Since 1997 the annual Australian Legends Award has honoured eminent living Australians who have made a lasting contribution to Australian identity and way of life. The Award itself includes a gold replica stamp presented to each recipient at an Australia Day lunch.
Past recipients have included Sir Donald Bradman, Dame Joan Sutherland and Barry Humphries. Take a look back at some of our past Legends.
Australians have been captivated by mainstream television since its launch on 16 September 1956, in Sydney, from the Nine Network’s station TCN-9-Sydney. This captivating new medium was launched with the now famous phrase delivered by Bruce Gyngell, “good evening, and welcome to television”. The first regional network was set up in Victoria, in 1961, and colour television arrived on our shores in 1975. Subscription television services were introduced in the 1990s and digital television commenced in 2001, with the analogue service being shut down for good in 2013.
Over the past 62 years, television has proven to be a popular and accessible medium that has entertained and informed audiences all over the country, whether through the genres of comedy and variety, national and international news and current affairs, drama, or sport and live events. In fact, in recent years there has been a renaissance of sorts for television, with many programs achieving very high production values and a cult following.
In 2018, the Australia Post Australia Day Legends are five much-loved, multi-award-winning personalities of the small screen who have become part of our national popular culture. The stamp issue, released on 18 January 2018, was designed by Jason Watts of the Australia Post Design Studio.
Daryl Somers OAM
Daryl Somers (b. 1951) rose to fame as the host and executive producer of “Hey Hey It's Saturday”, Australia’s longest-running (30 years) and most successful comedy/variety show. “Hey Hey” began in 1971, the same year as Somers’ professional television career. Initially the co-host, he quickly became the sole host.
Daryl has hosted, produced and performed across many different genres from game, reality and variety shows to special events, amassing 31 TV Week Logies, including three Gold, spanning a 50 year career. Somers was Moomba Monarch in 1983, and in 2004 was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for service to the television and entertainment industries, to charitable organisations and to the community.
Denise Drysdale (b. 1948), affectionately known as “Ding Dong”, is a presenter, dancer and comedian. She is currently a co-host of the morning show “Studio 10”.
Drysdale began her television career as a 10 year old on GTV 9’s “Tarax Show” and later became one of Melbourne’s first go-go dancers. In 1975, Drysdale won the TV Week Gold Logie for the Most Popular Female Personality on Australian television. She won her second TV Week Gold Logie the following year. In the same period, she also won consecutive TV Week Silver Logies.
Over her career Drysdale appeared in many television and stage shows including co-host of “In Melbourne Today” and “In Sydney Today”, which became “Ernie and Denise”. She was Melbourne’s Moomba Monarch in 1998.
Bert Newton AM MBE
Bert Newton (b. 1938) began his distinguished broadcast career in radio before becoming a fixture of Australian television since its first years, initially on HSV-7 and then GTV-9. He is considered both an industry pioneer and one of the longest-serving television performers in the world. He has had a long association with both Networks Nine and Ten.
He had his own show, “The Bert Newton Show”, in 1959–60, and at other times hosted “The Channel Nine Show”, “New Faces”, “Ford Superquiz”, “Tonight with Bert Newton”, “Good Morning Australia” and others. He won TV Week Gold Logies in 1979, 1981, 1982 and 1984, and has been nominated for many more. He has compered a huge number of Logie events and was inducted into the Logie Hall of Fame in 1988.
This two-time Moomba Monarch was made a member of the Order of the British Empire in 1979 for his services to the performing arts and was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2006 for his services to the entertainment industry. He was awarded a Centenary Medal in 2001 and named Victorian of the Year in 2008.
Kerri-Anne Kennerley (b. 1953) is a singer, actor and television host. Her long television career began when she was 13 in 1967, on children’s shows on Brisbane’s QTQ 9. After crossing to The Saturday Show on Network 10, she spent five years in New York as a cabaret singer.
In 1981 she landed her first adult role on television, in the soap opera “The Restless Years”, then for 11 years hosted “Good Morning Australia” on Network 10. During the 1980s she also performed as a singer and released two albums.
From 1996 to 1998 she hosted the daytime variety show “Midday”, for which she received three TV Week Gold Logie nominations, in 1997, 1998 and 1999. From 2002 to 2010 she hosted “Kerri-Anne” also on the Nine Network. In 2017, Kennerley was inducted into the Logie Hall of Fame.
Ray Martin AM
Ray Martin (b. 1944) began as a journalist with the ABC and was its North American Correspondent for almost a decade. In 1978 he launched “60 Minutes” for Nine Network, followed by hosting roles on “A Current Affair, “Midday with Ray Martin” and numerous specials.
Martin has been awarded five TV Week Gold Logies. In 2010 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia, for service to the community through voluntary roles with charitable, Indigenous, health and sporting organisations, and to the media as a television journalist.
Martin has also received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Sydney.
The Legends of TV Entertainment stamp issue is available from 18 January 2018, online, at participating Post Offices and via mail order on 1800 331 794, while stocks last.
This article was produced at the time of publication and will not be updated.