Australia Day 2017 Ambassadors

Ms Chern’ee Sutton

Wandoan celebrationsChern'ee Sutton

Chern’ee Sutton is a 19 year old contemporary Indigenous artist of the Kalkadoon people from Mount Isa, Queensland. Chern’ee’s artwork has been exhibited at the 2014 Australian Open, in cities including Singapore and Hong Kong, and bought by collectors around the world.

Chern’ee is passionate about reconciliation and has one of her paintings hanging on the reconciliation level of Queensland’s Parliament House. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were given one of Chern’ee’s reconciliation paintings as a gift during the Royal visit in 2014.

Chern’ee has been awarded the 2014 National NAIDOC Youth of the Year Award, two Creative Spirit Australia Day Awards for Bundaberg, and two NAIDOC Awards for Bundaberg. Chern’ee was a 2014 Queensland Young Australian of the Year finalist and recently received the Queensland Pride of Australia Young Leader Award. Chern’ee has held several reconciliation art competitions in schools throughout Queensland. She also designed the 2015, 2016 and 2017 NRL Indigenous All Stars jersey, the Indigenous component for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup as well as the Indigenous markings on the 2018 Commonwealth Games Mascot Borobi the Koala.

Chern’ee believes we are all created equal and should all be treated with the same respect we wish for ourselves and our families.


Miss Chelsea Higgins

Chinchilla and Tara celebrationsChelsea Higgins

Chelsea Higgins has made a remarkable recovery from the extensive injuries she suffered whilst competing at the Equestrian Australia Interschool National Championships in September 2010.

Chelsea suffered a major brain injury, fractured scapula, lacerated liver and a perforated lung when her horse clipped the top of a jump and fell on her. The accident left Chelsea unconscious, and she was placed in a medically induced coma for nine days.

When Chelsea woke, she suffered paralysis on the right side of her body and was unable to speak. After eight months, Chelsea regained 100 per cent of the feeling in her right side.

Before her accident, Chelsea represented Queensland at the Interschool National Championships as part of the Eventing and Showman teams. She was the Reserve Champion in her class for the Showman Team and placed in the top four for three consecutive years in the Eventing Team.

Despite her injuries, Chelsea had achieved enough recognition as an outstanding equestrian competitor to become a Rising Star finalist at the Equestrian Queensland Awards.

Chelsea competed in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th nomination events for the Paralympic selection for London on her new horse Holstein Park Comedian, where she was the top Australian rider for Grade III, Champion Grade III and Reserve Champion consecutively in these events.

Chelsea is now a member of the Australian National Squad and in 2012 was awarded the Queensland Women in Sport Rising Star Award. She was also a nominee for the Junior Sport Star of the Year through Equestrian Australia in May 2012 as well as representing Australia at the 2014 World Equestrian Games.


Mr Scott Stidston

Dalby and Warra celebrationsScott Stidston

Scott Stidston OAM has never allowed the motorcycle injury that left him a quadriplegic to limit his contribution to the community and campaigning for those with a disability.

Scott has been a stalwart of Spinal Life Australia for many years, determined to improve the quality of life of people with a disability by speaking of the benefits of Inclusive Communities in the North Queensland region. A tireless advocate, he has told his story to thousands of school children, sharing simple but effective injury prevention messages to help them stay safe. His advocacy has increased spinal injury awareness and seen significant improvements in infrastructure and services including the installation of upper torso restraints on all Virgin Australia domestic flights.

Scott has lobbied for many years for an acute care spinal injury unit at Townsville Hospital, was a founding member of the Burdekin Disability Advisory Group and Focus on Inclusion Speakers Panel, and has worked with councils and local businesses to improve access and transport for people with disability.

Scott is an inspiration and example to all Australians of the power of the human spirit to overcome even the most challenging obstacles.