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There are many thousands of important living Australians so restricting a list to just 100 is a difficult task and one for which there are no right answers. Anyone who even comes into consideration for such a list has achieved far more than the average person. We offer our list as a discussion point and a starting point for you to go away and compile your own.

White Hat's 100 Important Living Australians

When White Hat set out to compile a list of 100 Important Living Australians we already had a starting point with our list of 200 Significant Australians (both living and dead).  About 80 of those were still living so we completed the list with another 20 (the additions are preceded by an * in the list below). In general we used the same criteria for choosing our list of 200 Significant Australians. As with our 200 Significant Australians we weren't concerned with looking for famous Australians - there are many important Australians who aren't famous and plenty of famous Australians who aren't important.

National Trust's Australia's Living National Treasures

In 1997 the National Trust held a competition to choose 100 Living National Treasures (see details here). The list was chosen by popular vote. Unfortunately, National Treasures die, and the list was topped up by popular vote in 2007 and 2013. Also unfortunately, not all National Treasures live up to the national perception of them, so there are a few on the list who people might now regret voting for. The National Trust list was based on a popular vote and sometimes the majority doesn't always make the wisest choice. Still, that's what democracy is about.

We thought it would form a useful contrast to include the National Trust list with the White Hat list. As we have stated above, there are no 'right' answers - only differing opinions. We don't claim our opinions to be any wiser than the crowdsourced ones of the National Trust but simply put them out there for your consideration.

Some comments on the two different lists

The National Trust's
100 National Living Treasures

White Hat's
100 Important Living Australians

Pioneers & explorers - National Trust

(none)

Pioneers & explorers - White Hat

  • Sydney Kirkby (explorer & surveyor) who has possibly explored and mapped more territory than any other living Australian

Inventors & engineers - National Trust

[none]

Inventors & engineers - White Hat

  • *Andy Thomas (engineer, astronaut)

Science & medicine - National Trust

  • Professor Peter Doherty AC - physicist, Nobel Prize winner
  • Dr Catherine Hamlin - physician
  • Dr Basil Hetzel AC - medical researcher, public health advocate
  • Sir Gustav Nossal AC CBE - scientist
  • Professor Fiona Stanley - Physician
  • Dr John Yu AC - medical doctor
  • Dr Harry Butler - naturalist, conservationist
  • Professor Ian Frazer - immunologist
     
  • Science & medicine - White Hat

    Mathematics - National Trust

    [none]

    Mathematics - White Hat

    • Dr Terence Tao (mathematician) who is recognised as a mathematical genius and in 2006 received the Fields Medal (the mathematical equivalent of the Nobel Prize).

    Legal - National Trust

  • Julian Burnside – Queen's Counsel, refugee rights advocate, author
  • His Excellency the Hon Sir William Deane AC KBE - former High Court judge and Governor General of Australia
  • The Hon Justice Marcus Einfeld AO QC - lawyer, social activist
  • The Hon Justice Michael Kirby AC CMG - lawyer, judge, social commentator
  • Legal - White Hat

    • The Hon Justice Michael Kirby AC CMG - (jurist, judge)

     

    Business & philanthropy - National Trust

  • Dick Smith AO - businessman, social commentator
  • Gabi Hollows - social activist, philanthropist
  • Janet Holmes a Court AO - business leader, philanthropist
  • Clive Palmer** - businessman
  • Business & philanthropy - White Hat

    • *Janet Holmes a Court (businesswoman, philanthropist)

    • *Frank Lowy (businessman) whose company is the world's most successful public mall owner.

    • *Alan Moss (banker) who has been a pioneer and world leader of private infrastructure development

    • Rupert Murdoch (businessman) and one of the most influential people in the world.

    • Dick Smith (businessman, adventurer, philanthropist)

    Economists - National Trust

    [none]

    Economists - White Hat

     

    Politicians - National Trust

  • Senator Dr Bob Brown - politician, Greens activist
  • The Hon John Howard - politician, Prime Minister of Australia
  • The Hon Barry Jones AO - politician
  • Peter Garrett AM MP - politician, singer, social activist
  • Jennie George - ACTU trade union leader
  • John Hatton AO
  • The Hon Paul Keating - former Prime Minister of Australia
  • Cheryl Kernot - politician
  • Ted Mack - politician, social commentator
  • The Hon Tom Uren AO - politician
  • Politicians - White Hat

     

    Social activists - National Trust

  • Dr Faith Bandler AM, academic, activist and advocate for Indigenous Australians and South Sea Islander people
  • Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC
  • Dr Michael James 'Mick' Dodson AM - Indigenous Australian leader
  • Pat Dodson - Indigenous Australian activist/leader
  • Ted Egan - musician, activist, administrator
  • Ian Kiernan AO OAM - businessman, social activist
  • Mr Walter Mikac
  • Dr Jack Mundey AO - trade union leader
  • Dr Lowitja O'Donoghue AC CBE AM - Indigenous Australian leader
  • Dr Pat O'Shane AM - Magistrate, Indigenous Australian leader
  • Mary Paton
  • Noel Pearson - Indigenous Australian leader
  • Mavis Taylor
  • Margaret Whitlam AO - social activist, wife of Gough Whitlam
  • Galarrwuy Yunupingu AM - Indigenous Australian leader
  • Other social achievers - White Hat

    • *Dame Beryl Beaurepaire

    • David Bussau (businessman, social achiever) who has arguably helped more people out of poverty around the world than any other Australian.

    • Pat Dodson (Aboriginal advocate)

    • John Embling (community worker)

    • Jack Mundey (unionist, environmentalist) whose activities saved many heritage buildings in Sydney.

    • Lowitja ('Lois') O'Donoghue (Aboriginal achiever)

    • Mary Paton

    • Noel Pearson (Aboriginal leader)

    Philosophy - National Trust

    [none]

    Philosophy - White Hat

    • Peter Singer (philosopher, ethicist, activist) whose work has created both world renown and controversy..

    • Jack Smart (philosopher)

     

    Historians - National Trust

  • Professor Geoffrey Blainey AO - historian
  • Professor Henry A. Reynolds - historian
  • Historians - White Hat

     

    Art - National Trust

  • [Dr Margaret Olley AO - died 2011]
  • Art - White Hat

    Literary - National Trust

  • Elizabeth Jolley AO - Author
  • David Malouf AO - author
  • Les Murray AO - poet
  • Dr Germaine Greer - writer, social activist
  • Thomas Keneally AO - writer
  • David Williamson AO - playwright
  • Tim Winton - author
  • Literary - White Hat

    • Geoffrey Atherden (scriptwriter) telling stories of Australians in our own time to Australians in our own time with wit and intelligence.

    • Peter Carey (author)

    • John M, Coetzee (author, Nobel Prize winner) - now an Australian citizen

    • Germaine Greer (feminist, writer) whose writings and lectures have a world audience.

    • Kevin Hart (poet, philosopher)

    • Clive James (writer, broadcaster)

    • Tom Keneally (writer)

    • David Malouf (writer)

    • Les Murray (poet) regarded as one of the finest living poets writing in English.

    • Peter Porter (poet)

    • David Williamson (playwright)

     

    Academic - National Trust

  • Professor Dame Leonie Kramer AC DBE - academic, businesswoman
  • Academic - White Hat

    • Professor Dame Leonie Kramer AC DBE - academic, businesswoman

    Media & journalism - National Trust

  • Phillip Adams (journalist)
  • Margaret Fulton OAM - writer, food expert
  • Caroline Jones AO - television personality, social commentator
  • Dr Karl Kruszelnicki - media presenter
  • Michael Leunig - cartoonist, social commentator
  • Robyn Williams AM - broadcaster
     
  • Media & Journalism - White Hat

    • Ita Buttrose (journalist, publisher)

    • Pat Oliphant (cartoonist) - as the most franchised political cartoonist in America has has had a significant effect on social political thinking in that country

    • Bruce Petty (cartoonist)

    Dance - National Trust

  • Graeme Murphy AM
  • Dance - White Hat

    • Graeme Murphy (dancer, choreographer)

    Theatre & film - National Trust

  • John Bell AM OBE
  • Russell Crowe - actor
  • Judy Davis - actress
  • Barry Humphries AO - entertainer
  • Garry McDonald AO - actor
  • Nicole Kidman AC - actress
  • Olivia Newton-John - actor
  • Theatre & film - White Hat

     

    Music & opera - National Trust

  • Richard Tognetti - violinist and conductor
  • Roger Woodward AC OBE - musician
  •  

    Music & opera - White Hat

     

    Architecture - National Trust

    [none]

    Architecture - White Hat

     

    Sport - National Trust

  • Ken Rosewall - tennis player
  • Gai Waterhouse - horse trainer
  • John Newcombe AO OBE - tennis player, television commentator
  • Greg Norman AM - golf player, businessman
  • Raelene Boyle MBE - Olympic runner, media
  • Betty Cuthbert AM MBE - Olympic runner
  • Herb Elliott AC MBE - Olympic runner
  • Dawn Fraser AO MBE - Olympic swimmer
  • Cathy Freeman OAM - Indigenous Australian sportsperson, Olympic runner
  • Evonne Goolagong Cawley AO MBE - Indigenous Australian tennis player
  • Shane Gould MBE - Olympic swimmer
  • John Landy, AC, MBE - former Governor of Victoria, olympic athlete
  • Rod Laver - tennis player, businessman
  • Kieren Perkins OAM - Olympic swimmer, television commentator
  • Pat Rafter - tennis player
  • Steve Waugh - cricketer
  • Sport - White Hat

     

    Religious - National Trust

  • The Rev Father Frank Brennan AO - social commentator
  • The Rev Tim Costello - social activist / commentator
  • The Rev Bill Crews AM - social activist
  • The Most Rev Peter Hollingworth AO OBE - former Governor General of Australia
  • Religious - White Hat

    • *The Rev Father Frank Brennan AO - social commentator

     

    Popular & light entertainment - National Trust

  • Ernie Dingo AM - Indigenous Australian television personality
  • John Farnham AO - entertainer
  • Rolf Harris AM OBE - entertainer
  • Jimmy Little OAM - Indigenous Australian singer
  • Kylie Minogue (singer, actress)
  • Anthony Warlow - singer
  • Popular & light entertainment - White Hat

    Postscript

    The following persons were on the original National Trust list but are since deceased:

    Some forthcoming events related to 100 Important Living Australians:


    ___________________  White Hat  ___________________