Matthew Jukes named Honorary Australian of the Year

Wine writer Matthew Jukes has joined luminaries such as Sir David Attenborough and Alan Whicker in being named Honorary Australian of the Year.

From left: Kevin Rudd, Barry Humphries, Yasmin Sewell, Matthew Jukes, Philip Aiken, John Dauth

The award, presented annually to a non-Australian resident who has displayed ‘Australian characteristics’ or has contributed significantly to Australia, was announced last night at the Australia Day Foundation Dinner at Australia House.

The Daily Mail columnist and Decanter contributor was given the award not only for his ‘long-term passion for, and on-going commitment to, the Australian wine industry’, the Australia Day Foundation said, but also for his contribution to charity.

Matthew Jukes supports a number of homeless charities around the world as patron and founder of Touch Wine and Wine Rules, an organisation which has raised more than AUD $700,000 for charities such as the Hutt St Centre in Adelaide and St Mary’s House of Welcome in Melbourne.

The award was presented by foreign minister and former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Philip Aiken, chairman of the Australia Day Foundation, and John Dauth, High Commissioner for Australia.

Rudd said, ‘thank you for everything you do for our country’, while Aiken added that the award was ‘exceptionally well deserved’.

Jukes said he was delighted to be an honorary Australian and saluted the ‘attitude and energy’ of Australian winemakers.

‘Undeterred by climate change, difficult exchange rates, forest fires and natural disasters such as droughts and flooding, they continue to excel in their field and it is for this reason that I am delighted to champion their outstanding work.’

Other winners on the night included Australian of the Year in the UK, which was won by comedian and actor Barry Humphries, and Young Australian Achiever of the Year in the UK, which was won by fashion consultant Yasmin Sewell.

Past winners of Honorary Australian of the Year include broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough, The Lord Goodlad, former High Commissioner to Australia, Baroness Susan Greenfield, renowned scientist, writer and member of the House of Lords, and travel broadcaster Alan Whicker.

Written by Adam Lechmere

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