Composer William Barton named Qld’s Australian of the year



A multi-instrumentalist, singer, didgeridoo player and renowned classical composer has been named 2023 Queensland Australian of the Year.

William Barton, 41, grew up in Kalkadungu country, Mount Isa, where he learned didgeridoo from his uncle.

The proud Kalkadunga man left school at the age of 12 to focus on music and at the age of 17 he was performing with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra.

Mr Barton has released five albums on the TBEN Classics label, including heartland with Véronique Serret, in the words of William’s mother Aunty Delmae Barton.

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He will join recipients from other states and territories for the national awards on January 25, along with the Senior Australian and Young Australian of the Year winners from Queensland.

Former gardener Claude Lyle Harvey, 77, is spending his retirement traveling Australia to raise awareness of child protection and raise money for Bravehearts, a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing child sexual abuse and helping survivors.

Over the past 17 years, he has pushed his “Moyra” lawn mower tens of thousands of miles across the country, raising more than $1.5 million.

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Talei Elu, 30, is a Saibai Kudal (crocodile) female from the Torres Strait Islander community of Seisia in Cape York.

She used her government experience and social skills to help her community, including educating people about the importance of voting and organizing free feminine hygiene products, baby essentials, and beauty and self-care items.

Charity founder Melissa Redsell was named 2023 Queensland Local Hero.

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Ms. Redsell drew on personal experience to create A Brave Life, which provides essentials such as baby equipment, emotional care, and pathways to education and employment.

By 2022, 45-year-old Melissa had delivered more than 8,000 baby packages.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk personally congratulated each of the 2023 recipients.

“We are proud to recognize these extraordinary Queensland residents whose positive impact improves lives and society every day,” she said.