2022 Australia Day Ambassadors


Brewarrina’s 2022 Australia Day Ambassador Peter Wilkins. PHOTO TWH

Brewarrina’s Australia Day Ambassador for 2022 is sports broadcaster Peter Wilkins

Peter is making a return visit to the outback after serving as Bourke’s Australia Day Ambassador in 2020.

This time, however, instead of giving an address about hardship, he will be talking to a community that has weathered the drought and a pandemic and is now enjoying better seasons, a full river, and a renewed sense of enthusiasm.

‘Wilko’ has been an ABC sports commentator for almost 40 years, has a passion for the outback and the never-say-die spirit of its people. Just as the champions on the sports field have inspired him, he said so too does that fighting spirit of people in the bush.

“People in the outback have a spirit that defies adversity and I commend these communities for helping each other in times of hardship,” he said.

For 2022, however, adversity is not on the agenda, and Brewarrina’s future looks brighter than ever.



Marathon Swimmer is Bourke’s 2022 Australia Day Ambassador


James Pittar. Photo contributed

Bourke’s Australia Day Ambassador for 2022 is James Pittar, one of swimming’s greatest achievers, with national and international titles and a catalogue of some of the most awe-inspiring feats of endurance to his name.

James will be in Bourke on Australia Day – 26th January 2022 – to make the Australia Day address at the Bourke Memorial Swimming Pool, and to present the Australia Day Citizenship Awards.

What makes James such an outstanding Australia Day ambassador is that he has achieved the highest level in his sport despite being blind.

James suffers from a genetic disorder called Retinitis Pigmentosa which causes a degeneration of the retina. The disease was diagnosed when James was 16 years old after he suffered from rapidly decreasing vision. He was legally blind at 21 years of age and completely blind by his early 30s.

As a result of his declining vision, James focused his sporting efforts in swimming and rowing and during the 1990s, he represented Australia in both these sports as a disabled athlete.

In the mid-1990s, James decided to attempt the English Channel after meeting the inspirational Australian swimmer Des Renford and was successful on his first attempt in 1998.

Over the next ten years, he went on to successfully complete some of the most difficult marathon swims in the world, including the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, the Strait of Gibraltar, New Zealand’s Cook Strait, and the Catalina Channel.

James became the first Australian to complete the Triple Crown of open water swimming by completing the English Channel, Manhattan Island marathon swim and the Catalina Channel. In the process he completed an open water swim in every continent excluding Antarctica in 925 days.


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