EVERY year the Australia Day Foundation honours the remarkable achievements of Australians living and working in the UK through the presentation of the Australian of the Year in the UK and Young Australian Achiever of the Year in the UK awards.
This year the Foundation named Frederick Fox, Australia’s milliner to Her Majesty The Queen for 34 years, as Australian of the Year in the UK. The award was presented at a gala dinner held on Australia Day, 26 January. The evening marked not only an important night in recognising the work of Australians in the UK, but also in the history of the Foundation itself as it celebrated its 10th anniversary.
Australia Day Foundation Director Bill Muirhead said he could not think of a more worthy recipient of the 2013 Australian of the Year in the UK award than Frederick Fox, considered one of Britain’s greatest and most distinguished milliners.
“To have been milliner to Her Majesty The Queen for 34 years will be a record no other milliner will match.
“When Hardy Aimes first saw Frederick Fox’s innovative designs he immediately recognised the brilliance of a true master craftsman.”
Born in 1931 in Jerilderie in NSW’s Riverina, Fox’s design ambitions took him first to Sydney to train with top French milliner Henriette La Motte.
Fox left for life in London at age 27, securing a job with Otto Lucas.
In 1964 he took over Langee, and consolidated his reputation as a brilliant designer. Fox first came to the Queen’s attention in 1968 when asked to create hats for the Queen’s tour of Chile and Argentina. It was the start of a partnership which would last over 34 years and result in the crafting of more than 350 of the Queen’s hats.
Fox said of his time with the Queen: “I managed to survive 3 tailors, 4 dressmakers, 3 vendeuses and 2 designers and was able to give continuity to millinery for 34 years of our monarch’s remarkable reign.”
Fox also designed hats for Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, Princess Anne, Diana the Princess of Wales, Princess Alice, The Duchess of Kent, the Duchess of Gloucester, and Princess Michael of Kent whilst continuing to design for a large international clientele including Hilary Clinton, Joan Collins and Barbara Cartland.
He has worked on several films, including collaborating with film director Stanley Kubrick, designing the iconic white leather crash helmets and suits for the film 2001, A Space Odyssey.
Fox is recognised as being the creator of the modern ‘fascinator’, after first designing and presenting it in his 1999 collection.
In receiving the award Fox joined a long list of distinguished previous recipients who have excelled in their fields in the UK. This includes Clive James, Professor Lord May of Oxford, Professor Lord Broers of Cambridge, Sir Charles Mackerras, Michael Hintze, Gill Hicks, John Williams, Stuart Devlin and the 2012 winner – Barry Humphries.
Young Australian Achiever of the Year in the UK awarded to first Aboriginal Rhodes Scholar
Also honoured at the Australia Day Foundation gala dinner were the achievements of young Australians in the UK, through the awarding of the Young Australian Achiever of the Year in the UK.
This year’s recipient is Australia’s first Aboriginal Rhodes Scholar, Rebecca Richards. Philip Aiken, Chairman of the Australia Day Foundation, praised Ms Richards achievements when presenting her the award.
After graduating with first class honours from Anthropology at the University of Adelaide, Ms Richards was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship and is currently pursuing further studies in Anthropology at Oxford.
Ms Richards is passionate about Indigenous health, human rights and education issues and is committed to preserving and promoting Aboriginal culture. She has custodial responsibilities for women’s sites in the Flinders Ranges and her family site, Pakatu.
Ms Richards volunteered as a mentor at a teen challenge drug rehabilitation bush survival camp; was National Indigenous Youth Mobility Program spokesperson; mentor in the University of Adelaide Indigenous head-start program for rural students; youth ambassador for the National Centre for Indigenous Excellence and attended the United National Forum on Indigenous Issues and named Young Australian of the Year for South Australia in 2012.
After completing her Masters in Material Anthropology and Museum Ethnography at Oxford, Ms Richards hopes to help Aboriginal communities link up with and access objects from the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford.
Young Australian Achiever of the Year in the UK has been awarded annually since 2005. Previous recipients are Harry Kewell, Shane Osborn, Joe Roff, Chloe Chick, Matt Wilkin, Dr Ainsley Newson, Tim Minchin and Yasmin Sewell.
BAE Systems director Guy Griffiths awarded Honorary Australian of the Year in the UK
In addition to recognising the achievements of Australians living in the UK, the Australia Day Foundation also honours a non-Australian resident of the UK who has displayed “Australian characteristics” or has contributed significantly to Australia. The previous recipients of Honorary Australian of the Year in the UK have included Hazel Murphy, Baroness Greenfield, Sir David Attenborough, Sir Robert Wilson, and Matthew Jukes.
This year the Foundation honoured businessman Guy Griffiths and his contributions to the Australian defence industry. Bill Muirhead, Director of the Australia Day Foundation praised Mr Griffiths as a worthy recipient of the award.
“Guy Griffiths is an outstanding businessman and a genuine leader of the global defence sector. Australia in particular has benefited from Guy’s involvement in some of its most complex and largest defence industry projects.”
As Group Managing Director — International for BAE Systems, Mr Griffiths led the effort to build up BAE Systems’ operations in Australia, and the company is now the largest Australian defence company with 5,900 Australians employed in urban, regional and remote locations across the country.
Australia’s Hawk Lead In Fighter, fleet of F18 fighter aircraft, fleets of Blackhawk, Seahawk and Chinook helicopters are maintained by the Australian company.
In previous work in Australia Mr Griffiths was responsible for the Royal Australian Air Force taking delivery of its first ASRAAM Missile for which he received the Queen’s Award for Export.
Mr Griffiths was honoured with a CBE in 2008 for his services to the defence industry. – With sources