Composer-comedian Tim Minchin and The Lord of the Rings actor Hugo Weaving have both been recognised in this year’s Australia Day honours list.
Minchin, renowned director, actor and musician, has been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for his contribution to the performing arts and the community.
Born in England and raised in Perth, Minchin has performed in sell-out shows all over the world, including the prestigious Royal Albert Hall in London, UK.
In 2013, his occasional address at a University of Western Australia graduation ceremony went viral.
The accomplished performer is joined by dancer Paul Mercurio and Ride Like a Girl actor and director Rachel Griffiths.
Weaving, widely known for his roles in The Matrix, The Hobbit and Captain America: The First Avenger, was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO).
This year’s Order of Australia list recognised 837 outstanding and inspirational Australians, 348 of them women.
Nearly half of the awards were for outstanding service or achievement in the community, with the eldest recipient 97 years old and the youngest just 19.
Dr James Mueke received the top gong of Australian of the Year for his work raising awareness of type 2 diabetes and its links to blindness.
In 2000 Dr Muecke co-founded Vision Myanmar at the South Australian Institute of Ophthalmology and later co-founded Sight For All, a charity aiming to help disadvantaged people around the world see properly.
Recently, the eye surgeon’s work has focused on preventing type 2 diabetes – the leading cause of blindness in adults.
Ash Barty, the world’s top women’s tennis player, was honoured Young Australian of the Year.
Former Victorian premier Ted Baillieu and former Queensland premier Campbell Newman were both appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service to the people and parliaments of Victoria and Queensland, respectively.
Wesley Enoch, a proud Noonuccal Nuugi man, was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for his significant service to the performing arts as an Indigenous director and playwright.
Enoch has written and directed some of Australia’s most iconic Indigenous theatre productions, such as The 7 Stages of Grieving, an internationally acclaimed production which he co-wrote with Deborah Mailman.
While plenty of high-profile performers and politicians featured in this year’s honours roll, other deserving Australians were recognised, too.
Damian De Marco is one of those people.
The vocal campaigner has dedicated four decades of his life to preventing child sex abuse after he was sexually assaulted by a Marist Brother in the 1980s.
Forgoing anonymity, Mr De Marco spoke out against the systemic failure that protected paedophiles at the cost of children’s safety, and in 2014 he appeared before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
In recognition of his brave advocacy for child safety, Mr De Marco was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM).
Another remarkable Australian recognised in this year’s honours roll was Sara David, a midwife and founder and CEO of not-for-profit Living Child Inc.
Mrs David was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for helping to reduce the high number of Papua New Guinean mothers dying in their villages during childbirth due to a lack of health services.