Queensland's 2020 Australian of the Year Rachel Downie...educator and social entrepreneur.
Queensland's 2020 Australian of the Year Rachel Downie...educator and social entrepreneur.

Top Aussies’ poignant display

A PAIR of boots, an anatomy book and a Hawaiian statue are among the objects chosen by this year's 2020 Australian of the Year state and territory recipients for a national exhibition.

The recipients include an indigenous music legend, a refugee orthopaedic surgeon, and a women's rugby league pioneer. The National Museum of Australia and the National Australia Day Council (NADC) launched an exhibition of significant objects chosen by the eight extraordinary 2020 Australian of the Year recipients to tell us something about their lives, aspirations and experiences.

National Museum director Dr Mathew Trinca said the recipients had chosen diverse and deeply personal objects reflecting their life's journey.

"We are honoured to feature these fascinating objects selected by eight exceptional individuals. We hope many Australians will see this exhibition and reflect on the issues raised by the objects on display - and the endeavours of the Australians who selected them," Dr Trinca said.

National Australia Day Council CEO Karlie Brand said the objects had moved beyond being ordinary possessions.

 

This small ceramic bird is a very personal reminder of Rachel's student and how his death was the catalyst for the work she does now.
This small ceramic bird is a very personal reminder of Rachel's student and how his death was the catalyst for the work she does now.

 

Curator Dr Laina Hall said: "What I love about this exhibition is how it so neatly captures the power of material culture. These objects have been kept for a reason and now, in being shared, enable us to connect with the recipients in a personal way."

The 2020 Queensland Australian of the Year Rachel Downie: After one of her students died by suicide, educator and social entrepreneur Rachel Downie developed Stymie, an online resource for students to anonymously report harm.

A small ceramic bird her student made is a deeply personal reminder of him and how his death was the catalyst for the work she does now.

 

NSW Australian of the Year Professor Munjed Al Muderis: Orthopaedic surgeon and human rights advocate Munjed Al Muderis fled Iraq in 1999. The book Last's Anatomy by RMH McMinn was one of the few items he brought from Iraq. It is a reminder of his life as a junior doctor and was a treasured companion during his time in detention.

NT Australian of the Year Dr Geoffrey Thompson: Sports physician and ex-RAAF flying doctor Dr Geoffrey Thompson chose his first stethoscope and his pilot's logbook. They capture his long career in medicine and in the air.

Victorian Australian of the Year Archie Roach (AM): Throughout his distinguished career, singer and storyteller Archie Roach has drawn on his own experiences to highlight issues affecting many indigenous Australians. He has provided a book that presents the lyrics of his acclaimed song Took the Children Away, with illustrations by his late wife Ruby Hunter. The exhibition is on display at the National Museum until February 16 before touring nationally.