Australian of the Year 2018 - Awards Presentation @ Parliament House

25 January 2018

The Australian of the Year Awards night used to be a big outdoor event that Canberrans attended in their thousands. Not necessarily for the awarding but definitely for the free concert and as a great prelude to the Australia Day holiday. Many a memorable night was danced away on a hot summer’s night as the award’s enclave – in the shade - played host to the year’s finalists with local notables invited to join the party.

The Roulettes flew over, the wine and food were exceptional and photo opportunities were everywhere. But all that changed with a drenching in 2016. Malcolm Turnbull for his first Australian of the Year Awards presentation was stoic in his duties but the drenching made for the most difficult photographs of the recipients in the mandatory group shots.

And now in its second year the official presentation of the Australian of the Year in the Great Hall of Parliament House with an ABC production that keeps the process slick and swift, we locals still lament the passing of the annual knees up on the Federation Mall.

 It has become a separate entity for the invited only and while we can sit at home and watch the event on the telly something is lost when all the finalists aren’t part of the presentation and only the category winners make it to the stage. This is the final moment in the celebrations for state and territory finalists and a prestigious occasion that they’ve spruced up for with family and friends along to party - but they are left to fade into the background.

But for those award recipients who came along for the pre, during and post production socialising it was a big finish to a memorable few days in Canberra that acknowledges their achievements and adds them to a list of exceptional Australians.