Australia is a country with a comparatively small population and a short recorded history. Nevertheless it has produced a large number of distinguished people. Australia is one of the world's most innovative nations, full of highly talented people from all walks of life who are encouraged to fulfil their dream and do their best. The array of talent and inventiveness is both diverse and abundant. This is just a snapshot of Australian alumni who have achieved international success in their particular field.
Science, medicine, engineering
Dr Peter Colman
One of the world's leading x-ray crystallographers, a driving force behind the anti-influenza drug. Awarded the Australia Prize in 1996.
Sir Gustav Nossal
Chairman of the Scientific Advance Group of Experts for the Global Programme for Vaccines and Immunization at the World Health Organisation since 1994
Worked on engines resulting in the development of the orbital engine. The company is now listed on Wall Street.
Dr Andrew Thomas
NASA Space Shuttle astronaut, aboard the Russian MIR space station, recently returned from his third space mission
Sir Alan Walsh
First developed the atomic absorption spectrophotometer, a complex instrument used in chemical analysis to determine low concentration of metals
Controls the world's third largest media empire including the New York Post, the London Times, Twentieth Century Fox productions and the LA Dodgers baseball team
CEO of the Ford Motor Company, the world's second largest auto company
James D Wolfensohn
World Bank's ninth President in 1995
His Eminence Cardinal Edward Cassidy
Cardinal President for the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews since 1989
Author of best-seller The Thorn Birds which was selected by the United States Literary Guild
Feminist and author of The Female Eunuch
Author of Schindler's Ark, winner of the coveted English literary Booker Prize, and developed by Stephen Spielberg into the popular film, Schindler's List
Established "Clean Up Australia" which has now become an international event, "Clean Up the World". He was awarded the prestigious 1998 United Nations Environment Programme Sasakawa Environment Prize
Leading international journalist and documentary filmmaker for his exposure of human rights abuses. He was awarded the UN Association Media Peace Prize and Gold Medal in 1979 and 1980 for his television documentary Year Zero which exposed the atrocities of the Pol Pott regime in Cambodia. He was also awarded the International Reporter of the Year in 1970.
Sir William Dobell
Eminent portrait painter and winner of two Australian Archibald Prizes. The American Time magazine cover illustrations.
Creative director and a commercial artist before taking up painting. After a successful exhibition he began to market his prints commercially and is now well known internationally, turning over $100 million a year.
Pro (Kevin) Charles Hart
Prolific artist. His paintings are in great demand internationally and can be found hanging in the White House and in the Prince Phillip's (husband of Queen Elizabeth) collection in Britain.
After a distinguished career in Australia, Hughes was selected as the senior art critic for Time magazine.
He has received numerous accolades for his work including the Frank Jewett Mather Award for Distinguished Art Criticism.
Freelance cartoonist in London and New York and feature cartoonist for The Australian newspaper. He also made a number of award winning cartoon films including the Oscar-winning Leisure '77.
Fashion designer and a favourite of Hollywood stars including Brad Pitt, Jeff Goldbrum, Susan Sarandon and Julia Roberts
Internationally recognised for his paintings. He was awarded numerous prizes for his works including the international prize at the Paris Biennale and the Australian Archibald Prize for portraiture. His work is represented at the Australian National Gallery in Canberra, the Tate Gallery in London and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Music, film, theatre
Film director in Australia and Hollywood. Tender Mercies received an Academy Award nominee for Best, Director. He also directed the movie, Driving Miss Daisy, which won the 1990 Oscar for Best Picture.
Internationally acclaimed actor Russell Crowe has confirmed his stature as one of the world’s leading men with his Oscar-winning role as Maximus in Gladiator (2000) and his Oscar-nominated role as Jeffrey Wigand, the tobacco industry whistleblower in The Insider (1999).
Coveted role in the internationally renowned Australian movie, My Brilliant Career, launched her onto the international stage. Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for A Passage to India in 1984.
International movie star for his roles in the Lethal Weapon series. He then went on to direct and act in the Academy Award winning movie, Braveheart. Mel Gibson was also awarded the Academy Award for Best Director.
International movie star for her roles in 24 movies, including Moulin Rouge, The Others and Cold Mountain. She was nominated for Best Actress in the 75th Annual Academy Awards for her role as Virginia Wolfe in The Hours.
Film director of the Australian movie Strictly Ballroom, Moulin Rouge and the critically-acclaimed contemporary version of Romeo and Juliet
Dame Nellie Melba
Soprano opera singer of worldwide renown and popularity. Appeared regularly at Convent Garden and major houses in Europe and United States. The ice-cream dish peche melba is named after her.
Music composer. He is best known for the Sun Music series composed for the Commonwealth Festival of Arts in London. He was appointed an Order of Australia in 1990.
Film director of a number of critically-acclaimed and popular Hollywood movies, The Truman Show and Green Card, and an Academy Award nominee for directing Witness and the Dead Poets Society.