List of Knights and Dames of the Order of Australia

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Badge of a Knight and a Dame of the Order of Australia

This is a list of Knights and Dames of the Order of Australia.

The Order of Australia is the only Australian order of chivalry, although certain dynastic British orders of chivalry, such as the Order of the Garter, the Order of the Thistle and the Royal Victorian Order, may still be awarded to Australians by the Monarch of Australia. It was established on 14 February 1975 by Queen Elizabeth II on the recommendation of the Prime Minister of Australia, Gough Whitlam, to recognise Australian citizens and other persons for achievement, meritorious service, or for both. At its establishment, the Order of Australia included three grades: Companion, Officer and Member, and two Divisions: Civil and Military.

On 24 May 1976, the grades of Knight (AK) and Dame (AD), and the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM), were established by the Monarch on the advice of Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, and the Civil Division was renamed the General Division. Knight and Dame of the Order of Australia superseded Companion of the Order as the highest grade, however Knight and Dame are only awarded in the General Division of the Order.

Recipients who are not Australian citizens may be appointed Honorary Knights or Dames,[1] although no such appointments have yet been made. Although Heir to the Australian throne, Charles, Prince of Wales is not an Australian citizen; to avoid his appointment being as an Honorary Knight, the Constitution of the Order of Australia was amended by Letters Patent to enable him to be a substantive Knight.

Following the 1983 election, Prime Minister Bob Hawke advised the abolition of the Knight and Dame grades. On 3 March 1986, the Monarch co-signed Letters Patent revoking the categories of Knight and Dame – existing Knights and Dames were not affected by this change. Following his election in 2013, Prime Minister Tony Abbott advised the Queen to reinstate the categories of Dame and Knight. In March 2014, the Queen co-signed Letters Patent to bring this into effect.

Governors-General become Principal Companion, Dame or Knight of the Order (as appropriate at the time) on assuming the office of Governor-General.[1]

Knights of the Order of Australia[edit]

Name Born Died Notability Awarded[2] Notes
Barwick, Sir GarfieldSir Garfield Barwick AK GCMG QC 22 Jun 1903 14 Jul 1997 Attorney-General of Australia (1958–64); Minister for External Affairs (1961–64); Chief Justice of Australia (1964–81) 8 Jun 1981 Q [1]
Burnet, Sir MacFarlaneSir MacFarlane Burnet OM AK KBE 3 Sep 1899 31 Aug 1985 Virologist, Nobel laureate in 1960 for predicting acquired immune tolerance and was best known for developing the theory of clonal selection 26 Jan 1978 A [2]
Cosgrove, General Sir PeterGeneral Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC 28 Jul 1947 living (age 67) Chief of the Defence Force (2002-05), Governor-General 2014– 28 Mar 2014 O[3]
Court, Sir CharlesSir Charles Court AK KCMG OBE 29 Sep 1911 22 Dec 2007 Premier of Western Australia (1974–82) 14 Jun 1982 Q [3]
Cowen, Sir ZelmanSir Zelman Cowen AK GCMG GCVO QC PC 7 Oct 1919 8 Dec 2011 Governor-General (1977–82) 8 Dec 1977 O [4]
Cutler, Sir RodenSir Roden Cutler VC AK KCMG KCVO CBE 24 May 1916 22 Feb 2002 Decorated soldier, diplomat, and longest-serving Governor of New South Wales (1966–81) 7 Apr 1981 [5]
Jackson, Sir GordonSir Gordon Jackson AK 5 May 1924 1 Jun 1991 Industrialist; previously a Companion of the Order 13 Jun 1983 Q [6]
Kerr, Sir JohnSir John Kerr AK GCMG GCVO 24 Sep 1914 24 Mar 1991 Governor-General (1974–77) 24 May 1976 O[4] [7]
Menzies, Sir RobertSir Robert Menzies KT AK CH QC 20 Dec 1894 15 May 1978 Prime Minister (1939–41, 1949–66) 7 Jun 1976 Q [8]
Stephen, Sir NinianSir Ninian Stephen KG AK GCMG GCVO KBE PC QC 15 Jun 1923 living (age 91) High Court Judge (1972-82), Governor-General (1982–89) 29 Jul 1982 O [9]
Syme, Sir ColinSir Colin Syme AK[5] 22 Apr 1903 19 Jan 1986 Industrialist 6 Jun 1977 Q [10]
Wales, Prince Charles, Prince ofPrince Charles, Prince of Wales KG KT GCB OM AK QSO  PC 14 Nov 1948 living (age 65) Heir apparent to the Australian throne 14 Mar 1981 [11]
Wright, Sir RoySir Roy Wright AK 7 Aug 1907 28 Feb 1990 Physiologist 26 Jan 1983 A [12]

Dames of the Order of Australia[edit]

Name Born Died Notability Awarded[2] Notes
Bashir, Dame MarieDame Marie Bashir AD CVO 1 Dec 1930 living (age 83) Governor of New South Wales 2001- 9 Jun 2014 Q [13]
Bryce, Dame QuentinDame Quentin Bryce AD CVO 23 Dec 1942 living (age 71) Governor of Queensland (2003-08), Governor-General (2008-14) 25 Mar 2014 O[4]
Hasluck, Dame AlexandraDame Alexandra Hasluck AD 26 Aug 1908 18 Jun 1993 Author and social historian 6 Jun 1978 Q [14]
Lyons, Dame EnidDame Enid Lyons AD GBE 9 Jul 1897 2 Sep 1981 First woman elected to the House of Representatives; first woman appointed to the federal Cabinet 26 Jan 1980 A [15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Order of Australia". Ninth Edition, 2009. Issued by the Office of the Official Secretary to the Governor-General, Government House, Canberra. 
  2. ^ a b Date Awarded
    A = Australia Day List (26 January)
    Q = Queen's Birthday List (Second Monday in June)
    O = On assuming office as Governor-General, (or in the case of John Kerr and Quentin Bryce, on establishment / restoration of the grade of Dame / Knight).
  3. ^ Gen Cosgrove was previously a Companion of the Order in the Military Division prior to his appointment as Governor-General.
  4. ^ a b John Kerr was the Governor-General and Principal Companion of the Order when the grade of Dame / Knight was established; his knighthood took effect immediately the category of Knight was established. Similarly Quentin Bryce when the grade was restored.
  5. ^ Colin Syme had previously been knighted as a Knight Bachelor, which carries no postnominal.