26 January 2011

Australia Day Award

Happy Australia Day! I am so proud to be an Australian - I live in a lucky country full of diversity and great opportunities.
Yesterday I received an Australia Day Award (medal) at work. I am really proud and excited, and so I wanted to share it with you on this blog. It was a wonderful day and I shared it with special family, friends and colleagues.

Here is my (edited) acceptance speech:
I’ve been asked to ensure this speech doesn’t cut into our eating time, and I’m all for food, so I’ll make it short!

It’s a great honour to receive this Australia Day award. It’s nice to be recognised for my work within the organisation and in the external community. Receiving this award is a reminder that the organisation I work for is a supportive employer that values and recognises its staff.

Thank you so much for coming to this award presentation. It means a lot to me that you’re all here, particularly my external guests – Mum and Dad (who have traveled from Albury in NSW and told a million people about my award), Jason Hill (editor at DiVine), Scott Star (he directed my sketches on No Limits and is an all round provider of humour and jackets for when I am cold) and James (Inspirational chipper – my favourite, not that I’m meant to have favourites). I also want to acknowledge Stella Young (editor at ABC’s Ramp Up) who could not be here today. And thanks to the choir, for singing wonderfully once again. I actually have a request, seeing it’s Australia Day – for the choir to sing a Savage Garden song. In case anyone doesn’t know, I am a huge fan!

Thank you also to my two managers who nominated me, and my Assistant Commissioner for supporting my nomination. The support, encouragement and love you continue to give me is amazing, and you are three of the reasons why I love coming to work here in this team.
I received this award for both my work in this organisation, and for my volunteer work. Most of you know what I do as an events planner and writer, so I’ll speak a little about what I do as a volunteer.
I volunteer in a number of areas of the disability community - I am a writer for the ABC's Ramp Up website (and a paid writer for DiVine). I am also a TV presenter on Channel 31's No Limits (6.30 pm Monday nights on Channel 31 or 44 digital). I have recently finished up as a mentor at the Chronic Illness Peer Support (ChIPS) program at the Royal Children's Hospital after almost three years. This volunteer work has only happened in the last three years, after I wrote an article about myself for Harmony Day in my organisation's national newsletter. Volunteering opportunities came up, and like a lot of things I do in life, I thought, ‘yeah, I can do that’ and so I did.

Volunteering has afforded me lots of opportunities. I have developed my presentation skills and confidence through working on No Limits (and also learnt there is no glamour working in television!). I write for DiVine, which is a website for the Victorian Government’s Office of Disability. DiVine has been a great opportunity for me, and last year I was awarded a Yooralla Media Award for three articles I submitted. I was asked by Stella Young to write for the ABC, which for me, is the pinnacle of Australian media. I love to write, so producing articles for both the ABC and DiVine is never a chore. I have also been able to meet and assist some wonderful, inspiring young people through my work with the ChIPS. ChIPS has taught me leadership skills and patience, and I have also been privileged to see young people grow and achieve their goals. I have also made so many new friends through volunteering.

Most importantly, my work in the disability community has enabled me to educate countless people about ichthyosis and disability. One of the young people at ChIPS wrote the following in my 'warm fuzzy' book on the ChIPS camp last week: 'Carly, you are very inspirational. I've realised now, that when I used to go to the Children's hospital, I used to stare at people. But on this camp, I've learned that it's not about our illnesses, but it's about the person underneath. And you have taught me that. Thank you Carly.'

Her words sum up why I volunteer. It's to make a difference to others through education, positive media, support, humour and fun. I want to help people manage and accept their own chronic illnesses and disabilities. I also want to influence the way people perceive disability and chronic illness. I may not be able to stamp out discrimination worldwide, but I may be able to make someone think twice about commenting on someone's appearance or ability, and instead, take the time to get to know them better.

I encourage all of you to volunteer – you will get so much joy out of it, and more importantly, give to those who really need assistance.


  1. Congratulations on your award Carly!!!

    PS. Your outfit is award worthy also :)

  2. Congratulations, Carly! They give out Australia Day Awards at my work too, although no one ever gets to make an acceptance speech. Frankly, I think that would make the whole thing more meaningful!
    PS. Are your shoes from Wittner? Because I have a Wittner pair that are exactly the same!

  3. Congratulations! well deserved!
    You look awesome too, what a great dress, perfect for the occasion!

  4. Congratulations Carly you deserve it thankyou for all your volunteer work you do.
    Great speech by the way.
    Love Shaz xx

  5. Congratulations, Carly! Can't think of anyone more deserving of such an honour. Your outfit looks amazing and you look beautiful!

  6. Congratulations!! It's very hard to find a volunteer nowadays and having one like you deserves to have such an award.

  7. Wow what an honour! Good for you! And it's completely deserved - you do great things in your community and to educate people!

  8. Wow Carly!! What an amazing achievement! Congratulations, your world just keeps getting more amazing with every little adventure you pursue. So happy for you! I hope the choir sang some Savage Garden for you :)

  9. You are amazing. Congratulations

    PS: You look fantastic :)


  10. Dear Ms Carly, I am glad that the ATO thinks you are fabulous too. Great frock and shoes. Reading your blog has started me thinking how I can volunteer here in Chile. I can't wait to read what you achieve next. love Linda xxx

  11. It's great to finally sit and read about your experience Carly. Thanks so much for sharing the joy of such an honour and a huge congrats on receiving the medal!!! Well deserved. xx

  12. Congratulations Carly! This is wonderful! What great work and volunteering you have done :)
    Heidi xo


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