Alumni News Articles

Trophy design submissions sought for Australian of the Year Awards

26 May 2014

Trophy design submissions sought for Australian of the Year Awards

The National Australia Day Council is inviting Expressions of Interest to design and produce the trophies presented for the Australian of the Year Awards.

Each year, a total of 36 trophies are presented to Award recipients across all States and Territories, including the four national recipients - Australian of the Year, Senior Australian of the Year, Young Australian of the Year and Australia's Local Hero. 

National Australia Day Council CEO Jeremy Lasek says the trophies are an iconic part of the Australian of the Year Awards.

"As we launch the 2015 Awards program with nominations opening on 1 June, this is a landmark opportunity to be involved in the most prestigious awards in Australia," said Mr Lasek.

"The Australian of the Year Awards have been presented since 1960 and have recognised some of the most respected and revered Australians - from Dame Joan Sutherland, Neville Bonner and Professor Fred Hollows to Cathy Freeman, Professor Patrick McGorry, Ita Buttrose and more recently Adam Goodes.

"The trophies presented to the Award recipients represent a range of Australian symbols and are a lasting memory of the recipients' achievements, so it's important the trophies reflect the values of the Awards and capture the essence of Australia.

"The Awards are democratic in that the public nominate their fellow Australians - people they admire and see as inspiring.  The Awards recognise quiet achievers, community members, household names and unknown heroes alike; and the Awards cross all social and demographic boundaries - it doesn't matter who you are or where you've come from. 

"The Awards honour the very best among us - those who make us proud to be Australian - and the trophies are an appropriate symbol of that pride and honour."

Expressions of interest are open until 31 July 2014, with the successful applicant expected to be announced in August to allow design and production planning to begin immediately for the 2015 Awards trophies.

To submit an Expression of Interest for the design and production of the Australian of the Year Awards and view full details, visit the website or contact the National Australia Day Council by phone 02 6120 0600 or email


History of the Australian of the Year Awards Trophies and Medallions

1960:     Sir Norman Martin announced a ‘world-wide competition’ to design the inaugural trophy in 1960.  Victor Greenhalgh, the head of the Arts School at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, won the design competition with a bronze medallion with a featuring a likeness of Governor Arthur Phillip, who was described on the medal as ‘The Outstanding Australian 1788.’ Greenhalgh’s bronze medallion was presented to winners of the Victorian-based Australian of the Year award for two decades.

1980:     When the NADC assumed responsibility for the awards in 1980, Australian of the Year Manning Clark received a framed certificate.

1986:     For the 1986 award to Dick Smith, the NADC commissioned artist Michael Tracey to produce a trophy, which incorporated a figure holding the Australian flag. The figure was made from steel and the lettering was pewter.

1988:     In the bicentenary year, Michael Tracey was asked to cast his trophy in bronze instead of steel.

1990s:    In the early 1990s the NADC commissioned glass sculptor Warren Langley to create a new trophy based on the updated Australia Day logo. NADC Chairman Phillip Adams had been criticised for removing the Australian flag from the logo and replacing it with a hand reaching for a star. After Adams resigned his position in 1996, the NADC asked Langley to produce an alternative trophy, which featured a map of Australia.

2004:     Melbourne-based artist Kristin McFarlane designed the current Australian of the Year trophy in 2004. Like Langley, McFarlane works with glass, but she is also trained as a graphic designer.  For the Australian of the Year Awards Kristin combined both text and images and set them in kilned glass.  The trophies feature Australian symbols and icons including the Southern Cross, a map of our coastline and the words of the national anthem. The names of the award recipient are embedded in the trophy itself, rather than etched in after completion, making these trophies truly one of a kind.




Subscribe to our Newsletter