• “This event is an example, a template if you like, of how to handle this issue. I’d love to see this in every town.”

    Samuel Johnson at Winter Solstice 2018

2019 Speakers and Entertainers

Rosie Batty

Rosie Batty is a family violence campaigner. In 2014 her son, Luke, was murdered by his father when he was just 11 years old. As a result, Rosie was thrust into the limelight and became a spokesperson for domestic violence education, resourcing and funding. Her work is attributed to helping establish the Royal Commission into Family Violence in Victoria.

In 2015 Rosie Batty was named Australian of the Year.

In 2018 the Luke Batty Foundation, where Rosie Batty was CEO, closed having raised almost $900,000 in assistance of victims of family violence.

Steve Willis

Commando Steve is a fitness expert and media personality known for his appearances on television shows such as The Biggest Loser and Australian Survivor. He also spent over 10 years in the Australian Special Forces as a Counter Terrorism Team Commander.

Commando Steve is a strong advocate for health and fitness including mental health. He is particularly passionate about vocalising the mental health issues facing those who have served in the armed forces.

Commando Steve is an ambassador for R U OK?.

Kathy Kelly

Kathy Kelly is an anti-violence and victim support advocate. In 2012 on a night out with friends in Kings Cross, her son, Thomas, was killed when a stranger punched him in the face unprovoked. Kathy Kelly and her family became campaigners to prevent this kind of alcohol fueled violence and her activism lead to a number of significant changes in New South Wales including changes to liquor licensing laws and a government funded victims’ financial hardship program. Kathy Kelly also helmed the Take Kare Safe Spaces initiative which ensures young people get home safely across Sydney’s inner city. In 2016 Kathy’s other teenage son, Stuart, also passed away due to suicide.

Patrick Lionel

Patrick Lionel is a singer and songwriter based in Melbourne. He has a haunting and soulful musical style and supported Jordie Lane on his Australian national tour. His single, Forgive Yourself, was released in 2018.

Photography Credit: Alex Rothmeier

Gateway Life Church African Choir

The Gateway Life Church African Choir is comprised mainly of Kenyan and Congolese refugees living in the Albury Wodonga area. They (and their families) have encountered terrible hardships including severe poverty, hunger, sickness physical or sexual abuse and death. They perform at their church in Lavington.

The Northern Folk

The Northern Folk are a band of 10 musicians based in Melbourne. Originating from Albury, 7 out of members of the band attended the same high school and they have been making music together since 2012.

The Northern Folk describe their sound as folk/pop/stomp/rock and are regular performers at music festivals and community events all over Australia. Last year they directed the inaugural By The Banks Music Festival.

Their LP, Stumble On Home, reached #27 on the iTune Australia album charts.

The Northern Folk supported Albury Wodonga Winter Solstice by performing in 2017.

David Astle

David Astle is known for his mastery of words. He is the creator of crosswords for The Age and Sydney Morning Herald. In 2017 he published the book Gargantuan Book Of Words and in 2015 he published Wordburger.

David Astle has always been the Master of Ceremonies at Albury Wodonga Winter Solstice and has been proudly in this role since 2013.