Deadly Awards

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Deadly Awards
Deadly Awards 2013
Awarded forAustralian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander achievement
Presented byVibe Australia
First awarded1995
Last awarded2013
Television/radio coverage
NetworkSBS Television

The Deadly Awards, commonly known simply as The Deadlys, was an annual celebration of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander achievement in music, sport, entertainment and community.[1] The first Deadlys were held in 1995, at the Boomalli Artist Co-op in the Redfern suburb of Sydney.[2] The Deadly Awards originated as the Deadly Sounds music and culture radio show at the Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-op in Redfern in 1993. They stemmed from an idea of the late Gavin Jones (1966-2014).[3] Later venues included The Metro Theatre, the Hard Rock Café, Home in Darling Harbour and Fox Studios; since 2001, the event was held at the Sydney Opera House, hosted by Vibe Australia and broadcast by National Indigenous Television.[4] There were later additional venues in other states.[citation needed]

The awards expanded beyond their original music focus,[2] to include sport, entertainment, the arts, health, education and training in the Indigenous Australian community. Winners are nominated and voted on by the public. The word "Deadly" is a modern colloquialism used by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to indicate "cool, rockin', fantastic".


In June 2014, the Deadly Awards' funding was cut by the Abbott Government in measures designed to reallocate funding to indigenous education programs with 2014 Deadly funding phased back to $1 million and no funding provided for future years.[5]

On 12 July, Gavin Jones was found dead; it is not clear whether his death was related to the cuts.[4]

On 14 July 2014, Vibe Australia announced that the 2014 Deadlys were cancelled and that all Vibe projects concluded on 30 June 2014.[6] After a story was run on Triple J's Hack program on 15 July 2014, a groundswell of community support for saving the Deadly Awards began.[7] A petition on attracted over 26,000 signatures[8] and a Kickstarter campaign reached $6,699.[6]

In November 2017, the National Dreamtime Awards were launched to fill the void in recognising indigenous achievements as a result of the cessation of the Deadly Awards.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pennycook, Alastair. Global Englishes and Transcultural Flows. Routledge. pp. 162–. ISBN 978-1-134-18876-5. Retrieved 9 November 2012.
  2. ^ a b Pryor, Lisa (11 October 2002). "Hardly lethal, but sure to cause blackouts". Sydney Morning Herald.
  3. ^ King, Jennifer (19 September 2014). "Gavin Jones obituary: Respected Indigenous identity and Deadly Awards founder dies aged 47". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  4. ^ a b Feneley, Rick (14 July 2014). "Deadly Awards founder Gavin Jones dies after funding cut". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
  5. ^ Kerin, Lindy (16 July 2014). "Tributes continue to flow for Vibe Australia founder Gavin Jones". AM. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  6. ^ a b "Fund a new Deadly awards!". Vibe Australia. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
  7. ^ Tilley, Tom. "ABC Triple J Hack program, Interview with Tom Tilley". Triple J. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
  8. ^ "Reinstate the Deadly Awards in memory of Founder Gavin Jones." at
  9. ^ "Introducing the winners of the 2017 Dreamtime Awards". Welcome to country. 19 November 2017. Retrieved 19 February 2018.

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