Australian Steve Irwin was a world famous, high-spirited, lively host of The Crocodile Hunter television series. A conservationist, he was also part of other shows and documentaries on wildlife and environment. He was known for close encounters with some of the most dangerous and endangered animals in various jungles. He died after being pierced in the chest by a stingray barb while filming in Australia's Great Barrier Reef.
Julian Assange made headlines all over the world in 2010 when WikiLeaks, a non-profit organization founded by him, gained international attention after publishing leaks, such as the Afghanistan war logs and Iraq war logs. After dodging arrest for several years, he was finally arrested in 2019 and is currently imprisoned in HM Prison Belmarsh.
Actor Madeleine Madden is also the great-granddaughter of Australian Aboriginal leader Hetty Perkins and the granddaughter of soccer player Charles Perkins. At 13, she made waves as the first Australian teen to deliver an address to the nation. She made her Hollywood debut with Dora and the Lost City of Gold.
Charles Perkins had initially been a footballer who played for teams such as Everton and coached Pan-Hellenic to fund his university studies. He later gained recognition as an Aboriginal activist after organizing the Freedom Ride to protest against racial discrimination and became the Secretary of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs.
Palestinian-origin Australian businessman Ali Banat was initially known for his flamboyant lifestyle. The millionaire who owned a security and electrical company turned into a humanitarian after being diagnosed with stage-4 cancer. His charity, Muslims Around the World, was aimed at helping the needy. He eventually lost his battle to cancer at 35.
Edith Cowan was an Australian social reformer best remembered for serving as a member of parliament; she was the first Australian woman to do so. She is also remembered for working for the welfare and rights of children and women. In recognition of her contribution, Cowan has been depicted on Australia's fifty-dollar note since 1995.
Australian Aboriginal activist Burnum Burnum was separated from his family as an infant and grew up in a mission home. The Churchill Scholarship winner was a law graduate and also excelled in rugby. He is best remembered for erecting the aboriginal flag in Dover during the Australian bicentenary celebrations.
Judith Wright was an Australian environmentalist, poet, and campaigner for Indigenous land rights. Wright is credited with founding one of the earliest environmental conservation movements in Australia. Best remembered for her poetry skills, Judith Wright won the prestigious Christopher Brennan Award in 1976. In 1991, she was honored with the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry.
Oodgeroo Noonuccal was an Aboriginal Australian poet, political activist, artist, and educator. She became the first Aboriginal Australian to publish a book of verse. She emerged as a prominent political activist in the 1960s and campaigned for aboriginal rights. She was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire and won many literary awards.
Miles Franklin was an Australian feminist and writer best remembered for her 1901 novel My Brilliant Career. Franklin, who made immense contributions to Australian literature, was honored with the prestigious S. H. Prior Memorial Prize twice during her illustrious career. The Miles Franklin Award and the Stella Prize were established in her honor.
Australian disability activist, comedian, and broadcast journalist Stella Young had worked extensively for the ABC. Born with a genetic disorder called osteogenesis imperfecta, or the brittle bone disease, she spent almost her entire life on a wheelchair. She died of an aneurysm at age 32.
Catherine Helen Spence was a 19th-century Scottish-born Australian author, teacher, journalist, and politician. One of the leading suffragists of her era, she was also a minister of religion and social worker. She supported electoral proportional representation. Australian writer and feminist Miles Franklin called her the "Greatest Australian Woman".
Patrick Dodson is an Australian politician who has been serving as the Senator for Western Australia since 2016. A Yawuru man, Dodson is best known for his association with the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, where he has served as chairman. In 2008, he was honored with the prestigious Sydney Peace Prize. In 2009, he was awarded the John Curtin Medal.
Apart from being a successful barrister, Melbourne-based Julian Burnside, now a Living National Treasure, is also a famed human rights activist. A lover of the arts, he is a passionate collector of paintings and sculptures and has also chaired Chamber Music Australia. An author too, he has penned a children’s book.
Mick Dodson is an Aboriginal Australian barrister and academic. He is a member of the Yawuru people of the southern Kimberley region of Western Australia. In 1974, he became the first Indigenous person to graduate with a law degree in Australia. He has worked as a criminal solicitor and is a legal adviser in native title and human rights.
Dorothy Hewett was an Australian feminist poet, novelist, and playwright, often credited to be one of Australia's best-loved and most respected writers. She studied English at the University of Western Australia (UWA) and wrote for a Communist newspaper under a pseudonym. Over time, she established herself as a prominent author of feminist literature. She received the Christopher Brennan Award.