Deakin University Law alum and Kuku Yalanji woman Antoinette Braybrook has been named 2022 Melburnian of the Year.
The Djirra legal services Chief Executive is the first Aboriginal woman to receive the prestigious award. Ms Braybrook was recognised for her extensive advocacy and service to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples over the past two decades.
Professor Gabrielle Fletcher, Director of Deakin's National Indigenous Knowledges Education Research Innovation (NIKERI) Institute, said Ms Braybrook graduated from Deakin in 2000 with a Bachelor of Laws.
Ms Braybrook studied Law in the culturally contextualised setting of the Institute of Koorie Education (IKE), now known as the NIKERI Institute. Professor Fletcher said Ms Braybrook was an outstanding role model for current and former NIKERI students and the wider Deakin community.
"We unequivocally celebrate all that Antoinette has achieved since graduating from Deakin. Antoinette is a tireless advocate for First Nation's communities and has made history as a result of her unrelenting activism," Professor Fletcher said.
Ms Braybrook said she was honoured to be recognised after working to combat family violence for the past two decades.
"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," she said.
Ms Braybrook is a nationally recognised leader who works to improve investment in Aboriginal-led, self-determined solutions to end family violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.
A former employee of Victoria's Department of Justice, she kickstarted her advocacy work by establishing the inaugural Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service in Victoria, now known as Djirra.
Previous Melburnian of the Year winners include outgoing Richmond Football Club President Peggy O'Neal AO and leading medical researcher Professor Doug Hilton AO.
City of Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp said there was "no greater honour" than to acknowledge the efforts of ordinary Melburnians doing extraordinary things.
"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," she said.