• “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

2020 Speakers and Entertainers

Lauren Jackson (AO)

Lauren Jackson is considered Australia’s greatest female basketballer. She led the Australian Institute of Sports team to the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) championship and won two WNBA titles in the US and their Most Valuable Player Award in 2011. She also represented Australia in basketball at four Olympics, winning three silver medals and is currently the Head of Women in Basketball, at Basketball Australia. Throughout her career Lauren has battled anxiety and depression and is a public advocate for mental health.

Photography: Ian ten Seldam

Patrick McGorry (AO)

Patrick McGorry is a world-leading researcher in early psychosis and youth mental health. He is Executive Director of Orygen and Professor of Youth Mental Health at the Centre for Youth Mental Health, University of Melbourne. He is also a Founding Director of the National Youth Mental Health Foundation (headspace). He was won multiple awards, published over 800 journal articles and was Australian of the Year in 2010. His innovative research has been integral to developing safe, effective treatments for young people with emerging mental disorders.

Jonny Benjamin (MBE )

Jonny Benjamin is an award-winning mental health campaigner, film producer, public speaker and writer. At the age of 20 he was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and he regularly speaks about living with mental illness on TV, radio and in other media. In 2014 he started a viral social media campaign with Rethink Mental Illness called #findMike, a search for the man who talked him out of jumping off a bridge when he was suicidal. In 2016 Jonny launched ThinkWell, a mental health program for schools in the UK. He has written two books and launched a mental health charity called Beyond Shame Beyond Stigma.

Shane Fitzsimmons (AFSM)

Shane Fitzsimmons is the inaugural Commissioner for Resilience NSW and Deputy Secretary, Emergency Management with the Department of Premier and Cabinet. He has spent more than 35 years with the NSW Rural Fire Service and he came to represent the face of the first responders during the 2019/2020 NSW bushfire disaster. In 2016 he was appointed Councillor of the Royal Humane Society of NSW Inc., in 1999 he was awarded the National Medal and in 2001 he was awarded the Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM).

The Northern Folk

The Northern Folk are a band of 10 musicians based in Melbourne. Originally from Albury, seven members of the band attended the same high school there and they have been performing together since 2012.

The band released their third album Watermark in March of last year, with an indie folk/pop/rock sound. They are regular performers at music festivals and community events all over Australia, and members of the band also direct the By The Banks Music Festival.

The Northern Folk have performed at every Albury Wodonga Winter Solstice since 2015.

Liv Cartledge

Liv Cartledge is a singer and songwriter from Beechworth. Her first single was “You Got Me High” and her EP is called Timber. In 2015 Liv Cartledge was named winner of the Telstra Road To Discovery talent program. Her latest release is called ‘Rogue Dog’.

Liv and her father, Sean, regularly used to perform around North East Victoria. In 2014 Liv’s father, Sean, lost his life to suicide. Liv has been a stalwart supporter of Albury Wodonga Winter Solstice, previously performing in 2017.

Jess Hitchcock

Jess Hitchcock is a Melbourne based award winning songwriter, opera singer and Indigenous artist. In 2017 she toured nationally with Opera Australia and she won a Broadway World award. In 2019 she performed at Eurovision and toured with Paul Kelly and Kate Miller-Hiedke on the “Making Gravy Tour”. Her debut LP of original music is called “Bloodline”.

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 proudly been the Master of Ceremonies at Albury Winter Solstice since its inception in 2013.