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.

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

Beginning of this section

Top of Page

Famous Australians
Name Fame
New !  Evatt, Dr Herbert Vere Politician, First President of the United Nations
Updated !  Everage, Dame Edna Show business personality [See entry for Barry Humphries below]
Updated !  Farrer, William Agriculture [wheat development]
Flinders, Matthew Circumnavigated and named Australia.
Updated !  Florey, Lord Howard Nobel Laureate, Science/Medicine, [penicillin]
Updated !  Flynn, The Rev. Doctor John Founded The Flying Doctor Service
Fraser, Dawn Olympic swimmer
Frazer, Ian Immunologist, Florey Medal winner, Australian of the Year
Updated !  Fysh, Sir Wilmot Hudson Pilot, soldier, co-founder of QANTAS
Updated !  Goldstein, Vida Jane Feminist, newspaper editor, pacifist, school administrator, women’s suffragist
Updated !  Gordon, Adam Lindsay Poet, MP
Grainger, George Percy Musician & Composer
Greer, Germaine Feminist
Updated !  Hargrave, Lawrence Flight, box kites
Updated !  Helpmann, Sir Robert Ballet dancer and director
Updated !  Higgins, Henry Bournes Barrister, High Court Judge [Harvester Decision], politician, university administrator
Updated !  Hinkler, Bert Aviator; first to fly solo England/Australia
Hollows, Fred Humanitarian, eye surgeon in the Third World as well as Australia
Updated !  Hughes, William Morris WW I Prime Minister
Humphries, Barry [Dame Edna Everage] Comedian and satirist
Updated !  Hurley, Frank Photographer [Antarctic/WW I]
Updated !  Jacka, Albert Soldier, mayor, Victoria Cross winner, World War 1
Katz, Sir Bernard Nobel Laureate [Medicine]
Updated !  Kelly, Edward [Ned] Bushranger
Kenny, Elizabeth Nurse [polio]
Updated !  Kidman, Sir Sidney Grazier, squatter, benefactor
Kiefel, Susan First woman appointed as Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia
Updated !  Kingsford-Smith, Sir Charles Aviator; first to fly US/Australia
Updated !  Kirkby, Sydney L Australian surveyor, Antarctic explorer
Updated !  Lalor, Peter Rebel [Eureka Stockade], politician
Laver, Rod [‘Rocket’] Tennis player
Lawson, Henry Writer and poet [NSW State Library - Student Activities]
Updated !  Leichhardt, Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig Explorer, Naturalist
Lindrum, Walter ‘Often considered to be the greatest player ever seen in the sport of billiards’
New !  Lindsay, Norman Alfred William Artist & writer [The Magic Pudding]
Lyons, Dame Enid First female Federal politician
Updated !  Macarthur, Elizabeth Mother of the Australian sheep industry

Beginning of this section

Top of Page

Famous Australians
Name Fame
Updated !  Macarthur, John Early agriculturalist
Updated !  MacKillop, Mary Helen School mistress, nun, canonised as Saint Mary of the Cross, 2010
Updated !  McKay, Hugh Victor Inventor, farm machinery manufacturer
Updated !  Macquarie, Lachlan New South Wales Governor, 1810-1821
Marshall, Barry Nobel Laureate [Medicine]
Updated !  Mawson, Sir Douglas Antarctic explorer
Melba, Dame Nellie Opera singer, soprano
New !  Menzies, Sir Robert Longest serving Prime Minister
Updated !  Monash, Sir John Army officer, engineer, University Vice-Chancellor
Updated !  Mort, Thomas Sutcliffe Refrigerated transport
New !  Murdoch, Rupert Media owner
Nolan, Sidney Artist [Ned Kelly series]
Updated !  O’Connor, Charles Yelverton Engineer, Public Servant, Railways Commissioner [WA]
Updated !  Oliphant, Sir Mark Physicist
Parkes, Sir Henry Father of Federation
Paterson, Andrew Barton [Banjo] Writer and poet [Waltzing Matilda]
Updated !  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]
Simmons, Michelle British Professor, Quantum Physicist, Australian of the Year. Also see Michelle Simmons, the ‘quantum queen’
Singer, Peter Moral philosopher, ethicist
Strickland [de la Hunty], Shirley Olympic athlete, conservationist
New !  Sturt, Charles Inland Explorer
Stuart, John McDouall Explorer; North/South crossing of Australia
Updated !  Sutherland, Dame Joan Opera singer, soprano
Tao, Terrence Fields Medal [Mathematics]
Updated !  Thomas, Andrew Astronaut
Thorpe, Ian Olympic swimmer
Updated !  Travers, P. L. Journalist, writer, creator of ‘Mary Poppins’
Trumper, Victor Cricketer
Tucker, Albert Artist
Venkatesh, Akshay Mathematician. Winner of Fields Medal and Nevanlinna Prize
Wake, Nancy Grace Augusta [‘The White Mouse’] Nurse, journalist, fought in the French Resistance during World War 2
Warren, David Inventor of the black box flight recorder
Updated !  Wentworth, William Charles Explorer, politician
White, Patrick Nobel Laureate [Literature]
New !  Wilkins, Sir Hubert Polar explorer, War Photographer, explorer

Beginning of this section

Top of Page

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

Beginning of Famous Indigenous Australians

Top of Page



  • Updated !  200 Significant Australians
    Grouped alphabetically and under specific headings. Information on how chosen.
  • New !  Australian Biography : Women
    National Film and Sound Archive of Australia. ‘This collection profiles some of the most extraordinary Australian women of our time. It features remarkable individuals who have had a major impact on Australia’s cultural, political, artistic, sporting and social life’. Similar sections cover New ! Australian Biography : Men and New ! Portraits of Prominent First Nations Australians.
  • Updated !  Australian Composers
    ‘The links feature a short biography, email & web links plus a photo for each represented composer’. 900 inclusions.
  • Australian Dictionary of Biography Online
    Contains over 13 000+ 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 !
  • Updated !  Australian Newspapers Digitisation Program
    ‘An 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. You need to check the New ! About AustLit page for information about how you can access this material. You can also access similar material from the New ! Newspapers & Gazettes Home [Trove] page. You might also like to check the New !  Australian Newspapers [National Library of Australia] collection.
  • Updated !  Australian of the Year Awards
    Information about the awards plus all recipients of Australian of The Year, Senior Australian of The Year, Young Australian of The Year and Australia’s Local Hero awards.
  • Australia’s Nobel Laureates and the Nobel Prize
    Overview of winners and the Nobel Prize, plus individual biographies. You can also find information at a TROVE site for New ! Australia’s Nobel Laureates and the Nobel Prize [Trove].
  • New !  Australian Prime Ministers
    A listing and details about all Prime Ministers from Edmund Barton to Anthony Albanese. General Information plus birth, death [where applicable], Party, dates for time in office [plus number of days], their partner [where this applies] plus a range of detail seen to be relevant. The Collections section is quite interesting as well. Interesting site.
  • New !  Bright Sparcs
    Explore the roles these people played. Find out where they worked, who they worked with, what they worked on and what they achieved’.
  • Updated !  Dictionary of Australian Biography
    Project Gutenberg. A 1949 listing by Percival Serle.
  • New !  Digitised Biographies [ANU of History]
    ‘The National Centre of Biography is committed to digitising compendiums of Australian biography, that are out of copyright and making them freely available via the web’.
  • New !  Encyclopaedia of Australian Science and Innovation
    Swinburne University of Technology. Multiple groupings [e.g. People, Organisations and groups, Awards, Prizes and Medals, . . . . ‘Incorporating Resources for the History of Australian Science and Innovation; Scientists, Organisations, Innovations and featured entries; and Other Useful Resources’.
  • New !  Famous Australian People
    A much more modern listing of famous people, many in the entertainment area, e.g. Margot Robbie, Chris Hemsworth, Hugh Jackman, Steve Irwin, . . . . Note the ranking method at the top of the page.
  • New !  Lists of Australians
    112 lists of Australians grouped under the following headings : Australians of the Year; Awards and Honours; Education; Entertainment and Culture; Geography and Ethnicity; Law and Crime; Literature; Politics : Mayors and Lord Mayors, Premiers; Religion; Sport; Miscellaneous; and See also. Wikipedia.
  • List of Famous Australians Famous Australians grouped under headings from Art to Other Areas [8 in all].
  • New !  Sport Australia Hall of Fame
    ‘Built around the inspirational words of our first Inductee and Legend, Sir Donald Bradman AC, the Sport Australia Hall of Fame is determined to carry to Australians everywhere the symbol of excellence as represented by its 594 Members across all sports and genders’.
  • Tall Poppy Campaign
    [Great Australian Achievers.] ‘Some of Australia’s great men and women, past and present, whose achievements are celebrated’.
  • Updated ! 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’.
  • New !  The Institute of Australian Culture - Biographies
    ‘Brief biographies of some famous plus not-so-famous Australians. Most of these biographies are of authors and poets; however, it is intended to expand the collection into other fields as well. [Entries are arranged alphabetically by surname]’. Check the Featured Lists and the Featured Posts provided on the right.
  • New !  The Most Influential Australians
    ‘To mark the centenary of Federation and Australia Day January 2001, the Herald has compiled a list suggesting the 100 most influential Australians of the century’.


  • Updated !  20 inspiring black women who have changed Australia [NITV]
    ‘NITV has put together a list of 20 trailblazing Indigenous women who have changed Australia’.
  • New !  52 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people changing the world
    Cosmos is grateful for the support of the Australian Council of Learned Academies [ACOLA] and Australia’s five Learned Academies who helped us to create this list of 52 leading Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are changing the world. It is neither exhaustive, nor are they listed in any particular order’.
  • Aboriginal Heroes : Episodes in the Colonial Landscape
    ‘Five narratives retell episodes of Queensland history. The revived narratives bring Aboriginal oral memory and the ‘unvoiced’ into the Australian public domain’.
  • Australian Indigenous Rights Activists
    Alphabetical listing through to Mick Gooda and Galarrwuy Yunupingu. Links direct to information on each. Wikipedia.
  • New !  Biographical Indexes and Dictionaries [AIATSIS]
    ‘There are a number of useful biographical indexes of Aboriginal people. Some are searchable online, others are managed by archives and you will need to contact them to request a search of the index’. A wide range of links are provided to access other resources as well. Worth visiting.
  • New !  Biography : Australian People [National Library of Australia]
    ‘There are a number of free websites and subscription databases containing biographical information about well-known Australians. Key resources are’ listed with links [titles] and brief descriptors of what those sites contain. Covers both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.
  • Updated !  Deadly Stories
    ‘A collection of five digital stories produced by Indigenous community members in Cairns, Cooktown, Toowoomba, Townsville and Wujal Wujal as part of the kuril dhagun ‘Deadly Stories’ project. Participants selected a local hero or someone they looked up to’. Each is presented in a video.
  • Updated !  Famous Aboriginal People & Role Models
    Creative Spirits. Includes : David Unaipon, Cathy Freeman, Neville Bonner, Archie Roach, Bronwyn Bancroft, Adam Goodes, Albert [Elea] Namatjira, Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Benn Harradine, Evonne Goolagong Cawley, Lowitja O’Donoghue, Anita Heiss and Aboriginal Australians of the Year.
  • Famous Aboriginal Sportspeople [Creative Spirits]
    ‘A surprisingly long list of successful Aboriginal sportspeople and role models across all disciplines of sport’. Check the list for a significant range of specific sports.
  • Updated !  Heroes in The Struggle for Justice
    ‘Important People in the Struggle for Aboriginal Rights. Click on each Image for Biographical Details’.
  • Updated !  How much do you know about famous Indigenous Australians ?
    Take this short quiz and see how good your knowledge is. 14 questions about Indigenous people are provided. Click on the Quiz Menu Page button at the bottom of the answers to choose from section to find other Australian quizzes.
  • New !  Indigenous Australian Dictionary of Biography : The University of Western Australia
    ‘Sadly, there are not as many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s stories in the ADB as we would like. This project seeks to add the stories of approximately 200 new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to the dictionary to redress the imbalance and make the ADB more reflective of Australian history’.
  • Indigenous Australian Historical Figures
    ‘Some Indigenous Australians are remembered in history for leadership prior to European colonisation, some for their resistance to that colonisation, others for assisting Europeans to explore the country’. Wikipedia.
  • Updated !  Indigenous Australians
    Part of the Australian Dictionary of Biography Online. Each of the 292 [at time of update] links to further information. A more extensive listing is found on the Australian National University Indigenous Australia Cultural Advice site - 974 are listed there [at time of update].
  • Indigenous Australian Visual Artists
    ‘Numerous Indigenous Australians are noted for their participation in, and contributions to, the Visual arts of Australia and abroad’. Wikipedia.
  • Updated !  Lists of Indigenous Australians
    Linked lists include historical figures; musicians; performing artists; those in politics and public service, education, law and humanities; sportspeople including a separate listing for VFL/AFL and AFL Women players; visual artists; and writers. Wikipedia.
  • The Most Influential Indigenous Australians
    ‘Here are just 10 of the many Indigenous Australians who have had an incredible impact on their communities, the country and the world’.

Top of Page

× Calendar Competitions Conferences Curriculum Education Resources Site Information Special Pages Teachers Tertiary Updates & Changes