Anywhere in the world, if you ask a person who is intelligent and informed to name some significant Australians who have made a difference to the world, they are likely to name a number of scientists, medical researchers and inventors. These are areas in which Australia has excelled and this is demonstrated by the fact that Australia has produced a remarkable number of Nobel Prize winners for its small population. Even those who are not particularly intelligent or informed will probably be able to point out Australia's achievement in sport and light entertainment and mention a number of names. Not bad for a country of 20 million people. And even though our writers, painters and other creative artists have not had the same impact on the world stage as our scientists, they have still been important in forging a sense of place and identity for Australians.
White Hat set ourselves the task of choosing 200 Significant Australians. What follows is the result.
How we chose our 200 Significant Australians - Why not famous Australians? Because there are many important Australians who aren't famous, and there are many famous Australians who aren't important.
The White Hat Guide to 100 Important Living Australians - restricted to those Australians who are still alive and compared and contrasted with the National Trust's 100 Living National Treasures.
Australian Nobel Prize Winners - can you name them all?
Australian Inventions & Innovations - many great inventions originated in Australia
Pioneers & explorers
Matthew Flinders (explorer, navigator) who was the first to circumnavigate the continent as well as naming it 'Australia'.
Edward John Eyre (explorer)
Robert O'Hara Burke (explorer)
Sir Hudson Fysh (pilot, businessman)
Bert Hinkler (Aviator)
Frank Hurley (photographer, adventurer) whose pioneering images of Mawson's Antarctic expedition are unforgettable.
Sir Charles Kingsford Smith ('Smithy') (aviator)
Sydney Kirkby (explorer & surveyor) who was one of Australia's most remarkable and prolific explorers but is rarely mentioned in history classes.
Sir Keith Smith (aviator)
Nancy Bird Walton (aviator)
Sir Hubert Wilkins (explorer & adventurer)
Inventors & engineers
John Bradfield (engineer) and designer of one of Australia's most recognisable structures.
Sir Edward Hallstrom (inventor., manufacturer, philanthropist) and the bringer of practical refrigeration to the outback.
William Hudson (engineer)
H.V. McKay (inventor, entrepreneur, businessman) whose invention was the basis for a major manufacturing enterprise.
Sir John Monash (soldier, administrator, engineer) regarded during his lifetime as the 'greatest living Australian'.
Sir James Darling (educator)
Science, mathematics & medicine
Dr Elizabeth Blackburn (scientist) - winner of the Nobel Prize for her work in genetics
Sir Lawrence Bragg (mathematician, physicist, Nobel Laureate) - the youngest-ever recipient of the Nobel Prize.
Sister Vivian Bullwinkle (nurse, war hero)
Sir Frank Macfarlane Burnet (scientist)
Adrienne Clarke (scientist)
Professor Graeme Clark whose invention has transformed the lives of tens of thousands throughout the world.
Sir Ian Clunies-Ross (vetinary scientist)
Peter Doherty (scientist) who received the Nobel Prize for his work in immunology
Raymond Dart (anthropologist) discoverer of Australopithecus africanus
Sir Edward ('Weary') Dunlop (surgeon, war hero) whose courage and compassion inspired a generation.
Sir John Eccles (neurophysicist)
Frank Fenner who among his many achievements was awarded the Japan Prize (the applied science equivalent of the Nobel Prize) for his extraordinary contribution to teh worldwide eradication of smallpox.
Lord Howard Florey (medical researcher) whose work resulted in the saving of millions of lives.
Fred Hollows (ophthalmologist)
Barry Marshall (medical researcher) whose discovery regarding the treatment of stomach ulcers (tested by infecting himself) to this day is estimated to save over a million lives a year.
Sir Douglas Mawson (geologist, explorer)
Robert May (scientist)
Sir Gustav ('Gus') Nossal (immunoligist, medical researcher)
Sir Marcus Oliphant (nuclear physicist, Governor)
Professor Brian Schmidt (astrophysicist)
Fiona Stanley (epidemiologist)
Struan Sutherland (epidemiologist)
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).
Alan Truonson (IVF researcher)
Baron Ferdinand von Mueller (botanist)
Alan Walsh (scientist)
Doug Waterhouse (entymologist)
See also Shirley Strickland Delahunty (athlete, scientist)
Sir Zelman Cowen (lawyer, Governor General)
Sir Owen Dixon (judge)
Henry Higgins (politician, judge) who, through a single court case, established one of the pillars of Australian society for the next century.
Dame Roma Mitchell (lawyer, Governor)
Business & philanthropy
Sir Reginald Ansett ('Reg') (businessman)
Sir George Coles (G. J. Coles) (businessman)
Louise Hanson-Dyer (publisher, patron) who, as a result of her internationally renowned publishing company, was awarded the Legion of Honour by the French Government.
Robert Holmes a Court (businessman)
Sir Sidney Kidman (pastoralist)
Essington Lewis (businessman)
Dame Elisabeth Mudoch (philanthropist)
Rupert Murdoch (businessman) - one of the most powerful people in the world
Sidney Myer (businessman, philanthropist)
Kerry Packer (media proprietor)
Dick Smith (businessman, adventurer, philanthropist)
W. C. Wentworth (politician, pastoralist)
R. M. Williams (bushman, businessman)
Also see David Bussau (businessman, social achiever)
Sir Edmund Barton (Prime Minister)
Neville Bonner (politician)
Stanley Bruce (Prime Minister)
Arthur Calwell (politician)
Sir Richard Casey (politician, diplomat, Governor-General)
Ben Chifley (Prime Minister)
Don Chipp (politician)
John Curtin (Prime Minister)
Alfred Deakin (Prime Minister) who many believe should have been Australia's first prime minister.
Herbert Vere ('Doc') Evatt (statesman, jurist & politician)
Malcolm Fraser (Prime Minister, elder statesman)
Bob Hawke (Prime Minister)
Billy Hughes ('The Little Digger') (Prime Minister) whose negotiations at at Versailles are regarded as one of the pivotal moments of Australian history.
Sir Isaac Isaacs (lawyer, politician, Governor-General) - Australia's first Australian-born Governor-General.
Sir Robert ('Bob') Menzies (Prime Minister)
Sir Henry Parkes (politician, statesman) - the 'Father of Federation'.
Gough Whitlam (Prime Minister, elder statesman)
Other social achievers
Daisy Bates (social worker & anthropologist)
David Bussau (businessman, social achiever) who has arguably helped more people out of poverty around the world than any other Australian.
Caroline Chisolm (social achiever)
Pat Dodson (Aboriginal advocate)
John Embling (community worker)
Dame Phyllis Frost (welfare achiever)
Vida Goldstein (feminist activist)
Peter Lalor (social achiever)
Mary Lee (social achiever)
Eddie Mabo (social achiever)
Jack Mundey (unionist, environmentalist) whose activities saved many heritage buildings in Sydney.
Lowitja ('Lois') O'Donoghue (Aboriginal achiever)
B. A. Santamaria (social commentator)
Arthur Stace (social achiever) whose contribution to Australia is based on a single word.
Peter Singer (philosopher, ethicist, activist) whose work has created both world renown and controversy..
Jack Smart (philosopher)
Also see Mr Eternity (social achiever)
Also see Robert Hughes (writer, art critic)
Arthur Boyd (painter)
John Brack (painter)
Harold Cazneaux (photographer)
Sir William Dobell (painter)
Sir Russell Drysdale (painter)
Max Dupain (photographer)
Pro Hart (painter, inventor)
Emily Kngwarreye (painter)
Norman Lindsay (artist, cartoonist, writer)
Albert Namatjira (painter)
Sir Sidney Nolan (artist)
Clifton Pugh (artist)
Tom Roberts (painter)
Sir Arthur Streeton (painter)
Albert Tucker (painter)
Sydney Ure Smith (artist, publisher)
Brett Whiteley (painter)
Fred Williams (painter)
Peter Carey (author)
Marcus Clarke (writer)
Joseph Furphy (writer)
Dame Mary Gilmore (poet, author)
Adam Lindsay Gordon (poet, horseman) who became Australia's first poet to be acknowledged as world class.
Germaine Greer (feminist, writer) whose writings and lectures have a world audience.
A. D. Hope (poet)
Robert Hughes (writer, art critic)
Tom Keneally (writer)
Henry Lawson (writer)
Ern Malley (poet, artistic inspiration) whose works holds a special place in Australian artistic endeavour.
David Malouf (writer)
Les Murray (poet) regarded as one of the finest living poets writing in English.
Oodgeroo Noonuccle (Kath Walker) (writer & activist)
Banjo Paterson (Andrew Baton Paterson or A. B. Paterson) (poet) whose verses are well known but whose managerial achievements are often overlooked.
Peter Porter (poet)
Henry Handel Richardson (writer)
Catherine Helen Spence (writer, social activist)
Morris West (novelist)
Patrick White (writer) - Australia's only Nobel Prize winner in literature.
David Williamson (playwright)
Judith Wright (poet)
Also see Ned Kelly (bushranger)
Theatre & film
Dame Judith Anderson (actress) - a true dame of the stage and film.
Bruce Beresford (film director)
Cate Blanchett (actress)
Ruth Cracknell (actress)
Peter Finch (actor)
Errol Flynn (actor)
Mel Gibson (actor)
Sir Robert Helpmann (dancer, choreographer, actor) - whose achievements as a dancer, stage actor, screen actor, choreographer and director were all world class
Paul Hogan (comedian, actor)
Barry Humphries (satirist)
Baz Luhrmann (director)
Geoffrey Rush (actor)
Fred Schepisi (film director)
Nellie Stewart (actress, singer) - the darling of the stage for many decades and acknowledged as Australia's greatest singing actress
Bud Tingwell (actor)
Peter Weir (film director)
Music & Opera
John Antill (composer)
Florence Austral (singer)
John Brownlee (singer)
Peter Dawson (singer)
Lauris Elms (singer)
Peggy Glanville-Hicks (composer)
Percy Grainger (composer, pianist) - a ratbag genius.
Dame Joan Hammond (singer)
Marjorie Lawrence (singer)
Sir Charles Mackerras (conductor)
Dame Nellie Melba (singer) who claimed to have "put Australia on the map".
Gladys Moncrieff (singer) - affectionately known as "Our Glad"
Peter Sculthorpe (composer) whose music speaks with a distinctly Australian voice.
Dame Joan Sutherland (singer ) who for several decades dominated the world of bel canto opera
Margaret Sutherland (composer)
Barry Tuckwell (horn player, conductor) - an outstanding instrumentalist.
John Williams (guitarist) - another outstanding instrumentalist
Roger Woodward (pianist)
Robin Boyd (architect)
Walter Burley Griffin & Marion Mahony Griffin (architects) - whose vision for Canberra was thwarted by beurocracy
Glenn Murcutt (architect) - often known as 'The Tin Man'.
Harry Seidler (architect)
Richie Benaud (cricketer, sports commentator) - whose unique style of commentary has entertained and educated millions
Allan Border (cricketer)
Sir Jack Brabham (racing driver)
Sir Donald Bradman (cricketer, sportsman, businessman)
Jimmy Carruthers (boxer)
Roy Cazaly (footballer) whose exploits gave rise to the phrase 'up there Cazaly'.
Percy Cerutty (athletics coach) whose unorthodox methods produced remarkable results.
Margaret Court (Margaret Smith) (tennis player)
Jack Dyer ('Captain Blood') (footballer, commentator)
- Herb Elliott (athlete)
- Dawn Fraser (swimmer)
- Cathy Freeman (athlete)
- Harry Hopman (tennis player)
- Geoff Hunt (squash player)
- Marjorie Jackson (athlete, governor)
- John Landy (athlete, sportsman)
- Rod Laver (tennis player)
- Walter Lindrum (billiards player) who dominated the world in his chosen sport.
- Heather McKay (squash player)
- Keith Miller (sportsman)
- Sir Hubert Opperman ('Oppy') (cyclist, politician) who remains the the only Australian to have been voted European Sportsman of the Year, and who as a politician helped bring to an end the White Australia Policy.
- Pharlap (racehorse) who inspired a nation during the Depression.
- Lionel Rose (boxer)
- Murray Rose (swimmer)
- Bill Roycroft (horseman)
- Frank Sedgman (tennis player)
- Shirley Strickland Delahunty (athlete, scientist) - a nuclear physicist and one of Australia's most successful track and field athletes.
- Peter Thomson (golfer)
- Shane Warne (cricketer) who had a major impact on the way in which the game of cricket was played
- Ted Whitten (footballer)
Also see Adam Lindsay Gordon
Sir Thomas Blamey (Field Marshall)
Harry Chauvel (cavalry commander)
Albert Jacka (soldier, Victoria Cross winner) - Australia's first Victoria Cross winner of World War I.
Leslie Morshead (military commander)
Nancy Wake "The White Mouse" (resistance fighter)
- Simpson and his donkey
Ita Buttrose (journalist, publisher)
E. W. Cole (businessman, publisher)
John Fairfax (newspaper proprietor)
Sir Keith Murdoch (journalist, editor)
Bruce Petty (cartoonist)
Rev. John Flynn ('Flynn of the Inland') (minister) who used his profession of photography to finance his work with the flying doctor service.
Archbishop Daniel Mannix (Archbishop)
Saint Mary McKillop (Nun)
Peter Allen (entertainer, songwriter)
Robyn Archer (performer)
Slim Dusty (singer)
John Farnham (singer)
Florrie Forde (popular entertainer and singer) probably Australia's most successful popular singer ever who became one of the best loved music hall entertainers in the world.
Clive James (writer, broadcaster)
Graham Kennedy (entertainer)
Kylie Minogue (singer, actress, marketer) - although her talents as a singer and actress may not be of the highest class she has recognised how to skilfully market her image as a total package and as such has proved herself a consummate business woman
Roy Rene ('Mo') (comedian)
- Australian Prime Ministers
- Significant Melbourne People
- Significant People from Country Victoria
- Australian inventions and inventors