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Geoffrey Rush Named Australian of the Year 2012


25 January 2012 at 7:33 pm
Lina Caneva
Actor and performing arts mentor Geoffrey Rush has been named the Australian of the Year for 2012 by Prime Minister Julia Gillard at a special ceremony in Canberra.

Lina Caneva | 25 January 2012 at 7:33 pm


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Geoffrey Rush Named Australian of the Year 2012
25 January 2012 at 7:33 pm

Actor and performing arts mentor Geoffrey Rush has been named the Australian of the Year for 2012 by Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

A leading Australian actor and film producer, Geoffrey has been honoured for his outstanding
achievements in a lifetime career on the stage and screen and for his long term commitment to the Australian arts, including mentoring young Australian artists.

Rush from Victoria, is one of the few people to have won the ‘Triple Crown of Acting’ – an Academy Award, a Tony Award and an Emmy Award. He also has three British Academy Film Awards, two Golden Globes, four Screen Actors Guild Awards, a number of AFI awards and has been inducted into the ranks of Australia’s elite performing artists with a Helpmann Award.

His story is all the more impressive considering his international career did not take off until his mid-40s when he won an Oscar for his performance in Shine, based on the life of pianist and composer David Helfgott. It was his masterful performance as Peter Sellers that earned him an Emmy and a Golden Globe.

However, it is also his profound interest in and support of Australian film and theatre which has earned respect and admiration. While working internationally, he has always maintained a commitment to Australian film and theatre and he has been instrumental in helping many young artists get started in their careers, including Cate Blanchett whom he chose to star alongside him in a theatre production not long after she graduated from NIDA.  

As a measure of his passionate commitment to Australia's performing arts, Geoffrey recently accepted the appointment as foundation President of the newly established Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts.

In accepting the award in Canberra he said the it was a great honour and an endorsement of the national story of creativity.

The Australia Day Awards were a double victory for Victoria.

Victorian Engineering student Marita Cheng  has been named The Young Australian of the Year 2012. Marita, the daughter of Chinese parents, regularly encourages girls to pursue engineering studies and careers.

While still a university student, Marita Cheng has demonstrated vision and leadership well beyond her years and is dedicated to encouraging young women to become interested in an engineering career.

Marita founded Robogals Global in 2008, as a response to the traditionally low levels of participation by women in science, engineering and technology. Robogals Global uses fun and educational activities to teach secondary school girls about science and technology.

By 2010, Robogals had run workshops for 3,000 girls in Australia and has now expanded to 17 branches across Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Aboriginal elder, Northern Territory – Laurie Baymarrwangga was named Senior Australian of the year.


Lina Caneva  |  Editor  |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years. She was the editor of Pro Bono Australia News from when it was founded in 2000 until 2018.

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