Australian National Living Treasure

The National Living Treasure Award is one of the most prestigious award commonly conferred to a person who is tremendously contributed his/her talent, efforts, hard work, and time for the countries intangible cultural heritage. The recipient of this prestigious award is known as The National Living Treasures. The National Living Treasure is the status created, decided, and given by the National Trust of Australia’s located in New South Wales. Till date, the trust has awarded up to 100 living legends and these living persons have been added to list of National Living Treasures. The list is updated occasionally again by the National Trust of Australia.

How the National Living Treasures are been elected and awarded?

The National Living Treasures are selected by voting system under category of having made amazing contributions to Australian society in any field of human endeavor. The current list of Australian National Living Treasures have been elected after considering more than 10,000 Australian’s voting nationwide and these votes determine who is elected.

In brief, the National Trust of Australia (NSW) releases an announcement calling for nominations for National Living Treasures directly from the public. The public are asked to nominate 100 National Living Treasures and each nomination is considered as one vote. The major criteria for a person to be as a nominee is he/she must have made an enduring and substantial contribution to the society and pride of Australia.


The National Trust of Australia introduced the most prestigious award or title called ‘The National Living Treasures’ in 1997. (We have already discussed how the nominees are called for nominations and are chosen as Living Treasures in the above paragraph). The NSW released the first list of 100 National Living Treasures in 1997. Later the list was updated with 15 new names in 2004. In the same year, there happened a few incidents that impacted the change of former list of Living Treasures. The incidents include death of some persons in the former list, and elimination of former Justice Marcus Einfeld.

Marcus Einfeld, a former Australian judge in the Federal Court of Australia and also served as the first president of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. In retirement, he was imprisoned for two years for perjury and perverting the course of justice.

In 2012 January 23rd, the new seven additions joined the list of 100 Australian National Living Treasures (which is the first list created and released in 1997) by NSW in tandem with Women’s Day magazine along with an invitation to the readers to choose ‘Exceptional Australians’.

The new titles had been prompted in the same year after the death of the National Living Treasurer artist Margaret Olley. And these titles recognize the country’s culture and traditions more than just the tallest buildings and natural heritage.

On July 30 2014, Rolf Harris had been removed from the list of 100 Australian National Living Treasures for his conviction on indecent assaults.

List of Australian National Treasures

We are providing the current list of Australian National Treasures declared by National Trust of India (NSW). The list is still getting updated by NSW every year based on public voting system. Now let us see the list according to a particular category wise.

Here is the list of living National Living Treasures by NSW. Most of the living treasures are there in the list of 100 National Living Treasures released in 1997. While some are added to the list later and a few are deceased, removed from the list in between because of some reasons. We are going to list out about all these categories in detail with their names.

Current National Living Treasures
NAME Title They Have Got
Phillip Adams Australian humanist, social commentator
Geoffrey Blainey Australian professor, historian
Bob Brown Australian politician, Australian Greens activist
Reverend Tim Costello Australian social activist, commentator
Reverend Bill Crews Australian social activist
Pat Dodson Indigenous Australian activist/leader
Judy Davis Australian actress
Marie Bashir Governor of New South Wales, professor
John Bell Australian actor
Peter Doherty Australian immunologist, professor, Nobel Prize winner
Herb Elliott Australian Olympic runner
John Farnham Australian entertainer
Margaret Fulton Australian writer, food expert
Evonne Goolagong Cawley Indigenous Australian tennis player
Ted Egan Australian musician, activist, administrator
John Hatton Australian independent NSW politician
Janet Holmes à Court Australian business leader, philanthropist
Ernie Dingo Indigenous Australian television personality
Caroline Jones Australian television personality, social commentator
Paul Keating Prime Minister of Australia
Germaine Greer Australian writer, social activist
Rt Revd Peter Hollingworth Governor-General of Australia
Ian Kiernan Australian businessman, social activist
Thomas Keneally Australian writer
John Landy Australian Olympic athlete, Governor of Victoria
Rod Laver Australian tennis player, businessman
Cheryl Kernot Australian politician
Nicole Kidman Australian actress
Michael Leunig Australian cartoonist, social commentator
David Malouf Australian novelist
Walter Mikac Australian survivors’ advocate
Barry Humphries Australian entertainer
Karl Kruszelnicki Australian scientist, author, media personality
Justice Michael Kirby Australian lawyer, judge, social commentator
Jack Mundey Australian trade union leader
Les A Murray Australian poet
Jack Mundey Australian trade union leader
Graeme Murphy Australian dancer, choreographer
Barry Jones Australian politician, author
John Newcombe Australian tennis player, television commentator
Lowitja O’Donoghue Indigenous Australian leader
Ted Mack Australian politician, social commentator
Kylie Minogue Australian singer, actress
Pat O’Shane Indigenous Australian leader, magistrate
Kieren Perkins Australian Olympic swimmer, television commentator
Olivia Newton-John Australian singer, actress
Greg Norman Australian golfer, businessman
Gabi Hollows Australian social activist, philanthropist
Garry McDonald Australian actor
Basil Hetzel Australian medical researcher, public health advocate
John Howard Prime Minister of Australia
Peter Garrett Australian politician, singer and social activist
Jennie George ACTU trade union leader, politician
Catherine Hamlin Australian physician
Dawn Fraser Australian Olympic swimmer, former politician
Ian Frazer Australian scientist, creator of cervical cancer vaccine
Cathy Freeman Indigenous Australian sportsperson, Olympic runner
Pat Rafter Australian tennis player
Henry Reynolds Australian historian
Ken Rosewall Australian tennis player
Anthony Warlow Australian singer
Sir Gustav Nossal Australian scientist, administrator
Dick Smith Australian businessman, social commentator
Mary Paton Australian founder of the Nursing Mothers’ Association
Robyn Williams Australian science broadcaster
David Williamson Australian playwright
Galarrwuy Yunupingu Indigenous Australian leader
Fiona Wood Australian physician
Clive Palmer Australian mining magnate
Fiona Stanley Australian physician
Richard Tognetti Australian violinist and conductor
Roger Woodward Australian pianist
John Yu Australian medical doctor
Shane Gould Australian Olympic swimmer
Raelene Boyle Australian Olympic runner, sports commentator
Father Frank Brennan Australian social commentator
Julian Burnside Australian barrister, refugee rights advocate, author
Tim Winton Australian novelist
Noel Pearson Indigenous Australian leader
Gai Waterhouse Australian racehorse trainer
Steve Waugh Australian cricketer
Russell Crowe Australian actor
Betty Cuthbert Australian Olympic runner
Don Burrows Australian musician
William Deane Australian High Court judge and Governor-General of Australia
Mick Dodson Indigenous Australian leader

Deceased National Living Treasures (formerly listed)

2000 Betty Archdale Australian cricketer, educator
2015 Faith Bandler Australian academic, activist and advocate for Indigenous Australians and South Sea Islander people
2014 Jack Brabham Australian world champion Formula One driver
2009 Nancy Bird Walton Australian aviator
1999 Arthur Boyd Australian artist
2001 Don Bradman Australian cricketer
2015 Harry Butler Australian naturalist and conservationist
2002 Ruth Cracknell Australian actress
2015 Bart Cummings Australian racehorse trainer
2002 Roden Cutler Australian World War II hero, Governor of New South Wales
1999 Don Dunstan Australian Premier of South Australia, social commentator
2003 Slim Dusty Australian singer, entertainer
2015 Malcolm Fraser Prime Minister of Australia
2013 Hazel Hawke Australian social activist, ex-wife of Bob Hawke, former Prime Minister of Australia
2005 Donald Horne Australian academic, writer, author of The Lucky Country
2012 Robert Hughes Australian art critic, author
2007 Elizabeth Jolley Australian author
2016 Leonie Kramer Australian academic, businesswoman
2012 Jimmy Little Indigenous Australian singer
2015 Colleen McCullough Australian author
1997 Edward (Ted) Matthews Australian World War I soldier and last Gallipoli survivor
2000 Judith Wright McKinney Australian poet
2000 Sir Mark Oliphant Australian physicist, Governor of South Australia
2011 Margaret Olley Australian artist
2000 Charles Perkins Australian Indigenous Australian leader
2014 Peter Sculthorpe Australian musician, composer
1998 Mum (Shirl) Smith Aboriginal Australian activist
2010 Joan Sutherland Australian opera singer
2007 Mavis Taylor Australian humanitarian
2015 Tom Uren Australian former politician
2003 Alan Walker Australian social commentator/activist
1999 Morris West Australian author
2014 Gough Whitlam Prime Minister of Australia
2012 Margaret Whitlam Australian social activist, wife of Gough Whitlam former Prime Minister of Australia
2003 R. M. Williams Australian businessman

 Removed while living (Formerly listed but now removed from the National Living Treasures)

Marcus Einfeld, Disgraced Former Judge– removed in 2008

Rolf Harris, Australian Entertainer– removed in 2014

According to Fairfax: “Woman’s Day Magazine has taken in-charge of the voting system through its website for deciding on list of National Living Treasures, with the trust came up with nominated 100 potential treasures. All seven final choices are from the list, which had just 31 women, including the scientist and Nobel laureate Elizabeth Blackburn, the actor Cate Blanchett, and the television host Kerri-Anne Kennerley.”

Artistic Community

Japan’s State Living Treasures awards program has been the first and foremost inspiration to honor the skill, imagination, talent, and originality of the artistic community. Japan introduced these awards during the period of Post-World War 2, since then, the State Living Treasures are being held worldwide. The awards acknowledge the efforts of talented artists in their way to engage and entertain audience.

In Western Australia, the former Minister for Arts, The Hon. Peter Foss QC MLC, inaugurated the State Living Treasures Awards to honor the artists for their lifetime achievement and hard work which enhances the pride of Western Australia.

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