Read these 67 Famous Australians Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Australian tips and hundreds of other topics.
Cathy Freeman (1973–)
Cathy Freeman was born in Mackay in Queensland in 1973. She is a very good runner and won a scholarship to boarding school where she was able to have professional coaching.
Freeman is the first Aboriginal sprinter to win a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games (1994). She also won a silver medal in the 1996 Olympic Games. She is very proud of her Aboriginal background and has carried the Australian and the Aboriginal flags around the track after winning a race. She has often appeared on television to encourage young people to live healthy lifestyles and to do their best.
She was made Young Australian of the Year in 1990 and Australian of the Year in 1998. She is the first person to receive both awards
Fred Hollows (1929–1993)
Fred Hollows was born in Dunedin, New Zealand. He became a doctor and began to specialise in the treatment of diseases of the eye. He had to travel to England to do this and won a prize as one of the top students.
After he returned to Australia, Hollows spent a lot of his time studying and treating an eye disease called 'trachoma', which causes blindness if it is not treated quickly. Many Aboriginal people suffer from this disease.
Fred Hollows helped set up the Aboriginal Medical Service in Sydney and arranged for teams of people to travel all over the country to treat trachoma. This saved many people from becoming blind. He also helped to train doctors for work in Africa and set up a program to cure another common eye disease called 'cataracts'.
His work has been recognised in many ways. He was given a Human Rights Medal, an Australian Achiever Award, made Australian of the Year, given an Order of Australia Award and had a medical foundation named after him.
Lord Howard Florey (1898–1968)
Howard Florey was born in Adelaide, South Australia. He was a scientist who won a scholarship to study at Oxford University in England and later became a professor there.
Florey is famous because he developed the medicine penicillin in the 1940s. Before then, many people had died of infections, even from small injuries. With penicillin they could be cured. Many people are alive now because of Florey's medicine.
He was the first Australian to become the president of the Royal Society of Medicine and won a Nobel Prize for his work in 1945. This is only given to a few people in the world each year. In 1965, he was made Lord Florey by Queen Elizabeth II.
A suburb of Canberra is named after him and his face is on the $50 note.
Sir Donald Bradman
Australia's greatest sporting legend is known simply as The Don. Sir Donald Bradman was barely 20 years old when he was selected for Australia's cricket team in 1928. Over the next two decades, he averaged 99.94 runs every time he went to bat — 40 runs clear of any other player. Bradman was voted the greatest Australian of all time in a recent national poll. Playing fields and songs have been named in his honour. In every state, the postbox number for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Australia's national broadcaster, is 9994 — a reference to Bradman's phenomenal run record.
Dick Smith (1944– )
Dick Smith was born in Sydney in 1944. He was always interested in the bush and in radio and left school to work in an electronics firm. He started his own electronics business which became so successful that he was able to retire in 1982 and do other things. In 1986 he started the Australian Geographic magazine. He enjoys exploring remote places, flying, and helping people.
Smith supports many charities. He is particularly interested in Life Education Centres and has tried to stop the advertising of alcohol and cigarettes to young people. He encourages people to take care of the environment and enjoy the Australian bush.
He was made Australian of the Year in 1986.
Andrew Barton (Banjo) Paterson (1864–1941)
Banjo Paterson was born in Narambla in New South Wales. He was a farmer and a lawyer who became famous for his poetry. He later worked in the city as a newspaper/magazine editor, but disliked city life. War He joined up as a soldier in WW1 and became an ambulance driver. Paterson wrote many well-known Australian poems, including 'The Man from Snowy River', 'Clancy of the Overflow' and 'The Man from Ironbark'. It may also be that he wrote the words to 'Waltzing Matilda'. His work has also been recorded, broadcast on the radio and made into films and a television series. His picture is on the $10 note and on stamps
Mary Seah (1905– )
Mary Seah was known as the 'Angel of Changi'. Changi was a very bad prison camp in Singapore where many Australians were kept during the Second World War. They were given little food or medicine and Seah risked her life to help the prisoners-of-war for several years. She would go to the camp with her son, dressed up as a street seller, and offer items for sale to the Japanese guards. When they were busy looking at her goods, she would sneak food and medicine to the Australians. If she had been caught, she would have been killed. When the guards became suspicious, she was beaten up, but she told the guards nothing and kept on helping the Australians. Many of the men would have died without her brave work.
Mary Seah is highly respected by the returned soldiers and has been guest of honour at some of their celebrations. She was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 1996.
Elizabeth II (1926– )
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is the monarch of Great Britain, Northern Ireland, Canada and Australia. Elizabeth became queen in 1952 after her father, King George VI, died.
As queen of both England and Australia Exlizabeth II is our Head of State. In Australia, the Queen is represented by the governor-general. Today, the Queen is often seen at parades, at the opening of Parliament and meeting the leaders of other countries.
The Queen's life is honoured on our banknotes and stamps, by a public holiday for her birthday and by the naming of many public places after her. Statues and pictures of her are found in many government buildings.
Henry Lawson (1867–1922)
Henry Lawson is one of Australia's best known writers. He was the son of Louisa Lawson, who is famous for working for women's rights. Henry often wrote about the hard lives of poor country people in Australia. His own life was a hard one, starting with his birth in a bark hut with a dirt floor. The family had very little money and Lawson's father was often away. Lawson's stories were very popular and taught city people a lot about life in the country. Some people could not understand why he wrote about such ordinary Australians but most people enjoyed the mixture of humour and sadness in his stories.
His life is honoured in street and park names in many places, including Sydney. The town of Lawson in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales is named after him. His picture has also appeared on stamps.
Vida Goldstein (1869–1949)
Vida Goldstein was born in Portland, Victoria. She believed that men and women should have equal rights. She worked for the right of women to vote, called 'suffrage', and her parents encouraged her to be strong and free.
She started a magazine for women and spoke at a women's rights meeting in America. In 1902 women were given the right to vote in federal elections in Australia.
In 1903 Goldstein was the first woman in the British Empire to try to become a member of a national parliament. She stood for election to the Australian Commonwealth Parliament but did not win. She did not give up but worked towards women's suffrage in Victorian state elections. Women in Victoria got the vote in 1908.
During the First World War, Goldstein formed a group of people who worked for peace.
A special tree was planted in the grounds of the Victorian Parliament to honour her achievements and an electorate (voting area) in Melbourne is named after her.
Shirley Smith ('Mum Shirl') (1921–1998)
Shirley Smith was an Aborigine who was born in Cowra, New South Wales. She was not able to go to an ordinary school because she suffered from epilepsy and was taught at home by her grandfather.
Shirley began to visit Aboriginal people in prison when one of her brothers was there and found other people also enjoyed having someone to talk to. She also went to court sometimes to help people who had been charged with a crime. People began to call her 'Mum Shirl'. Some of her time was spent finding homes for children whose parents could not look after them or helping children to find their own parents again.
With some other people, she set up the Aboriginal Medical Service and the Aboriginal Legal Service to give proper service to Aboriginal people who needed it. Shirley could not read or write, but could speak 16 different Aboriginal languages.
Her work was commemorated with an Order of Australia and an Order of the British Empire.
Alfred Deakin (1856–1919)
Alfred Deakin was born in Melbourne, Victoria. He was Australia's second prime minister. He believed that governments should try new ideas and improve the lives of Australians.
Deakin worked as a lawyer and a writer. He was elected to the Victorian Parliament in 1879 and 1880. He introduced laws that improved conditions for workers in shops and factories.
Deakin believed that the Australian colonies should join together (federate) and become one nation. He was a powerful speaker and gave many speeches in favour of Australia becoming one nation. He was elected to the first Commonwealth Parliament and became the first attorney-general (the minister in charge of laws and courts) in 1901. He became prime minister in 1903 when Edmund Barton resigned.
While Deakin was prime minister, old age pensions were started and Canberra was selected as the national capital. He was prime minister three times, his final term ending in 1910.
A suburb of Canberra, an electorate (voting area) in Victoria and a stamp honour his work.
Mandaway Yunupingu (1956– )
Mandaway Yunupingu was born in the Northern Territory in 1956. He was the first Aboriginal to become a principal of a school in Australia, at Yirrkala in the Northern Territory. While he was principal, he made sure that lessons with both Aboriginal and European ideas were included.
In 1986 he began the band, Yothu Yindi. The band sang songs explaining the problems of Aboriginal life. Yunupingu hopes that the music will improve life for Aboriginal people by improving the way other Australians see them. He has worked hard to have Aboriginal people and other Australians work together and to be more friendly towards each other.
In 1992, he was made Australian of the Year for his work in improving understanding between Australians.
Sir Douglas Mawson (1882–1958)
Douglas Mawson was born in Bradford, England. He grew up in Australia and went on to study geology (the science of rocks and how the earth was formed) at the University of Sydney.
He is most famous for his trips of exploration to Antarctica between 1911 and 1914. It was hard to raise the money for these journeys, but Mawson thought it was important to find out all about Antarctica and for Australians to be involved with it. He was nearly killed on one of these trips, when one of the men with him fell down a crevasse. The sled carrying most of the food fell with him. Mawson and another man called Mertz had to walk more than 500 kilometres back to base, eating their huskies (dogs who pulled the sleds) to survive. Mertz died on the way and Mawson walked on alone. It took weeks, but he finally reached the base and was saved.
He later became a professor at the Adelaide University. He was made Sir Douglas by the King in 1914.
His face appears on the $100 note and his picture has appeared on stamps. The first permanent Antarctic station was named after him.
John Flynn (1880–1951)
Reverend John Flynn was a minister of the church who worked as a missionary in outback South Australia and was in charge of the Australian Inland Mission. The Mission's aim was to bring church services and medical care to the people of outback Australia, many of whom lived far from towns.
In the late 1920s, Flynn organised planes to bring doctors to sick people and the Royal Flying Doctor Service was born. People in faraway places needed two-way radio to call the flying doctors. Flynn suggested that they use a new invention called the pedal radio, which did not need batteries. This new radio service lead to the beginning of the 'School of the Air'. John Flynn became known as 'Flynn of the Inland'.
His work has been honoured on stamps. One of the Flying Doctor Service planes and an electorate (voting area) in the Northern Territory are named after him. There is also a monument to him in Alice Springs
Gary (Angry) Anderson (1947– )
Gary (Angry) Anderson was born in Melbourne, Victoria. He did not do very well at school and was sometimes teased for being short. As he grew up he liked to be different and to shock people with strange clothes and hairstyles. He worked in a factory, but then became famous as a rock singer with a band called Rose Tattoo.
In 1985, he was a television reporter informing people about the problems of kids who were unemployed, homeless or ill. He later worked on another program which raised money for poor or sick children, and farmers suffering from drought. He continues to work for dozens of groups that help people in need in Australia and overseas.
He has been given an Order of Australia medal, several other awards and was made an Australia Day Ambassador.
Caroline Chisholm (1808–1877)
Caroline Chisholm was born in England. She arrived in Australia in 1838 and set up a home for other women who had come to live here. She worked to improve life on the ships bringing people to Australia to start a new life and started a loans plan to bring poor children and families to Australia. She arranged free trips so that the families of convicts who were transported to Australia could come to join them. She also believed poor people should be able to buy farms cheaply.
Caroline Chisholm's work has been remembered in several ways. Her face has appeared on stamps and on a bank note.
Edith Cowan (1861–1932)
Edith Cowan was born in Geraldton, Western Australia. She was the first woman member of an Australian parliament. She was also a social worker and fought for women's rights.
From an early age Cowan wanted to help people to improve their lives. She was a leader of many groups that helped women and children.
In 1921 she was elected to the Western Australian Parliament. As a Member of the Legislative Assembly she worked for migrants' welfare, infant health centres and women's rights. She introduced laws that allowed women to become lawyers. Cowan lost her seat in parliament in 1924, but kept helping people.
A university in Western Australia is named after her and her picture has appeared on stamps
Edmund Barton (1849–1920)
Edmund Barton was born in Glebe, New South Wales and became Australia's first prime minister. He was a very good student who was captain of his school and won many prizes at university. He worked as a lawyer in Sydney and in 1879 became a member of the New South Wales Parliament.
Barton believed that the Australian colonies should join together (federate) and become one nation and he made many speeches to convince other people to support the idea. In 1901, when the Australian states joined together (federated), Barton was asked to be the stand-in prime minister until elections could be held. He was then elected as prime minister. In 1903 he left the Commonwealth Parliament to become a High Court judge.
In Canberra, all of the older suburbs are named after prime ministers of Australia. One of the first suburbs was named 'Barton'. He has also been commemorated on stamps.
Tan Le (1978– )
Tan Le was born in Vietnam in 1978. Because of the war in her country, her family escaped to Australia when she was four years old. She was so clever and hard working at school that she went to university when she was only 16.
Since then, Le has worked very hard to help Vietnamese people in Melbourne, Victoria. She became the president of a group that works with immigrants and helps them find jobs. It also tries to help with other problems Vietnamese-Australians might have. Le has raised money for a number of poor people in Melbourne's West. She has also recorded tapes of Vietnamese newspapers for the Victorian Association of the Blind. She is now working to help people do business with Asian countries.
In 1998, she was named Young Australian of the Year and a television program has been made about her life.
Dame Mary Gilmore (1865–1962)
Mary Gilmore was born near Goulburn, New South Wales. She became a teacher and a writer and was editor of the women's pages of the Australian Worker newspaper for 23 years.
In 1886, Gilmore went to Paraguay in South America to join a group of Australians who planned to set up a new colony where everyone would be equal and would work together. This colony was not successful.
After some years, Gilmore came back to Australia with her husband. She spent the rest of her life writing, doing her editing work and fighting for people who needed help. These included Aboriginal people, children who were forced to work in factories and shearers who were being underpaid. She also fought hard for women's rights.
In 1937 she was made Dame Mary Gilmore by King George VI. A suburb of Canberra is named after her and her picture is on the $10 note and on stamps
Louisa Lawson (1848–1920)
Louisa Lawson was born near Mudgee in New South Wales. She was a clever and thoughtful girl who married at 18 and moved to a bark hut on the goldfields with her husband. Her life there was hard and lonely. Her husband was often away, leaving Louisa alone to bring up their small children on very little money. One of her children was the famous writer Henry Lawson. In 1883, she left her husband and moved to Sydney.
Louisa spent the rest of her life working to help other women. She ran groups to improve their health and the way they lived. She always encouraged them to help themselves. She published a magazine to give women information, called The Dawn, which lasted 17 years. Lawson only employed women on the magazine and many male publishers did not like this. She also fought all her life for women to be given the right to vote.
Her life is remembered on stamps.
Dampier, William , 1651?–1715, English explorer and buccaneer. He fought (1673) in the Dutch War, managed a plantation in Jamaica, then worked with logwood cutters in Honduras (1675–78). After taking part in a buccaneering expedition against Spanish America (1679–81), he sailed from Virginia in 1683 on a piratical voyage along the coast of Africa, across the Atlantic, and around Cape Horn to prey on Spanish cities on the west coast of South America. The party split up, and Dampier joined a group that crossed to the Philippines. Dampier was marooned (probably voluntarily) on the Nicobar Islands. After many hardships, he returned to England in 1691. He published an account of his experiences in A New Voyage round the World (1697), supplemented by Voyages and Descriptions (1699), which included Discourse of Trade-Winds, a masterly treatise on hydrography. Dampier was made a naval officer and commanded an expedition (1699–1701) to Australia, New Guinea, and New Britain (which he discovered to be an island and named). Other discoveries included Dampier Archipelago and Dampier Strait. His vessel, the Roebuck, finally foundered off Ascension island. Dampier commanded an unsuccessful privateering expedition (1703–7) in the course of which Alexander Selkirk was voluntarily marooned. Dampier's account was published in his Voyage to New Holland (Part I, 1703; Part II, 1709). Though an excellent hydrographer and navigator, he proved an incompetent commander, guilty of drunkenness and overbearing conduct. He was pilot to Woodes Rogers on a voyage around the world (1708–11).
See editions of Dampier's writings by J. Masefield (1906) and Sir Albert Gray (1927, repr. 1968); biographies by J. Shipman (1962) and C. Lloyd (1966).
Sir Douglas Nicholls (1906–1988)
Douglas Nicholls was born in Cumeroogunga, near the Murray River in New South Wales, and was Australia's first Aboriginal state governor. He was excellent at sport and played football for Fitzroy and Victoria. He was just as good at running and boxing. His great uncle, William Cooper, was an important Aboriginal leader.
Nicholls was a social worker and a minister of the Church of Christ who worked for the rights of Aboriginal people. He spent a lot of his life working for groups that helped Aboriginal people, including the National Aboriginal Sports Foundation and the Aborigines' League of Advancement in Victoria. He was awarded two medals by Queen Elizabeth II and was made Sir Douglas Nicholls in 1972 because of his work for Aboriginal Australians. He was made Governor of South Australia in 1976. He had only held office for a few months when he became too sick to work. He died in 1988 after suffering a stroke.
A suburb in Canberra and a sports field in Melbourne are named after him.
Sir Ian Clunies-Ross (1899–1959)
Ian Clunies-Ross was born in Bathurst, New South Wales. He was a scientist who worked with animals.
He was a Professor of Veterinary Science at Sydney University and was the first chairman of the CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation). This organisation was set up by the Commonwealth government. It has several sections that carry out experiments to help farmers find better ways to grow things and look after the environment. Clunies-Ross worked to improve the sheep and wool industry, conducting experiments to grow better wool and to help farmers protect the sheep from disease.
Clunies-Ross has had an animal research laboratory near Sydney named after him and his face appears on the $50 note. He was also knighted (made a 'Sir') by Queen Elizabeth II.
Sir Charles Kingsford Smith (1897–1935)
Charles Kingsford Smith was born in Hamilton in Brisbane. When he was only 18, he joined up as a soldier in the First World War and later became a pilot. He was a very brave man who won the Military Cross.
He had lots of adventures in his life. He made record breaking flights, around Australia, across the Pacific, to England and around the world. These flights were very dangerous because planes in those days kept breaking down and he was often in danger of being killed.
Kingsford Smith set up the first Australian airline. In 1935, he was trying to raise money when he disappeared while flying over the Bay of Bengal near India. He was never seen again.
He is remembered in many ways. He was made Sir Charles by King George VI. The airport in Sydney and a street in Brisbane are named after him. A building at Brisbane Airport holds one of his planes, the Southern Cross. His face appears on the $20 note and his picture also appears on stamps.
Michael Waldock (birth date not known)
Michael Waldock was born in Bermagui in New South Wales. When he was only a teenager, he lost his sight and became blind.
He was given a CB radio for his sixteenth birthday and began working for the Australian Volunteer Coastguard. This is a group of people who work for free in their spare time to help people who are in trouble on the sea. Michael has worked for up to seven days a week, listening to radio signals from boats and ships in danger. He has helped to arrange the rescue of more than 130 boats.
In 1983, Michael was made Young Australian of the Year.
Lowjita (Lois) O'Donoghue (1932– )
Lowjita O'Donoghue is an Aboriginal woman who was born in South Australia in 1932. She was taken away from her family and grew up in a children's home. She was trained to do housework, but later spent a long time fighting to be allowed to train as a nurse.
In 1967, she joined the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and became the director of the South Australian region in 1975. Since then she has held several jobs working for the good of Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander people. She has helped to write laws and been the head of ATSIC (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission).
O'Donoghue was named Australian of the Year in 1984 for her work to improve the way Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians live and work togther. She has been given awards by Queen Elizabeth II and the Australian Government.
Hawke, Bob (Robert James Lee Hawke), 1929–, Australian statesman. A Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, he gained a reputation as a skillful labor mediator during his tenure at the Australian Council of Trade Unions, of which he eventually became president. He served as national president of the Labor party (1973–78) before being elected to Parliament in 1980. He became party leader in 1983 and following his party's electoral victory later that year won the first of three successive terms as prime minister. He sought to decrease Australia's dependence on the export of raw materials and make the nation more competitive internationally in manufactured goods. In Dec., 1991, Hawke lost a party leadership fight and a new Labor government was formed with Paul Keating as prime minister.
Sister Scholastica (Josephine) Carillo (1917– )
Sister Scholastica is a Benedictine nun who works in Western Australia on an Aboriginal mission station called Kalumburu. It is one of the most remote places in Australia. It is hard to reach and living there is often very difficult.
Sister Scholastica was born in Spain in 1917 and came to Australia in 1949. She has spent most of her adult life helping Aboriginal people in many ways. She has helped with their education, job training and health, and been a friend when they needed someone to talk to. She has also taught Aboriginal people about the Christian religion. Sister Scholastica uses a motorbike to visit people in the most remote places. When the Benedictines decided to leave Kalumburu, she stayed on to help the people she had lived with for so long.
She was given a medal of the Order of Australia in 1994.
Stanislawa Dabrowski (1926– )
Stanislawa Dabrowski (say Stan-is-la-va Da-brov-ski) was born in Poland. She has spent the last 13 years helping poor and homeless people in Canberra. During the week, she uses her own money to make lots of soup and collects leftover bread and cakes from local bakeries. Every Friday night, she takes all the food into the centre of Canberra and gives it out to people who have no money or no homes to go to. About 500 people usually turn up each Friday night for her food. In her spare time, she visits people in jail who have no one else to visit them.
In 1996, the government of the Australian Capital Territory named her Citizen of the Year and gave her $9,000 to help with the cost of the cooking. She was given a medal of the Order of Australia in 1998.
Lachlan Macquarie (1762–1824)
Lachlan Macquarie was the governor of the colony of New South Wales from 1810 to 1821. He had many buildings, roads and bridges constructed and began the first proper town planning in New South Wales. He also treated ex-convicts like everyone else. Many free settlers did not like this. They complained to the government in Britain about Macquarie. He, in turn, complained about them. Although he worked hard and was good at his job, he did not like criticism.
After Macquarie had been the governor for more than 10 years, the British Government appointed a judge called Bigge to report on the way the colony was run. Bigge reported that Macquarie had made mistakes in the way he ran things. Macquarie was disappointed by this and later returned to England.
There are many places in New South Wales named after Macquarie, including a river, streets and a lake. His picture has also appeared on stamps.
John Tebbutt (1834–1916)
John Tebbutt was born in Windsor in New South Wales. He grew up on his father's property where he enjoyed astronomy (studying the stars and other objects in the sky). He began recording their positions and movements when he was 19 and built an observatory to study them. Because he passed on his knowledge to others, he helped to build up information about astronomy.
He became a famous Australian astronomer and was later the president of the Astronomical Society in Sydney. In 1861, Tebbutt discovered a comet which was named after him. Twenty years later he found another comet. He wrote more than 350 articles about astronomy in scientific magazines.
His face appears on the $100 note and an observatory near Sydney is named after him.
Eve Mahlab (1937– )
Eve Mahlab was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1937. She trained as a lawyer and later, after working as a lawyer, became a very good businesswoman.
In the 1970s, she worked hard for women's rights and also set up a group to teach young people about working in a business. Since then, she has been a leader in government and community groups which have helped many other women have success in business as well.
Her work has been recognised in several ways. She was made Businesswoman of the Year in 1982. A book has been written and several television programs have been made about her. In 1998 she was awarded an Order of Australia for her work in government, business and the community. She was also made a Doctor of Law at Monash University in Melbourne.
Lawrence Hargrave (1850–1915)
Lawrence Hargrave was born in Greenwich, England, and came to Australia in 1883. He had a comfortable life and made enough money to be able to spend his time doing experiments and inventing things.
In 1894, he became the first man in Australia to fly — at Stanwell Park in New South Wales. He made four box kites and joined a seat to them. With the help of the wind, he was able to float 5 metres above the ground on the end of a length of wire. He also invented a type of aeroplane engine and an aeroplane with flapping wings. He did not want to make money from any of his ideas and was happy to share them with everyone. He died of blood-poisoning in 1915.
Hargrave's face is on the $20 note, there are places named after him and a memorial to him has been built at Stanwell Park.
Truganini (about 1803–1876)
Truganini was an Aboriginal woman who was born on Bruni Island in Tasmania. She worked with her husband, Woorrady, to help the Protector of Aborigines, George Robinson, move Aboriginal people from the mainland to settle on Flinders Island. She is said to have saved Robinson's life by helping him escape an attack by floating him across a river on a log.
She travelled to Port Phillip (now known as Melbourne, Victoria) with Robinson and his wife but returned to Flinders Island to move with her people to Oyster Cove on the mainland. This settlement was not successful and most of the people died.
Truganini became known as the last Tasmanian Aborigine but this is not true. At the end of her life Truganini lived in Hobart and was very well known. She died in 1876.
Sir Henry Parkes (1816–1896)
Henry Parkes was a politician and was premier of New South Wales five times. Born in England, Parkes had little schooling. He arrived in Australia in 1839, went into business and started a newspaper. He was interested in politics and wanted changes in the way New South Wales was governed. He was elected to the New South Wales Parliament in 1854 and helped introduce laws which improved hospitals and prisons and the lives of small farmers. Parkes began the first of his five terms as premier in 1872.
From the 1860s on, Parkes talked to people about the states joining together (federating). He was president of a convention (meeting) in 1891 to plan a constitution (set of rules) for a federated Australia. While this plan was not chosen, it was used later as a model for the final version. Parkes has been called 'The father of Australian federation'.
The town of Parkes in New South Wales is named after him and his picture appears on stamps.
Stepan Kerkyasharian (1943– )
Stepan Kerkyasharian (say Kir-kia-share-ian) was born on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus in 1943 of Armenian parentage. He has spent most of his adult life working for the benefit of people who have come to live in Australia from overseas. He was the head of SBS radio from 1980 to 1989. He then became the head of a New South Wales statutory body called the Ethnic Affairs Commission. This agency works to help people from overseas settle into their new lives and be treated fairly, and provides access and opportunities for their participation in the life of the State of New South Wales.
Stepan Kerkyasharian was made a member of the Order of Australia in 1992 and a Fellow of the University of Technology Sydney in 1995.
Gordon, Adam Lindsay, 1833–70, Australian poet, b. the Azores. In 1853 he went to South Australia, where he joined the mounted police and later became famous as a steeplechase rider and horse owner. His works include Sea Spray and Smoke Drift (1867), Ashtaroth (1867), and the vigorous Bush Ballads and Galloping Rhymes (1870). Depressed by debts, he committed suicide at 36. His collected poems were published in 1912.
Sir Isaac Isaacs (1885–1948)
Isaac Isaacs was born in Melbourne, Victoria. He was the first Australian-born governor-general. He was an excellent lawyer, a judge, a Member of Parliament in Victoria and a very clever speaker.
Isaacs worked towards the joining together (federation) of the Australian states and was elected to the Commonwealth Parliament. He wrote laws for the state and Commonwealth governments and he was made a judge of the High Court in 1906. In 1930, he became the chief judge of the High Court and in 1931, governor-general. Many people did not like the appointment of an Australian as governor-general. They said it was against tradition. The King did not want an Australian either, but eventually agreed to it. Isaacs was governor-general until 1936. He was knighted (made a 'Sir') by the king.
A painting of Sir Isaac Isaacs hangs in Parliament House, Canberra. A suburb of Canberra is named after him and his face is on a stamp.
Dame Enid Lyons (1897–1981)
Enid Lyons was born in Tasmania and trained as a teacher in Hobart. Her mother introduced her to an important Tasmanian politician, Joseph Lyons, who later became the Premier of Tasmania. They were soon married.
Lyons was interested in her husband's work and stood for election to the Tasmanian Parliament in 1925. She nearly won. She was a good public speaker and helped to get people to vote for her husband. He became prime minister in 1931. After her husband's death, Lyons decided to stand for parliament again. In 1943 she became the first woman elected to the Commonwealth Parliament. She later became the first woman in federal Cabinet.
Lyons worked hard in Parliament for women and children. She believed that men and women should be completely equal. In those days women often stayed at home. If they did go out to work, they earned less. Lyons brought in welfare payments for mothers and equal training allowances for women and men.
She was made Dame Enid by the King in 1943 and Dame Enid of Australia in 1980. Her picture has also appeared on stamps.
Deakin, Alfred [dE'kin]
Deakin, Alfred , 1856–1919, Australian political leader. He held office in various ministries and aided in the fight for federation of the Australian states. He accomplished a great deal in social legislation, irrigation, defense, and preferential tariffs. At first attorney general of Australia (1901), he later was prime minister in three different fusion governments (1903–4, 1905–8, 1909–10).
Sir Garfield Barwick (1903–1997)
Garfield Barwick was born in Sydney. His family was not rich or important, but he was a very good student and won many book prizes for his work. He later became a lawyer and a member of the Commonwealth Parliament. While in parliament he was made Attorney-General (the chief lawyer for the government). After leaving parliament he was apponted the chief judge of the High Court.
Barwick helped to write and decide on many important laws in Australia. He was very well known for his work in Australian politics.
In 1953, he was made Sir Garfield by Queen Elizabeth II. He was also given an Order of Australia medal.
Keneally, Thomas , 1935–, Australian novelist, b. Sydney. For a time a student of religion, and later of law, Keneally has ranged over a wide spectrum in his many novels, including the American Civil War, Nazi Germany, and rugby. Keneally insists that he must try to re-create the experience of his subjects; thus the authentic flavor of works such as Schindler's Ark (1982, published in the United States as Schindler's List), the novelistic treatment of a businessman who saved the lives of many Jews during the Holocaust, probably his best-known work. His other novels include A Family Madness (1985), To Asmara (1989), Flying Hero Class (1991), Woman of the Inner Sea (1993), and A River Town (1995). The Great Shame (1999), a nonfiction work, explores the fates of 19th-century Irishmen forced to emigrate to Australia.
Brown, Robert, 1773–1858, Scottish botanist and botanical explorer. In 1801 he went as a naturalist on one of Matthew Flinders's expeditions to Australia, returning (1805) to England with valuable collections. In his Prodromus florae Novae Hollandiae et Insulae Van Diemen (1810) he described Australian flora. A leading botanist of his day, he served as librarian to the Linnaean Society and to Sir Joseph Banks and later as curator at the British Museum. He observed Brownian movement in 1827, discovered the cell nucleus in 1831, and was the first to recognize gymnosperm as a distinct angiosperm. His studies of several plant families and of pollen were also notable.
John Curtin, 1885–1945, Australian political leader. A labor union secretary, he edited (1917–28) a labor weekly and was later a member of the lower house—from 1928 to 1941, except for three years. He became Labour party leader. As wartime prime minister (1941–45), he vigorously organized the defense of Australia in World War II, working closely with the United States; he also helped plan closer cooperation within the Commonwealth of Nations. He died in office.
Wentworth, William Charles, 1793?–1872, Australian statesman. His exploration (1813) of the Blue Mts. in Australia revealed vast pasturelands in the western part of the continent. In 1816 he went to Great Britain to study law; while there he published (1819) a description of Australia. He returned (1824) to Australia, where he set up a lucrative law practice, championed the cause of the “emancipists” (liberated convicts), and founded (1824) a newspaper, the Australian, to promulgate his views on Australian self-government. Wentworth took a prominent part in the legislative council of New South Wales, formed in 1842, and was the leading figure in the fight for the constitution of 1855. In 1849 he put through the bill for the founding of the Univ. of Sydney. After 1857 he resided mainly in England. He wrote Australasia (1823), a poem about his native country.
Gladys Moncrieff (1892–1976)
Gladys Moncrieff was born in Queensland. As a child, she toured the state giving concerts and was advertised as 'Little Gladys ? the Australian Wonder Child'. She became more and more well known as a singer and was very popular. In 1921 she had a big success playing Theresa in a musical called Maid of the Mountain at the Theatre Royal in Melbourne. She sang the part nearly 3000 times. She also sang in England and New Zealand. People in Australia were pleased to have a singer from their own country as a star. Moncrieff became known as 'Australia's Queen of Song' and then 'Our Glad'.
Moncrieff made records and films and appeared on television shows. Her life has been remembered on stamps.
Wright, Judith, 1915–, Australian poet. After graduating from the Univ. of Sydney, she worked variously as a clerk, secretary, and statistician. She is regarded as one of the most important Australian writers of the 20th cent. Her lyric poetry is marked by sensitivity of interpretation and absolute mastery of technique. Among her volumes of poetry are The Moving Image (1946), The Gateway (1953), City Sunrise (1964), and Collected Poems, 1942–1970 (1971). She has also published books for children; biographies of the Australian writers Charles Harpur and Charles Lawson; and the critical work, Preoccupations in Australian Poetry (1965).
Archbishop Peter Hollingworth (1935– )
Archbishop Peter Hollingworth was born in 1935. He became a priest and tried to encourage the church to do more to improve people's lives. He trained as a social worker as well and took a job with the Brotherhood of St Lawrence. This is a group that helps people who are in trouble or in need.
Hollingworth believes that poor people should have more control over their own lives and that people should respect different ideas and ways of life from their own. He has also worked to help Aboriginal people and young people who have no jobs. His ideas have caused some arguments with other people in the church, but he was made an archbishop in 1990.
In 1991 he was made Australian of the Year.
Born and raised in Queensland, Australia, Anne Geddes has always been interested in the strength that a photographic image could hold. One of the world's most respected and successful professional photographers, Anne first captured the imagination and hearts of people ten years ago. Released initially in New Zealand and Australia, today, her distinctive, award-winning images of babies have become classic icons celebrating life and birth. They grace greeting cards, calendars, books, stationery, photo albums, and an array of other fine products.
Robert O'Hara Burke, 1820–61, Irish explorer of Australia. After service in the Belgian and Austrian armies he went (1853) as inspector of police to Melbourne. In 1860, with W. J. Wills and eight other whites, he left Menindee, on the Darling River, to cross the continent. Dissensions broke up the party, but the leaders reached the estuary of the Flinders River, in the Gulf of Carpentaria. On the return journey both Burke and Wills died from famine and exposure. Although the geographical achievements of the expedition itself were few, rescue parties seeking it added much to the knowledge of central Australia.
See C. G. D. Roberts, Discoveries and Explorations in the Century (1906); M. Colwell, The Journey of Burke and Wills (1971).
Shute, Nevil (Nevil Shute Norway), 1899–1960, English novelist, b. Ealing, Middlesex, grad. Oxford, 1922. After serving in World War I, he was manager of a construction company until 1938. He fought also in World War II and emigrated to Australia in 1950. Shute wrote 26 novels and was one the best-selling novelists of his era. His fast-paced novels usually illustrate moral themes. They include Ordeal (1939), The Pied Piper (1944), On the Beach (1957), and Trustee from the Toolroom (1960).
Sir Tannatt William Edgeworth, 1858–1935, Australian geologist and explorer, b. near Cardiff, Wales. David came to Australia in 1882 as an assistant geological surveyor. In 1891 he was appointed professor of geology and physical geography at the Univ. of Sydney. He was part of the Shackleton expedition to Antarctica (1907–9), in the course of which Mt. Erebus was ascended, the south magnetic pole was located, and the polar plateau was crossed to a point less than 100 mi (160 km) from the South Pole. He was knighted in 1920. His works include Geographical Notes of the British Antarctic Expedition (1909) and The Geology of Australia (1932).
Charles La Trobe (1801–1875)
Charles La Trobe was born in England was put in charge of the settlement of Port Phillip (now Melbourne, Victoria) by the British Government in 1839. In 1851, when the settlement was made into a colony with its own government, La Trobe became the first lieutenant-governor. At that time, gold was discovered in Victoria and many people rushed off to the goldfields, hoping they would become rich. This made it hard to get normal work done in the towns, which created great problems for La Trobe. During his time as lieutenant-governor of Victoria, La Trobe set aside large areas around Melbourne for parks.
La Trobe University in Victoria and the La Trobe Library of the State Library of Victoria are named after him. His picture also appears on stamps.
Stead, Christina, 1902–83, Australian novelist, b. Rockdale, New South Wales. She worked in the United States in the 1940s, emigrated to England in 1953, then returned to Australia in 1974. Her novels, written in the distinctive language of the interior monologist, treat the problem of evil, particularly the destruction wrought by human obsessions. In addition to The Man Who Loved Children (1940), her masterpiece, her novels include Seven Poor Men of Sydney (1934), the autobiographical For Love Alone (1944), A Little Tea, A Little Chat (1948), The Little Hotel (1975) Miss Herbert (The Suburban Wife) (1976), and the posthumous I'm Dying Laughing (1987). Stead also wrote novellas, short stories, and essays.
See Christina Stead: A Biography (1994) by H. Rowley; studies by J. Lidoff (1982), D. Brydon (1987), and S. Sheridan (1988).
Keating, Paul, 1944–, Australian politician. A trade-union official and member of the Labor party, he was first elected to parliament in 1969. As federal treasurer (treasury minister) from 1983 to 1991 and deputy prime minister under Prime Minister Bob Hawke from 1990 to 1991, he advocated free-market economic policies designed to spur growth. In mid-1991 Keating challenged Hawke for party leadership; he lost and resigned his posts. A continuing recession eroded support for Hawke, however, and Keating replaced him at the end of 1991. In 1993 he led Labor to another electoral victory.
As prime minister, Keating moved to deregulate the financial markets and privatize government businesses, including the national airline. He emphasized Australia's ties with Asia and the importance of competing in a global economy. Keating also advocated Australia's withdrawal from even nominal British rule and its adoption of a purely republican mode of government. Although he initiated a number of successful free-market reforms, ongoing economic problems undid his administration. In the elections of 1996 Labor was defeated by a Liberal-National coalition led by John Howard. Keating stepped down as Labor party leader and then resigned his seat in parliament, ending a 27-year career in politics.
John Gould (1804–1881)
John Gould was born in England and visited Hobart in 1838 with his family. He was very interested in the study of birds and published a book called Birds of Australia. He published 13 other books about Australian birds and other animals after he returned to England in 1840. His wife, Elizabeth, was a very good artist and drew very beautiful and careful pictures of the Australian birds in the books for him.
The Gould League, a society for people who are interested in birds, was named after him. It raises funds and publish books and pictures about birds. They try to protect all the types of native birds in Australia. John Gould's work is also honoured by his picture on a stamp.
Howard, John Winston, 1939–, Australian political leader, prime minister (1996–). A graduate of Sydney Univ., a conservative lawyer, and a member of the Liberal party, he was elected to parliament in 1974 and served as minister for business and consumer affairs (1975–77) and treasurer (1977–83) in the government of Malcolm Fraser. As head of the party (1985–89; 1995–), he has been a major Liberal advocate of economic deregulation, smaller government, and other free-market reforms. He became prime minister in 1996, leading a Liberal-National party coalition and promising sweeping economic and labor reforms. He retained power with a reduced majority after the Oct., 1998, elections. He strongly supported retention of the British monarch as head of state in the 1999 referendum.
Steve Vizard (1956– )
Steve Vizard was born in Melbourne in 1956 where he studied arts and law at Melbourne University. He worked as a lawyer in Australia and overseas for ten years before moving into film and television.
He set up and led Artist Services, an award-winning production house which has made television programs such as `Fast Forward', `Full Frontal' and `Seachange'. He was the President of the Screen Producers Guild and a Director of Film Australia and the Australian Children's Television Foundation. He is the President of the Council of Trustees for the National Gallery of Victoria.
In 1991 he started the Vizard Foundation, which provides money and assistance for the arts, education and people in need. He has been a Director and Patron for the Multiple Sclerosis Society, World Vision, the Alannah and Madeline Foundation and the Addiction Research Foundation among others.
In 1998, Steve was an elected delegate from Victoria to the Constitutional Convention. He wrote a book about the convention called Two Weeks in Lilliput.
Steve Vizard was awarded an Order of Australia in 1997 as well as the Melvin Jones Fellowship for community work.
White, Patrick, 1912–90, Australian novelist, b. London. Raised in England, he returned to Australia after World War II, earning his living by farming and writing. His novels—often set in the Australian outback—usually portray the suffering of extraordinary people. His style relies heavily on description. His novels include The Happy Valley (1939), The Aunt's Story (1948), The Tree of Man (1955), Riders in the Chariot (1961), The Vivisector (1970), The Eye of the Storm (1974), The Twyborn Affair (1980), and Memoirs of Many in One by Xenophon Demirjian Gray (1986). The Cockatoos (1975) is a collection of short stories. In 1973, White was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
See his autobiography Flaws in the Glass (1981); biography by D. Marr (1992); studies by G. Laigle (1989), L. Steven (1989), and P. Wolfe (1990).
Robert Tudawali (1930–1967)
Robert Tudawali was born on Melville Island in the Northern Territory. He worked for both the air force and the army during the Second World War. After the War he became the world's first Aboriginal film star. He had one of the main roles in the film Jedda, which was first shown in Darwin in 1955. He then starred in the movie Dust in the Sun and in many television films in the 1960s. He found it very hard to return to the life of an ordinary person after having been a star. Later he became ill with a disease of the lungs. He died in an accident in Darwin in 1967.
A street is named after him and a film was made about his life in 1987.
Richardson, Henry Handel, pseud. of Ethel Richardson Robertson,1870–1946, Australian novelist, b. Melbourne. Her years of study at the Presbyterian Ladies' College, Melbourne, were reflected in her book The Getting of Wisdom (1910). After studying piano at Leipzig she turned to writing, living mainly in Germany until 1903 and then in England. Her first novel, Maurice Guest (1908), is the story of a music student's disastrous infatuation. The trilogy The Fortunes of Richard Mahony (1930), which presents an accurate and outstanding picture of Australian life, is considered her major work. Her writing, clear and austere in style, has been characterized as combining romantic insights with scientific attention to detail.
See her autobiographical fragment, Myself When Young (1948); study by D. Green (1973)
West, Morris, 1916–, Australian novelist, b. Melbourne. West's novels often reveal his interest in both Roman Catholicism and international politics, as reflected in his best-selling novel, The Shoes of the Fisherman (1963), which concerns a Soviet cardinal who is named pope during an international crisis. His other novels include The Devil's Advocate (1959), Harlequin (1974), The Clowns of God (1981), The World Is Made of Glass (1983), and Cassidy (1986).
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|