Igniting Change at the 2024 Australian of the Year Luncheon

June 21, 2024

Published: July 3, 2024

We were thrilled to host the 2024 Australian of the Year Luncheon on 21 June, providing a platform for this year’s Australian and South Australian Award recipients to share their invaluable and ground-breaking work with South Australians. 

An enormous thank you to the 550 people who attended this very special event. Professors Georgina Long AO and Richard Scolyer AO, co-medical directors of Melanoma Institute Australia, delivered inspiring insights into their pioneering immunotherapy research for melanoma, which has recently been applied to treating brain cancer. The Professors emphasised two key points: ‘No tan is a safe tan in Australia’ – prevention is our first line of protection against melanoma. They highlighted innovation in cancer research and clinical practice, sharing insights into the leadership approach that led to their ground-breaking and lifesaving outcomes. 

Our Charity Partner, the Cancer Council SA, raised $8,200 at the event—thank you to all who supported their fundraising!  We’re all in this together. No one should have to face cancer alone, and we can all be there for people affected by cancer. If you have cancer, the Cancer Council is right there with you and your family.   

The Cancer Council relies on the generosity of South Australians like you to fund its vital work through research, prevention, and support programs. Further donations can be made here to support our community when we need it the most. 

The event commenced with a Welcome to the Country by Kaurna and Narrunga man Jack Buckskin, which fostered a sense of respect and acknowledgement of the traditional custodians of the land, their language and culture. 

MC Sonya Feldhoff led an engaging Q&A with Tim Jarvis AM – 2024 SA Australian of the Year, discussing practical climate and biodiversity solutions, leaving us with a mission to act now. Sister Meredith Evans, SA Senior Australian of the Year, sharing touching stories from refugee families in Adelaide. Young Australian of the Year Tiahni Adamson highlighted the importance of integrating Indigenous knowledge for better climate outcomes. Local Hero Rachael Zaltron of Backpacks 4 SA Kids shared her passion for aiding vulnerable children when they most need it, calling on the community to contribute to the care, safety and wellbeing of children and young people during periods of dislocation from home.  

We were delighted and moved by exceptional performances by the St Peters College band, the Elder Conservatorium Chamber Chorale, and the Balinese Society of South Australia . These remarkable performances celebrated South Australia’s rich talent and diverse cultural identity.  

We acknowledge the invaluable assistance from the Australian Government through the National Australia Day Council and support by a grant from the Government of South Australia and our supporting partners SAHMRI, Cancer Council SA, St Peter’s College, InDaily, Adelaide PHN, Adelaide Cemeteries, Maras Group, Alliance College, Pernod Ricard Winemakers, Kytons Bakery Australia, Sofitel Adelaide, and Haigh’s Chocolates. 

Do you know someone who has made a significant impact in their field? Nominations for the 2025 Australian of the Year Awards are open until 31 July. This is your chance to recognise and celebrate their achievements. Visit https://australianoftheyear.org.au/ to nominate them now!