The Appeal's Ambassadors are our champions in the community, taking our message with them on their travels. They support us with publicity, profiles and fundraising events wherever they can, each offering their own unique take on getting the news out about the plight of the Tasmanian devil.
In late 2016 we were thrilled Tasmanian-born actress Bonnie Sveen joined Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal as Ambassador.
Bonnie is a Logie winner and former Home and Away star, also appearing in Channel Seven drama The Secret Daughter alongside Jessica Mauboy.
She has an affinity with nature and wanted to help her home state's iconic and endangered marsupial. Bonnie said "hearing that this mysterious, fatal disease could mean the end of our precious Tassie Devil was heartbreaking to me."
"More than just a mascot to our state or an internationally famous cartoon character, the devil is a vital member of our unique biodiversity ... as a Tasmanian, I feel a strong responsibility to do what I can to preserve the remaining healthy devils in the wild and support research into helping fight the disease ... It was a no-brainer to want to be involved."
Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal manager Rebecca Cuthill is delighted to have been approached by Bonnie and looks forward to her involvement. "To have someone high-profile and passionate about wildlife like Bonnie take up the fight on behalf of the Devil will provide a welcome boost to national and international awareness of its plight ... we are grateful to Bonnie for her time and efforts in understanding our work and providing support to the fund and awareness-raising where she can."
Jon was a passionate advocate for the Tasmanian devil for many years, describing it as the "original rock and roll animal". In 2009, Jon arranged a series of fundraising concerts, Devil Rock, and since this time his relationship with the Appeal has continued. He was a proud supporter and Ambassador for the Appeal raising thousands of dollars to help save our Tassie devil.
It was with deep sadness we received the news of his passing in March 2016.
Starred in a Tourism Australia video, receiving over 560,000 hits on Youtube. Performed a private show for Oprah Winfrey’s girlfriend, Gayle King, and Oprah’s famous “Road Trippers”.
Supported artists of the calibre of Archie Roach, John Farnham and Guy Sebastian. Wowed audiences in two shows with the prestigious Black Arm Band - upstaging Paul Kelly in a duet during the Melbourne International Arts Festival – and performed in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York as part of G’Day USA.
The wish list or daydreams of an aspiring Australian singer? Maybe, they’re certainly big enough dreams. But, they’re also just some of the highlights of Dewayne’s career over the last two years.
And he’s done all of this without putting out an album, without any of the promotion and hype accompanying a debut release.
It’s not surprising, though. From his childhood appearances within his own Tasmanian Aboriginal community, through many festival stages around Australia and across the Pacific, his audition for Australian Idol, one thing has become very clear – Dewayne’s a very special performer.
But, it’s not just his amazing voice. He’s also one of those rare performers with a gift, a presence. Untutored in stagecraft, Dewayne tells his story, sings to a crowded room, and most individuals listening feel he’s singing just for them. He can’t explain it and he’s not consciously trying to use it; it’s just there, it’s just him.
He’s an Aboriginal man, descended from both the Aboriginal community of Cape Barren Island and the Gunai/Kurnai people of Victoria, but his music can’t be neatly pigeonholed as Indigenous. It’s been influenced by his heritage, then shaped by his tough early years and his love of so many musical styles and great singers.
Dewayne’s just twenty-three, barely begun his journey and his debut album won’t be available for another few months. Yet, he’s already gaining recognition as someone special – he’s just been appointed, along with Jon English, to the role of ambassador for the government’s official Save the Tasmanian Devil Fund.
You’d be safe in assuming Dewayne will be part of your life for years to come and that his gift will take him to the world in the not-too-distant future. There’s just so much more to come.