Port Pirie and Port Augusta welcome Australian of the Year winners

THE GREATS: From left Indigenous Elder, Lindsay Thomas, Dr James Muecke, Tanya Hosch, Isobel Marshall and Jan Chorley.

THE GREATS: From left Indigenous Elder, Lindsay Thomas, Dr James Muecke, Tanya Hosch, Isobel Marshall and Jan Chorley.

Three incredible Australian of the Year recipients have come to Port Augusta to inspire passion within the community as a part of a regional tour by the Australia Day Council of South Australia.

The three recipients were Dr James Muecke, Isobel Marshall and Tanya Hosch.

Dr James Muecke, Australian of the Year 2020, is an eye surgeon and blindness prevention pioneer. His focus is now the leading cause of blindness in adults which he believes is type 2 diabetes.

Isobel Marshall, Young Australian of the Year 2021, co-founded TABOO with school friend Eloise Hall, to help women around the world by breaking down stigma around menstruation and providing greater access to hygiene products.

Tanya Hosch, SA State Recipient Australian of the Year 2021, is the first indigenous person and second woman appointed to the AFL Executive. She has held leadership roles in sport, the arts, culture, social justice and public policy.

Schools and members from the public of each community packed into the Flinders Room to hear about the journeys of these highly successful people and also got the opportunity to ask them questions.

Dr James Muecke has been an eye surgeon for over 32 years and has been dealing with the blinding consequences that Type 2 diabetes has on the eyes.

"Every year, I am seeing more and more patients losing their vision or even going blind due to their diabetes," Dr Muecke said

"Diabetes can take away your eyesight in an instant. Nearly all of the loss of vision and blindness due to diabetes is 98 per cent preventable or treatable. Patients with diabetes need to have their eyes checked on a regular basis.

Isobel Marshall pressed on the issue of period poverty.

She said "30 percent of young girls in developing countries, drop out of school as soon as they get their period just because they can't afford or access period products."

"At TABOO, we wanted to offer our own range of organic pads and tampons to Australian customers so we could use the profits and give them to our charity partner One Girl who worked in Uganda to make sure girls stay in school and stay employed."

Tanya Hosch has been working on the racial inclusion issue at the AFL for the last five years.

"One of the things we say about Aussie rules football is that its a game for everyone. My job is to try and make sure that's true," Ms Hosch said.

"Sadly, the game often becomes a lightning rod to start really critical conversations about racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination.

This story Aussies of the Year tour first appeared on The Recorder.