Nikon-Walkley Award Winners for 2009

The Nikon-Walkley Photographic Awards are the most prestigious awards competition for press photographers in Australia. Winners have been announced, with more than 900 journalists and media identities gathered at the Royal Randwick Racecourse in Sydney for the 54th Annual Walkley Awards.

In 2009, the Walkley Foundation received some 400 entries in its various photographic categories, reflecting the depth of talent in Australian photo-journalism. 16 finalists, announced in October, went on to compete for the major Nikon-Walkley Photographic Prizes.

Nikon proudly sponsors awards in five categories including daily life, sport, news and photographic essay. The coveted 2009 Nikon-Walkley Press Photographer of the Year was awarded to Renee Nowytarger from The Australian, for her body of work which the judges praised as “rounded and versatile”. Her stand out photograph on an exhausted and forlorn Malcolm Turnbull was singled out for especial praise, along with her emotional coverage of indigenous affairs.

photographer – Renee Nowytarger

The Australian’s Gary Hughes took out the 2009 Gold Walkley and the award from Best Print News Report for his moving personal account of Black Saturday. The Hughes family were also presented with three Walkley trophy to replace those Gary lost to the bushfires, when his home and family’s possessions were destroyed.

The Walkley Awards, administered by the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance, have a proud history of celebrating the year’s winning stories and images. The awards were established in 1956 by Sir William Gaston Walkley, founder of Ampol Australia.

Award winners in Nikon-sponsored categories

Nikon-Walkley Press Photographer of the Year

  • Winner: Renee Nowytarger – The Australian
  • Finalist: Craig Greenhill – The Daily Telegraph
  • Finalist: Kate Geraghty – The Sydney Morning Herald

Daily Life / Feature Photography

  • Winner: Kirk Gilmour – Illawarra Mercury & The Sydney Morning Herald: Batten Down the Boogie Boards
  • Finalist: Craig Greenhill – The Daily Telegraph: Burnout Masters
  • Finalist: Stephen Dupont – Monster Children: Port Moresby

Sport Photography

  • Winner: Phil Hillyard – The Daily Telegraph: Sports Light
  • Finalist: Mark Dadswell – Getty Images and The Sun Herald: Golden Light
  • Finlaist: Cameron Spencer – Getty Images: Water World

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News Photography

General News

  • Winner: Justin McManus – The Age & The Sydney Morning Herald: Black Saturday Body
  • Finalist: Jason South – The Sunday Age: Blackest Saturday
  • Commended: Brad Hunter – Northern District Times: Laid to Rest

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Spot News Photography

  • Finalist: Alex Coppel – Sunday Herald Sun: Black Saturday
  • Finalist: Rob Maccoll – The Courier-Mail: Ingham Floods
  • Commended: Andrew Brownbill – Sunday Herald Sun, AP and AAP: Howling Flames

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Portrait Photography

  • Finalist: Natalie Grono – The Newcastle Herald: The Colonel Prepares for Australia Day

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Photo Essay Photography

  • Winner: Jason South – The Age: Papua Birt
  • Finalist: Kate Geraghty – The Sydney Morning Herald: Displaced Future
  • Finalist: Tamara Voninski – Oculi: Coming of Age in Samoa
  • Commended: Renee Nowytarger – The Australian: Tears of Stolen Love

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Community/Regional Photography

  • Finalist: Marc McCormack – The Cairns Post: A Big Year in Cairns

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Senior Awards

Nikon Walkley Press Photographer of the Year – Proudly sponsored by Nikon

  • Renee Nowytarger – The Australian

Best Non-Fiction Book

  • Graham Freudenburg – Churchill and Australia Pan Macmillan

Journalism Leadership – Proudly sponsored by Qantas

  • Michael McKinnon – National Freedom of Information Editor, Seven Network

Most Outstanding Contribution to Journalism – Proudly sponsored by Sky News Australia

  • Tony Stephens – journalist and editor

Gold Walkley – Proudly sponsored by the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance

  • Gary Hughes – The Australian


  • Andrew Darby, online pictorial editor, The Daily Telegraph
  • John Donegan, photographer, 1826 Media
  • Wen Huang, senior editor, Xinhua News Agency, Beijing
  • Dan Peled, picture editor, Australian Associated Press
  • Moshe Rosenzveig, freelance photographer; Head On founder and curator

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