Australian of the Year Awards History

Since its inception in 1960 the Australian of the Year Award has provided a focal point for Australia Day celebrations and a forum for the recognition of outstanding achievement. The official announcement has grown to become a major public event, with thousands of onlookers witnessing the televised ceremony in Canberra. The award offers an insight into Australian identity, reflecting the nation’s evolving relationship with Britain and the world, the role of sport in Australian culture, the impact of multiculturalism, and the special status of Australia’s Indigenous people.

An extensive history of the Australian of the Year Awards by Dr Samuel Furphy is available below, or as a downloadable PDF (5mb).