In a remarkable moment of recognition, the late Barry Humphries, the legendary entertainer behind the beloved character Dame Edna, has been posthumously awarded Australia’s highest honour in the esteemed King’s Birthday Honours list.
Humphries, who died in April, received the Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) for his “eminent service to the arts as a comedian, actor, author, satirist and entertainer, to the promotion of Australian culture, and as a patron of organisations”.
The award comes 15 years after he received his Most Excellent Order of the British Empire from the late Queen Elizabeth II.
The beloved entertainer, left an indelible mark on the entertainment industry, garnering a multitude of awards and honours throughout his illustrious career.
In recognition of his remarkable contributions, Humphries has received prestigious accolades such as a Special Tony Award, a Drama Desk Award, a Theatre World Award, and an Outer Critics’ Circle Award in 2000.
His influence extended beyond the stage and screen, as he became the subject of the Australian National Portrait Gallery’s inaugural biographical exhibition in 2002.
Humphries wasn’t the only prominent Australian figure who was recognised on this year’s list, comedians Judith Lucy, Denise Scott and Ben Elton, were all honoured for their efforts in the arts and entertainment.
Meanwhile, Best-selling Australian author Tim Winton was named the Officer of the Order of Australia for his contributions to literature and environmental conservation.
The list also featured 73 Australians who were acknowledged for their remarkable contributions to society, spanning sports, healthcare, science, philanthropy, politics, Covid-19 response, and community outreach.
But this year’s honour list goes beyond an individual tribute, as it marks a historic turning point. For the first time in its five-decade history, the King’s Birthday honours list achieves a remarkable feat of gender parity, honouring more women than men.
For the first time, more women than men are featured in the Kings Birthday honours list.
Among the women recognised are Kate Jenkins, Shellie Morris, Moya Dodd and Pam Brock.
Barry Humphries has posthumously been made a companion of the Order of Australia pic.twitter.com/MnXuDwwJYs
— Sam Wilkinson (@_sam_wilkinson) June 11, 2023
Of the 1,191 outstanding Australians who had also made the list, 50 per cent of the awards were issued to women.
Governor-General David Hurley said this achievement in gender parity was a “major milestone.”
“Every recipient in this list, irrespective of gender, cultural background or life experience, has made a positive difference to the community,” he said.