Startling Banksia Hill image wins The West Australian’s Ian Munro prestigious Walkley Award

Hannah CrossThe West Australian
Ian Munro’s award-winning photo from Banksia Hill Youth Detention Centre.
Camera IconIan Munro’s award-winning photo from Banksia Hill Youth Detention Centre. Credit: Ian Munro

Photographer for The West Australian Ian Munro has won the coveted Walkley Award for News Photography for his startling picture that encapsulated the ongoing juvenile detention crisis in WA.

It’s the highest honour a photographer can win in Australia.

The explosive photo of a special operations group officer pointing a gun at a young detainee’s head was captured from bushland during a shocking riot at the controversy-plagued Banksia Hill Juvenile Detention Centre in May.

It’s Munro’s second award for the image after he took home News Photograph of the Year at the WA Media Awards last month too.

When he won that award, judges said the “urgent, shocking image starkly illustrates the crisis facing juvenile detention” in WA.

Ian Munro has secured a prestigious Walkley Award.
Camera IconIan Munro has secured a prestigious Walkley Award. Credit: Rob Duncan

“Ian Munro has demonstrated tenacity and quick-thinking, closely monitoring the tense stand-off at Banksia Hill and walking through bushland to capture a sight — a cowering boy surrounded by riot police brandishing weapons — that the public were never meant to see.”

West Australian Newspapers editor-in-chief Anthony De Ceglie said Munro’s photo was the tipping point in the ongoing scandal of Banksia Hill.

“Like something from a war zone, the image struck a nerve right across the country and even internationally about the injustices at what is meant to be a centre to rehabilitate troubled kids,” he said.

“His picture become a rallying cry for change — printed out and used at protests and shared on social media. No government official could justify what they saw in the photograph and it wasn’t long afterwards that finally officials promised change.”

Freelance writer Tom de Souza’s powerful four-part series for The Sunday Times on his battle with drug addiction and stints in juvenile detention also earned him a Walkley nomination, in the Feature Writing Long category.

It comes after The West’s legal affairs editor Tim Clarke won WA Journalist of the Year for his investigation into the historical sexual abuse perpetrated by now-disgraced footballer Barry Cable in what judges labelled “scoop of the year”.

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