Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland journalist scoops award in Australia for her work

By Donna Deeney

A Northern Irish journalist has won a prestigious award for her coverage of Aboriginal affairs in Australia.

Jane Bardon, formerly a BBC reporter in Northern Ireland, is now a senior reporter with ABC based in Darwin, Australia.

She is also the daughter of Jonathan Bardon, the author of A History of Ulster, which is regarded as the definitive book on the subject.

Ms Bardon recently scooped a Walkley Award for a number of stories about the experiences of Aboriginal people in Australia.

The Walkley Awards have been given out for more than 60 years and are considered the highest recognition of excellence in journalism in Australia.

This year, journalists around the nation submitted more than 1,200 entries, which were judged by more than 100 senior industry representatives.

Among Ms Bardon's stories about Aboriginals were Demanding Justice, a piece about an indigenous man with only six months to live who was given a 15-month prison sentence.

Another story highlighted the number of children from Aboriginal families being taken into care by the Northern Territories Government.

Although she was halfway around the world in Belfast during the awards ceremony, Ms Bardon's mum Carol was nonetheless delighted and proud of her only daughter.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, she said: "I cannot even begin to describe how proud I am of Jane winning this very prestigious award.

"She has been in Australia for the past 10 years but worked in journalism here in Northern Ireland before that, firstly with the Ballyclare Gazette and then the BBC.

"When she went to Australia she started working with ABC which is the public broadcaster there. She has championed in particular the indigenous population, so for her work to be recognised with this award is so wonderful.

"She was first drawn to the indigenous people through their rock art and from that she became fascinated by the people themselves.

"She recognised that in the 21st century they were very often pushed to the periphery and treated not quite as first class citizens.

"She started reporting on a variety of subjects highlighting how badly they were being treated because she felt so passionate about it.

"When she was nominated she rang me up and was so excited. Later when she actually won she was over the moon.

"It really is an incredible achievement because these awards are such a big deal in Australia and it was such a pity I could not have been there to see her being presented with it in person.

"I know she was only on the stage for a moment but it would have been so wonderful for me as her mother to have shared that with her."

Despite being in Australia for more than a decade, Ms Bardon has retained her local accent - something that keeps her connected to her native Belfast.

Mum Carol continued: "Jane has kept her Ulster accent although she has had to clip it for broadcasting so her voice is very distinctive and recognisable for the local population which she loves.

"She comes home as often as possible and I have been out to visit her a couple of times.

"I am hoping it won't be too long before I give her my congratulations and tell her in person how extremely proud I am of her."

Belfast Telegraph

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