Tim Minchin received the accolade before almost 300 guests at the Australia Day Foundation Black Tie Gala Dinner at Australia House in London on Saturday night.
“I’ve never thought of myself as someone who ‘achieves’ stuff; more someone who gets away with things,” Minchin told Australian Times on the night. “This award is a great honour and a huge surprise.”
Minchin, who performed live at the event, has been touring the UK since December 2010 to critical acclaim, performing to capacity crowds at London’s O2 Arena and in venues throughout the UK. Tim has also written the music and lyrics for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s new musical version of Roald Dahl’s Matilda, which has received fantastic reviews across the board.
“To have achieved so much in his career at a young age is perhaps not surprising given Tim Minchin’s many talents and his focus,” said Philip Aiken, Chairman of the Australia Day Foundation. “The Foundation awards great talent and in recognition of his extraordinary accomplishments to date the Australia Day Foundation considers Tim Minchin a worthy recipient of the 2011 Young Australian Achiever of the year in the UK award.”
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Other awardees include Stuart Devlin, who was named Australian of the Year in the UK, and Lord Goodlad, the former British High Commissioner to Australia, who was awarded Honorary Australian of the Year in the UK, an award for non-Australian residents of the UK who display ‘Australian characteristics’ or who have contributed significantly to Australia.
At the event, the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths named Stuart Devlin as a ‘designer with the Midas touch’. The Goldsmiths’ Company is one of the Twelve Great Livery Companies of the City of London and received its first royal charter in 1327. It was founded to regulate the goldsmith craft and since 1300 it has been responsible for testing the quality of gold, silver and, from 1975, platinum articles.
“Stuart Devlin is recognised as the greatest living goldsmith of his generation,” said Philip Aiken.
Born in Geelong in 1931, Devlin was commissioned by the Australian Government in the early 60s to design the first decimal coinage for Australia. Later, Devlin returned to England to supervise work on the Australian coins at the Royal Mint and decided to stay and open a small workshop. In 1988 he was made an officer of the Order of Australia in the Bicentennial Australia Day Honours List.
Devlin went on to design hundreds of commemorative medallions and is internationally acknowledged as the world’s foremost coin designer. He designed 8 gold and 16 silver coins for the Sydney 2000 Olympics and has recently designed the new set of four £1 UK coins.
Lord Goodlad’s award recognises the close ties he has maintained with Australia since returning from his post there.
Alastair Goodlad was born in Lincoln in 1943. From 1992 to 1995 he held the post of Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and it was during this time he first visited Australia with his wife Cecilia. In 2000 he returned to Australia as the British High Commissioner. His role was a busy one representing the British Government in its relations with the Australian Government. He was considered such an outstanding representative that his term was extended.
The Australia Day Foundation introduced the ‘Australian of the Year in the UK’ Award and the ‘Honorary Australian of the Year in the UK’ Award in 2004 as part of the UK Australia Day celebrations. The award recognizes an Australian who has excelled in their own right in the UK and is open to all fields of endeavour: science, business, sport, media, culture, film, television and radio.
The Young Australian Achiever of the Year in the UK award started the following year, and previous recipients include soccer player Harry Kewell and Michelin star Aussie chef Shane Osborn.