All The Incredible Achievements Made by Indigenous People Over the Past Year

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NAIDOC Week celebrates and recognised the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It’s an opportunity for all Australians to learn about First Nations cultures and histories. The POPSUGAR team is sharing stories to help educate, honour and guide in our continued to push for change, so be sure to find all our pieces here. Val Morgan Digital acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay respect to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

It’s been a phenomenal year filled with historical achievements by our First Nations peoples, and naturally, we want to celebrate. From Ash Barty’s Australian Open win to Lance Franklin’s 1000th goal, there is no shortage of talent within the Indigenous community. 

Related: 10 Trailblazing Indigenous Brands to Buy From During NAIDOC Week and Beyond

There are athletes, musicians, models and so much more, and they’re all shattering the glass ceiling, making headlines and cementing their names in the hall of fame. So without further ado, let’s take a look at the incredible achievements made by Indigenous people over the past year.

Tony Armstrong

Tony Armstrong made headlines this year after he took home the Graham Kennedy Award for Most Popular New Talent at the 62nd TV WEEK Logie Awards.

The former AFL player joined ABC News Breakfast in March of 2021, and in July, he became the show’s full-time sports presenter. During his time on the show, Armstrong has cemented himself as a loveable larrikin, while also regularly raising his voice against racism and for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Cindy Rostron, Magnolia Maymuru, Charlee Frazer and Elaine George

Cindy Rostron, Magnolia Maymuru, Charlee Frazer and Elaine George are the four models who graced the cover of Vogue Australia.

To celebrate the lead-up to Fashion Week, the magazine chose these four women of colour to showcase the beautiful Aboriginal culture and highlight just how diverse the community really is.

Related: Present and Emerging First Nations Figures to Know About

Ash Barty

We can’t have a list of incredible achievements without mentioning the formidable Ash Barty. The tennis star not only won Wimbledon in 2021, but was the first Australian to win an Australian Open women’s singles title in 44 years. The athlete announced her retirement shortly after, but is still doing some remarkable work.

Brooke Blurton

She’s best known for being a reality TV star, but Brooke Blurton was the very first Indigenous and bisexual woman to front The Bachelorette. In a history-making move, Blurton’s season was not only diverse but provided representation to two marginalised groups: Our First Nations peoples and the LGBTQIA+ community.

Related: Aboriginal Actress Rarriwuy Hick on Growing Up in Two Different Worlds


He’s an international superstar, collaborating with artists such as Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus, and The Kid LAROI is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. The 18-year-old took home two ARIA Awards and was nominated for two Grammy Awards in 2021. This year, the rapper donated $100,000 to The Fact Tree Youth Service, a youth centre in the Sydney suburb of Redfern and also tipped a young, aspiring musician $1,000 to help kickstart his career.

Related: 5 Things You Probably Didn’t (But Should) Know About Indigenous Rapper The Kid LAROI

Megan Waters

Full of energy and ambition, Megan Waters joined Tony Armstrong and former Brisbane Lions champion Daryl White as a host of Yokayi Footy. Waters is a fitness and nutrition professional who grew up in Larrakia Country in Darwin before moving to Naarm (Melbourne). Now, she’s representing women all over the country in sport and encouraging them to follow in her footsteps.

Lance Franklin

Lance Franklin (or Buddy) celebrated his 1000th goal on the footy field this year, and what an experience it was. The AFL player reached the milestone at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne and was surrounded by his adoring fans and supportive teammates. The 31-year-old joins Tony Lockett (1,360 goals), Gordon Coventry (1,299), Jason Dunstall (1,254), Doug Wade (1,057) and Gary Ablett senior (1,031) in the exclusive club.

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