Jimmy Barnes, Nick Cave & Paul Kelly Receive Australia Day Honours

27 January 2017 | 9:40 am | Staff Writer

Barnesy's brother Swanee and others have also picked up the top distinction

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The holy trinity of legendary Australian musicians have picked up Australia Day honours this year, with Jimmy Barnes, Nick Cave and Paul Kelly all awarded Officer of the General Division of the Order of Australia.

Barnes was awarded the honour for his "distinguished service to the performing arts as a musician, singer and songwriter, and through support for not-for-profit organisations, particularly to children with a disability", Cave for "distinguished service to the performing arts as a musician, songwriter, author and actor, both nationally and internationally, and as a major contributor to Australian music culture and heritage", and Kelly for "distinguished service to the performing arts and to the promotion of the national identity through contributions as a singer, songwriter and musician". 

Barnes, who also appeared on our ten most influential artists of 2016 list, has commented on the top distinction in a statement: "I just wanted to say thank you to whoever decides these things of course, but more importantly, those who have worked so hard and sweated with me at all the shows that I have done over the last forty odd years.

"I came to this country as a young Scottish immigrant with dreams and hopes. This country and the people who live here have allowed and helped me to realize those dreams. Thanks to everyone who I have met along that road.

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"No matter what day we celebrate Australia Day, let’s celebrate it together and give thanks to the original inhabitants of this vast country. We are lucky to be sharing it with them … I am humbled by this."

Other musical Australia Day honour recipients include Barnes' brother, John Archibald 'Swanee' Swan "for service to music as a performer, and to the community through charitable organisations", renowned opera/theatre performer Anthony Warlow, Queensland Conservatorium Of Music's director Judith Brown and opera conductor Brian Castles-Onion.