25 January 2023

Didgeridoo ace nominated as Griffith Young Citizen of the Year 2023

| Oliver Jacques
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two boys with digeridoo

Zavian Williams and his younger brother Kyzan. Photo: Oliver Jacques.

A 13-year-old boy who impressed Prime Minister Anthony Albanese with his didgeridoo playing last year has been nominated by Griffith City Council as the town’s 2023 Young Citizen of the Year.

READ ALSO Griffith mum and daughter pioneer native tree-made Indigenous art venture

Zavian Williams, who has been playing the Aboriginal wind instrument since he was three years old, dazzled the nation’s leaders at the annual 2022 Bush Summit, which brought politicians and business representatives to Griffith to discuss regional issues.

“He [the PM] was pretty stoked by how Zavian played at such a young age,” mum Yana Williams said.

“When he played at the Bush Summit, he was so impressive he was invited to play at the NSW Business Awards at the Whitton Malt House.

“Overall, he played 11 times for different events in 2022.”

Boy playing didgeridoo

Zavian Williams plays in front of the Prime Minister at the 2022 Bush Summit. Photo: Supplied.

Despite playing in front of crowds of several hundred people, Zavian wasn’t fazed.

“I don’t really get nervous, I have been playing since I was three years old,” he said.

Yana said: “He had a little didgeridoo that was given to him by his aunty. He could make the noise, but he’s only started to circular breathe in the last three years.”

Zavian said he loved ”playing all the sounds and the different animals”.

His performances have seen him nominated by Griffith City Council as the Young Citizen of the Year, a category in its annual Australia Day Awards. Zavian will also play the didgeridoo at the award ceremony, which recognises 30 individuals and groups who have contributed to their community (see below for a full list of nominees and categories).

He will also perform at an Aboriginal Land Council-organised event named ”Survival Day” at the Griffith Regional Aquatic Centre on the same day.

“He is dancing at ‘Survival Day’ too,” Yana said. ”He is part of the [Indigenous] dance group called Marrambidya.”

READ ALSO Griffith Regional Aquatic Centre to host ‘Survival Day’ on 26 January

Zavian also has several other skills and talents. Here’s his full profile:

Name: Zavian Williams.

Age: 13.

Relationship status: Single.

School: Wade High (Murrumbidgee Regional High School).

Favourite subjects: Maths and metalwork.

Career highlights: Performing at a funeral at the Coro Club and at the Bush Summit.

Sports teams: Representative touch football (Southern Stars) and I play fullback for the Yenda Blueheelers rugby league team.

Role model: Johnathan Thurston (rugby league great). I love his accurate kicking.

Special skills: Didgeridoo playing, traditional dancing, and looking after his four younger brothers.

Future career: Builder (following in Dad’s footsteps), or rugby league star.

boy holding his baby brother

Zavian Williams and his baby brother Nylan. Photo: Supplied.


Citizen of the Year

  • Oscar and Margaret Bandiera
  • Bruno Brombal
  • Sanita Lole
  • Valerie Woodland
  • Colin Beaton
  • Patricia Cox
  • Sister Patricia Johnson
  • Pauline Dance
  • Hank Veenhuizen and Terry Walsh

Young Citizen of the Year

  • Michael Lanza
  • Zavian Williams

Community Project of the Year

  • Griffith Community Centre
  • Griffith Women on Fire Program

Sportsperson of the Year

  • Blake Testoni
  • Scott Bardney
  • Josh Stapleton

Young Sportsperson of the Year

  • Nicole Taylor
  • Tess Jameison
  • Charlee King
  • Reif Leich
  • Timeeka Coleman
  • Shamia Williams
  • Mackenzie Hassan
  • Jack Johns

Sports Team of the Year

  • Griffith East Public School Girls AFL Team
  • Griffith Netball U15 Representative Team
  • Murrumbidgee Regional High School U14 Rugby League Team
  • Griffith East Public School Netball Team
  • Griffith Demons Basketball U12 Rep Team

Club Person of the Year

  • Michael Crosato
  • Peter Stockwell

Griffith City Council will announce the winners at the Australia Day Awards ceremony at 10 am on Thursday, 26 January, 2023, at the Griffith Regional Theatre. Sixty-four new citizens will be welcomed at the ceremony.

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