Inspirational South Australian named Australian of the Year

Acting Premier, Vickie Chapman has today congratulated Dr Richard Harris SC OAM, who was last night named the 2019 Australian of the Year.

Dr Harris was recognised, along with his diving partner, Dr Craig Challen for the pivotal role they played in rescuing 12 boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave in Thailand last year.

Ms Chapman said his invaluable experience as a diver and aeromedical retrieval specialist meant he was able to facilitate the rescue of the group which had been trapped in the narrow cave for over two weeks.

“When the desperate call for help came, Dr Harris put his life on the line to answer it,” Ms Chapman said.

“Over the three-day rescue operation, he showed what it is to be a true hero.”

“He is a shining example of everything Australians hold dear including determination, bravery and compassion.”

Ms Chapman said the specialist anaesthetist and cave diver from Toorak Gardens is a deserved recipient of the title of 2019 Australian of the Year.

The Acting Premier also congratulated the 104 South Australians who were recognised for their service to their state in the Australia Day 2019 honours.

Their significant contribution in a number of fields including health, education, social welfare, tourism, engineering and education has improved the lives of people in their communities.

Recipients include Dawn Thorp who received the Officer of the Order of Australia for her distinguished service to nursing and medicine, in the field of haematology, as an expert clinician and mentor.

“I know everyone across our state will join me in congratulating all of our fellow South Australians on receiving these prestigious awards,” Ms Chapman said.

Find out more about these inspiring South Australians at: https://www.pmc.gov.au/government/its-honour


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