First published in The Age on December 13, 1992
Australian treasures named
Australia’s 100 living national treasures will not necessarily get along but they make a fascinating gathering.
Ruth Cracknell and Sir Don Bradman, Sir Arthur Boyd and Raelene Boyle, Dame Joan Sutherland and Ernie Dingo, Sir Roden Cutler and Judy Davis, Gai Waterhouse and Reverend Tim Costello, Judith Wright and R.M.Williams, Cathy Freeman and Malcolm Fraser, Margaret Whitlam and Barry Humphries, Mick Dodson and Cheryl Kernot and John Howard and Paul Keating.
The National Trust will release a list today of 100 Australians who have made outstanding and lasting contributions in any field of human endeavour. More than 10,000 Australians voted, nominating more than 1200 people. The trust hopes most of the 100 will attend a dinner at the Sydney Town Hall on 18 February.
Mr Michael Ball, of the National Trust, said yesterday: “No two people in Australia will agree exactly on the 100 but I think there will be widespread agreement that it’s as good a list as you could get. It covets the spectrum of Australian society.”
Ted Matthews, who landed on Gallipoli on April 25, 1915 and died on Tuesday after the list was finalised, will remain on the list. Nugget Coombs, who was director-general of post-war reconstruction, Reserve Bank governor, advised seven prime ministers and shaped policy and community attitudes on education, the arts and Aboriginal affairs, would have been among the 100.
Some names were entirely predictable. No one sportsperson, according to the figures, has so dominated any sport anywhere as Bradman dominated cricket. Sutherland became one of the leading sopranos of the century, known worldwide as La Stupenda. Boyd is one of Australia’s greatest painters. Humphries has made Australians, and others, look at themselves and laugh. Scientists Gus Nossal and Nobel Prize winner Peter Doherty are household names.