The following refer to people who achieved high levels of recognition in some way linked to Australia. Some of the listed were not born in Australia, nor lived in Australia. Others were born here. Some lived permanently in Australia.
All listed 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.
A 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 a similar listing of Famous World Figures.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that the following may contain images and voices of deceased persons.
|Banks, Sir Joseph||Naturalist, explorer|
|Barton, Sir Edmund||First Prime Minister of Australia|
|Bates, Daisy May||Memoirist, Indigenous culture recorder, Indigenous rights activist|
|Blackburn, Elizabeth H.||Nobel Laureate [Physiology or Medicine]|
|Bragg, Sir William Henry||Nobel Laureate [X-ray Crystallography]|
|Bragg, Sir William Laurence||Nobel Laureate [X-ray Crystallography]|
|Bradman, Sir Donald||Cricketer|
|Burnet, Sir Frank Macfarlane||Nobel Laureate [Medicine]|
|Chang, Victor||Heart surgeon|
|Chifley, Joseph Benedict||Prime Minister|
|Chisholm, Caroline||Social work with women in early New South Wales|
|Clarke, Graeme||Cochlear implant developer|
|Cook, Captain James||Navigator, explorer|
|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|
|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]|
|Evatt, Dr Herbert Vere||Politician, First President of the United Nations|
|Everage, Dame Edna||Show business personality|
|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|
|Gordon, Adam Lindsay||Poet, MP|
|Grainger, George Percy||Musician & Composer|
|Hargrave, Lawrence||Flight, box kites|
|Helpmann, Sir Robert||Ballet dancer and director|
|Hinkler, Bert||Aviator; first to fly solo England/Australia|
|Hollows, Fred||Humanitarian, eye surgery in the Third World as well as Australia|
|Hughes, William Morris||WW I Prime Minister|
|Hurley, Frank||Photographer [Antarctic/WW I]|
|Katz, Sir Bernard||Nobel Laureate [Medicine]|
|Kelly, Edward [Ned]||Bushranger|
|Kenny, Elizabeth||Nurse [polio]|
|Kingsford-Smith, Sir Charles||Aviator; first to fly US/Australia|
|Lalor, Peter||Rebel [Eureka Stockade], politician|
|Lawson, Henry||Writer and poet|
|Lindsay, Norman Alfred William||Artist & writer|
|Lyons, Dame Enid||First female Federal politician|
|Macarthur, Elizabeth||Mother of the Australian sheep industry|
|Macarthur, John||Early agriculturalist|
|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|
|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]|
|Sturt, Charles||Inland Explorer|
|Stuart, John McDouall||Explorer; North/South crossing of Australia|
|Sutherland, Dame Joan||Opera singer, soprano|
|Thorpe, Ian||Olympic swimmer|
|Tao, Terrence||Fields Medal [Mathematics]|
|Wentworth, William Charles||Explorer, politician|
|White, Patrick||Nobel Laureate [Literature]|
|Wilkins, Sir Hubert||Polar explorer, War Photographer, explorer|
Famous Indigenous Australians
|Bandler, Dr Faith||Campaigner for Indigenous rights, writer|
|Blair, Harold||Singer and Aboriginal activist|
|Bonner, Neville||First Indigenous Senator|
|Burnum Burnum||[Harry Penrith] Advocate, activist|
|Cooper, William||Leader, advocate, activist|
|Dodson, Mick||Advocate, activist, representative, Australian of the Year|
|Dodson, Patrick||Activist, consultant, representative|
|Freeman, Cathy||Olympic athlete|
|Mabo, Eddie||Land Rights campaigner|
|Monks, Rosie Kunoth||Film star, nun, social worker|
|Nicholls, Sir Doug||First Indigenous State Governor, Footballer|
|Noonuccal, Oodgeroo||[Kath Walker] Poet, artist, educator, activist|
|O’Shane, Pat||Magistrate, University Chancellor|
|Page, Stephen||Dancer, choreographer|
|Pearson, Noel||Lawyer, activist|
|Pemulwuy||Indigenous resistance fighter|
|Perkins, Charles||Activist, sportsman|
|Ridgeway, Aden||Senator, television presenter|
|Saunders, Captain Reginald||First Indigenous commissioned army officer|
|Smith, Shirley||Activist, helper [‘Mum Shirl’]|
|Truganini||Tasmanian Aboriginal spokesperson and leader|
|Unaipon, David||Inventor, spokesman|
|Yagan||Indigenous resistance fighter|
|Yunupingu, Mandaway||Musician, teacher, activist|
- 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. Also includes other musical figures.
- Australian Dictionary of Biography Online
Contains 10 000+ biographies of Australians, both famous and ‘infamous’. All died prior to 1980. 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. The latest volume has now been completed and is available.
A fabulous site for everyone to use !
- Australian Newspapers Digitisation Program
‘This is 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’. Use these to access material from the history of Australia about individual famous people, written while they were alive.
- Australian of the Year Awards
‘The Australian of the Year Awards were founded in 1960, when Sir MacFarlane Burnet OM AK KBE received the inaugural award’. 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.
‘There are two Galleries of Australian Biography on the Civics and Citizenship Education website : Gallery of Contemporary Australians and Gallery of Historical Biography’. There are also Biography lesson plans and Biographical Writing information.
- Dictionary of Australian Biography
From Project Gutenberg comes this 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 site. Provides 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’.
- National Foundation for Australian Women
Includes The Australian Women’s Register and the AWAP Showcase. ‘Today as we progress the interests of women and maintain and make accessible an extraordinary record of achievement, we keep the aspirations of women alive to be handed on to new generations’.
- Tall Poppy Campaign
[Great Australian Achievers]
‘Some of Australia’s great men and women, past and present, whose achievements are celebrated’. Primarily the scientific arena.
- The Australian Women’s Register
‘The Australian Women’s Register is a rich and growing source of information about Australian women and their organisations. You can use the Register to find women, organisations, archives and publications’.
Indigenous Biography Sites
Find information on ‘a few of the inspirational Indigenous people who have accomplished great personal achievements as well as great cultural achievements for their fellow Indigenous peoples’. Skwirk.
- Famous Indigenous People in
A selection of information links on a range of famous Indigenous people done by a Queensland State School.
- Hidden Histories, The
‘The oral histories tell stories drawn from the life histories of individual men and women. To read a story select a name from the right hand column’.
- Indigenous Australians
Done as part of the Australian Dictionary of Biography Online. Each of the 164 [at time of inclusion] links to further information.
- Martyrs in The Struggle for Justice
‘A Gallery in Tribute to Heroes of the Political Struggle for Aboriginal Rights : 1905 - 2005. Click on photos for more information’.