Women’s rugby league pioneer, Katrina Fanning, is the 2020 ACT Australian of the Year. Originally from Junee, NSW, Katrina is the Director of Coolamon Advisors, an Indigenous majority-owned and managed consultancy, as well as being involved in numerous roles within the community. Some of her roles include chairperson of the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body as well as board member of the Fred Hollows Foundation, Australian Rugby League Indigenous Council, Women’s Legal Centre and the Canberra Raiders. Katrina was also recently named as part of the National Co-Design Group tasked with developing options and models for a national Indigenous voice. “If I had to peel it right back, it’s working on things that give people opportunity and choice in their lives,” Katrina says. “As a kid, I had teachers and coaches that did something a little extra and gave me a different pathway in life.”
“It’s really something Kate (my partner) got me into.” Katrina says they have had “all sorts of weird and wonderful things” including chickens, rabbits, ducks, dogs and guinea pigs to name a few. “They all come with a little story”.
“That’s something that’s a team negotiation on a Saturday morning.” Katrina says they often revisit locations such as the War Memorial, Questacon and National Museum but she also encourages her boys to “think up or look up new things. That becomes our adventure on the weekend”.
“It is the one meal we will sit down and talk about the week or how last week went.” Katrina says she enjoys the smell of it cooking throughout the house in the colder months, and it’s also a dish her boys like. “When the boys leave, they can come back for it.”
“The last year in particular, just seeing how all of Canberra got behind a team, I love that sense of community that comes with football. Growing up in a rugby league town, regardless of how the rest of the week went, rugby league brought us together.”
“I love karaoke which is weird because I’m not good at it. I lived in New Zealand for a year and gave up on karaoke while I was there because they could all sing. I was very amateur but I just think it’s a bit of fun and poking fun of yourself.”