Congratulations Jessica Watson – OAM!


Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce AC, the Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia, has named Jessica in the prestigious Australia Day Honours list, being awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the General Division for service to sailing and to youth through the achievement of sailing solo and unassisted around the world, and also as a role model for young Australians.

The OAM is an order of chivalry established on 14 February 1975 by Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia, “for the purpose of according recognition to Australian citizens and other persons for achievement or for meritorious service”.

Any person may nominate any Australian citizen for an OAM award. The nominations are reviewed by the Council for the Order of Australia and then approved by the Governor-General. The Order is awarded twice annually: on Australia Day and on the Queen’s Birthday public holiday in June, when public announcements are made about new awards.

Nominations for Jessica came from all over the world. Jessica’s achievements are a global phenomenon. To reflect this properly, a group of people living in five different countries nominated Jessica for the Order of Australia.

The nominators were from France, Germany, Canada, USA, as well as Australian States of Tasmania, Queensland and Western Australia.  Although they have prepared the nomination by email since 2010, the group has never met in person.  What they have in common is a great admiration for Jessica. 

Jessica is one of the youngest recipients in the 37 year history of the OAM.   

Typically humble in her acceptance of the OAM, Jessica felt very grateful to be the recipient of a great Australian award. 

“”It’s a bit overwhelming in a lot of ways to be given an award like this, After being named Young Australian of the Year, then to be awarded an OAM at my age is all just a little surreal,” said Jessica.

“I feel very humbled and honored to be listed alongside so many other amazing Australians,” said Jessica.

Speaking of the last year, Jessica enjoyed the opportunity to speak to the youth of Australia.

“It’s been an absolute privilege being Young Australian of the Year and had provided so many opportunities to meet and speak with the youth and many schools throughout Australia. I’ve enjoyed sharing my stories and also hearing their goals and aspirations.” 

After a whirlwind schedule, Jessica said the pace of the past few years will now slow down a little. .

“2012 is about taking a step back and getting to see more of my own family and friends. But I still have quite a few ongoing roles and some exciting projects coming up.”

One of these will be studying a Bachelor of Arts by correspondence, majoring in sociology and youth work plus she will continue in her role as Youth Representative for the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP). 

After handing over the Young Australian of the Year mantle to 22 year old Mariat Cheng in Canberra, Jessica flew to Sydney on Australia Day where she spent most of the day on the Harbour enjoying the Festivities, in her role as Australia Day ambassador.

Now for a few well deserved days of rest and relaxation.

Congratulations from all your supporters Jess!


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