The wait is almost over for finalists in the running for the nation's top gongs.
The 2017 Australian of the Year Awards will be announced at a ceremony in the Great Hall of Parliament House in Canberra on Wednesday evening.
Deng Adut, who was forced to fight as a child soldier in South Sudan before escaping to Kenya and moving to Australia as a refugee in 1998, is considered the frontrunner for this year's top award.
Still haunted by seeing other children executed or left to die of thirst, Mr Deng now operates a law firm in western Sydney and has written a memoir, Songs of a War Boy.
If named Australian of the Year he would be the first African-born recipient.
Mr Deng is joined on the finalists list by Alan Tongue, an NRL champion turned youth mentor and educator (ACT), indigenous leader and businesswoman Andrea Mason (NT), mining magnate and philanthropist Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest (WA), author and health advocate Kate Swaffer (SA), refugee advocate Paris Aristotle (Vic), speech pathologist Rosalie Martin (Tas) and biomedical scientist Professor Alan Mackay-Sim (Qld).
The 2016 Australian of the Year was former chief of army David Morrison, who spent the past 12 months talking about gender equality, diversity and inclusion.
The young, senior and local hero finalists include health advocates, fashion designers, doctors, educators and community workers.
The award ceremony will be broadcast on ABC TV from 7.30pm AEDT.