Jackman, Bana in stellar Queen’s Birthday Honours list
ACTORS Hugh Jackman, Eric Bana and Sigrid Thornton are among the more than 1200 Australians who have received Queen's Birthday honours.
Sporting greats Johnathan Thurston and Francis Sedgman, media identities Ita Buttrose, Carrie Bickmore and singers Guy Sebastian and Darren Hayes have also been honoured, alongside scores of doctors, researchers, scientists, educators, business leaders, human rights crusaders and community champions, who have made positive differences to the fabric of the nation.
Star of much-loved Australian film The Castle, Bana said he was shocked and thrilled to be honoured for service to the performing arts and charities.
"It's not something I ever thought about and it's not something I ever even aspired to, it just happened. It's never been on my radar, so I am genuinely shocked and obviously thrilled - I am really, really chuffed," Bana, who has just finished filming of author Jane Harper's award-winning novel The Dry, told News Corp.
The honour was so great he might even be afforded "a good 48 hours of respect" from his teenage children, Bana joked.
Certainly his immigrant parents, and his brother, would be proud, he said.
Song and dance man Hugh Jackman said he was emotional about his Queen's Birthday honour.
"I am an immensely proud Australian, and am so grateful for the opportunities I have received by being raised there. The countless teachers, mentors, institutions who have supported me along the way are immeasurable, and I will always be in my country's debt," he said.
More women than ever before have been honoured this year, claiming 40 per cent of the Order of Australia awards, and the ages of recipients range from 18 to 99.
Victorian father and daughter polar explorers Paul and Jade Hameister have both been awarded, with Jade, who turned 18 just last week, one of the youngest ever to make the venerable list.
The plucky teen is also the youngest person in history to pull off the 'polar hat-trick', skiing to the North Pole, the South Pole, and crossing the second largest polar ice cap on the planet - Greenland.
Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd gets a gong, as does former Australian Democrats leader and gender equality advocate Natasha Stott Despoja, and former Liberal politician Nick Minchin.
Much loved Australian author Di Morrissey and Chinese-Australian Ballet dancer Li Cunxin of Mao's Last Dancer fame are among artists to be awarded, while anti-violence campaigner Rosie Batty is just one of the many community campaigners to be recognised for tireless efforts in fighting for change.
Among the many doctors and scientists, Victorian euthanasia campaigner Dr Rodney Syme has been honoured, as has highly skilled but largely unsung Queensland forensic dentist Associate Professor Alexander Forrest, who identifies unknown disaster victims, through their teeth.
Assoc. Prof. Forrest has helped identify victims of many disasters, including the Samoa tsunami and Kokoda air crash in 2010, Victorian bushfires in 2009, Thailand tsunami in 2004, Bali bombing in 2002 and Blackhawk helicopter crash in 1996.
A total of 1214 names grace the 2019 Queen's Birthday Honours List, with 993 recipients of awards in the General Division of the Order of Australia and 221 meritorious and military awards.
HUGH JACKMAN REACTS TO QUEEN'S BIRTHDAY HONOUR
Hugh Jackman says he will always be in Australia's debt, as he pays tribute to his immigrant parents and the "countless" teachers and mentors who made his international success possible.
The award-winning actor and song and dance man said he was emotional and humbled by his Queen's Birthday honour.
"As the youngest son of parents who made the decision to immigrate to Australia the year before I was born, this honour is especially emotional and humbling to me. I am an immensely proud Australian, and am so grateful for the opportunities I have received by being raised there. The countless teachers, mentors, institutions who have supported me along the way are immeasurable, and I will always be in my country's debt," Jackman said.
"And to my family, thank you. From Deb, Oscar, Ava, my parents, siblings and my closest friends - I am also keenly aware that without their love and support I would never have been in the position I am."
Jackman's parents arrived in Australia from England as "ten pound poms" in 1967.
His own children Oscar and Ava are adopted.
Jackman has been awarded a Companion in the General Division of the Order of Australia for eminent service to the performing arts as an acclaimed actor and performer, and to the global community as an advocate for poverty eradication.
Together with his wife Deborra-Lee Furness, the X-Men, Wolverine and Greatest Showman star is known for his philanthropic and human rights commitment, adoption advocacy and support of the arts.
MORE MUSIC AND TV STARS HONOURED
Guy Sebastian was six years old when his parents Ivan and Nellie immigrated to Australia from Malaysia.
As the new boy at school who looked and spoke differently, Sebastian "wanted to feel like I belonged."
He cried when told he would be a recipient of the Order of Australia Medal, feeling the embrace of the country in which his family had sought a better life.
"So many times throughout my life I have felt like a proud Australian. Obviously winning the first Idol, representing Australia overseas at World Idol and then Eurovision and as soon as I got the news about the OAM, I just couldn't wait to tell mum and dad who had sacrificed everything for us," he said.
The award also acknowledges the work of the Sebastian Foundation he set up with his wife Jules to renovate shelters for women and their children escaping domestic violence.
Sebastian's Sony Music stablemate David Campbell is also an OAM recipient in this year's honour roll.
Campbell said he is most proud of the work he and his wife Lisa have done to support the musical theatre community in Australia with their Hayes Theatre Company.
"The acknowledgment isn't necessarily for me but about making something where others in the musical theatre community can come and have a go and I think it's great that the arts can be seen in that way, that we can all pitch in together to create something," he said.
Campbell's greatest fear about the honour is the behaviour of his adorable children Leo and twins Betty and Billy at the award presentation.
"I'm more worried about the kids breaking something at Government House, vomiting or Betty saying something that will be inappropriate," he said.
Other entertainment luminaries to be recognised in this year's honours list include Fifa Riccobono, the woman who was a force behind AC/DC and Alberts Music, legendary dancer and choreographer Meryl Tankard.
MEDIA STARS AMONG QUEEN'S BIRTHDAY HONOURS
News Corp's Campbell Reid, media doyenne and current ABC Chair, Ita Buttrose, award-winning journalist Leigh Sales and much-loved, retired sports reporter Ken Sutcliffe, are among media identities to receive Queen's Birthday honours.
Mr Reid - who is responsible for corporate affairs, policy and government relations teams across News Corp Australia's publishing and broadcast assets - said he was "overwhelmed" to be honoured for significant service to the print media.
"I am overwhelmed that people have seen fit to put my name forward for an honour like this," the former Daily Telegraph and The Australian editor said.
"I have had the privilege of reporting, editing and publishing stories that matter for my entire adult life. It has been an accidental adventure shaped by an extraordinary cast of mentors, colleagues and mates.
"But as much as I celebrate the long traditions and larrikin legacy of the Australian newspaper business, the most important days for leaders of our profession are right now as we reclaim the visibility and viability of Australian storytellers across all mediums and platforms.
"I love the stories we have told in the past, but our great responsibility is to the stories yet to be told and the people who will tell them.
"The future journalism needs to be secured not only in the face of digital disruption but also, as events of last week demonstrated, in the face of a dangerously expanding dossier of laws with powers to jail journalists who dare to keep the public informed."
Media pioneer Ita Buttrose has been honoured "for eminent service to the community through leadership in the media, the arts and the health sector, and as a role model".
She is well known for her support of health organisations and causes including Dementia Australia (formerly Alzheimer's Australia), Arthritis Australia, the Macular Disease Foundation and Breast Cancer Network.
Both the ABC's Leigh Sales and former journalist and sports presenter Ken Sutcliffe have been honoured for service to the broadcast media.
MEDICAL EXPERTS IN QUEEN'S BIRTHDAY LIST
Euthanasia advocate Dr Rodney Syme who has spent decades lobbying for voluntary assisted dying is the recipient of a Queen's Birthday honour.
The 84-year-old urologist and surgeon started what he described as his "life of crime" in helping others to die with dignity in the mid 1970s when he helped a patient in extreme pain end his life.
In the early 1990s he began an unofficial career as a medical counsellor in end of life advice.
He attempted to provoke a legal test case on euthanasia in 2005 by admitting publicly that he provided a dying man Steve Guest with the drug Nembutal two weeks before he died.
In 2016, The Medical Board banned him from providing advice to terminally ill patients after he told ABC television program Australian Story he had offered to provide 71-year-old cancer patient Bernard Erica with the euthanasia drug Nembutal.
He later won an appeal that overturned the ban.
A leading advocate of the Voluntary Assisted Dying laws that passed the Victorian Parliament in 2017 he was awarded the honour of Australian Humanist of the Year in 2017.
Accepting the award he said "how we die is important - it is at the core of how our loved ones remember us."
"My aim in counselling is to help people to go as far with their lives as they can consistent with their values and their assessment of their quality of life, and if they are approaching, or have reached the end of their journey, to provide them with control."
Other health experts to be honoured include:
* Prof Ruth Bishop is a virologist who was a leading member of the team that discovered the human rotavirus
* Prof David Burke is a neurophysiologist who defined the role of feedback from muscle sensors in controlling movement from single nerve fibres
* Prof Alan Cowman specialises in researching the parasites that cause malaria at the Walter and Eliza Hall Medical Research Institute
* Prof Andrew Biankin works in developing personalised medicine responses to pancreatic cancer
* Prof Lex Doyle a paediatrician who has led research into premature babies and research into the risk of babies developing cerebral palsy
* Prof David Mackey an ophthalmologist who specialises in the genetic root of glaucoma and other eye diseases.