2010 GALA DINNER
One of Australia’s greatest strengths is our cultural diversity. We benefit enormously from our people, drawn from a wide variety of cultural, ethnic, linguistic and religious backgrounds. The country’s original inhabitants, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island peoples, are the custodians of one of the world’s oldest continuing traditions. They have been living in Australia for at least 40,000 years. The rest of Australia’s people are migrants or descendants of migrants who have arrived in Australia from about 200 countries since Great Britain established the first European settlement at Sydney Cover in 1788. When the Australian Government first created the ‘Assisted Passage’ scheme to attract British migrants down under travel was by ship and in 2010 guests were invited on board the ‘S.S. Australia’ to celebrate Multicultural Oz.
“John William’s talent is awe inspiring and there is no doubt he has influenced many to take up the guitar. As the foremost ambassador of the guitar we consider John Williams a truly worthy recipient of the 2010 Australian of the Year in the UK award, said Philip Aiken, Chairman of the Australia Day Foundation.
Williams has been working magic with the guitar for more than seven decades. His great interest in contemporary music has led to wide-ranging musical collaborations, including with Japanese, Cuban and African composers. He has recorded everything from classical music through jazz to pop, and worked with an extensive list of other great musicians, including: Itzaac Perlman, Jacqueline du Pré, Daniel Barenboim, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Andre Previn and Cleo Laine.
Born in Australia to an English jazz guitarist father and Australian mother, Williams was given his first guitar at the tender age of 4. He quickly showed signs of genius, and when he was just 11 he was invited by Andreas Segovia to attend his summer schools in Italy. A mere six years later, after more study at the Royal College of Music, Williams made his professional debut at Wigmore Hall.
Williams was awarded an OBE in 1980, made an officer of the Order of Australia in 1987, and presented with the Edison Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007.
The award recognises the extensive contribution Sir Robert has made to Anglo-Australian business over almost four decades.
It is also a tribute Sir Robert’s pioneering work on reform in the mining industry. He has campaigned for mining companies to establish a better financial track record, and established the Global Mining Initiative which introduced more ethical approaches to labour and the environment.
Under his stewardship Rio Tinto worked to limit its greenhouse gases, encourage biodiversity, and was a founding signatory of the Australian Minerals Industry Code for Environmental Management.
As well as being Chairman of the BG Group plc, a position he has held since 2004, Sir Robert is the Senior Independent Director of GlaxoSmithKline. He was the Chairman of The Economist from 2003 to 2009, and was knighted in 2000.
“Ainsley Newson has a clear idea of where she is heading and her desire to continue with her research and pass on her valued knowledge to others is why the Australia Day Foundation considers her a worthy recipient of tthe 2011 Young Australian Achiever of the Year award said Philip Aiken, Chairman of the Australia Day Foundation.
A scientist who has lived in the UK for 7 years, Dr Newson is a Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Ethics at the University of Bristol.
In her work Dr Newson grapples with some of the most challenging ethical questions modern science raises – questions about genetics, biotechnology and human reproduction, including the emerging technology of ‘synthetic biology’, which aims to design artificial biological components.
Not just a brilliant researcher, Dr Newson is also an inspiring teacher. The University of Bristol has recognised this, awarding her a “Rising Star’ prize for teaching in 2007.
Dr Newson earned a PhD in Medical Ethics from the University of Melbourne before she moved to the UK in 2003. She then completed a three-year Research Fellowship in Ethics and Genetics at Imperial College London.