Feb 272020

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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