Ms Heather Ellis

2020 College Recipient, College of Arts, Society and Education

Heather Ellis graduated from James Cook University in 2001 with a Bachelor of Journalism, having just completed an epic solo motorcycle journey from London to Hanoi. Having already completed an equally extraordinary motorcycle journey traversing Africa from south to north, Heather was diagnosed with HIV in preparations for her trip to Hanoi via Central Asia’s Silk Roads.

She arrived in Cairns in 1997 and survived by virtue of the discovery of effective HIV medications and has gone on to forge a freelance writing and speaking career as an instrumental voice for HIV health, road safety and travel as a global tool for peace through education. She has worked for international development agency, Plan Australia and written for Australian Aid on child health, agriculture and youth livelihoods. Heather is also a published author and a motivational speaker and is presently employed as a project leader with Positive Women Victoria, the only community-based organisation specifically funded to support and advocate for women living with HIV in Australia.