The Australia Post Australian Legends Award is presented annually to honour individuals have made a significant contribution to the Australian way of life and to shaping society for the better. Who better to lay claim to this accolade than those whose career has been dedicated to making us laugh!

The 2020 Australian Legends are award-winning superstars of comedy who have entertained and delighted audiences for decades. Each has also made a significant contribution to the community more broadly through advocacy and charity work.

The Australian Legends of Comedy 2020 stamp issue, released on 15 April 2020, in recognition of the following comedians:

Adam Hills (b. 10 July 1970)

Adam Hills made his first appearance in Australia’s live stand-up comedy scene in 1989, at the Sydney Comedy Store. After a stint in breakfast radio, in 1997 Adam went on tour with his first solo comedy show, “Stand and Deliver”, the first of an impressive 15 shows that he has toured nationally and internationally, to wide acclaim. His extensive live touring schedule has seen him perform at numerous international events, including Montreal Just for Laughs, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Royal Variety Gala in Blackpool, England.

As well as building an enviable reputation in the live comedy scene, Adam Hills rocketed to fame in Australia as host of the hit television music quiz show “Spicks and Specks”, from 2005 until 2011, and of television talk show “Adam Hills Tonight” (originally titled “Adam Hills in Gordon Street Tonight”), from 2011 until 2013. “Spicks and Specks” toured nationally as a live show in 2007, 2011 and 2012, and between 2018 and 2020 Adam Hills recorded highly rated “Spick and Specks” specials. He has hosted and appeared on numerous other television specials and programs, as well as radio programs.

Adam Hills’ popularity has also been cemented in Britain, due to his work as host of the television talk show “The Last Leg”, between 2012 and 2019, which started as a one-off series to accompany Channel Four’s Paralympic coverage. Adam Hills was born without a right foot, and his prosthetic foot has often been the subject of his stand-up routines. In 2018, he published his best-selling memoir, Best Foot Forward.

A multiple Logie-Award-winner and nominee, and winner of an AFI Award and a Helpmann Award, Adam Hills has won and been nominated for numerous national and international awards for his comedy.

Adam Hills is an ambassador for UNICEF, The McGrath Foundation and the International Koala Centre of Excellence. He has also raised funds for the Father Bob Maguire Foundation, and has worked with various UK charities.

Noeline Brown OAM (b. 3 October 1938)

After making her name in the Sydney theatre review scene, Noeline Brown came to national prominence as part of the 1960s sketch-comedy television series “The Mavis Bramston Show”, in which she created the title character, and the popular television sitcom “My Name's McGooley, What's Yours?”

Throughout the 1970s, Noeline Brown enjoyed great popularity in Australia, winning a 1978 Logie Award. She was part of the satirical television and radio series “The Naked Vicar Show” and the comedy television quiz show “Blankety Blanks”, hosted by “the King” of Australian variety television Graham Kennedy. She was also a regular panelist on the ABC television game show “Would You Believe?”

Noeline Brown appeared in various television shows and theatrical productions during the 2000s, including the 2007 film Razzle Dazzle and the play Glorious, for which she won the 2008 Norman Kessell award for her hilarious portrayal of Florence Foster Jenkins. Her most recent performance was in the role of Maggie Beare in the stage version of the television comedy “Mother and Son”.

Noeline Brown has been a long-time supporter of several arts organisations, including the Actors Benevolent Fund of New South Wales. She was a Custodian of the Library Society of New South Wales and past patron of the Southern Highlands Regional Gallery. Noeline is patron of Starting Points, a charity for children with special needs. In 2006, she received a Children’s Week community award for her work to improve the lives of children. She also served as Ambassador for Ageing, from 2008 to 2014.

Noeline Brown has had two memoirs published. In 2017, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Actors Equity, in honour of her long career. In 2020, Noeline Brown was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for services to the performing arts.

Magda Szubanski AO (b. 12 April 1961)

After appearances on the cult television comedy show “The D-Generation”, Magda Szubanski rose to fame in response to the huge variety of comic characters she has created and performed, including on television sketch-comedy shows “Fast Forward”, “Full Frontal” and “Big Girl’s Blouse”. One of her most iconic characters is Sharon Strzelecki, the accident-prone people-pleaser from the hit comedy sitcom “Kath and Kim”.

Magda Szubanski’s film credits include Babe, The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course, Dr Plonk, Bran Nu Dae and Goddess. Magda’s many stage appearances include hit productions of Guys and Dolls, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Grease: The Arena Spectacular and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

Magda Szubanski has received numerous accolades over the course of her career, including a Mo Award, seven Logie Awards, three Australian Writers’ Guild AWGIE Awards, two People’s Choice Awards, two Astra Awards and the AFI Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Sharon Strzelecki in “Kath and Kim”. In 2019, she won the Fred Parsons Award for Outstanding Contribution to Australian Comedy.

More recently, Magda Szubanski has become a best-selling, award-winning author, following the release of her internationally acclaimed memoir Reckoning. She also became a community advocate in the lead-up to the 2017 same-sex marriage survey and has been an active and high-profile campaigner for LGBTI+ rights ever since, winning several awards for her work. Magda Szubanski has been a patron of and campaigner for several charities over the years, including Twenty10, the Pinnacle Foundation Very Special Kids, Starlight Foundation, Oxfam and Royal Children’s Hospital.

In 2019, Magda Szubanski was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for her work as an actor, comedian and writer and as a campaigner for marriage equality.

Garry McDonald AO (b. 30 October 1948)

Soon after graduating from the National Institute of Dramatic Art in 1967, Garry McDonald created one of the nation’s most famous satirical characters, Norman Gunston, an ambush-style reporter whose celebrity interview subjects quite often didn’t know what to make of his awkwardness, naivety, comb-over and facial shaving injuries, earning him the nickname “the little Aussie bleeder”. Norman Gunston first appeared on “The Aunty Jack Show” in 1973 and then on “The Norman Gunston Show” until 1993. As Norman Gunston, Garry McDonald also had a successful recording career, releasing a string of humorous pop records that satirised artists such as Tom Jones and KISS. 

Garry McDonald further endeared himself to television audiences through his role as the unfortunate and long-suffering Arthur Beare, in the comedy sitcom “Mother and Son”, which ran between 1984 and 1994. Subsequent television credits include “Offspring”, “Rake”, “Fallen Angels”, “Medivac” and “The King”. Garry McDonald’s numerous film credits include, Being Venice, Burning Man, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, The Rage in Placid Lake, Rabbit-Proof Fence, Moulin Rouge and Struck by Lightning for which he won Best Actor at the Sydney Film Critics’ Awards in 1991.

Garry McDonald has appeared in more than 60 stage productions throughout his career, including Hamlet, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf, Much Ado About Nothing, Emerald City, Uncle Vanya and Guys and Dolls.

In 2003, Garry McDonald was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for service to the community and to the arts. He has won several Logie Awards for his work in television, including a 1976 Gold Logie for his work on “The Norman Gunston Show” and a Logie Hall of Fame award in 1997. He has also been voted a National Living Treasure.

Garry McDonald is an ambassador and former board member of the Beyond Blue Foundation, which raises awareness about mental illness and provides support services and resources.


The Australian Legends of Comedy stamp issue is available now, online, at participating Post Offices and via mail order on 1800 331 794, while stocks last.

View the gallery and technical details from this issue

Further reading:
The Australia Post Australian Legends Award
History of the Australian Legends stamp series

Philatelic Team