Photo Credit: Australian of the Year awards committee
A 17-year-old prolific inventor who attends an independent Anglican school near Sydney has been named the New South Wales Young Australian of the Year. Macinley Butson, a keen scientist who has won a raft of awards for her inventions, is now in the running for the national Young Australian of the Year title when it is awarded in January. Her latest invention, Smart Amrour, is a shield that can be used by breast cancer patients to protect their non-cancerous breast while the other is undergoing radiotherapy treatment.
Her previous inventions include a system that simultaneously collects solar power and filters water, a spoon that accurately measures and delivers oral medicine to children, and a device that deters garden snails without the use of poison. The teenager, a pupil at the Illawarra Grammar School (TIGS), is increasingly being recognised as a rising star in the male-dominated world of science. She made history in 2017 when she became the first Australian to win the top prize in the category of medicine at the prestigious INTEL International Science and Engineering Fair, held in Los Angeles, California.
She told Sydney Anglicans – the official website of the Diocese of Sydney – how it had been difficult juggling school, her passion for science and her Christian faith. “There’s never been a point, especially in the last year, where it has been easy sailing,” she said. “But I don’t think that’s what life is about.
“There are times I can admit that, unfortunately, my faith did take a back seat. I wish it hadn’t been like that. What would happen quite often is I’d go to bed and see my Bible, and it would remind me that I can’t go through life with everything else taking priority.
“I found it difficult to adjust to the attention I was now getting, but I’ve said, ‘I’m going to put my fears aside for a moment. How can I use this to shine God’s light?’ That was always at the forefront of my mind.”
Macinley Butson receives her New South Wales Australian of the Year Award last month.
Photo: Salty Dingo / Australian of the Year awards committee
She will find out whether she has won the national award on 25 January 2019 – the eve of Australia Day – at an award ceremony in Canberra. Four awards will be presented: Australian of the Year, Senior Australian of the Year, Young Australian of the Year, and Australia’s Local Hero.