Stuart Appleby is well known for his extraordinary golfing achievements around the world but the country boy from Cohuna has now rightfully been acknowledged for his contribution to society off the golf course by being selected as Victoria s Australian of the Year . The world class, immensely respected golfer and humanitarian was typically modest about even being nominated and truly did not expect to win. In fact, as is always the case with the quality of people who are put forward for Australia s highest individual honour, Stuart was adamant that his team of supporters concentrate on helping others. However, behind the scenes there was a belief that his philanthropic ways and determination to help others less fortunate should be acknowledged. A member of the PGA Tour of Australasia since 1992, Stuart has achieved many things since being raised on the family farm near Cohuna and introduced to golf by his parents. His sporting talents were blatantly evident from a young age but so was his strength of character as he happily helped on the farm before gravitating towards the sport in season. His golfing accomplishments are well documented with his 8 victories on the most difficult golf stage in the world the US PGA Tour. However, it was the opportunity provided by a scholarship into the Victorian Institute of Sport that was the turning point for his golfing career. With it came the benefit of tutelage from the then VIS head coach and now coach to some of the world s best players, Steve Bann. This relationship has endured to this day and is a testament to Stuart s loyalty, one of his many outstanding personal qualities. As any sportsman will testify, winning your national championship is a very special accomplishment. For this proud Australian golfer who wears the boxing kangaroo logo on his shoes, his moment arrived in 2001 when he fulfilled a lifetime dream and won the Australian Open. The list of golf victories continues to grow but it is the work he does off the golf course that is now making Appleby even more recognisable. Since the untimely and very sad accident that stole his childhood sweetheart Renay away from him in 1998 and the public outpour of emotion that followed his every move, Stuart has determinedly rebuilt his life and career while still making time to help others in need. He continues to call Australia home with his wife Ashley and daughters Ella and Mia spending as much time as possible in their home in Melbourne. The list of community and charity organisations that he supports is as diverse as it is long but it is the junior golf foundation bearing his name that is his greatest passion. The Stuart Appleby Junior Golf Foundation manager Ashley Marshall describes Stuart as a genuine and committed person and an inspirational role model, who does our nation proud wherever he goes . There is no doubt that these words are true but it is the actions of this truly generous and patriotic Aussie that has earned him this well deserved honour as Victoria s Australian of the Year.