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The Conversation WINS the 2022 Melbourne Knowledge and Innovation Award

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 First Nations 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 

A 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 the City of Melbourne website. 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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