The Canberra Citizen of the Year Award recognises citizens who have made a major contribution to the community. The award is significant - it recognises the efforts of individuals in the community and also helps to promote a sense of civic pride. The award was first introduced in 1989, continuing a tradition started by The Canberra Times some years prior to self government.
The Award is presented by the Chief Minister in March each year as part of Canberra's birthday celebrations.
The Award was started by The Canberra Times in 1977 with the ACT Government taking ownership when self-government was introduced in 1989. The award aims to recognise those who are making a significant contribution to the local community. Their contributions can be in any category including business, sport or volunteering. Former recipients are:
2019 – University of Canberra Capitals and their supporters
In recognition of the exceptional teamwork and spirit displayed by the University of Canberra Capitals as well as their community of supporters who spurred them on to victory as the 2018-19 WNBL champions. This club’s efforts are an inspiration for all Canberrans, and the players are great role models for young people in our community.
2018 – Diane Kargas Bray AM
In recognition of her dedication to building the social capital of the community through Hands Across Canberra and for her tireless commitment to the people of Canberra through roles with Common Ground, GreaterGood and Boundless playground.
2017 - Alex Sloan
In recognition of her services to the community of the ACT, through her commitment to telling the stories of Canberrans over 22 years in local radio and through her selfless support of a range of community organisations and charitable events.
2016 - Narelle Hargreaves OAM
In recognition of her services to children and young people through her devoted work with the ACT Children’s Week Committee, as Official Visitor for Children, Young People and Disability, and her long career as a teacher, principal and Director of ACT Government schools.
2015 - Sue Salthouse (deceased)
In recognition of her personal efforts and significant contribution working to improve the lives and opportunities for people with disability, and in particular women with disability.
2014 - Professor Chris Parish
In recognition of his personal efforts and significant contribution to the ACT community, through his work at the John Curtin School of Medical Research, ANU.
2013 - Dr Sue Packer AM FRACP
In recognition of her personal efforts and significant contributions to the ACT community, particularly as an advocate for the safety and wellbeing of children.
2012 - Dr Chris Peters AM (deceased)
For his personal efforts and significant contributions to the ACT community, particularly as the Chief Executive of the ACT and Region Chamber of Commerce.
2011 - Maureen Cane
For her tireless community work, particularly as head of Communities@Work and for her role in implementing the Canberra arm of OzHarvest.
2010 - Rotary Clubs of Canberra
For their commitment and ability to work with business, professionals and community leaders across the ACT for many years and to provide services to others according to their motto; service above self.
2009 - Bishop Pat Power
For his contribution to the ACT community, particularly his demonstrated commitment to providing a voice for those who have difficulty speaking for themselves; for providing comfort and spiritual guidance to those in need; and always being prepared to speak out against prejudice and inequality.
2008 - John Mackay AM
For his contribution to the ACT community, especially as an exceptional business leader and through committed service to a wide range of community and charity causes.
2007 - Jack Waterford AM
For his contribution to journalism, politics and Indigenous health.
2006 - Matilda House
For her contribution to the ACT community, especially indigenous affairs.
2005 - Clare Holland House
For provision of palliative care to people with terminal illness, inclusive of their family and friends.
2004 - Geoff McPherson
For his work with the Canberra Refugee Group in assisting refugees to settle into the community.
2003- The Canberra Community
For their effort and contribution following the January bushfires.
2002- Bob Sobey OAM
For his work with the Police Citizens Youth Club and his work with disabled and disadvantaged youth.
2001 - Jim Service AO
For his work and contribution to business and charity organisations.
2000 - Chas Cook (deceased)
For his work with Workskills Australia in encouraging apprentices to showcase their work.
1999 - Joe Giugni OAM
For his contribution in providing donations of fruit and vegetables and financial contributions to charities and soup kitchens.
1998 - Killion Banda (deceased)
For his work assisting migrants in the community, through his work with the Migrant Resource Centre.
1997 - Don Whitbread OAM
For setting up and his work with the Woden Valley Youth Choir.
1996 - Stasia Dabrowski OAM
For providing a soup kitchen each Friday night for the disadvantaged and homeless.
1995 - Sister Stephanie Hayes (deceased)
For her volunteer work caring for the terminally ill in their homes.
1994 - Anne Edgeworth (deceased)
For her contribution to the Canberra arts community, especially literary arts.
1993 - Molly Clark (deceased)
For her voluntary work for the disadvantaged people in the community.
1992 - Meryl Tankard
For her dedication to the arts community in Canberra and lifting the profile both nationally and internationally.
1991 - Peter Leonard (deceased)
For his sustained contribution to the community through his Board membership of the MS Society, and Cancer Society.
1990 - Graham Downie AM
For his community involvement, particularly with the Scouting movement.
1989 - Kath Bourke AM (deceased)
For her advocacy on behalf of aged people in the ACT.
The Canberra Citizen of the Year was initiated by The Canberra Times in 1977 and taken over at
self-government in 1989:
1988 - Mr Ralph Wilson (deceased)
1986 - Mr Richard McIntyre OAM
1985 – The ACT Firefighter
1984 - Miss Frederika Steen
1983 - Dr Michael Gore AO
1980 - Mrs Edna Hopkins (deceased)
1978 - Mr Gus Petersilka (deceased)
Read further about the history of the award.