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Celebrating Melbourne’s unsung heroes

18 October 2023

A not-for-profit keeping vulnerable Melburnians and their pets together, a leadership program for First Nations students and a much-loved arts festival are among the finalists for the 2023 Melbourne Awards.

The Awards are the City of Melbourne’s highest accolades, celebrating the inspirational Melburnians making extraordinary contributions to the community.

This year’s awards recognise the outstanding work of 29 finalists across eight categories – Aboriginal Melbourne – ganbu guljin, Access and Inclusion, Arts and Events, City Design, Community, Knowledge and Innovation, LGBTIQA+ and Sustainability.

Previous Melbourne Award winners include the coffee-waste collecting social enterprise, Reground; world-leading news and analysis publisher, The Conversation; and inclusive community centre, Kensington Neighbourhood House.

The Melbourne Awards also include the prestigious Melburnian of the Year Award, which celebrates a role model who has made an outstanding contribution in their field and to the city.

For the first time, the City of Melbourne will also recognise a Young Melburnian of the Year – recognising the achievements of a young person, aged 18 to 30, who is making the city a better place for its residents and visitors.

Winners will be announced at the Melbourne Awards Gala on Saturday 11 November at Melbourne Town Hall.

For more information, visit Melbourne Awards.

The City of Melbourne thanks its partners Epicure, Ernst and Young, 3AW, Nine News, Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Naomi Milgrom Foundation, Mitchelton Wines and Home Grown.

Quotes attributable to Lord Mayor Sally Capp

“Our Melbourne Awards are an opportunity to shine a spotlight on our city’s unsung heroes – the people going above and beyond to make Melbourne the great place that it is.”

“This year’s finalists are a testament to the dedication and drive of our community – those who are pioneering new ideas, innovations and technologies, bringing Melburnians closer together and positioning our city as a global leader.”

“We’re looking forward to recognising and celebrating the 29 inspirational individuals and organisations who have been recognised as finalists.”

2023 Melbourne Award finalists: 

Aboriginal Melbourne – ganbu guljin 

  • Koorie Academy – a program supporting young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to build their connection to culture, leadership skills and academic capabilities.
  • Kungari Comedy – a series of entertaining acts outlining experiences of being Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander in Australia.
  • The Long Walk – a charity event which aims to put the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on the national agenda.

Access and Inclusion

  • Australian Spatial Analytics – using data to create stable, long-term employment for people with disabilities.
  • Just Gold – Autistic Pride Day Melbourne Symposium – an annual celebration of unique autistic identity.
  • Mojo Festival for World Schizophrenia Day – an event featuring stand-up comedy, music, theatre, visual art, writing and animation in a safe and supportive space.
  • (Un)marginalised Podcast – a show focused on improving understandings, challenging myths and encouraging empathy, equity and love.

Arts and Events 

  • APHIDS – an artist-led organisation making experimental work in public space, festivals, digital platforms, across visual and performing arts, major institutions and beyond.
  • Future. Joy. Club – a myriad of performers, singers, dancers and artists in a decedent celebration of golden era burlesque.
  • Melbourne Fringe Festival 2022 – a beloved festival committed to championing discovery and experimentation, and supporting the development and presentation of artwork.
  • SalamFest – an award-winning Melbourne-born event that celebrates Islamic tradition, peace, love and compassion.
  • The Butterfly Club – a small theatre in the heart of Melbourne, featuring shows, foyer bars and an enormous collection of kitsch.

City Design

  • Victorian Family Violence Memorial – a memorial for victims and survivors of family violence, featuring a field of purple flowers and a small seating area.
  • Wesley Place – a transformative commercial precinct, merging business and lifestyle in one of the city’s finest and earliest examples of the Gothic Revival style.


  • Metro Tunnel HQ – an interactive information centre enabling visitors to experience the project’s construction though virtual reality experiences and interactive activities.
  • Pets of the Homeless – a not-for-profit committed to providing practical care to help keep vulnerable people and their pets together.
  • STEM Sisters – a not-for-profit organisation focused on supporting women of colour in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
  • The Living Room – a health service providing free healthcare and support to improve the physical, mental, and social wellbeing of those who are or at risk of experiencing homelessness.

Knowledge and Innovation 

  • Auslan Education Services – an education service teaching Auslan through an online learning program, bringing innovation to language-learning in primary schools.
  • Discover Cemeteries – using technology to bring the Fawkner Memorial Park to life through animation, audio, video and augmented reality.
  • Victorian Cancer Biobank – an open-access, not-for-profit resource providing cancer researchers with a diverse selection of high-quality biospecimens and derivatives.
  • Virtetic – Game-Based Virtual Reality Therapeutics – using virtual reality to help people living with limb loss, while providing valuable data to clinicians.


  • AllAboard 2022 – a competition asking Victorians to conceptualise the #AllAboard pride tram.
  • Gender Euphoria – Australia’s largest-ever ensemble of gender-diverse and transgender performers, offering a fresh perspective that challenges the concept of gender dysphoria.
  • Melbourne Sexual Health Centre – a health centre providing services in public health, clinical care and research, both locally and globally.
  • Story Time is for Everyone – a story time event, hosted by Melbourne/Narrm’s most inclusive drag talent.
  • Voices of Us – the first and only podcast dedicated to sharing and amplifying authentic stories of LGBTIQA+ international students and alumni.


  • 1receipt® – a company reinventing the shopping experience and eliminating paper waste, with its paperless receipt system.
  • RCYCL – an organisation dedicated to revolutionising the fashion industry through implementing an innovative clothing recycling program.

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18 October 2023

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