2018 South Australian of the Year recipients announced | PHOTOS

Four South Aussies crowned

  • 2018 South Australia Australian of the Year: Professor David David AC
  • 2018 South Australia Senior Australian of the Year: Barbara Spriggs
  • 2018 South Australia Young Australian of the Year: Kyran Dixon
  • 2018 South Australia Local Hero: Andrew Costello

South Australian Deputy Premier John Rau has announced the 2018 SA Australian of the Year Award recipients during a ceremony at Adelaide Oval.

The South Australian awardees were named on Monday, October 30, and will join a cohort of 32 state and territory recipients from across the country.

Recipients will represent their state at the national awards on January 25, 2018, in Canberra, where four Australians of the Year will be announced.

The 2018 South Australia Australian of the Year is Craniofacial surgeon Professor David David AC.

An accomplished and respected craniofacial surgeon, Professor David David has dedicated the last 45 years of his life to working with patients with facial deformities and disfigurements. The 76-year-old medical veteran founded the world-renowned Australian Craniofacial Unit based at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and the Women's and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide. Since he established the unit in 1975, David has helped more than 17,000 people. Many of David's patients first come into his care within hours of their birth, and their relationship can continue for life. Working alongside a team of top medical professionals, one of just two multidisciplinary craniofacial teams in the world, David uses his skills to change faces and change lives. David helps people from all over Australia, South East Asia and beyond, treating around 20 international patients each year. David continues his work to develop new treatments, tools, research and systems to restore the dignity of his patients. In David’s hands, complex surgical procedures seem commonplace and he does, indeed, perform miracles.

The 2018 South Australia Senior Australian of the Year is 65 year old Barbara Spriggs, a passionate campaigner to prevent abuse of aged care patients. 

When she suspected her husband was being mistreated in a government-run mental health facility, Barbara Spriggs began to push for answers. Barb had no choice but to place Bob, who was suffering from Parkinson’s disease and other complex and distressing illnesses, into care at the Oakden Older Person’s Mental Health Services facility. But after suspecting her husband was being physically and chemically restrained, Barb lifted the lid on a story of systematic abuse and neglect. Barb’s determination to seek answers and justice led to a formal inquiry, a damning report detailing a culture of cover up dating back 10 years, and an Independent Commission Against Corruption inquiry. Barb’s husband has since died, but her sustained efforts saw other patients transferred to a new facility with hand-picked staff offering high-quality care. Barb’s persistence at a time of great personal grief honours her beloved husband with a legacy of better care and respect for older people in aged care facilities around Australia.

The 2018 South Australia Young Australian of the Year is 24-year-old Kyran Dixon, a role model for Indigenous youth. 

Braving two battles with cancer, Kyran Dixon is a role model for young Indigenous people in his community. After being diagnosed with bone tumour in his hip when he was just 11, this talented Australian Rules footballer had to press pause on his sporting ambitions. Working his way back to football, Kyran joined the Port Adelaide Football Club Academy before disaster struck. A second diagnosis, this time Acute Myeloid Leukemia in 2014, demanded lifesaving treatment. While enduring rounds of chemotherapy, Kyran maintained his university studies, graduating in 2016. He’s now an ambassador that actively promotes cancer awareness and research. As a proud member of the Kaurna and Narungga clans, Kyran is a founding member of the Aboriginal Youth Cancer Advisory Group, and promotes healthy lifestyle choices among Aboriginal young people. Whether he’s a guest speaker or a mentor for at-risk youth, Kyran spreads a message of hope, strength and resilience, and motivates others to make the most of their chances.

The 2018 South Australian Local Hero is charity founder and community champion Andrew ‘Cosi’ Costello.

A much-loved radio host and media personality, Andrew ‘Cosi’ Costello uses his public profile to help people in South Australia and beyond. For the last seven years, he’s hosted ‘South Aussie with Cosi’, the state’s only travel show, which is broadcasted internationally. His goal is to expand South Australia’s tourism industry and inspire locals to appreciate what’s on their own doorstep. Cosi regularly gives up his time to help people who are doing it tough. He’s organised camping trips for single mums and their kids, and held a birthday party at the Adelaide Zoo for 100 children who’d missed out on celebrations through social isolation or illness. Cosi, who spent seven years as a pig farmer, is also the founder of Cows for Cambodia. This cow ‘bank’ loans pregnant cows to impoverished families, who get to keep the calf. Cosi has set a goal to raise 1000 cows for the project, which would make it one of Asia’s largest agriculture charities.

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill acknowledged the contributions of the 16 SA nominees.

“It’s a great privilege to recognise members of our South Australian community who have so generously contributed to enriching the lives of fellow South Australians, and the South Australian community generally,” Mr Weatherill said. 

“I would like to wholeheartedly congratulate and thank all award nominees and recipients. I also wish recipients the best of luck in the national awards, to be announced on January 25.”

National Australia Day Council CEO Jenny Barbour said the South Australian award recipients are all focused on helping others, often despite their own challenges.

"The Australian of the Year Awards allow us to recognise and celebrate the achievements of outstanding Australians – people making extraordinary contributions to our society," Ms Barbour said.

“The South Australian award recipients are generous people whose concern for others and for what is right has driven them to make contributions which are truly inspiring.”