Professor Geoffrey Blainey AC
Geoffrey Blainey has written more than 40 books, including The Tyranny of Distance, which gave Australia one of its most widely-used phrases. The Oxford Companion to Australian History calls him the ‘most prolific, wide-ranging, inventive’ - and also the most controversial - of ‘Australia’s living historians.’
His international best-sellers include A Short History of The World and A Short History of the 20th Century. His book, The Causes of War, has many disciples in the USA. In some backward corners of the nation his history of Australian Rules football is a bible. It is called A Game of Our Own.
For 21 years he was successively the professor of economic history and professor of history at the University of Melbourne. He also held the chair in Australian studies at Harvard University.
He was chairman of the governing body of various institutions - including the Australia Council for the Arts, the National Council for the Centenary of Federation, and the Australia-China Council.
In 1988 at the United Nations in New York he was one of five authors - including the famous economist Professor JK Galbraith of the USA and the poet Octavio Paz of Mexico - to be presented with a gold medal for “exceptional excellence in the dissemination of knowledge for the benefit of mankind”.
Since 1997 he has been listed as one of Australia’s ‘living national treasures’. In 2000 he was made a Companion of the Order of Australia.
A Victorian, he has a country background and first went to school in Leongatha in south Gippsland. After studying at Ballarat High School and Wesley College in Melbourne he took out an arts degree at Melbourne University.