Australians of the Year Walk

The Australian of the Year Award was first presented on 26 January 1961. Since then, our nation has continued to honour the contribution of some of its most worthy citizens through an annual Awards program.

The Australians of the Year Walk along the Lake Burley Griffin foreshore, designed by the National Capital Authority, comprises a series of plinths, seats and lighting. Incorporated in the pathway are five metal strips set flush in the concrete, representing the five music stave lines. The plinths are placed in musical note position to the score of Advance Australia Fair. Fixed to each plinth is an anodised aluminium plaque containing the names and images of the Australians of the Year. There is one plaque for each year of the award. The plaques are arranged chronologically, starting at the western end of the path near Commonwealth Avenue Bridge.

The Awards have evolved over the years, from an ad hoc administrative arrangement in the first twenty years, to the National Australia Day Committee which was established in 1979. The National Australia Day Council was formed in 1984 - a Commonwealth-funded body with direct representation from each state and territory.

As the Awards have grown in popularity and prestige, so the program has expanded. There are now three categories complementing the original award: the Young Australian of the Year (introduced in 1979), Senior Australian (1999) and the Local Hero Awards (2003). The four annual awards enable the Council to promote both unsung and eminent Australians. The environment for achievement may be a remote country town, a cosmopolitan stage, hi-tech laboratory or urban skyscraper.

Awards recipients acknowledged along the Walk include:

Australian of the Year

  • 2016 David Morrison
  • 2015 Rosie Batty
  • 2014 Adam Goodes
  • 2013 Ita Buttrose AO OBE
  • 2012 Geoffrey Rush
  • 2011 Simon McKeon
  • 2010 Professor Patrick McGorry
  • 2009 Professor Michael Dodson AM
  • 2008 Lee Kernaghan OAM
  • 2007 Professor Tim Flannery
  • 2006 Professor Ian Frazer
  • 2005 Doctor Fiona Wood
  • 2004 Steve Waugh
  • 2003 Professor Fiona Stanley
  • 2002 Patrick Rafter
  • 2001 Lt General Peter Cosgrove
  • 2000 Sir Gustav Nossal
  • 1999 Mark Taylor
  • 1998 Cathy Freeman
  • 1997 Professor Peter Doherty
  • 1996 Doctor John Yu
  • 1995 Arthur Boyd
  • 1994 Ian Kiernan
  • 1993 No award given**
  • 1992 Mandawuy Yunupingu
  • 1991 Archbishop Peter Hollingworth
  • 1990 Professor Fred Hollows
  • 1989 Allan Border
  • 1988 Kay Cottee
  • 1987 John Farnham
  • 1986 Dick Smith
  • 1985 Paul Hogan
  • 1984 Lowitja O'Donoghue
  • 1983 Robert de Castella
  • 1982 Sir Edward Williams
  • 1981 Sir John Crawford
  • 1980 Manning Clark
  • 1979* Senator Neville Bonnor
  • Harry Butler
  • 1978* Galarrwuy Yunupingu
    Alan Bond
  • 1977* Raigh Roe
    Sir Murray Tyrall
  • 1976 Sir Edward 'Weary' Dunlop
  • 1975* Professor John Cornforth
    Major General Alan Stretton
  • 1974 Sir Bernard Heinze
  • 1973 Patrick White
  • 1972 Shane Gould
  • 1971 Evonne Goolagong
  • 1970 His Eminence Cardinal Sir Norman Gilroy
  • 1969 The Rt Hon Richard Gardiner Casey
  • 1968 Lionel Rose
  • 1967 The Seekers
  • 1966 Jack Brabham
  • 1965 Robert Helpmann
  • 1964 Dawn Fraser
  • 1963 Sir John Eccles
  • 1962 Alexander ‘Jock’ Sturrock
  • 1961 Joan Sutherland
  • 1960 Sir MacFarlane Burnet

Young Australian of the Year

  • 2015 Drisana Levitzke-Gray
  • 2014 Jacqueline Freney OAM
  • 2013 Akram Azimi
  • 2012 Marita Cheng
  • 2011 Jessica Watson
  • 2010 Trooper Mark Donaldson VC
  • 2009 Jonty Bush
  • 2008 Casey Stoner
  • 2007 Tanya Major
  • 2006 Trisha Broardbridge
  • 2005 Khoa Do
  • 2004 Hugh Evans
  • 2003 Lleyton Hewitt
  • 2002 Scott Hocknull
  • 2001 James Fitzpatrick
  • 2000 Ian Thorpe
  • 1999 Doctor Bryan Gaensler
  • 1998 Tan Le
  • 1997 Nova Peris-Kneebone
  • 1996 Rebecca Chambers
  • 1995 Poppy King
  • 1994 Anna Bown
  • 1993 No award given**
  • 1992 Kieren Perkins
  • 1991 Simon Fairweather
  • 1990 Cathy Freeman
  • 1989 Brenden Borellini
  • 1988 Duncan Armstrong
  • 1987 Marty Gauvin
  • 1986 Simone Young
  • 1985 Deahnne McIntyre
  • 1984 John Sieben
  • 1983 Michael Waldock
  • 1982 Mark Ella
  • 1981 Paul Radley
  • 1980 Peter Hill
  • 1979 Julie Sochacki

Senior Australian of the Year

  • 2015 Jackie French
  • 2014 Fred Chaney AO
  • 2013 Professor Ian Maddocks AM
  • 2012 Laurie Baymarrwangga
  • 2011 Professor Ron McCallum AO
  • 2010 Maggie Beer
  • 2009 Pat LaManna OAM
  • 2008 David Bussau AM
  • 2007 Phillip Herreen
  • 2006 Sally Goold OAM
  • 2005 Antonio Milhinhos
  • 2004 Tehree Gordon
  • 2003 Bruce Campbell
  • 2002 No award given**
  • 2001 Professor Graeme Clark
  • 2000 Professor Freda Briggs
  • 1999 Slim Dusty

Local hero

  • 2015 Juliette Wright
  • 2014 Tim Conolan
  • 2013 Shane Phillips
  • 2012 Lynne Sawyers
  • 2011 Donald Ritchie OAM
  • 2010 Ronni Kahn
  • 2009 Graeme Drew
  • 2008 Jonathan Welch
  • 2007 Shanaka Fernando
  • 2006 Toni Hoffman
  • 2005 Ben Kearney
  • 2004 Donna Carson
  • 2003 Brian Parry

* Between 1975 and 1979 the Canberra Australia Day Council also recognised an Australian of the Year

** The award dating system changed - no award made in this year.

  • Contact us
  • Freedom of Information
  • Disclaimer
  • Accessibility
  • Privacy
  • Copyright

Contact us

Your feedback is always welcome.

  • Would you like to make a comment on projects under consultation?
  • Do you require information not currently available on this site?
  • Were you able to find what you were looking for?
  • Anything else you would like to see?

Send us your comments so we can ensure the site meets your needs.

Send us your comments

Pay Parking

Report a Fault, Ask for a Refund or obtain more information on Parking Infringements.

Pay Parking Enquiries

Agency Plan to Information Publication Scheme

The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) extends the right of every person to access information in the possession of the Government of the Commonwealth.

Read More

Disclosure Log

The Disclosure Log lists information which has been released in response to a Freedom of Information (FOI) access request.

Read More

Freedom of Information Contact Officer

GPO Box 373, CANBERRA ACT 2601 or email to -


While we make every effort to ensure that the material on this site is accurate and up-to-date when we publish it, you should exercise your own independent skill and judgement before you rely on it. In any important matter, you should seek professional advice relevant to your own circumstances. The listing of a person or organisation in any part of this web site does not imply any form of endorsement by the Australian Government of the products or services provided by that person or organisation. Similarly, links to other web sites have been inserted for your convenience and do not constitute endorsement of material at those sites, or any associated organisation, product or service. Please note that some material on this site includes views or recommendations of third parties, which do not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Government, or indicate its commitment to particular course of action. The Australian Government cannot verify the accuracy of information that has been provided by third parties.

Standards Compliance

The NCA's website aims to conform to Double A compliance of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2 (WCAG 2.0), developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). As much of this website's content is dynamic or community generated, some content may not always be accessible to the Double A level.

Read More


This website is designed for use in modern web browsers and mobile devices and it is not guaranteed to function correctly in older web browsers.

Read More

Further Accessibility difficulties

The NCA's website is the work of many authors and a dynamic environment. There is always the possibility that accessibility difficulties may be encountered. If you experience any issues please email or call us 6271 2888.


The NCA collects personal information (including sensitive information) from you or your authorised representative when we are handling an application from you, enquiry or complaint from you or taking regulatory action under the Australian Capital Territory (Planning and Land Management) Act 1988.

Read More


© Commonwealth of Australia 2014This work is copyright. You may download, display, print and reproduce this material in unaltered form only (retaining this notice) for your personal, non-commercial use or use within your organisation. Apart from any use as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, all other rights are reserved. Requests and inquiries concerning reproduction and rights should be addressed to Commonwealth Copyright Administration, Attorney General's Department, Robert Garran Offices, National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600 or posted on the on the Attorney-General's department website.

Commonwealth Copyright Statement