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Deng Thiak Adut



South Sudanese child soldier-turned-Blacktown lawyer, Deng Adut moved hearts with his 2016 Australia Day address. But 33-year-old Adut first won national attention late last year, when a short video about his life went viral. The clip, which has attracted more than 2.5 million views to date, was produced by Adut’s alma mater, Western Sydney University (view here). Deng, who was conscripted at six years old, had never been to school. He came to Australia as a refugee aged 14, taught himself to read, write and speak English, and won a scholarship to study law in 2005. He now has his own private law practice in Western Sydney, the AC Law Group, and spends much of his free time working with disenfranchised youth and refugees. Deng gave the 2016 Australia Day address for NSW, was painted for the 2016 Archibald Prize by Nick Stathopoulos and the portrait won the People’s Choice award, and has also been nominated for Australian of the Year 2017. Deng’s book Songs of a War Boy written with Ben Mckelvey is published by Hachette Australia.