Life certainly isn’t without its challenges. Just when everything’s going great-guns – BOOM – calamity, right in the baby-maker. It’s almost as if the worlds out to get you and you can’t help but feel a bit *sad face emoji*. When cat memes/videos aren’t cutting it, it takes an act of kindness from a genuine person to snap you out of the doldrums. Maybe that’s a smile from a kid when you pass them on the footpath, or a compliment about your lush-locks from a co-worker. These people might not wear capes, and they certainly don’t make headlines, but we reckon they’re true-blue Aussie Heroes.

Once a year, our country celebrates remarkable people with the Australian of the Year awards. The legends at CommBank, being the sensible guys that they are, recognised the awesomeness of the program and its recipients. This led them to think, ‘why stop there?’ It was with this desire to recognise everyday ‘Strayans that the Australian of the Day series was created. Eight young photographers have been scouring the country for unsung heroes. Just as our forefathers did, they struck gold (saaaahliiiidddd ~goOoOoooOoOold~) (ILY Austin Powers). 

Behold the lords that’ve been dug up in South Australia.


‘LUMBER-SEXUAL’ TOBIAS CAMPBELL CHANGES BEARD GAME IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Tobias identifies as a lumber-sexual. In short, he loves all things burly and beardy. 

“I’d wanted a beard since I was about 10 – I just thought they were awesome.”

“Having a beard makes you feel like you’re part of a secret club. You walk past another guy with a decent beard and you both have a silent appreciation for each other’s efforts. Walk past an aspiring beard grower and he’ll definitely check you out with a glint of jealousy in his eye. My only advice would be that if you can’t grow a beard, just don’t. We all have our own talents and a beard might not be yours.” 

He’d seen both his uncle and father dabble in the art of beard growth when he was young. Unknowingly, these two figures served as inspiration for a blossoming appreciation of beards that Tobias has held for most of his life. 

“My first attempt at a beard was at about 18. It’s been a goatee and more man scaped in the past but the goal was always to grow a big full beard like I have now.”  

However, Tobias was devastated to find that beards can be nek-level itchy and irritating when he first grew his out. 

The horror.

THE HORROR.

His wife, Kirby, stumbled across a beard oil on a trip to Canada. Tobias thought the idea of an oil was great but was more interested in a balm product to use. He was gutted to find that most products out there were fully of nasty/crappy ingredients. 

“I looked into making some just for myself. I researched natural ingredients that were beneficial to both facial skin and beards and played around with the formula. Then when I had the perfect recipe I got so many compliments on my beard, and so many bearded friends asking for a tin, that my wife and I decided to start making it to sell.” 

Whilst it’s certainly a niche market, Tobias has really rocked the world of beard lovers right across South Australia – some would argue that he’s sparked a mini-revolution. It was for this very reason that Tobias is the Australian of the Day #147.

The couple admits that they have a helping hand (or at least some fantastic company) from their first child, Phoebe the dachshund. 

SO. ADORABLE.

“My wife dreamed of having a sausage, and then when our last dog passed away there was no stopping her from getting a puppy. We’ve had her for two years now and she is hilarious.”


Jessica Clark, CommBank’s Australian of the Day documenter/photographer, has been working harder than a sheep-shearer on a 40-degree day to bring you the stories of extraordinary ‘Strayans. www.australianoftheday.com.au is filled to the brim with astonishing tales of good people doing good things – don’t take our word for it, go check it out. If you’re wanting to wet your whistle with more sensational stories in the interim, check out the peeps below. 


MEET GHIL’AD ZUCKERMAN, MASTER OF 11 LANGUAGES 

 

If you were given the chance to invite three people to dinner, dead or alive, who would it be? 

We can honestly say Ghil’ad is right at the top of our list.

He’s eccentric, but not overwhelmingly so. 

Intelligent, without ramming it down your throat. 

A conversationalist that you’d never want to stop talking. 

Professor Zuckermann, Chair of Linguistics and Endangered Languages at the University of Adelaide, has mastered 11 languages. 

11 LANGUAGES, PEOPLE. 

In addition, he has several qualifications from elite institutions such as Oxford (just casually).  

He measures his fluency based on his ability to deliver a lecture, in whichever language he feels like, without any notes or prompts. 

Really? REALLY? Most of us struggle to deliver a five minute presentation, with notes (not to mention in a language we’ve known our entire lives) to a small classroom, let alone a full-scale auditorium full of people. 

Ghil’ad was dubbed a mathematical prodigy at age four, explaining that he probably could’ve sat the HSC exams at just seven. You’d imagine he’d be big-headed (both literally and metaphorically) but somehow he’s still an extremely down-to-earth guy.

Although he was a math-whiz, Ghil’ad wasn’t all that taken with it. 

“I allowed my mathematical inclination to be expressed within language,” he says.

“It was love for different cultures that moved me toward linguistics.”

He recently spoke to a girlfriend that he had when he was a child. 

She explained that she always saw him doing something with language, remarking on how much fun he had with it. He played with words, phrases and even created his own. 

Upon immigrating to Australia in 2004, Ghil’ad asked himself what he could do for our country and it didn’t take long for the answer to present itself. 

Unfortunately there are several Indigenous languages that are either dying, or dead. 

Ghil’ad decided to use his knowledge of language revival to help the Barngarla community, particularly its younger generations, reclaim their language through innovative workshops. 

How many languages have you revived today? Zero? Yikes, you better hop to it while the day is still young. 

As well as documenting and sharing his findings, the good professor helps organise the bureaucratic elements of such an operation, like grant applications. 

Most linguists are only interested in language – not really caring about the people whom the language belongs to. Ghil’ad is different. His love of people leads him to place the community in the centre of his work so that the revival of the language is worthwhile. 

Needless to say, this is why Ghil’ad is the Australian of the Day #148.


ANNA DOWLING’S FRESH TAKE ON INDIGENOUS ART

Everyone, say hi to Anna Dowling – a South Australian based artist who’s down-right amazing.

Anna’s a descendant of the Badimia people, of the Yamatji region, in Western Australia. Learning about things such as basket weaving from Aboriginal elders, and the meanings of traditional symbols, has been a large influence on her work. 

“I use patterns and shapes to create art that is about family, memories and culture. My work isn’t traditional – but it is influenced by traditional art,” she says.  

Anna was the recipient of the 2014 Don Dunstan Our Mob Emerging Artist Prize at just 21. #killingit. 

“I’ve since submitted a piece of artwork into the 2015 National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award and have been accepted as a finalist. I feel that the confidence that has come from being awarded the Prize has really inspired and empowered me to apply for exhibition opportunities at a national level.”

YOU GO, GLEN COCO.

“Being awarded the 2014 Dunstan Foundation Our Mob Emerging Artist Prize has given me a more solidified confidence in my own artistic practice.” 

She hopes her work will preserve and promote Aboriginal knowledge and perspectives in the community. In addition, Anna aims to create art that reflects the beauty and diversity of Aboriginal culture. 

In our humble opinion, we think she’s doing a bang-on job:

Seeing as she’s making stupendous art (and for all the right reasons) Anna Dowling is certainly deserving of being the Australian of the Day #146.

Anna’s also involved in other programs which further cement her angelic status – including the Onesixteenth Forum.

“The Onesixteenth Forum has offered me opportunities to network and learn from Indigenous artists and community leaders.  Following my first meeting with the Forum, I was able to undertake a mentorship with artist James Tylor. James specialises in experimental and historical photographic processes and learning from his depth of knowledge and skills was incredibly valuable.”  

“The experience exposed me to photography techniques that I hope to further experiment with and transfer into my own work. Since the mentorship I have begun using similar photography techniques and principles to transfer images of my artwork to fabrics and textiles.”

Versatile, creative and culturally impactful – jeez, Anna, way to make us feel bad. 

Keep up the amazing work, pls. 

Do yo’self a favour and go hit up www.australianoftheday.com.au for more stories of amazeballs people.