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Australia Day Ambassadors

 Australia Day Ambassador

The Australia Day Ambassador Program is an initiative that sees high achieving and proud Australians attend local Australia Day celebrations across the nation. In cities, regional areas and in the country, Australia Day Ambassadors volunteer their time and energy to inspire pride and celebration in hundreds of local communities across South Australia.

Participation of an Australia Day Ambassador in community events is regularly cited as one of the highlights of community celebrations.

Meet South Australia's Australia Day Ambassadors:




Edgar Agius OAM

President, Maltese Community Council

Edgar Agius OAM JP.

Joined the Maltese Guild of SA in 1974 climbed up the ranks to President in 1999 to 2007.

Served as President and coordinator of the Maltese Language and Folk Dancing School in the late 1990's.

Currently President of the Maltese Community Council of South Australia, heading a Community Council represented by all the Maltese Community leaders In SA.

2001 elected to Local Government and currently serving his sixth consecutive term of office as Councilor for the Beverley Ward City of Charles Sturt.

Serves as Deputy Mayor in the City of Charles Sturt in 2007 and 2010.

As recognition for his work in the community Edgar was acknowledged by all three tiers of Governments, Local, State and Federal.

2001 Certificate of Appreciation by the Premier of SA for service to the community.

2003 Centenary of Federation Medal from the Commonwealth of Australia for Community Service.

2006 Awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for service to Local Government and the Maltese Community.

2009 The Governor's Multicultural Awards Certificate for Outstanding Distinguished Service by an individual,

2010 Australian of the year (Finalist) South Australian Local Hero Category.

2010 to currently serving as Australia Day Council Ambassador.

Edgar also serves as Justice of the Peace in and for the State of South Australia.

"My Passion is giving back to the Community, I am grateful for the opportunities Australia has given my family and me", Edgar Said.

Destination on Australia Day 2019: City of Port Adelaide Enfield

Wayne Anthoney OAM

Actor, theatre director, acting teacher, stand-up comedian, clown and magician

Wayne trained as a scientist at Adelaide University, graduating in 1962, and worked with early computers until opting for a different career path in 1974. He has worked and performed in Australia and internationally for many decades, as a serious actor, theatre director, acting teacher, stand-up comedian, clown and magician. He worked during the eighties as Humbolt the Clown on a children’s TV show and has done many film roles, most recently playing one of the guilty priests in “Oranges and Sunshine”. He has also taught part-time at Adelaide College of the Arts (ACArts) since its first year of operation and has written several plays.

In 1996, he took a job as Project Manager for Nyangatjatjara Aboriginal Corporation, living mostly in a caravan at Yulara near Uluru.. He retired from the job at the end of 2004 and during the nine years he performed hardly at all but did manage to do some teaching at AcArts from time to time. The years in the desert, working cross-culturally at a high emotional level, have influenced him greatly.

He recently published a book, “Travels In A Foreign Land”, it being a memoir of his more than thirty years’ experiences with Aboriginal people in Central Australia.

His most recent theatrical work was a play co-written by himself and colleague Jenn Havelberg.  “Never a Drop to Drink”, a bleak black comedy concerned with life in Adelaide after all the water has run out and most people have left.  Wayne and Jenn performed it for a two week season at the top of a deserted building in Adelaide.

Wayne was awarded an OAM in 2014 for ‘Services to Australian Indigenous People and the Performing Arts’.

Destination on Australia Day 2019: Yorke Peninsula Council

Ralph Clarke

Industrial Relations Consultant and former Government Minister and Councillor for Adelaide City Council

Ralph began his career in Industrial Relations as a union official for the Federated Clerks Union.  He then became President of that union and also served on other national union organisations.  He is currently a member of a number of government advisory boards.

Ralph was elected to the SA Parliament in 1993 and held many portfolios and positions during his political career.  After leaving politics he was elected to the Adelaide City Council where he served for a number of years.

A broad sense of humour and quick wit enables Ralph to make his point succinctly and effectively.

Destination on Australia Day 2019: Southern Mallee District Council - Lameroo

Francene Connor

Events, Marketing & Public Relations expert

Francene has worked in events marketing and public relations for more than 25 years and was a successful restaurateur in the early 1980s. She spent a large part of her career working in the tourism sector and was a Board Director of the South Australian Tourism Commission, the Adelaide Convention & Tourism Authority and a Member of the TAFE SA Council. Francene played a key international marketing role in Adelaide’s bid for the 1998 Commonwealth Games, and believes that the experience set her up for anything she could possibly encounter in events marketing. For 15 years, Francene was Marketing Manager of the Royal Agricultural & Horticultural Society with the key responsibility of bringing the Royal Adelaide Show and Royal Adelaide Wine Show to prominence as the most successful community event in the State. Francene joined RiAus (Royal Institution of Australia) in 2010. She is currently the Chair of the SA CWA Marketing Committee.

Destination on Australia Day 2019: Tatiara District Council

Ivan Copley

Indigenous Community worker & Australian of the Year (South Australia) 2009

Ivan has devoted his life to achieve reconciliation and better outcomes for Indigenous Australians.  Through his work with Rotary he established the first clean drinking water purifier in the Aboriginal community of Leigh Creek.  Whilst at the Australian Bureau of Statistics he arranged for second-hand computers to be installed in Aboriginal communities without computer access. Ivan has put his heart and soul into bettering his community and has been described as a ‘bridge for all peoples.’ 

Destination on Australia Day 2019: Rural City of Murray Bridge

Dr Robert Irving

Since 1996, veterinarian surgeon Dr Bob Irving has spent half of each year travelling to Aboriginal remote communities in the Anangu-Yankunyjatjara-Pitjantjatjara (AYP) lands in South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory to treat sick animals, mostly dogs.

Funded by government Dog Health Program, Bob travels by road to many remote areas in dangerous terrain. In early days, he often had to camp out with his swag and cook over an open fire. Originally beginning in South Australia, he soon realised that dogs were travelling from interstate for sporting events, funerals and ceremonial activities, so he extended the program to communities in Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

His valuable service helps reduces the risk of transmission of the skin infections, diarrheal diseases and chronic gut parasitic infections from dogs to humans. It also controls the population size of dogs, ensures dogs don’t suffer the painful consequences of mange, and humanely removes sick or troublesome dogs from the population.

Destination on Australia Day 2019: District Council of Cleve

Legh Davis

Investment adviser, former Parliamentarian and Fundraiser

Legh graduated with degrees in Economics and Law and is a Fellow of CPA Australia.  After lecturing in Commercial Law at the SA Institute of Technology (now University of South Australia) Legh joined national sharebroker A C Goode & Co and was later appointed State Manager.
In 1979 he was elected to the Legislative Council.  During his time in Parliament Legh was Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party in the Legislative Council and had a number of portfolio responsibilities including Finance, Housing, Small Business, Arts and Corporate Affairs. Following his retirement from Parliament in 2002 Legh became State Chairman of sharebroker ABN AMRO Morgans until 2010 and is now a senior consultant with Morgans (renamed). He has a particular interest in investing for and in retirement and managing portfolios of charitable and community organisations. He is currently Chairman of the Adelaide Festival Centre Foundation.

Destination on Australia Day 2019: Adelaide City Council 

William (Bill) Denny AM BM

Veteran & Community advocate

Bill joined the Australian Regular Army upon leaving school. In more than 21 years in the military he served in South Vietnam, Papua New Guinea, as Aide de Camp to the Governor General and on exchange duty with the British Army in Germany. He left the Army with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

Post his military service, Bill was employed in management positions in manufacturing, retirement village and transport industries, and in the real estate sector.

He studied at Flinders University as a mature age student and graduated with a Bachelor of Laws and Legal Practice (Honours) in 2007. He has been admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor in the Supreme Court of South Australia.

In 2006 Bill joined the state public service and was appointed the inaugural Director of Veterans SA. In this position he oversaw the establishment of the veterans’ affairs portfolio in our state, retiring in 2014.

Bill's deep and long-standing commitment to the ex-service community has been demonstrated through his role as Deputy State President of the RSL, Chair of the RSL ANZAC Day Committee, Chair of the State Government ANZAC Day Commemoration Council, and Vice President of the Vietnam Veterans Association, Committee Member of the Vietnam Veterans Federation, Committee Member of the Aboriginal Veterans of South Australia Committee and as founder of the ANZAC Eve Youth Vigil.

He was also Co-Chair of the Vietnam War Memorial Committee and co-chaired the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander War Memorial Fundraising Committee. He is currently Patron of the ANZAC Eve Youth Vigil, the National Servicemen’s Association and the Military Vehicle Preservation Society.

His wider community service has included as a member of the Board of Reconciliation SA, after which he was recently appointed an Ambassador for that organisation.

In 2006, Bill was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for service to the community, particularly veterans and their families through the expansion of ANZAC Day commemorative events in South Australia. In 2014 he was awarded the Bravery Medal (BM) for his actions at a fatal traffic accident. He has also received an award for his service to the Vietnamese Veteran’s community of South Australia.

Ongoing community appreciation for Bill's service to the veteran community was shown in 2014 when he was a state finalist in the "Australian of the Year" awards, and in 2015 when he was named an RSL “ANZAC of the Year”.

Since 2008 Bill has co-hosted “Veteran of the Month,” a monthly segment on ABC Radio “Evenings with Peter Goers” where he has co-hosted and interviewed over 200 veterans and members of the ex-service community.

He maintains a direct link with ANZAC Day as a co-compere of the Adelaide ANZAC Day Commemorative March for the ABC.

Bill also volunteers with St Vincent de Paul working on “Fred’s Van” feeding the homeless.

Destination on Australia Day 2019: City of Norwood, Payneham and St Peters

Anthony Fioravanti

SA Police Superintendent of Western District

Superintendent Anthony Fioravanti is currently the Officer in Charge of Western District.  His career has spanned nearly 38 years and career highlights have included 18 years in the Special Task and Rescue Group and previous postings as the Officer in Charge of Barossa Yorke Local Service Area, South Coast Local Service Area, Western Adelaide Local Service Area, Eastern Adelaide Local Service Area, STAR Group and Traffic Support Branch.

 During his career he was fortunate to have been selected to participate in the 2009 South Australia and New Zealand Police Officer Exchange Program.  He was seconded to the New Zealand Police Service and was posted to Christchurch.  During this 3 month secondment he lived within the Christchurch CBD and relieved as the Officer in Charge of Christchurch Central (CBD).  In February 2011 he returned to Christchurch as the South Australia Police Contingent Commander to assist in the earthquake efforts.  During his 4 week deployment he was the only Australian police officer to perform a Command role in the Police Earthquake Operation Centre.

Anthony has always had an interest in health and fitness and enjoys his regular gym workouts and cycling with friends.  In the leisure time he has left, Anthony is the vice-president of the Marche Club, a local Italian club and he visited Italy in 2015 to do a 4 week Italian language course and learn more about his father’s Italian heritage. 

Destination on Australia Day 2019: Adelaide Plains Council 

Peter Goers OAM

Media personality – 891 ABC

Actor, director, reviewer, former academic and current host of the highly successful radio program 'The Evening Show' on 891 ABC Adelaide. His career has spanned over thirty years in the entertainment industry across a range of different mediums and formats including national television, print, radio and theatre. Peter is well known for his charity work in rural communities and his attitude towards the promotion of several social and arts related issues

Destination on Australia Day 2019: District Council of Orroroo Carrieton

Dr Bill Griggs AM

 Trauma Surgeon

An expert in trauma medicine who worked in the immediate aftermath of the Boxing Day Tsunami and the consequences of the Bali bombings.

Dr Griggs also has strong interests in aviation/aerospace medicine and in injury prevention. Since 2004 he has been involved in the development of the “Roads2Survival” young driver road safety program.

South Australian of the Year 2006

Destination on Australia Day 2019: Coorong District Council

John Halbert AM MBE

Australian Rules Legend & Senior Australian of the Year (SA) 2009

Apart from a distinguished career in SANFL, AFL and the Australian Football Foundation, John has had an exceptional career as an academic, sportsman, educator, mentor and public speaker. His dedication to the development of young people in sport was recognised when he was made a Member of the British Empire in 1969 for his work in this area.

Destination on Australia Day 2019: City of Charles Sturt plus City of Playford 

Samela Harris

South Australian journalist, critic and blogger

In a career spanning three continents and forty years, Samela has written on everything from the depths of international political analysis to gossip. She was the first woman employed to work full-time on the news floor of The News and, by odd chance, the first woman general reporter also at The Evening News in Edinburgh, Scotland. She was the first woman Aussie Rules football columnist in Australia. She was an Internet pioneer from the days before the WWW, wrote years of Internet columns and was inaugural online editor of The Advertiser when it went digital. She is union President of Journalists in South Australia. She was long-time chair of the Adelaide Critics Circle and continues as an active member.  She is also special events organiser for the Lyceum Club, Adelaide.

Destination on Australia Day 2019: District Council of Grant

Lynn Hill

Co-Founder of Dragon Boat Racing for survivors of breast cancer

Lynn was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 2000 and from then her journey began into promoting cancer awareness.

Lynn has been involved with dragon boat racing since 2001 and has helped set up 3 teams in Malaysia.  She is also the PR Officer for cancer survivor dragon boat teams in Adelaide, Malaysia and Murray Bridge. Lynn won the COTA Every Generation award in 2009 and 2012 for promoting involvement in physical activity for the over 50’s.

Destination on Australia Day 2019: Port Pirie Regional Council

Dr Deane Hutton

Futurist and science show presenter

Dr Deane Hutton is a Futurist who has worked as a teacher, lecturer, writer and television presenter in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.

He speaks at business conferences and schools about science, technology and the future.  Audience members find out how to recognize future trends, overcome the insecurity of change, and create the future they want.

Deane has degrees in Science and Education and a PhD in Visual Perception and Message Design.  He has a Certified Speaking Professional accreditation (CSP) from Professional Speakers Australia and is a Fellow of the Australian College of Educators (FACE).

His work in television as a science communicator has included Curiosity Show (18 years), Hey Hey It’s Saturday (7 years), The New Inventors, and Channel Seven News.  Deane is now involved in the development of the Curiosity Show YouTube Channel which shares messages of science, learning and fun with an audience of 8.6 million people around the world.

Destination on Australia Day 2019: City of Holdfast Bay

Malcolm Jackman

Chief Executive of the South Australian Fire & Emergency Services Commission (SAFECOM)

Malcolm has dual Australian and New Zealand citizenship. Working for the South Australian Government Malcolm currently provides strategic leadership and direction for emergency services across SA. Previously he headed Defence SA.

Malcolm has been in Chief Executive Roles for over 25 years having led Manpower Australia, Coates Hire and Elders. Born and educated in New Zealand, Malcolm has a BSc in Pure Mathematics and a BCom in Accounting from Auckland University. He spent his early career as an officer in the Royal New Zealand Navy before joining the staffing services and recruitment industry in 1984. He is known for his ability to manage large complex organisations during periods of significant change particularly in a capital constrained environment through creating a culture of expectation and accountability. 

He is a Fellow of the AICD and has served as both an Executive and Non-Executive Director on numerous boards including public listed, private equity, industry associations and not for profit.  He is a recipient of the Centenary of Federation Medal. 

Destination on Australia Day 2019: Light Regional Council

Prof Peter Langridge

Agricultural Scientist specialising in plant molecular biology and the science of plant breeding

From 1998 he was the inaugural Research Director of the Cooperative Research Centre for Molecular Plant Breeding.  Peter was one of the Principal Investigators that established the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics (ACPFG) at The Waite Precinct and was appointed Chief Executive in 2003. The work ACPFG scientists undertake helps improve cereal crops’ tolerance to environmental stresses such as drought, heat, salinity and nutrient toxicities; major causes of yield and quality loss throughout the world and significant problems for cereal growers.

Destination on Australia Day 2019: District Council of Karoonda East Murray

Barry Lewis

Police Superintendent and SANFL Umpire

Barry has spent 52 years in the South Australia Police and currently holds the rank of Superintendent within the Commissioner’s Support Branch. He has been OIC of a number of Police Divisions, awarded a number of national Police medals and received numerous commendations for service to policing operations and initiatives. Since 1974 he has umpired over 1900 games throughout many leagues including SANFL and interstate.  Barry has also been voted SAFA Umpire of the Year on 5 occasions and awarded 7 Golden Whistles for his umpiring prowess.

Destination on Australia Day 2019: Southern Mallee District Council - Pinnaroo

David Malinda

Agricultural Scientist & Educator

David was born and educated in Kenya. He obtained a scholarship to study in the former Soviet Union acquiring his Bachelor of Agricultural Engineering in 1979. David progressed through University, to scientist, to international presenter, to community leader, to retirement and back to work as a teacher. As a scientist, he developed a new farming system which is not only widely sought in Australia but also overseas.  In 1969 he moved to Australia to do his post graduate degrees.  Awarded a “Hall of Fame 2013” award in Canberra for services to science and community engagements.

Destination on Australia Day 2019: Wakefield Regional Council

Bruce Mellett

Former Breakfast Host & Regional Manager for ABC Radio, Riverland

Bruce has spent more than 30 years in the media, cutting his journalistic teeth in newspapers with a short stint in TV and then onto Radio. Bruce was appointed Regional Manager of ABC Riverland in 1993 and currently hosts the weekday Breakfast Program

 Destination on Australia Day 2019: Barossa Council

Dr Rob Morrison OAM

Scientist and former host of the Curiosity Show

Rob has been a science writer and broadcaster for close to 50 years He has written 31 books and co-written 13 others on science and natural history, and has been the chair of many scientific and conservation bodies, including Zoos SA.  Recognised nationally and internationally as an outstanding science communicator. Senior Australian of the Year (South Australia) 2008.

Destination on Australia Day 2019: Adelaide Hills Council

Richard Neagle

Disability Advocate

Former SANFL Footballer and Club Physiotherapist.

Rick is the Founder and Executive Chairman of the Count Me In Foundation. He is a member of Autism SA and is a strong advocate on many disability issues including the provision of services for people with autism.

Rick is an accredited APA Sports Physiotherapist, was President of the Australian Sports Federation Education Committee and served on the Private Practitioner Group Committee (SA).

Rick is currently the President of Dignity for Disabled and is an active spokesperson for the organisation.

Destination on Australia Day 2019: District Council of Mount Barker

Michael O'Connell AM APM

Consulting Victimologist

After more than 20 years as a Police Officer assisting those affected by crime, Michael was appointed SA's first Commissioner for Victims' Rights in 2006: Only the second such appointment in the world.

Michael was South Australia’s first Victims of Crime Co-ordinator and, before that, the State’s first Victim Impact Statement Coordinator.

Michael ensures victims who no longer have a voice - owing to their death - will still be heard. He lectures and writes on victimology and victim assistance and holds degrees in social science and public policy and administration. In 1995 he was awarded the Australia Police Medal for his work to advance responses to the needs of victims of crime. In 2017 he became a Member of the Order of Australia.

Destination on Australia Day 2019: District Council of Yankalilla

Paul Rosenzweig OAM

Retired Army officer, historian and biographer

Paul is a retired Army officer with a total of 32 years’ service. He has dedicated his life to serving Australia as a volunteer in the Army Reserve for 20 years, and in the Australian Regular Army for 12 years. In addition, he has served as an Officer of Cadets in the Army Cadet Corps, and today continues to promote youth development as an officer in the Australian Air Force Cadets.  Paul’s extensive regional experience includes a long commitment to peace and stability in East Timor/Timor Leste rewarded by the government of Timor-Leste with their Solidarity Medal, and a three-year appointment as Assistant Defence Attaché to the Philippines for which the Philippine government awarded him their Outstanding Achievement Medal.

Destination on Australia Day 2019: District Council of Clare and Gilbert Valleys 

Chris Schacht


President of Volleyball Australia and former Senator

Chris began his political career in 1969. In 1987 he entered Federal Parliament as a Senator for South Australia. During his career he held a number of portfolios including Science, Small Business and Customs.  He left parliament in June 2002 after 15 years as a Senator and 33 years in Australian politics.

Chris is the current President of the Australian Volleyball Federation and an elected representative to the Legal Commission of the “Federation Internationale de Volleyball”.  He is also a board member of numerous worthwhile organisations.

Chris has the ability to master any public appearance and to engage his audience on many levels.  His political wit and general background greatly enhance his capabilities

Destination on Australia Day 2019: City of West Torrens


John Shepherd AM

Former Executive Director, Operation Flinders

John spent twenty-five years within major branches of the S.A. Police Department. As former Executive Director of the Operation Flinders Foundation, he ran a world leading wilderness adventure program for young offenders and young people at risk. He has been involved as a board member in numerous Australian and South Australian educational, emergency service and social inclusion organisations.

Destination on Australia Day 2019: District Council of Ceduna

Darrell Tree CV

First recipient of the Cross of Valour

In 1988 Darrell and his nephew tried valiantly to rescue his neighbour and his neighbour’s 3 year old son after their 4 wheel drive crane struck overhead power lines. Apart from being badly electrocuted 3 times Darrell also suffered psychological trauma, 3 fractured vertebrae, 40% burns to his body requiring 96 stitches to burnt areas on his arms, back and feet (where doctors removed burnt skin and flesh), two skin grafts and also had his small toe amputated.  He also suffered blurred vision for several weeks after the event. It was 3 months before Darrell could commence light duties around his farm.  With the help of his wife and family he then began the slow road to recovery.  Even today he still suffers from pain in his left shoulder, back and foot. For his courage, Darrell was awarded the first Cross of Valour, the highest civilian award in Australia.

 Destination on Australia Day 2019: District Council of Elliston

Carole Whitelock

Columnist, MC & former Radio ABC commentator

Carole was born in London and grew up with the BBC. She worked firstly in the travel business and, after marrying, spent three years in Singapore with her Royal Marine husband. She worked for the Intelligence Corps there (as a civilian) at a time when there was some really nasty espionage going on, just as we read in the thrillers. On return to UK she worked for a newspaper in York. Carole came to S.A. in 1972. Her introduction to the ABC in 1980 was via a series of auditions which came about quite accidentally. Thirty two happy and roller coaster years followed with standout experiences including introducing the Dalai Lama at the Entertainment Centre, broadcasting from a hot air balloon and swimming with Jock, the randy dolphin, in the Port River. Carole now writes a weekly column in The Advertiser Boomer magazine, undertakes to MC some events and enjoys having some personal leisure!

 Destination on Australia Day 2019: City of Unley

Vicky Welgraven

Women's Advocate 

Proud Adnyamathanha woman Vicky Welgraven is a passionate advocate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) women, ensuring their interests are represented – and their voices are heard.

A respected speaker with an engaging and consultative approach, she has lobbied Federal and State members of parliament on ATSI women’s issues in particular the impact of domestic violence on ATSI women, children and community and is a current member of the South Australian Premier’s Council for Women.

Vicky is a former SA representative of the National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Women’s Alliance (NATSIWA), representing them at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. She was inducted in the South Australian Women’s Honour Roll in 2015, in recognition of her work as a strong advocate and ambassador for Aboriginal women’s rights.

Vicky is a champion of those impacted by family and domestic violence, promoting gender equality and respectful relationships through her role as a White Ribbon Advocate. Meanwhile, as Director of Our Watch, she seeks to address power imbalances leading to gender-based violence.





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