National Living Treasure (Australia)

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Australia's National Living Treasures is a list of up to 100 living people created and occasionally updated by the National Trust of Australia's New South Wales branch. The people were selected by popular vote for having made outstanding contributions to Australian society in any field of human endeavour.


In 1997 the National Trust of Australia (NSW) called for nominations from the public for 100 Australian Living Treasures and each nomination was counted as one vote. The nominees had to be living and had to have made a substantial and enduring contribution. The choice of those who were named as National Living Treasures was made by more than 10,000 Australians voting. Their votes determined who was chosen. The first list of 100 Living Treasures was published in 1997. Phillip Adams, himself named as a National Treasure, gave his own opinion in an article on ANZAC Day in 2015 that when the list was first published in 1997, most were amused to find they were nominated; he suggested an alternative list to "celebrate those who make us happy."[1]

In 2004 the list was refreshed with 15 new names, following the deaths of some people on the list and the exclusion of disgraced former Justice Marcus Einfeld,[2] following an identical process to that used in 1997 – a public nomination and vote.

On 23 January 2012, the National Trust of Australia (NSW) joined with Woman's Day magazine to launch a nationwide search for seven new National Living Treasures. They were announced, amid controversy, on 4 March 2012 when the National Trust refused to endorse the NSW branch's listing of the mining magnate Clive Palmer as one of the members.[3][4] Graeme Blackman, the chairman of the Australian Council of National Trusts said I am telling you, as the chairman, it is not auspiced by the National Trust nationally.[4] However, the next day it was reported that "trust president Ian Carroll said the titles recognised that the country's culture was more than just our buildings and natural heritage."[5]

On 30 July 2014, the board of the National Trust of Australia (NSW) voted to remove Rolf Harris from the list after his conviction on twelve charges of indecent assault between 1969 and 1986, and to withdraw the award.[6] Harris had been among the original 100 Australians selected for the honour in 1997.

Current list[edit]

The 85 still-living people on the 2014 list which originally contained 93 living people:[6]

Deceased (formerly listed)[edit]

Removed while living[edit]

Related lists[edit]

  • Western Australia's Department of Culture and the Arts has a list of State Living Treasures awarded in 1998, 2004 and 2015 to "honour influential elders of the artistic community", "acknowledge the ability of artists to engage, move, involve and entertain audiences. They honour the skill, imagination and originality of the artist" and "honour those artists whose lifetime work has enhanced the artistic and cultural life of Western Australia, providing inspiration for other artists and enriching the community."[11]


  1. ^ "National Living Treasures? I've got another list" by Phillip Adams, The Australian, 25 April 2015 (ANZAC Day)
  2. ^ "15 Australians honoured as 'national living treasures'". Australia: ABC News. 14 March 2004. Retrieved 18 July 2010. 
  3. ^ "National Trust announces seven new National Living Treasures" (Press release). National Trust of Australia (NSW). 4 March 2012. Archived from the original on 21 March 2012. Retrieved 8 March 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "National living treasure uproar" by Christine Sams and Cosima Marriner, The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 March 2012
  5. ^ Farrow, Lauren (5 March 2012). "Seven added to national living treasure list". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 30 August 2016. 
  6. ^ a b c National Living Treasures – Current List, Deceased, Formerly Listed, National Trust of Australia (NSW), 22 August 2014
  7. ^ Clennell, Andrew; Wood, Alicia (24 January 2013). "O'Shane to retire from life on bench". The Australian. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  8. ^ "BRW Rich 200 List 2016". 27 May 2016. 
  9. ^ "Refined votes made Clive Palmer a national living treasure" by Hedley Thomas, The Australian, 20 July 2013
  10. ^ Daniele, Linda (1 November 2008). "Marcus Einfeld: From living treasure to liar". The Australian. Retrieved 18 July 2010. 
  11. ^ "Living Treasures". Government of Western Australia. Retrieved 30 August 2016. 

External links[edit]