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Melburnian of the Year makes history

14 November 2022

Kuku Yalanji woman, Antoinette Braybrook has been awarded 2022 Melburnian of the Year, making her the first Aboriginal woman in history to win the prestigious award. 

The Djirra CEO is being recognised for her extensive advocacy and service to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the past two decades.  

Born in Victoria on Wurundjeri land, she began her career studying law at Deakin University and was admitted as a legal practitioner in 2004.  

After working at Victoria’s Department of Justice on the Aboriginal Justice Agreement, Braybrook kickstarted her advocacy work by establishing the inaugural Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service in Victoria, now known as Djirra.  

She is a nationally recognised leader who tirelessly advocates for investment in Aboriginal led, self-determined solutions to end family violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.

 Braybrook is also the co-chair of Change the Record and former chair of the National Family Violence Prevention and Legal Services Forum, further sharing her expertise for the benefit of those working in the family violence sector.  

The prestigious Melburnian of the Year award forms part of the annual Melbourne Awards program – recognising an inspirational role model who has made an outstanding contribution to their field and to the wider community.  

Previous Melburnian of the Year winners include outgoing Richmond Football Club President Peggy O’Neal AO and leading medical researcher Professor Doug Hilton AO.    

Eight organisations have also been recognised in this year’s Melbourne Awards for their valued work across a range of industries and sectors. 

2022 Melbourne Award winners include:  

  • Melburnian of the Year: Antoinette Braybrook   
  • Aboriginal Melbourne – ganbu guljin: Djirri Djirri Cultural Services – a Wurundjeri female-led dance group, also mentoring young Aboriginal girls in ceremony, language, dance and leadership, creating a firm cultural grounding. 
  • Arts and Events: PHOTO 2022 International Festival of Photography – Australia’s largest photography event showcasing talent from artists across the globe. 
  • Community: Kensington Neighbourhood House – place for people of all abilities, backgrounds and ages to connect, learn, and create. 
  • Hospitality: Supernormal – a lively, modern Australian restaurant with a contemporary Japanese aesthetic. 
  • Knowledge and Innovation: The Conversation: a truly global newsroom – a leading publisher of research-based news and analysis, headquartered in Melbourne. 
  • LGBTIQ+: Transfamily – providing peer support for family, partners, friends and loved ones as they journey alongside transgender and gender diverse people. 
  • Sustainability: Reground – a social enterprise helping to create a circular economy through waste collection and waste minimisation projects, such as coffee grounds for compost. 
  • Urban Design: Queen & Collins by Kerstin Thompson Architects and BVN – an integration of three neo-gothic heritage buildings championing a vision for a future workplace. 

The City of Melbourne would like to acknowledge and thank principal partner Epicure and event partners 3AW, Channel 9, Ernst & Young, Naomi Milgrom Foundation, The Everleigh Bottling Co, Victorian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and WAIVPAY.

For more information on this year’s winners, visit Melbourne Awards.  

Quotes attributable to Lord Mayor Sally Capp  

“There is no greater honour than acknowledging and celebrating the efforts of ordinary Melburnians doing extraordinary things.”  

 “This is a historic moment – we’re proud to honour Antoinette Braybrook as Melburnian of the Year, becoming the first Aboriginal woman to win this award.”   

“Antoinette has made an insurmountable difference to our city and those in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community through her advocacy, care and passion for doing what matters.”             

 “We’re thrilled to recognise this year’s winners, who have worked hard to create positive change, inclusive communities and make Melbourne a better place to call home.”       

Quotes attributable to Melburnian of the Year Antoinette Braybrook    

“As an Aboriginal woman working in family violence for 20 years, I am incredibly honoured to be named the Melburnian of the Year. It is hard to believe that I am the first Aboriginal person to receive this award in its 20 years of existence.”

“I will use the next 12 months to bring more attention to the systemic issues impacting Aboriginal women. I am hopeful the award will open doors and bring new opportunities for Djirra to finally implement our long-standing vision of an Aboriginal Women’s Centre in Melbourne for all Aboriginal women in Victoria to access critical services for their safety.”

“I dedicate this honour to Aboriginal women, recognising the strength and courage of every Aboriginal woman who has put her trust in me and our organisation Djirra for over two decades.”

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14 November 2022

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