force behind all fundraising activities.
Now 73, Edna recently received an inaugural Aurora Energy Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of 40 years of dedicated service to the most vulnerable members of the community.
National Australia Day Council CEO Karlie Brand congratulated the award recipients from Tasmania.
“The 2021 Tasmanian Australians of the Year are extraordinary people,” said Ms Brand.
“Their courage, passion, commitment and sense of duty are inspirational.”
For more information on the Australian of the Year Awards visit australianoftheyear.org.au.