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Canberra Today 5°/6° | Friday, July 1, 2022 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Celebrating ACT Public School alumni


JOY Burch has celebrated the official launch of the ACT Public Schools Alumni with a somewhat iffy list of “celebrities”, apparently in the hope they can crowdsource some bigger fry.

Gough Whitlam is an interesting claim considering he was dux of Canberra Grammar three years running.

“The Alumni celebrates the achievements of our students of note and the different career paths, professions and interests they have chosen and excelled in,” Joy Burch said.

“Our past students are a very diverse bunch of men and women, with actors like Jackie Chan and Mia Wasikowska sitting alongside the late former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam and our Chief Minister Katy Gallagher.

“ACT public school students are up there with the best in the nation and this list is an impressive tally of achievements across academia and research, the entertainment industry, public service, sporting fields, fashion, journalism, community leaders and business.

“Some of the former students of note include Olympians Lauren Jackson and Patrick Mills, philanthropist Dr Sam Prince, ‘Doug Anthony Allstars’ Tim Ferguson and Paul McDermott, journalist Karen Middleton, writer and actor Rhys Muldoon, and entertainers Timomatic and Hayley Jensen.

“This list is by no means the total of all of our outstanding Alumni. Our schools will be actively promoting the list to their communities and more and more names will be added to it over the next few months. I encourage Canberrans who have ideas for nominations to get in contact via the Alumni webpage,” Joy concluded.

[Photo: Francis Owusu, Karen Middleton and Holly Diggle with Minister Burch]

UPDATE: Joy’s office has now sent through their complete list, one can’t help noticing Chief Minister Gallagher rates 239 words of bio compared to 154 for Gough Whitlam:


MATTHEW ABERLINE – Charnwood High School

Matthew is a noted designer, photographer and image maker. He is noted for his work as a costume designer for Physical TV’s ‘Thursday’s Fiction’ and TURNS ‘A Starry Starry Night’. He was the recipient of the 2010 Canberra Area Theatre Awards ‘Best Costume Designer for a School or Youth Play’ award for the Canberra Youth Theatre’s production of ‘Retrieval’.


IMOGEN BAILEY – Melrose High School, Canberra College (formerly Phillip College)

Imogen Bailey is a renowned model, actress and singer. She has featured in a number of publications including Ralph, FHM and Black & White magazine. She has had various onscreen roles including on ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ (2008), ‘Skating on Thin Ice’ (2005), ‘Neighbours’ (2008) and ‘Go Back to Where You Came From’ (2012). Imogen is a passionate advocate for animal rights and has worked closely with PETA on a number of its campaigns.

ANDREW BARR MLA – Turner Primary School, Lyneham High School, Lake Ginninderra College

Andrew Barr is the Treasurer and Deputy Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory. He has been a Member of the Legislative Assembly since 2006, representing the electorate of Molonglo. Andrew has been Deputy Chief Minister since 2011 and in addition to his role as Treasurer he also serves as ACT Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Housing and Minister for Tourism and Events. He has previously served as Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Sport and Recreation, Minister for Planning, Minister for Industrial Relations, Minister for Community Services and Minister for Children and Young People. Andrew is Australia’s longest serving current Treasurer and Minister for Tourism. In 2012 he delivered ground-breaking taxation reform, through the phased abolition of all inefficient transaction taxes (including stamp duty). He has a long record of support for equal rights for gay and lesbian Canberrans, the reproductive rights of women, multiculturalism, and the humanitarian treatment of refugees.

NAIDA BLACKLEY – Belconnen High School, Hawker College

Naida Blackley is the Principal of the ACT Instrumental Music Program which is a specialist program for ACT public school students to learn instruments in a band or ensemble setting. Naida is responsible for the music instruction of more than 2,000 students a year in brass, woodwind and percussion instruments. Naida was nominated for the ‘Best Musical Director for a School or Youth Production’ in the 2012 Canberra Area Theatre (CAT) Awards.

RICHARD BLACKWELL – Cook Primary School, Canberra High, Hawker College

Richard Blackwell is an artist who specializes in the innovative use of print media. He recently exhibited new works in his solo exhibition ‘Yes is More’, and in 2011 exhibited his major series GROTTO – an exhibition in three volumes, which was shown in Canberra, Melbourne and Chicago. His work has recently been collected for ARTBANK and was profiled in Australian Art Review. He is the recipient of a 2012 Fulbright Scholarship and winner of the ANU Medal for Fine Arts.


EMILY CANNING- Ginninderra High School, Hawker College

Emily Canning is an officer in the Senior Executive Service of the Australian Public Service. She is currently the Acting Chief Financial Officer in the Department of Human Services. She joined the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service in 2001, and has also worked for the Department of Family and Community Services, ComSuper, the Department of Education, Employment, and Workplace Relations, and the Department of Human Services. She was responsible for the development of the new funding model for the Department of Human Services, and is an active member and mentor with her alma mater, Hawker College.

SARA CARVALHO – Telopea Park School

Sara Carvalho is an acclaimed soprano who has performed in a number of operas and musicals, including ‘Die Fledermaus’, ‘The Magic Flute’, ‘Madama Butterfly’, ‘The Merry Widow’, ‘West Side Story’, ‘Hansel and Gretel’, and ‘Jane Eyre’. In 2002, Sara received a Canberra Critics Circle Award and a Canberra Area theatre Award for Best Actress for her role in West Side Story, and in 2004, a Best Supporting Actress Award for her role as Adele in ‘Die Fledermaus’.

PETER J CASEY – Cook Primary School

Peter J Casey is a popular musician, comedian, composer and performer. Known for his musical satire, he has performed in many ‘one-man’ cabaret shows including ‘Closes on Saturday Night’, ‘Alone’ and ‘Renaissance Bloke’. He has also performed at ‘The Famous Spiegeltent’. He was the winner of the City of Sydney Award at the Sydney Cabaret Convention, as well as the inaugural Studio Award from the Sydney Opera House Trust, and also received a Canberra Critics Circle award for Musical theatre. A former teacher at Melrose High School, he is now a presenter and producer with the ABC.

JON CASIMIR – Hawker College

Jon Casimir is a writer and producer who is ABC TV’s Head of Entertainment. He was part of the creative talent behind the hugely successful ‘Gruen’ family of programs (Transfer, Planet, Nation and Sweat) and was the producer of Enough-Rope with Andrew Denton from 2003-2008. Jon’s credits also include being producer and writer on ‘God on My Side’, ‘Elders’, ‘Hungry Beast’, ‘Randling’, ‘The Joy of Sets’, and ‘Can of Worms’.

JACKIE CHAN SBS MBE – Dickson College

Jackie Chan is a Hong Kong born actor, choreographer, comedian, director, producer, martial artist, screenwriter, entrepreneur, singer and stunt performer. Known for his acrobatic fighting style and use of slapstick comedy in his films; he has appeared in more than 150 features. He has stars on the Hong Kong Avenue of Stars and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Jackie Chan’s first huge blockbuster success came when he co-starred with American actor Chris Tucker in the ‘Rush Hour’ franchise. He has been nominated for more than 60 different acting awards around the world and was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1989. He is also a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and an animal rights activist.

MARTIN CRAFT – Narrabundah College

Martin Craft is a songwriter and musician and was a founding member of the prominent Australian indie band Sidewinder. Sidewinder achieved their greatest critical acclaim and success with their 1997 album ‘Tangerine’ and that year, they also supported U2 on their Australian tour. He now works on solo projects as ‘M.Craft’, playing most of the instruments on his recordings himself. He received critical acclaim for his 2004 solo mini-album ‘I Can See It All Tonight’.


HOLLY DIGGLE – Alfred Deakin High School, Narrabundah College

Holly Diggle is a renowned artistic director, dance teacher, internationally touring contemporary dance performer, choreographer and dance teacher within the ACT education system at primary, high school, college and university level. She is also the artistic director of Dance Northside, a Canberra based dance school. Holly was nominated for the 2008 Australian Dance Awards ‘Most Outstanding Female Performer’ award and was joint winner of the ‘People’s Choice Award’ (Canberra’s 2010 ‘Short and Sweet’ Dance Festival) and the ‘Most Outstanding Choreography’ (2012 ‘Short and Sweet’ Dance Festival) awards.


General Patrick de Rousiers is the current permanent Chairman of the European Union Military Committee. He holds the rank of General d’armée aérienne in the French Air Force. General de Rousiers has logged more than 3,000 flying hours and participated in 76 combat missions. He served in Afghanistan in 2001 and in September 2004, he became Head of the Euro-Atlantic Division of the Defense Staff in Paris. General de Rousiers is a Commander of the Legion of Honor, a Commander of the National Order of Merit, and holds a French Aeronautical Medal. He is also a recipient of the German Ehrenkreuz der Bundeswehr in gold.

KELLI DONOVAN – Narrabundah College

Kelli Donovan is an acclaimed eco-fashion designer and principal of the successful Pure Pod franchise. Pure Pod creates Australian made, contemporary and stylish ‘sustainable’ eco fashion for women. Kelli’s aim is to bring contemporary style to the eco-fashion movement with garments made from Organic Cotton, Bamboo, Soy, Linen, Silk, Merino Wool and ‘Hand Woven’ Denim, using either low impact or vegetable dyes. Kelli has received numerous acclaims such as the 2011 FGI Sustainable Business Awards finalist and showcased her collections in New York as part of ‘G’Day USA 2011’. In 2012, Pure Pod was invited to show at the Asia Essential Textile Fair in Hong Kong and were accepted by the UK’s Ethical Fashion Forum, to be a part of their ‘Fellowship500’ sustainable fashion collective.


TIM FERGUSON – Narrabundah College

Tim Ferguson is a popular comedian and television presenter. His first major appearance was as one of the ‘Doug Anthony All Stars’ which led to their highly acclaimed sci-fi sitcom DAAS Kapital. He also hosted the comedy series ‘Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush’ on the Nine Network. In 1997, he published the best-selling novel ‘Left, Right and Centre: A Tale of Greed, Sex and Power’, and in 2010 he wrote ‘The Cheeky Monkey’; a comedy writing manual for screenwriters and comedians. In 2013, he released his autobiography ‘Carry a Big Stick: A life of laughter, friendship and MS’ and is touring a stand-up comedy show called ‘Carry a Big Stick’. He owns the third largest Star Wars toy collection in the Southern Hemisphere!

LEON FORD – Telopea Park School, Narrabundah College

Leon Ford is a prolific actor, director and screenwriter. He has appeared in many television and theatre productions including ‘All Saints’, ‘East West 101’ and ‘McLeod’s Daughters’. He wrote and directed ‘Griff the Invisible’. He is the author of the 2009 story ‘What Doesn’t Kill You’ and is most famous for his roles in ‘Changi’, ‘The Cooks’ and as the character of Lt. Edward ‘Hillbilly’ Jones in the Tom Hanks-Steven Spielberg produced TV series ‘The Pacific’.


KATY GALLAGHER MLA – Duffy Primary School, Melrose High School, Canberra College (formerly Stirling College)

Katy Gallagher MLA is the sixth and current Chief Minister of the ACT. She has been a member of the Legislative Assembly since 2001, representing the electorate of Molonglo. She also serves as the Minister for Health, Minister for Higher Education, and Minister for Regional Development. Before being elected to the Legislative Assembly, Katy Gallagher first worked in the community sector with People First ACT, an organisation providing advocacy and support to individuals with an intellectual disability, before taking up a position with the Commonwealth and Public Sector Union (CPSU). She was first elected to the position of Chief Minister in May 2011 after the retirement of Jon Stanhope and was re-elected as Chief Minister after the 2012 ACT Election. Ms Gallagher has previously served as ACT Treasurer, Minister for Education, Minister for Industrial Relations, Minister for Children, Youth and Family Support, Minister for Community Services, Minister for Women and Minister for Territory and Municipal Services (TAMS). As Treasurer she worked to steer the ACT through the global financial crisis, delivering record levels of capital works in 2009-10 which supported economic activity through the worst of the slow down. As Minister for Community Services, she oversaw the review and reinvigoration of child protection services for the ACT’s children and young people. In the newly created ministries of Regional Development and Higher Education, Ms Gallagher works to expand Canberra’s role as a south east region services hub and education destination.

JONATHAN GAVIN – Lake Tuggeranong College

Jonathan Gavin is an award winning playwright and writer for television. He collaborated on the writing of the Network Ten series ‘Party Tricks’ and the award winning series ‘Offspring’, and was also script producer of the series. He wrote for the second season of the critically acclaimed drama series ‘Puberty Blues’. Jonathan also wrote the movie ‘Dungoona’ which won the MTV/Optus One80 competition in 2009.

HAROLD GRETTON – Telopea Park School, Narrabundah College

Harold Gretton is an internationally renowned classical guitarist and composer. He has performed in guitar festivals all over Europe, the US, Asia and Australia. He plays a mixed program of new music, including Australian works, and older classics. Harold has performed as soloist with different orchestras, including the Orquestra Filarmonia das Beiras, the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, and the ANU School of Music orchestra. He has won numerous competitions, in Bratislava (2010), Vienna (2007), Cordoba (2007), Coria (2008), Transylvania (2008), Sernancelhe (2008), and Lagonegro (2006). He was awarded second prize in competitions in Tokyo (2008) and Gisborne (2005).


LIN HATFIELD DODDS – Weetangera Primary, Belconnen High, Hawker College

Lin Hatfield Dodds is an Australian social activist and former Churchill Fellow. She is the National Director of UnitingCare Australia and current Chair of the Australian Social Inclusion Board. Over the years she has served on a number of advisory bodies and consultative groups and is a past President of the Australian Council of Social Service. She has been honoured for her work in the social policy area with an International Women’s Day award in 2002 and an ACT Australian of the Year award in 2008. She stood unsuccessfully as an Australian Greens candidate for the Senate in the 2010 Federal Election.

JACK HEATH – Lyneham High School

Jack Heath is an author of young adult fiction. He is the writer of the books ‘Money Run’, ‘Ink,Inc’. and ‘Replica’, as well as the ‘Ashley Arthur’ and ‘Six of Hearts’ series. He has been shortlisted for the Nottinghamshire Brilliant Book Award, the Aurealis Sci-Fi book of the Year, the National Year of Reading ‘Our Story’ Collection, a Young Australians Best Book Award, a Kids Own Australian Literature Award and the Young Australian of the Year Award. Jack has taught creative writing at the Canberra Institute of Technology, been featured in the Shanghai World Expo and spent a year reading only books by women in an effort to raise the profile of female authors.

GREG HIBBERD – Taylor Primary, Kambah High School, Erindale College

Greg Hibberd is a Paralympian in shot put, who first represented Australia in 2002. At the 2006 World Championships in the Netherlands, Greg won a bronze medal with a throw of 10.07 metres, his first international medal. In 2008, at the Beijing Paralympic Games, Greg finished fifth with a throw of 10.83 metres. Greg has a fitness certificate in personal training and scuba diving.


LAUREN JACKSON – Lake Ginninderra College

Lauren Jackson is a professional basketball player and a member of the University of Canberra Capitals team, who made the Australian under-20 team when she was 14 years old, and debuted with the Australian Women’s National Basketball Team (the Opals) when she was 16. She was a member of the 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics teams, winning three silver and one bronze medal. She also captained the 2008 Summer Olympics team. Lauren was named the league’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) in 1999, 2000, 2003 and 2004 and won 4 WNBL Championships. She was named in the WNBL Allstar team in 1999-2004. She also plays for the Seattle Storm in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) in the USA, with an astounding number of achievements to her name. Lauren is also studying at the Macquarie University, majoring in gender studies.


STEVE KILBEY – Lyneham High School

Steven Kilbey is a founding member, lead singer-songwriter and bass guitarist for Australian rock band, The Church. He is also a music producer, poet and painter. The Church went on to international fame when ‘Under The Milky Way’ from the album ‘Starfish’ achieved success in Australia and the US. The song won the Best Single of the Year at the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) awards in 1989. For his work with The Church, Kilbey and his bandmates were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2010. In 2011, the Australian Songwriters Association inducted Kilbey into the Australian Songwriters Hall of Fame. As of October 2014, Kilbey had 750 original songs registered with Australian copyright agency APRA.


MICHAEL LE GRAND – Turner Primary School, Lyneham High

Michael Le Grand is a renowned sculptor who has always used steel as his preferred medium. He has been a joint winner of the Inaugural Sydney Water Sculpture Prize, Sculpture by the Sea. Michael has played significantly roles in the development of the early Canberra Floriade Sculpture events, ANU/CSA Sculpture Walk, Australian National Capital Artists studio spaces and the Canberra National Sculpture Forum. He has held a number of solo exhibitions both nationally and internationally, and was awarded the inaugural University of Western Sydney Acquisitive Sculpture Prize in 2004 and a Helen Lempriere Scholarship for sculptors in 2010. Michael retired in 2007 as Head of Sculpture at the Australian National University, School of Art.

MATTHEW LE NEVEZ – Telopea Park School

Matthew Le Nevez is an award-winning Australian actor. He is best known for his role as Dr Patrick Reid in the TV series ‘Offspring’. His character was killed off after he decided to leave the series, and made Australian headlines following an outpouring of grief from ‘Offspring’ fans. His break-through role, of Bullet Sheather in the miniseries ‘Marking Time’, won him an AFI Television award in 2004 for Best Actor in a Supporting or Guest Role in a Television Drama of Comedy. He won critical acclaim for his role as a convicted murderer Mathew Wales in the TV movie ‘The Society Murders’. He won the Most Outstanding Actor Logie in 2006. It was announced in July 2014 that he would be co-starring in upcoming drama series ‘The Kettering Incident’.


ANDREW MARLTON aka First Dog on the moon – Yarralumla Primary School

Andrew Marlton aka ‘First Dog on the moon’ is an award winning cartoonist for The Guardian Australia. Prior to this he was a longtime cartoonist with ‘Crikey!’.He has appeared on stage in his own award winning show ‘Cartoobs and other Typos’ and his character ‘Mr Onthemoon’ appears weekly on Radio National. In 2011 he won the Museum of Australian Democracy’s Political Cartooning Award and in 2012, he won the Walkley Award for the best political cartoon of 2012. He has written one book, is working on three others and is currently working on material for television.

PAUL McDERMOTT – Dickson College

Paul McDermott is an Australian comedian, actor, writer, director, singer, artist and television host. He is best known both for his work on the popular television series ‘Good News Week’ and with fellow ACT Public School alumni Tim Ferguson as part of the Doug Anthony All Stars. He has been a regular performer at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and is also a renowned author. Paul has been a columnist for a number of Australian newspapers and a selection of his work has been compiled into a book, ‘The Forgetting of Wisdom’. He has also written and illustrated two storybooks, both of which have been adapted into short films with Paul scripting, directing, performing and painting all of the animations. In recent times, Paul has being pursuing his painting career, and given a series of concerts featuring self-written songs called ‘Paul Sings’.

KAREN MIDDLETON – Belconnen High, Hawker College

Karen Middleton is a political journalist in the Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery. She is the Chief Political Correspondent and Canberra Bureau Chief for SBS Television. She has worked as a journalist for The West Australian (1997-2005), The Age (1992-1997), The Sunday Herald-Sun (1992), The Herald Sun (1990-1992). The Melbourne Herald (1989-1990) and The Canberra Times (1985-1989). Karen has also been a long-time analyst on the ABC, SBS and Radio New Zealand and commercial radio and television in Australia and overseas, including MSNBC and Al-Jazeera. She was President of the Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery from 2004-2008 and was awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 2008 to examine the structure and work of press galleries in the United States, Canada, the UK and Ireland. Karen is also the co-founder and lyricist for Press Gallery acapella satirical singers, The House Howlers.

PATRICK MILLS – Lake Ginninderra College

Patrick ‘Patty’ Mills is a professional basketball player and Olympian. He is the second Aboriginal Australian to play in the NBA and currently plays for the San Antonio Spurs. He has represented Australia at the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics. Patty was recently named ACT Young Australian of the Year for 2014 and was presented with the keys to the city of Canberra in July 2014.

LISA MOORE – Telopea Park School

Lisa Moore is a world renowned and critically acclaimed pianist. She has been described as ‘New York’s queen of avant-garde piano’ and a ‘visionary’ by The New Yorker magazine. Her performances often incorporate theatrical elements and in 2008 she curated the Canberra International Music Festival ‘Sounds Alive’ series. She has performed with a number of ensembles including the New York City Ballet, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, BargeMusic, St. Lukes Orchestra, the American Composers Orchestra, and the Australia Ensemble. Lisa has released four solo albums and collaborated on a further 30 albums.

RHYS MULDOON- Scullin Primary School, Belconnen High School, Hawker College

Rhys Muldoon is an actor and writer, best known for his work with ‘Playschool’ (2000), ‘Lockie Leonard’ (2007), ‘Big Sky’ (1997) and ‘House Husbands’ (2012). He is the author of ‘Jasper and Abby and the Great Australia Day Kerfuffle’ a collaboration with former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. He received a nomination for Best Children’s Album at the 2012 ARIA Awards for his album ‘I’m Not Singing’ and for the Best Actor in a Leading Rol’ at the 2000 AFI Awards for his role in ‘Grassroots’.


TIM OMAJI (aka Timomatic) – Narrabundah College

Tim rose to fame as a contestant on Australia’s ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ TV program in 2009, he decided to give a music and dance career another shot and appeared as a contestant on ‘Australia’s Got Talent’ in 2011. In November 2011, he released his first single ‘Set it Off’, which peaked at number two on the Aria Singles Chart and was certified four times platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association. Tim’s new song ‘Delilah’, which features internationally recognised hip-hop artist Pusha T, is set to be a hit on the international and Australian music charts.

FRANCIS OWUSU – Lake Tuggeranong College

Francis Owusu is a dancer, choreographer and community activist. He is the CEO of Kulture Break, a charity youth services provider with a focus on community arts and youth engagement and empowerment. Kulture Break has also been a launching pad for some of Australia’s most successful performing artists such as Timomatic and Solo from Justice Crew. Francis has also collaborated with major recording artists such as Marcia Hines, Guy Sebastian, Jon Stevens and Timomatic. He was selected to be an ACT Cultural Exchange Representative for the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, China. He is the creator of ‘Every Chance to Dance’; Australia’s first online dance curriculum teaching video resources for primary schools and also won the 2013 Australian of the Year ACT Local Hero award.


HETTI PERKINS – Melrose Primary School

Hetti was the curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney for thirteen years. Hetti is best known for her films ‘Bran Nue Dae’ (2010), ‘Radiance’ (1998) and ‘One Night the Moon’ (2001) and in 2010 she created a three-part ABC documentary called ‘Art + Soul’.

RACHEL PERKINS – Melrose Primary School

Rachel is a film and television director, producer, and screenwriter. In 1992 she founded Blackfella Films, a documentary and narrative production company creating distinctive Australian content for television, live theatre, and online platforms, with a particular focus on Indigenous Australian stories. Its productions have included multi-award winning seven-part documentary series ‘First Australians’, television film ‘Mabo’, and TV series ‘Redfern Now’.

DR. SAM PRINCE – Lake Ginninderra College

Dr. Sam Prince is a medical doctor, entrepreneur and philanthropist. While studying medicine, he founded Zambrero, a healthy Mexican food franchise. The humanitarian arm of Zambrero is an initiative called ‘Plate 4 Plate’ where for every plate of food sold at Zambrero, a plate of food is provided to someone in need. Off the success of his rapidly-expanding national Zambrero group, Sam created the Emagine Foundation in 2007 which has built and equipped more than 15 IT learning centres in rural Sri Lanka, ensuring that children in these areas are not prevented by geographical location from accessing the education required to better their lives. Sam established One Disease in 2010, a non-profit organisation to systematically eliminate one disease at a time. Sam is also the founder of Life Letters; building the infrastructure and tools necessary for patients and doctors in the genomic revolution with a growing team involving world leading scientists and entrepreneurs. Sam’s efforts have been recognised with the 2012 ACT Young Australian of the Year Award and the 2012 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

HELEN RAZER – Narrabundah College

Helen is a radio presenter, writer and radio personality. She worked on national Australian youth station Triple J from 1990 to 1998. She has been a columnist with the Australian version of ‘The Big Issue’, ‘The Age’ and contributor to the monthly magazine ‘Cherrie’ and weekly newspaper ‘The Saturday Paper’. She is also the author of three bestselling books, ‘Three Beers and a Chinese Meal’ (with Mikey Robbins), ‘In Pursuit of Hygiene’ and ‘Everything’s Fine’.

JAMILA RIZVI – Lyneham High School, Hawker College

Jamila Rizvi is the Editor in Chief of the Mamamia Digital Network of websites which include Mamamia, iVillage Australia and The Glow. She worked in former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s office as part of his media team in 2008-2009 and then as youth policy adviser, press secretary and deputy chief of staff to Federal Minister Kate Ellis from 2009-2012. Jamila is celebrity ambassador for CARE Australia’s Educate a Girl campaign and refugee advocacy group Welcome to Australia. She was voted one of Cosmopolitan Magazine’s 30 Most Influential Women under 30 (2013), Australian National University Alumnus of the Year (2014) and one of Westpac’s 100 Most Influential Australian Women (2014).


DR TRACY SLATYER- Narrabundah College

Dr. Tracy Slatyer is a renowned theoretical physicist. Her specialist areas include particle physics, cosmology and astrophysics. She currently serves as Assistant Professor of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Dr. Slatyer was the joint winner of the 2014 Rossi Prize for a significant contribution to High Energy Astrophysics.

JASON SMITH – Belconnen High, Hawker College

Jason Smith has been the Director and CEO of the Heide Museum of Modern Art. He was a previous Director of Monash Gallery of Art. Jason has curated 40 exhibitions and has written on the work of more than 150 artists for a range of publications. He recently curated the exhibition ‘But Mostly Air’, which was displayed in the ANU School of Gallery. Jason will shortly be leaving the Heide Museum to take up the position of Curatorial Manager, Australian Art, at the Queensland Art Gallery / Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA).




JAMES WAN – Lake Tuggeranong College

James Wan is an internationally recognised film producer, screenwriter and film director, who is widely known for directing the horror film ‘Saw’ (2004). James has also directed ‘Dead Silence, Death Sentence’ (2007), ‘Insidious’ (2010), ‘Insidious: Chapter 2’ and ‘The Conjuring’ (2013). He is currently working on ‘Fast & Furious 7’, which is due for release in 2015.

MIA WASIKOWSKA – Cook Primary School, Ainslie Primary School, Canberra High

Mia Wasikowska is a critically acclaimed international actor. After a few small roles early in her career, including on television series ‘All Saints’, she was cast in the HBO series ‘In Treatment’, a role which she auditioned for by videotape. In 2008, she found international fame after being cast as Alice in Tim Burton’s blockbuster ‘Alice in Wonderland’. She has been nominated for more than 25 international acting awards, winning at least five. She is currently working on ‘Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass’ in which she reprises her role as Alice. The film is due for release in 2016.


Gough Whitlam became Australia’s 21st Prime Minister on 5 December 1972. His Labor government, the first after more than two decades, set out to change Australia through a wide-ranging reform program. Whitlam’s term abruptly ended when his government was dismissed by the Governor-General on 11 November 1975. After serving in the Royal Australian Air Force, Whitlam joined the Australian Labor Party in 1945. He became the Member for Werriwa in Sydney’s south in 1952, retaining the seat in 11 more federal elections over the next 25 years. Whitlam led the reform of the Labor Party platform during the long years in Opposition. As Prime Minister he immediately set about implementing a reform program that included strengthening Australia’s status by making Queen Elizabeth II Queen of Australia. His government drew on international agreements to develop programs on human rights, the environment and conservation. Gough Whitlam died on 21 October 2014. (Source:

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