West Australian of the Year Presented to Noongar Leader Dr. Robert Isaacs

Words By: Sarah Ison

Image Credit: The Australian

The WA Day long weekend held enjoyment and pleasures for many of us, but amidst the spell of relaxation, the 42nd West Australian of the Year Awards were held at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre in honour of the best and brightest amongst us this year.

Half a dozen awards from different categories such as art and culture, business, sports, community, youth and professions were all presented to well deserving winners, before the most anticipated award of the night ‘The 2015 West Australian of the Year’, was announced.

This year, the award was given to Noongar elder Dr. Robert Isaacs, a leader in the Aboriginal community for over fifty years and avid member of the department of Aboriginal Affairs. Dr. Isaacs said that he was ‘delighted’ and ‘honoured’ to have received the award , and thanked those who had put their faith in him to guide them. 

‘The work I do isn’t easy’ Isaac revealed in his acceptance speech ‘Aboriginal affairs is a very difficult portfolio to administer, you have to be in it to win it’.  And indeed he has demonstrated this very sentiment throughout his life so far. Despite what he describes as ‘a sad beginning’, being taken from his family at just six months old, Dr. Isaac has gone on to dedicate his life to bettering the welfare of his people in education, employment, housing and health. His tireless efforts have culminated to many achievements, such as being the first Aboriginal person to be elected to local government, as well as holding The Order of the Australian Medal and the Centenary Medal, for services to the community. 

Dr. Isaacs said that he hoped others would follow his example, ‘I say to up and coming leaders in our community, we need you, please do your best…and you’ll get the rewards and benefit’

Dr. Isaacs leaves us to hope along with him, as a well deserving recipient of the West Australian of the Year Award and one which others will hopefully follow to the same great heights.