HomeNewsBlack Saturday survivor Carol Matthews nominated Local Hero for Australia Day Awards

Black Saturday survivor Carol Matthews nominated Local Hero for Australia Day Awards

In 2009 Carol Matthews’ home was destroyed by fire and her 22-year-old son Sam was killed in the Black Saturday bushfires. Carol has been nominated as Victoria’s ‘Local Hero’ for the 2019 Australia Day Awards.

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Carol Matthews

Since then, Carol has advocated for emotional preparedness to be included in bushfire preparation.

She was the lead litigant Maurice Blackburn’s Black Saturday Class Action, then the biggest class-action in Australian history, securing a then – record $500 million settlement for bushfire survivors.

On February 7, 2009 Carol Ann, Dave and Ellie Matthews experienced an unimaginable tragedy – the death of their 22-year-old son Sam, and the destruction of their home in the Black Saturday bushfires.

Despite her considerable pain, Carol put her grief on ‘hold’ to advocate for emotional preparedness to be included in bushfire planning and preparation.

She has been pivotal in developing a ‘multi-sensory bus’ to help people understand the effect that high arousal during the chaos of a fire will have on decision making.

Carol has attended many meetings with Victorian Government representatives and supported other community members recovering from the trauma of the bushfire.

Carol was also the lead litigant in the class action against the electricity distributor that caused the fire, securing $500 million for survivors – the largest class action settlement in Australian history. In the face of her own personal loss, she displayed enormous courage to secure a better outcome for bushfire victims.

Other Victorian nominees include Mark Sullivan, founder and managing director of not-for-profit Medicines Development for Global Health (MDGH) for Victorian Australian of The Year.

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Mark Sullivan

Mark and his team develop medicines based on public health rather than commercial needs.

MDGH received a world first FDA approval for its new medicine, moxidectin, which treats river blindness, a debilitating disease endemic amongst the world’s poorest people.

From his tiny Southbank office, Mark Sullivan’s work ensures millions of disadvantaged people get the medicines they need.

Founder and managing director of not-for-profit Medicines Development for Global Health (MDGH), Mark and his 11-person team develop medicines based on public health needs, rather than commercial opportunity.

Alison Harcourt was nominated Victorian Senior Australian of The Year and Dr. Skye Kinder was nominated Victorian Young Australian of The Year.


Lifeline 13 11 14
Beyond Blue 1300 224 636
Nexus Primary Health (Kinglake, Seymour & Wallan) 1300 773 352

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