Highly regarded author Professor Kim Scott has been named the inaugural West Australian of the Year at a glittering ceremony tonight.
More than 500 people gathered at Burswood Entertainment Complex on Saturday night to celebrate the State’s highest honour.
Professor Scott’s extraordinary contribution to the WA community saw him named West Australian of the Year, win the Indigenous award and named as a finalist in the Arts and Culture category.
The author, who has an array of high profile literary awards to his name, was recognised for the discussion his writing has stimulated on Noongar culture in the wider community and his exceptional work in language recovery projects, with his writing and research helping return oral histories and archival language material to their home communities.
Celebrate WA chairman John Poynton said Professor Scott was a deserving winner of the inaugural award.
“Professor Scott’s exceptional contribution to Western Australia through his work as an author and his involvement in language recovery projects has had a significant impact on the State,” Mr Poynton said.
“His work is not only important to the communities he is involved with, but to all Western Australians and will have an impact on countless generations to come.”
Five other outstanding individuals were awarded for making an extraordinary contribution in their field in the categories of Youth, Business and Professions, Community, Arts and Culture, Indigenous and Sport.
The West Australian’s cartoonist and social commentator Dean Alston was awarded the Arts and Culture award while prominent neurologist Professor William Carroll won the Business and Professions award.
President of the Children’s Court Judge Denis Reynolds was named the Community award winner, former Australian cricketer Adam Gilchrist claimed the Sport award while volunteer Holly Ransom was awarded the Youth award.
Mr Poynton said the winners across the categories had a significant positive impact on the State and celebrating their achievements was important.
“It is with great pride that we acknowledge the substantial contribution to society these individuals have made through their unfailing dedication,” he said.
Among those in attendance to honour the finalists were Premier Colin Barnett and Governor of Western Australia Malcolm McCusker.
The 500 strong crowd were entertained with performances by WA born musical theatre star Lucy Durack as well as Mark Seymour, James Reyne and Ricki Lee Coulter.
The Western Australian of the Year Awards, formerly WA Citizen of the Year Awards, were renamed to reflect the State’s highest honour and to coincide with the first WA Day public holiday this year.
Now in its 40th year, the awards recognise and celebrate the highest level of contribution made to WA by those born and raised in the State, or those who have chosen to reside here.
The prestigious awards have seen many high achieving Western Australians honoured with previous recipients including Kerry Stokes, Professor Stephen Zubrick, Tim Winton and Professor Fiona Stanley.