Image: Sir Frank Macfarlane Burnet, Australia's first Australian of the Year
In this, the 60th anniversary year of Sir Frank Macfarlane Burnet’s inaugural Australian of the Year award, Burnet Institute congratulates the 2020 Australian of the Year, eye surgeon, Dr James Muecke, and our many associates, partners, collaborators and supporters acknowledged for their outstanding service to the Australian community in the 2020 Australia Day honours.
Companion of the Order of Australia (AC)
Professor Elaine GARDNER AO, Parkville VIC: For eminent service to tertiary education through leadership and innovation in teaching and learning, research and financial sustainability.
Professor Gregory ROBINSON AM, Kirribilli NSW: For eminent service to medical research, and to national healthcare, through policy development and reform, and to tertiary education.
Professor Anthony THOMAS, North Adelaide SA: For eminent service to scientific education and research, particularly in the field of nuclear and particle physics, through academic leadership roles.
Officer of the Order of Australia (AO)
Professor Rachelle BUCHBINDER, Malvern VIC: For distinguished service to medical education in the fields of epidemiology and rheumatology, and to professional associations.
Mr Charles CURWEN CVO OBE, Tylden VIC: For distinguished service to the Crown, and to public administration in Victoria, to medical research, and to Australia-China business relations.
Emeritus Professor Jules Mitchell GUSS, Darling Point NSW: For distinguished service to education and scientific research in the field of molecular bioscience, and to professional organisations.
Ms Jane HANSEN, Toorak VIC: For distinguished service to the community, to education and cultural institutions, and through philanthropic support for charitable foundations.
Professor Peter McINTYRE, Atarmon NSW: For distinguished service to medicine, and to medical education, to child and adolescent health, and to professional bodies.
Professor Alison RITTER, Vaucluse NSW: For distinguished service to education, to drug and alcohol research and social policy, and to professional medical societies.
Professor Roy ROBINS-BROWNE, Templestowe VIC: For distinguished service to medical education and research in the field of microbiology and immunology, and to professional groups.
Member of the Order of Australia (AM)
Dr Christopher CLEMENTS, Mount Eliza VIC: For significant service to international public health through immunisation programs.
Emeritus Professor Brendan CROTTY, VIC: For significant service to health education, and to the community.
Professor Karen DAY, VIC: For significant service to science education, and to global public health.
Dr Robert EDGAR, East Melbourne VIC: For significant service to the banking and finance sectors, and to medical research organisations.
Ms Christine FRANKS, Greenwich NSW: For significant service to the community through social welfare initiatives.
Mr Matthew GROUNDS, NSW: For significant service to the financial investment sector, and to the community.
Mr William O'SHEA, Melbourne VIC: For significant service to the legal profession, and to the community.
Order of Australia Medal (OAM)
Ms Maree NUTT, Newport NSW: For service to the international community through poverty eradication organisations.
Image: Sir Frank Macfarlane Burnet
In 1960, Sir Frank Macfarlane Burnet, in whose honour Burnet Institute was named, had just returned from the presentation in Sweden of the Nobel Prize for Medicine, when announced as Australia’s first Australian of the Year.
When told of his honour, he replied: “It does indicate that the community thinks that science is important, which pleases me.”
Sir Frank shared the Nobel Prize with Peter Medawar of Britain for their discovery of acquired immunological tolerance, which paved the way for successful human organ transplants.
Born in Traralgon, Victoria in 1899, Sir Frank’s early research focused on bacteriology, but his major contribution was in virology.
Under his directorship, the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI) became a world leader in the study of the influenza virus and immunology.
Sir Frank was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1969.