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Famous Australians

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that the following may contain images and voices of deceased persons.

The following people achieved high levels of recognition and are in some way linked to Australia. Some were not born in Australia; some never lived here. Others were born here. Some lived here permanently.

All have contributed significantly to Australia’s development in some way, whether through discoveries, leadership, cultural achievement, sporting prowess, science, technology, innovation, … .

A separate listing is provided for Indigenous Australians. It includes people from all areas of achievement.

The final section includes biographical information resources related to all Australian achievers.

Each listing is given in alphabetical order, using the following format - Surname, Title [if applicable], First Name[s]. A brief indication of area[s] and achievement[s] is provided.

This link gives access to similar information about Famous World Figures.

Famous Australians
Name Fame
Banks, Sir Joseph Naturalist, explorer
Barton, Sir Edmund First Prime Minister of Australia
Bates, Daisy May Memoirist, Indigenous culture recorder, Indigenous rights activist
Bird Walton, Nancy Aviator
Blackburn, Elizabeth H. Nobel Laureate [Physiology or Medicine]
Blamey, Sir Thomas Albert Soldier, Policeman, Public Servant
Bradfield, John Job Crew Designer of Sydney Harbour Bridge, civil engineer, rail engineer
Bragg, Sir William Henry Nobel Laureate [X-ray Crystallography]
Bragg, Sir William Laurence Nobel Laureate [X-ray Crystallography]
Bradman, Sir Donald Cricketer
Bullwinkel, Sister Vivian Army nursing sister, prisoner of war
Burnet, Sir Frank Macfarlane Nobel Laureate [Medicine]
Bussau, David Pioneer of microfinancing, Senior Australian of the Year
Carey, Peter Novelist, dual Booker Award winner
Chang, Dr Victor Heart surgeon
Chifley, Joseph Benedict Prime Minister
Chisholm, Caroline Social work with women in early New South Wales
Clark, Graeme Cochlear implant developer
Clarke, Marcus Writer
Cook, Captain James Navigator, explorer
Coombs, Herbert Cole [Nugget] Economist, Reserve Bank Governor, the Arts, Aboriginal advocate
Cornforth, John Warcup Nobel Laureate [Chemistry]
Cowan, Edith Magistrate, First Female Australian Parliamentarian, Welfare worker
Curtin, John WW II Prime Minister
Cuthbert, Betty Olympic Athlete
Dart, Raymond Arthur Archaeologist [Australopithecus africanus], academic
New ! Dennis, C. J. [Clarence James] Author, Poet
Dixon, Sir Owen Jurist, Diplomat
Doherty, Peter Charles Nobel Laureate [Medicine]
Dorrington, Annie Australian flag designer [shared]
Dunlop, Sir Edward ‘Weary’ Surgeon, POW [WW II]
Eccles, John Carew Nobel Laureate [Medicine]

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Famous Australians
Name Fame
Evatt, Dr Herbert Vere Politician, First President of the United Nations
Everage, Dame Edna Show business personality [See entry for Barry Humphries below]
Farrer, William Agriculture [wheat development]
Flinders, Matthew Circumnavigated and named Australia.
Florey, Lord Howard Nobel Laureate, Science/Medicine, [penicillin]
Flynn, The Rev. Doctor John Founded The Flying Doctor Service
Fraser, Dawn Olympic swimmer
Frazer, Ian Immunologist, Florey Medal winner, Australian of the Year
Fysh, Sir Wilmot Hudson Pilot, co-founder of QANTAS, soldier
Gordon, Adam Lindsay Poet, MP
Grainger, George Percy Musician & Composer
Greer, Germaine Feminist
Hargrave, Lawrence Flight, box kites
Helpmann, Sir Robert Ballet dancer and director
Higgins, Henry Bournes Barrister, High Court Judge [Harvester Decision], politician, university administrator
Hinkler, Bert Aviator; first to fly solo England/Australia
Hollows, Fred Humanitarian, eye surgeon in the Third World as well as Australia
Hughes, William Morris WW I Prime Minister
Humphries, Barry [Dame Edna Everage] Comedian and satirist
Hurley, Frank Photographer [Antarctic/WW I]
Katz, Sir Bernard Nobel Laureate [Medicine]
Kelly, Edward [Ned] Bushranger
Kenny, Elizabeth Nurse [polio]
Kidman, Sir Sidney Grazier, squatter, benefactor
Kingsford-Smith, Sir Charles Aviator; first to fly US/Australia
Kirkby, Sydney L Australian surveyor, Antarctic explorer
Lalor, Peter Rebel [Eureka Stockade], politician
Updated ! Lawson, Henry Writer and poet [New ! Student Activities]
New ! Leichhardt, Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig Explorer, Naturalist
Lindrum, Walter ‘Often considered to be the greatest player ever seen in the sport of billiards’
Lindsay, Norman Alfred William Artist & writer
Lyons, Dame Enid First female Federal politician
Macarthur, Elizabeth Mother of the Australian sheep industry

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Famous Australians
Name Fame
Macarthur, John Early agriculturalist
McKay, Hugh Victor Inventor, farm machinery manufacturer
Macquarie, Lachlan New South Wales Governor, early 1800s
Marshall, Barry Nobel Laureate [Medicine]
Mawson, Sir Douglas Antarctic explorer
Melba, Dame Nellie Opera singer, soprano
Menzies, Sir Robert Longest serving Prime Minister
Monash, Sir John Army officer, engineer, University Vice-Chancellor
Mort, Thomas Sutcliffe Refrigerated transport
Murdoch, Rupert Media owner
Nolan, Sidney Artist [Ned Kelly series]
O’Connor, Charles Yelverton Engineer, Public Servant, Railways Commissioner [WA]
Oliphant, Sir Mark Physicist
Parkes, Sir Henry Father of Federation
Paterson, Andrew Barton Writer and poet [Waltzing Matilda]
Phillip, Captain Arthur First Governor of New South Wales colony
Prokhorov, Aleksandr Mikhailovich Nobel Laureate [Physics]
Ruse, James Convict, farmer
Schmidt, Brian P. Nobel Laureate [Physics]
Singer, Peter Moral philosopher, ethicist
Strickland [de la Hunty], Shirley Olympic athlete, conservationist
Sturt, Charles Inland Explorer
Stuart, John McDouall Explorer; North/South crossing of Australia
Sutherland, Dame Joan Opera singer, soprano
Tao, Terrence Fields Medal [Mathematics]
Thomas, Andrew Astronaut
Thorpe, Ian Olympic swimmer
Trumper, Victor Cricketer
Tucker, Albert Artist
Wentworth, William Charles Explorer, politician
White, Patrick Nobel Laureate [Literature]
Wilkins, Sir Hubert Polar explorer, War Photographer, explorer

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Famous Indigenous Australians
Name Fame
Archer, Caroline Lillian Aboriginal activist
Bandler, Dr Faith Campaigner for Indigenous rights, writer
Blair, Harold Singer and Aboriginal activist
Bennelong Mediator
Bonner, Neville First Indigenous Senator
Burnum Burnum [Harry Penrith] Advocate, activist
Casey, Dr Dawn National Museum Director, administrator
Cooper, William Leader, advocate, activist
Dodson, Mick Advocate, activist, representative, Australian of the Year
Dodson, Patrick Activist, consultant, representative
Foley, Gary Activist, academic, actor
Freeman, Cathy Olympic athlete
Goodes, Adam AFL player, community leader, Australian of the Year
Gulpilil, David Actor, dancer
Kngwarreye, Emily Kame Aboriginal artist
Lingiari, Vincent Aboriginal leader, Land Rights campaigner
Mabo, Eddie Land Rights campaigner
McDermott, Lloyd First Indigenous Barrister, Rugby Union Wallaby
Miller, Olga Eunice, “Aunty Olga” Aboriginal writer, Community worker, Environmentalist, Illustrator, Storyteller
Mokare Indigenous guide
Monks, Rosie Kunoth Film star, nun, social worker
Morgan, Sally Writer
Namatjira, Albert Artist
Nicholls, Sir Doug First Indigenous State Governor, Footballer
Noonuccal, Oodgeroo [Kath Walker] Poet, artist, educator, activist
O’Donoghue, Dr Lowitja [Lois] Nurse, Public Servant, Chairperson of ATSIC
O’Shane, Pat Magistrate, University Chancellor
Page, Stephen Dancer, choreographer
Pearson, Noel Lawyer, activist
Pemulwuy Indigenous resistance fighter
Peris, Nova Athlete, Olympic athlete, Senator
Perkins, Charles Activist, sportsman
Ridgeway, Aden Senator, television presenter
Roach, Archie Singer and songwriter
Saunders, Captain Reginald First Indigenous commissioned army officer
Smith, Shirley Activist, helper [“Mum Shirl”]
Sykes, Roberta [Bobbi] Aboriginal Administrator and health worker, Journalist, Academic, Writer
Thomas, Harold Designer of the Aboriginal flag
Thornton, Warwick Film director, screenwriter, cinematographer
Truganini Tasmanian Aboriginal spokesperson and leader
Unaipon, David Inventor, preacher, author, spokesman
Wyatt, Ken Teacher, community leader, MP [First Indigenous Member of the House of Representatives]
Yagan Indigenous resistance fighter
Yindi, Yothu Musicians
Yunupingu, Mandawuy Musician, teacher, activist

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Other Sources

Australian Biographies

  • Updated ! 200 Significant Australians
    Grouped alphabetically and under specific headings. Information on how chosen.
  • Australian Biography Online
    ‘A web-based biographical resource profiling some of the most extraordinary Australians of our time’. Film Australia and the National Library.
  • Australian Composers
    ‘The links feature a short biography, email & web links, and photo for each represented composer’. Nearly 400.
  • Australian Dictionary of Biography Online
    Contains 10 000+ biographies of Australians, both famous and “infamous”. Entries have been done by people from the field in which the person being covered was best known. Multiple search methods : surname, occupation, author, town, specific dates and more.
    Highly recommended !
  • Australian Newspapers Digitisation Program
    ‘A free online service that enables full-text searching of newspaper articles. The service includes newspapers published in each state and territory from the 1800s to the mid-1950s’. Access material from the history of Australia about individual famous people, written while they were alive.
  • Australian of the Year Awards
    Information about the awards and all the recipients of Australian of The Year, Senior Australian of The Year, Young Australian of The Year and Australia’s Local Hero.
  • Australia’s Nobel Laureates and the Nobel Prize
    Overview of winners and the Nobel Prize, plus individual biographies.
  • Famous Australians
    ‘Learn about the famous people of Australia, from famous Australian singers to famous Australian sportspeople’.
  • Gallery of Australian Biographies
    Civics and Citizenship Education website. There is also a Gallery of Historical Biography’.
  • Dictionary of Australian Biography
    Project Gutenberg. A 1949 listing by Percival Serle.
  • Encyclopaedia of Australian Science
    University of Melbourne. ‘Incorporating Bright Sparcs and Australian Science at Work’.
  • Famous Australians [in 5 minutes]
    ABC Australia. A ‘series of five-minute profiles on notable and interesting Australians aiming to inspire children with the lives of people who have taken risks, followed their dream or reached for the stars’.
  • List of Australians
    Kids.net.au. Famous Australians grouped under headings from Art to Other Areas.
  • Tall Poppy Campaign
    [Great Australian Achievers.] ‘Some of Australia’s great men and women, past and present, whose achievements are celebrated’.
  • The Australian Women’s Register
    ‘A rich and growing source of information about Australian women and their organisations. Use the Register to find women, organisations, archives and publications’.

Indigenous Biography Sites

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