Dawn Fraser said she was “very excited” on Monday to be honoured with Australia’s highest recognition, a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in this year’s Queen’s Honours list.
Despite her long list of accolades which include an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) and a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) the Noosaville resident was thrilled to receive the award.
“It’s meant as much to me as winning my first gold medal when my mum and dad were in the sheds to see me swim,” she said.
Dawn won her first Olympic gold medals in 1956 in Melbourne, gold at the Rome Olympics in 1960 and her final gold medal in 1964 at the Tokyo Olympics in the 100m freestyle.
Dawn’s AC recognizes her extensive contribution to sport, through ambassadorial, mentoring, and non-executive roles with a range of organisations at all levels, and to the community through roles in conservation and motoring associations.
“My mum and dad always taught me to work hard and you will achieve and always remember the people who helped you along the way,” she said.
She has given back to her sport and other sports by being a mentor for abled and disabled Australian Olympic Teams.
She has maintained an active role in the sporting and wider community as ambassador, athlete liaison officer and mentor for Australian Olympic Teams, member of the Cerebral Palsy Sports Association, mentor of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame and academy member of Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, as well as former patron of the Wheelchair Sports Association of Victoria and the Ladies Professional Golf Association. She is a Founding Member of the Laureus Sports Academy, a member of the Sport for Good Foundation and Vice President of the World Association of Olympic Winners.
Among her community roles she is patron of the Save the Bilby Fund, actively involved in the Noosa Heads Surf Lifesavers Seahorse Nippers for children with special needs and patron of the German Shepherd Dog Council of Australia.
Dawn said she was always taught age is just a number so the 80-year-old continues to keep herself fit and healthy to continue her valuable contribution.