Olivia our Most Popular Aussie?

Olivia Newton John has topped a “Favourite Australian” poll conducted by ABC.

She is one of ten Australians to feature in video portraits at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra. The ABC will air a “making of” documentary on the exhibition next week, The Making Of My Favourite Australian.

In a surprising final tally the results of the votes were:

1. Olivia Newton John
2. Peter Cundall
3. John Farnham
4. Bob Brown
5. John Howard
6. Fred Hollows
7. Gough Whitlam
8. Sir William Deane
9. Johnny Warren
10. Tim Costello

The exhibition will also include “Most Inspiring Unsung Heroes.” The ABC doco airs 10:05pm Wednesday December 10 on ABC1.

Press Release:

The Making Of My Favourite Australian

Wednesday December 10, 10:05pm on ABC1

The 30-minute documentary The Making Of My Favourite Australian goes behind the scenes to show how the video artists went about interacting with their subjects and reveals the creative processes in the making of four of the portraits, with each artist taking a radically different approach.

How do you get your subject to respond to your camera as if it is an injured koala so that we get a koala’s eye-view? What do your mates say when they see your face projected onto trees, cliffs and buildings? These are some of the challenges faced by the people ‘sitting’ for their portraits for My Favourite Australian.

Installation artist Craig Walsh struggles through a blustery dawn to project the face of marine rescue volunteer Tom Slattery onto the cliffs of Stradbroke Island, while Academy Award-winning animator/cartoonist Bruce Petty transforms the life of Gough Whitlam into a two-minute rollercoaster animation. Sophie Hyde in Adelaide has her subject, Terry Hicks, delving into the mechanics of the filmmaking process, while artist Merilyn Fairskye ventures into the disappearing forest of south west Queensland to encounter Ruth Lewis and her beloved koalas.

The Making Of My Favourite Australian also captures the excitement of preparations in the lead up to the opening of a major new arts institution.

The documentary will also be available for view on the My Favourite Australian website as well as on ABC iview.

ABC TV in a collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra have taken a bold new approach to the successful ongoing ABC TV “My Favourite” series by commissioning 30 video portraits from leading video artists and filmmakers across Australia for a groundbreaking multi-platform exhibition of My Favourite Australian.

The twenty selected as Most Inspiring Unsung Heroes contained a great mix of individuals who work tirelessly to help the lives of others. They are:

Pam Ahern, Kristy Carter, Anna Crotty, Stasia Dabrowksi, Venera De Domenico, Sue Eddy, Steele Fitchett, Kevin Fong, Rosa Guglielmino, Terry Hicks, Kon Karapanagiotidis, Ruth Lewis, Mar Khin Mar Mar Kyi, David Bungal Mowaljarlai, Therese Sayers, Tom Slattery, David Turner, Aaron Wood, Dian Wellfare.


  1. Chill out folks…it’s not a new law that says they have to be your favourites too. Sheeesh. Why do people get so cranky about something that doesn’t matter a jot?

    It’s an ABC poll – so it’s ABC listeners and viewers who voted..of course the poll results are skewed – not a lot of Kylie lovers watching Auntie I’d guess.

    And I don’t know that I’d be shouting too loudly “I don’t know half the people” and trying to imply that your ignorance is the fault of the list and/or the people who voted in the poll. Each of those people is a recongised name or expert in their particular field and it’s not unreasonable to expect the average Australian would know their names even if not everyone would choose them for a list of favourite Australians.

  2. I think the “My Favourite Book” fiasco (where the Falun Gong bible and a little-known book by a Penetcostal minister from Qld made the list) proved what a joke these lists are. What’s the bet members of the Young Liberals had been voting en masse to get Howard on that list, eh?

  3. Favourite Australian? Really?

    While I have no doubt that many of these people have made significant contributions to the nation, the tag “favourite Australian” is just unbelievable. No sportspeople except Warren? No Kylie? No TV personalities except Cundall? Politicians are our “favourite” people??? Farcical.

  4. What about Kylie, at least Danni? The “worlds sexiest man” High Jackman?? I don’t know half these people on the list, sounds like only old people voted.

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