Deadly Awards

(Redirected from The Deadlys)

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. The event was held from 1995 to 2013.

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


The Deadlys were an annual celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander achievement in music, sport, entertainment and community.[1]

The word "deadly" is a modern colloquialism used by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to indicate "great or wonderful".[2]


The first Deadlys were held in 1995, at the Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-op in the Redfern suburb of Sydney.[3] They stemmed from Boomalli's 1993 Deadly Sounds music and culture radio show, and were driven by Gavin Jones.[4] Over the next few years, their venue shifted through The Metro Theatre, the Hard Rock Café, Home in Darling Harbour, Fox Studios and others. Then 2001 began The Deadlys residency at the Sydney Opera House, from where the annual gala was broadcast by National Indigenous Television.[2]

The Deadly Awards earlier growth continued, along with widening regard as a community and Australian institution. Anchored by their annual event held at the Opera House (hosted by Jones' Vibe Australia), later years added venues in other states. Expansion also happened beyond their original music focus[3] to include sport, entertainment, the arts, health, education and training in the Indigenous Australian community, and candidates began to be nominated and voted on by the public.

The last Deadlys were held in 2013.[5]


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.[6]

On 12 July, Gavin Jones was found dead.[2] Vibe Australia announced on 14 July 2014 that the 20th edition of the event, due to be held at the Sydney Opera House on 30 September 2014, would not occur, along with all other Vibe projects, with funds instead "directed to the Australian Government's programs that deliver front line services from 1 July 2014".[5]

All Vibe projects concluded on 30 June 2014.[7] 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.[8] A petition on attracted over 26,000 signatures[9] and a Kickstarter campaign reached A$6,699.[7]

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.[10]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Pennycook, Alastair (7 December 2006). Global Englishes and Transcultural Flows. Routledge. p. 162. ISBN 978-1-134-18876-5.
  2. ^ a b c Feneley, Rick (14 July 2014). "Deadly Awards founder Gavin Jones dies after funding cut". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
  3. ^ a b Pryor, Lisa (11 October 2002). "Hardly lethal, but sure to cause blackouts". Sydney Morning Herald.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ a b "Announcement From Vibe Australia". The Deadlys®. 14 July 2014. Retrieved 6 November 2022.
  6. ^ Kerin, Lindy (16 July 2014). "Tributes continue to flow for Vibe Australia founder Gavin Jones". AM. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Fund a new Deadly awards!". Vibe Australia. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
  8. ^ Tilley, Tom. "ABC Triple J Hack program, Interview with Tom Tilley". Triple J. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
  9. ^ "Reinstate the Deadly Awards in memory of Founder Gavin Jones." at
  10. ^ "Introducing the winners of the 2017 Dreamtime Awards". Welcome to country. 19 November 2017. Retrieved 19 February 2018.

External linksEdit