Monash Medal presented to Geoffrey Blainey


The Monash Medal is awarded annually by the Rotary Club of Melbourne to an outstanding Australian who has made a significant contribution to the Australian community (and beyond). The criteria are Leadership, Integrity and Service - values high on General Sir John Monash's agenda and key values of Rotary.

The 2017 winner is Professor Geoffrey Blainey AC, who is one of Australia's most significant and popular historians. He has written forty books including The Tyranny of Distance and the bestselling A Short History of the World.

He is listed by the National Trust as a 'Living Treasure'. Geoffrey was educated at Ballarat High School, Wesley College and Melbourne University. He worked as a freelance historical author and accepted a position at the University of Melbourne holding various positions including Professor of Economic History (1968-77); and occupied the Ernest Scott Chair of History at Melbourne University.

Geoffrey Blainey also held the chair of Australian studies at Harvard University. In 1993, he was appointed the foundation Chancellor of the University of Ballarat (UB) until 1998.

As an Australian historian, academic and Philanthropist, Geoffrey has been a chairman or member of a wide range of Australian Government and other institutional councils including the Australia Council, Australia-China Council and the Australian War Memorial. He also chaired the National Council for the Centenary of Federation. He serves on Boards of philanthropic bodies including the Ian Potter Foundation and the Deafness Foundation Trust.

In 2000, Geoffrey was awarded the Companion of the Order of Australia for service to academia, research and scholarship, and as a leader of public debate at the forefront of fundamental social and economic issues confronting the wider community. Geoffrey will be an excellent recipient of the Monash Medal.

Professor Blainey’s oration was a joy to listen too. He spoke for over half an hour without notes, referring to several events in Sir John Monash’s life which had contributed to his renown as a soldier. Having Michael Bennett, Sir John Monash’s great grandson in the audience added an extra sense of occasion as did the presence of District Governor Peter and PDGs Murray Verso and Ian Knight.

ABOVE: PDG Murray Verso, RC Melbourne President Elect Robert Fisher; Prof. Geoffrey Blainey; PDG Ian Knight; Michael Bennett, DG Peter Frueh, Peter Davies {0808 Chair}

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