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Ronald Briggs
Photographs from the Deadly Awards by Jamie James

The Deadly* Awards were held in Sydney every year from 1994 until 2013. They were spectacular ceremonial events that showcased Aboriginal peoples’ success in the arts and entertainment, music, sports and community. The Deadlys, as they became known, were aimed at promoting a more positive, contemporary representation of Indigenous Australians and their achievements. From small beginnings, launched at Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-operative in 1994, the Deadly Awards grew to become a ‘hot ticket’ — a glamorous annual red-carpet event. From 2001 the awards were staged at the Sydney Opera House and televised nationally through NITV and SBS.

The last Deadly Awards were held in 2013. Unfortunately, problems with funding and Gavin Jones’ untimely death in July 2014 prevented the Deadlys from continuing. Photographer Jamie James regularly attended the ceremonies, capturing the glitz and excitement of the event. James’ photos document the fabulous, both on and off stage from the Deadly Awards of 1998 to 2013, and was acquired by the Library in 2017.

These are a random selection of Deadly Awards photos. You can navigate to more of Jamie James' images from our catalogue.

/casey-donovan-14th-year-deadly-awards-programs-sydney-opera-house
/nathan-ramsay-frank-yamma-troy-cassar-daley-deadlys-hard-rock-cafe-sydney
/artists-backstage-deadlys-city-live-fox-studios
/matt-bowen-casey-donovan-leah-purcell-their-deadly-awards-sydney-opera-house
/adam-hill-artist-blak-douglas-backstage-deadly-awards-sydney-opera-house
/mark-olive-chef-and-mary-g-mark-bin-bakar-deadly-awards-sydney-opera-house
/dr-anita-heiss-author-deadly-award-sydney-opera-house
/leah-purcell-winner-actor-year-award-deadly-awards-sydney-opera-house
/joel-wenitong-naomi-wenitong-dj-jaytee-last-kinection-deadly-awards-sydney-opera-house
/marlene-cummins-musician-and-broadcaster-deadly-awards-sydney-opera-house
/singer-jessica-mauboy-winner-four-deadly-awards-sydney-opera-house
/evonne-goolagong-cawley-ella-family-lifetime-achievement-award-sport-deadly-awards-sydney-opera
/toni-bell-and-lily-shearer-deadly-awards-after-party-sydney-opera-house
/emma-donovan-kaleena-briggs-nardi-simpson-stiff-gins-city-live-fox-studios
/rugby-league-player-greg-inglis-young-dancers-deadly-awards-sydney-opera-house
/director-rachel-perkins-deadly-award-film-year-bran-nue-dae-sydney-opera-house
/uncle-jack-charles-relaxing-backstage-deadly-awards-sydney-opera-house
/ursula-yovich-singer-and-actor-deadly-awards-sydney-opera-house
/archie-roach-deadly-awards-sydney-opera-house
/michael-tuahine-sbs-interview-leah-purcell-deadly-awards-sydney-opera-house
/anthony-man-mundine-his-deadly-award-sydney-opera-house

Media producer Gavin Jones was the driving force behind the Deadly Awards. He was a proud Aboriginal man, originally from Goulburn, NSW, who had worked in journalism before starting the Deadly Sounds radio program and editing Deadly Vibe and InVibe magazines. A number of  Jamie James' photos show Gavin with various personalities at the Deadlies.

/matt-bowen-and-gavin-jones-deadly-awards-sydney-opera-house
/vicki-gavin-jones
/gavin-jones-and-cathie-craigie
/gavin-jones-and-professor-marie-bashir-sydney-opera-house
/gavin-jones-and-patrick-johnson-deadly-awards-sydney-opera-house
/michael-oloughlin-and-gavin-jones-deadly-awards-sydney-opera-house
/gary-ella-and-gavin-jones-deadly-awards-sydney-opera-house

* The word Deadly is used colloquially to mean excellent or cool.

 

Ronald Briggs
Curator, Research and Discovery