• "Everyone here has a story of heartbreak and hope. Everyone’s stories are different but by sharing those stories we have solidarity in that commonality."

    Tracey Spicer at Winter Solstice 2017

Past Speakers and Entertainers

2018 Speakers and Entertainers

Sam Johnson

Samuel Johnson is an actor, self-confessed cancer vanquisher, Gold Logie Winner and 2018 Victorian Australian of the Year.

In 2013 Sam started a quest to educate all women about the importance of being breast cancer aware by unicycling 15,465 kilometres around Australia. From this, he and his sister Connie Johnson OAM started the Love Your Sister village – a fundraising organisation and support group that has over 500,000 followers. Love Your Sister has now raised over $7 million for cancer research.

Samuel Johnson is a familiar face on Australian television having appeared in The Secret Life of Us and Molly.

Last year Sam publicly announced he is suspending his acting career to focus entirely on raising funds and awareness for cancer research. With the recent passing of Connie to terminal cancer, he is now committed more than ever to reaching his target goal of $10 million raised by Love Your Sister.

In 2018 Samuel Johnson was nominated for Australian of the Year.

To Watch Sam’s Keynote Speech

Ian Roberts

Ian Roberts is a former NRL player, actor and was the first rugby league professional to have publicly declare himself as gay. To date he is still the only Australian professional footballer to do so.

During the height of his rugby career Ian played for the Australian national team, South Sydney Rabbitohs and captained the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles and the North Queensland Cowboys. He was also twice the highest paid rugby player in the world. In 1994 he first publicised himself as homosexual, a controversial and groundbreaking admission at a time when homophobia was still acceptable, especially in football.

After retiring from rugby, Ian Roberts has pursued a second career in acting appearing in shows such as Little Fish, Dancing With The Stars and Sea Patrol.

Ian Roberts is an outspoken advocate for tolerance and suicide prevention. He is considered a pioneer for paving the way for more diversity and acceptance in football and across all Australian sports.

To Watch Ian’s Keynote Speech

Tim Elliott

Tim Elliott is an award-winning journalist. He has been published in titles such as the Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian Financial Review, The Financial Times and Sunday Times in London.

Tim Elliott’s acclaimed book Farewell To The Father was written about his upbringing living with his father who suffered severe mental illness and suicided when Tim was in his teens. Farewell To The Father was published as both a story in The Sydney Morning Herald’s The Good Weekend and as a memoir. The story received one of the highest rates of reader response of any article published in the history of paper.

He has also published two additional books and appeared as a guest at the Sydney Writers Festival.

To Watch Tim’s Keynote Speech

Les Murray

Les Murray is an iconic Australian poet. He has published over 30 books and his poetry has been translated into more than 20 languages. He was won several literary and other awards including the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 1998, Office of the Order of Australia in 1989 and an Honorary Doctorate at the Australian Catholic University.

Les Murray has been named an Australian Living Treasure by the National Trust.

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Solstice Trio

Solstice are a contemporary musical trio. Working with piano, violin and cello, they perform and compose works that spans a wide range of musical genres. They are particularly passionate about supporting local composers.

In 2016 Solstice recorded an EP with The Twoks which premiered at Bennetts Lane Jazz Club in Melbourne.

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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.

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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.

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2017 Speakers and Entertainers

Tracey Spicer

Journalist and television presenter Tracey Spicer has a portfolio spanning television, radio, newspapers, magazines and online. Over 25 years she has anchored news, current affairs and lifestyle programs in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane and is currently an anchor for Sky News. She is also a weekly columnist for Fairfax Media and The Hoopla radio broadcaster.

Tracey Spicer is an ambassador for ActionAid, World Vision, Life’s Little Treasures, Karitane and Dying with Dignity. She is also Patron of the NSW Cancer Council and the National Premmie Foundation and face of the Garvan Institute’s research into pancreatic cancer. She has also done extensive documentary work for NGOs in developing countries including Bangladesh, Kenya, Papua New Guinea and India.

Recently Tracey Spicer established Women in Media, a mentoring and networking group backed by the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance.

To Watch Tracey’s Keynote Speech

Joe Williams

Joe Williams is a Wiradjuri former professional sportsman who played in the NRL for South Sydney Rabbitohs, Penrith Panthers and Canterbury Bulldogs. In 2009 he changed sports to start professional boxing and was twice WBF World Junior Welterweight champion and won the WBC Asia Continental title.

Joe Williams has battled with bipolar disorder most of his life and attempted suicide in 2012. Since then, he has found a new calling working as a motivational speaker talking about resilience, positive energy and mental health to primary and secondary school aged youth.

Joe Williams was a contributing author to the book Transformation: Turning Tragedy Into Triumph and is also penning his own autobiography titled Defying The Enemy Within which will be released in 2018. He is also involved in the film documentary Suicide: The Ripple Effect.

In 2015 Joe Williams was named Wagga Wagga Citizen of the Year.

To Watch Joe’s Keynote Speech

Jane Burns

Jane Burns is Professor of Innovation and Industry at the University of Sydney and Chair of the National Advisory Council for the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service. She is a member of over 10 advisory boards and government working groups including the Vision for Australia Advisory Council, the Department of Communications Online Safety Working Group and the Department of Veteran Affairs Clinical Reference Group. She provides strategic advice to the government, university and social enterprise sector on improving well being.

In 2012 Jane Burns was a Victorian Finalist in the Telstra Business Women’s Awards. In 2015 Jane Burns won the Australian Financial Review and Westpac Group 100 Women of Influence award for Social Enterprise and Not-For-Profit.

She has a PhD in Medicine from the Faculty of Medicine (Public Health and Epidemiology) at the University of Adelaide.

To Watch Jane’s Keynote Speech

Holly Throsby

Holly Throsby is a songwriter, musician and novelist who has four critically acclaimed solo albums, a collection of original children’s songs and an album with band Seeker Lover Keeper.

Holly Throsby has been nominated for four ARIA Awards – including two for Best Female Artist and one for Best Children’s Album. She has toured in Australia and internationally with artists such as Joanna Newsom, Bill Callahan, Paul Kelly, M. Ward, The Tallest Man On Earth, Devendra Banhart, Mark Kozelek and The Handsome Family.

Holly Throsby’s debut novel, Goodwood, was published in 2016 and she is a panelist at the Sydney Writer’s Festival 2017.

She is a council member for the animal protection institute, Voiceless.

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Liv Cartledge

Liv Cartledge is a singer and songwriter from Beechworth. Although she is only 20 years old, Liv already has a single, ‘You Got Me High’, and an EP about to be released called Timber. She and her father, Sean, regularly used to perform around North East Victoria.

In 2015 Liv Cartledge was named winner of the Telstra Road To Discovery talent program.

In 2014 Liv’s father, Sean, lost his life to suicide. Liv chooses to honour his memory by continuing to perform the music she loves.

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The Northern Folk

The Northern Folk are a band of 11 musicians that hails from Albury. Their sound is a unique blend of brass instruments (saxophone, trumpet, trombone), guitar, clarinet, keyboard and vocals. They have played at several music festivals including Bendigo Blues and Roots, Cool Summer, Yack Folk and Pfeiffer Pfest.

They have an EP, The Northern Folk, and an LP, Stumble On Home.

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David Astle

David Astle is a wordsmith and was the face of the SBS television show Letters and Numbers. He is also a regular on ABC radio and the ABC News Breakfast and creates the crosswords for The Age and Sydney Morning Herald.

David has been Master of Ceremonies for Winter Solstice since it began in 2013.

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