An inspiring duo: Australia Day Ambassadors announced for Surf Coast

11 January 2018

From being the first person with quadriplegia to fly solo around Australia, to paddling 2226km down the Murray River – Dave Jacka is continually searching for world-firsts to achieve.

His hunger to tick off unprecedented goals will be shared at this year’s Australia Day celebrations on the Surf Coast, with Mr Jacka announced as one of two Australia Day Ambassadors who know the importance of fostering inclusive and accessible communities.

Mr Jacka OAM is Australia Day Ambassador at the Anglesea BBQ Breakfast, while Ms Diane James AM is ambassador at the celebrations in Taylor Park, Torquay. The free community events on Friday 26 January are held in partnership with the Anglesea and Torquay Lions Clubs, and will include the presentation of the Surf Coast Shire Australia Day Awards.

With Surf Coast Shire Council committed to celebrating people of all abilities, Mayor Cr David Bell was thrilled to welcome Mr Jacka and Ms James as ambassadors.

Mr Jacka is fresh from a voyage on one of the world’s only accessible tall ships, part of an incredible list of achievements. The former wheelchair rugby Paralympian – who has also designed a powered hang glider – is dedicated to breaking down stereotypes about people with a disability.

Executive coach Ms James – who has a background as a successful business operator, board chairman and director, and business consultant – was crucial in taking the Liberty Swing to locations around the world. The swing is designed for children in wheelchairs, giving them the opportunity to enjoy a swing on the playground.

“It’s fantastic to have two ambassadors who have made a significant difference to the lives of people with a disability,” Cr Bell said.

“Dave shows that adventures can be modified to suit a wheelchair, while Diane was involved in the award-winning Liberty Swing.

“We welcome everyone to come along to the Australia Day events and hear from Dave in Anglesea and Diane in Torquay.”

The 2018 Surf Coast Shire Australia Day Awards will be presented to the Citizen of the Year, Young Citizen of the Year and Community Event of the Year.

“We’re excited to recognise two of our outstanding local citizens and one exceptional community event, for the invaluable contributions they make to our community,” Cr Bell said.

The awards are presented on behalf of the National Australia Day Council. 

Surf Coast Shire Australia Day Celebrations
Friday 26 January 2018

Anglesea BBQ Breakfast
8am at Anglesea Riverbank
Presentations at 9am
Featuring entertainment from Billy Tea Bush Band

Torquay Australia Day BBQ
10am at Taylor Park Rotunda
Featuring entertainment from young Surf Coast musician Momoko Rose