The department proudly sponsors Australia's Local Hero Award as part of the
Australian of the Year Awards. The Awards provide all Australians with the opportunity to recognise someone who makes them proud.
The Local Hero Award recognises the enormous contribution of so many Australian citizens who selflessly work to make their local community a better place, and helping those around them.
Australia's Local Hero is selected from the eight state and territory finalists and is announced on the eve of Australia Day every year.
The Department works in partnership with the
National Australia Day Council (NADC) to encourage everyone to celebrate what's great about Australia and reflect on what it means to be an Australian citizen.
Australia's Local Hero 2016
Australia's Local Hero winner for 2016, Catherine Keenan with the Prime Minister.
Photo not to be used or reproduced without the permission of the National Australia Day Council.
A former journalist, arts writer and literary editor, Catherine Keenan turned her back on her career in 2012 to help nurture the talent and creativity of marginalised young Australians. As the co-founder and executive director of the Sydney Story Factory, Catherine has helped thousands of primary and high school students express themselves through writing and storytelling. Catherine, who has a doctorate in English literature from Oxford University, is focused on helping people from Indigenous and non-English speaking backgrounds, but everyone is welcome to attend the Sydney Story Factory and all classes are free. With energy, enthusiasm and sheer hard work, Catherine has raised funds, established partnerships and trained more than 1 200 volunteers who work with students one-on-one or in small groups to teach them writing skills, cultivate their creativity and help them find their own voice. Catherine's passion for language, literature and creative writing is building self-esteem and academic achievement, opening pathways to higher education and improving the life choices of many young Australians.
State and territory local heroes
You can read the inspiring stories of all the
state and territory finalists and
Do you know a local hero?
There are men and women all over Australia who make an outstanding contribution to their community by helping those around them. These are the people whose tireless and selfless work often goes unthanked.
Everywhere there are people like this. Australia's Local Hero Award provides an opportunity to acknowledge dedicated Australian citizens who make a significant contribution at a local community level.
Perhaps you have a friend, family member, community leader or colleague who is an inspiring individual who makes an outstanding contribution to their local community.
All it takes is one nomination, so recommend someone you know for Australia's Local Hero Award.
nominate your Local Hero on the
Australian of the Year Awards website. Nominations close on 1 August 2016.