Alumni News Articles


25 August 2016

The Australian of the Year Awards began in 1960 and the program is run by the National Australia Day Council (NADC). 

The NADC is a not-for-profit based in Canberra who actively promotes Australia Day and acknowledges the achievements of Australians through the Australian of the Year Awards program.

The format and venue for the Awards national announcement has varied over time – a formal gathering of society at Melbourne’s Exhibition Buildings, a luncheon at Melbourne’s Town Hall, a garden tea at Admiralty House in Sydney; a formal luncheon in the Great Hall of Parliament House in Canberra; an evening presentation in Sydney’s Darling Harbour, a lunchtime event in Brisbane’s Town Hall; televised from the Princess Theatre in Melbourne and a large audience event in Sydney’s Hordern Pavilion.

In 2004, the Awards announcement event moved to Canberra and since that time has been staged on the lawns outside Parliament House. The NADC introduced a concert as part of its Awards event in the same year.

In 2017, the NADC will hold the Australian of the Year Awards national announcement in The Great Hall of Parliament House on the evening of 25 January. As a result of the move to The Great Hall, the concert element of the Awards event will not take place. 

NADC CEO Chris Kirby said the change of format and venue is part of the ongoing evolution of the Awards. 

“The Awards announcement is a significant national event with 1.2 million Australians tuning in to the Awards in 2016. We want all Australians to be part of the celebration, acknowledging the achievements of the Australians of the Year,” said Mr Kirby.

“At this year’s announcement a serious storm nearly brought the event to a standstill and potentially put the public at risk. Weather and safety therefore play a major part in our planning for the Awards event.

“We’re looking at how the public could continue to be part of celebrations and will advise details as our planning is finalised. 

“We encourage all Canberrans to take part in Australia Day activities in Canberra including the National Flag Raising and Citizenship Ceremony.”

Each year, Australia Day Councils around the nation deliver celebrations for the public to enjoy. The ACT Government presents the Australia Day celebrations in Canberra on 26 January. In addition, the NADC manages and presents the National Flag Raising and Citizenship Ceremony which is a free public event held at Rond Terrace on Australia Day.  

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