Murdoch trio win NAIDOC awards

June 22, 2012

Murdoch University students and alumni won Sportsperson of the Year, Youth Male of the Year and Health Professional of the Year at the 2012 NAIDOC Perth Awards.

Recognising outstanding achievements by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals, organisations and businesses, a total of 13 awards were handed out at the ceremony, which took place on June 15 at Government House.

Shannon McCann, Australia’s all-time fastest female Aboriginal hurdler, took out Sportsperson of the Year. The Murdoch Forensic Biology and Toxicology student is the WA champion in the 100 metre hurdles, 400 metre hurdles and 200 metre sprint.

In 2012, she won the National 100 metre hurdles Open Championship title, overcoming a major injury and proving wrong the experts who said she would never compete again.

“Eight months ago, I tore my psoas muscle as a result of an undiagnosed stress fracture in my back and was bedridden for two months. They told me I would never hurdle again, but I came back and won the national championships, so they were wrong,” says Ms McCann.

Male Youth of the Year went to Nyungar man Braden Hill, a Murdoch Lecturer and the Coordinator of K-Track, a bridging program for Aboriginal students looking to enter university.

Not only did Mr Hill run K-Track’s first semester in 2012, he rewrote the course to make it more effective for Aboriginal students.

The 24-year-old has also worked extensively on climate change with the Australian Youth Climate Coalition and the World Indigenous Caucuses at the UN Climate Change Conferences in Copenhagen and Durban.

He believes the value of the NAIDOC Awards go far beyond the individual.

“I’ve been really inspired by hearing about all the really fantastic things Aboriginal people are doing in the state. Hopefully these stories will get other people motivated, because they’ll see that you do get recognised for doing the hard yards.”

Murdoch’s third winner was veterinarian Kylie Snowden-Tucker, a Kamilaroi/Ngemba woman and mother of three who won Health Professional of the Year.

“I worked incredibly hard going through university with three kids, so this is a wonderful honour,” she said.

“Animal welfare has been my passion since I was a little girl. People told me that I wouldn’t make it as a vet, so I didn’t study the necessary TEE subjects. I was really lucky that Murdoch’s veterinary school has a program that provides a pathway for Aboriginal students.”

Ms Snowden-Tucker recently finished field work in Moora and is actively looking to break in as a Perth vet while tutoring at Murdoch.

“I know tutoring is important, because I can see it in the students’ faces when I explain a procedure and they suddenly get it. It’s nice to pass my skills along.”

Murdoch students were also runners-up in the Tertiary Scholar of the Year and Female Youth of the Year categories. For more information click here.

To watch interviews and highlights of the night, see part 1 and part 2 of Perth City Talks.

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Comments (One response)

Katie Scott June 25, 2012

These are really remarkable achievements! Well done 🙂

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