Old Sydneian of the Year

We are proud to have an award for the Old Sydneian of the Year. This award is to recognise the unique achievements of an Old Sydneian and to introduce him to current students and other Old Sydneians. We ask other Old Sydneians to nominate candidates for this award each year using the on-line nomination forms and guidance on our website.

Tips for Nominating

When you fill out the nomination form, there are a few things you should consider to ensure your nomination provides us with enough information about the achievements of the person you are nominating.

Here are some tips to help you get started:

In answering this question, consider the following:

Provide examples to support your statements for all of the above. Don’t just make a statement – prove it with examples.


In choosing the recipients of the Old Sydneian of the Year Award, regard is given to the nominee’s achievements in the year immediately prior to receiving the award, as well as their past achievements and ongoing contribution to the School, Old Sydneian community and the nation.

The Committee wants to see the Award recognise someone changing lives and Old Sydneian society for the better, someone whose challenges and triumphs are manifested in their life experience and personal journey, beyond their career achievements. A person who has taken risks, done the hard yards and been a pioneer, that has had a positive impact on a wide range of people’s lives.
An individual need only be nominated once to be considered. The number of nominations received per nominee bears no weight in their selection.

The selection criteria are:

The selection panel will also give consideration to the following in assessing and comparing nominations against the above criteria:

Eligibility Criteria

An example nomination

To help you get started writing your nomination, here is an example of an answer that provides an ideal amount of information.

Edmund Barton – Old Sydneian of the Year – 1919

Sir Edmund Barton was born in the Sydney suburb of Glebe, the ninth child of English parents William Barton, a stockbroker, and Mary Louise Barton (née Whydah). He was baptised at St James Church, Sydney on 4 July 1849. He was educated at Fort Street Model School and Sydney Grammar School, where he was twice dux and School Captain.

In 1879, Barton demonstrated his presence of mind in defusing international cricket’s first riot in Sydney. This reputedly helped him take his first step towards becoming Australia’s first prime minister, winning a state lower house seat later that year. Whilst Barton had a distinguished time in State Parliament including time as Speaker of the Legislative Assembly aged only 33 and Attorney General, his defining contribution was is role in Australia’s federation.

Barton was an early supporter of federation, taking part in producing a draft constitution, which was substantially similar to the Australian Constitution enacted in 1900.
In 1897, Barton topped the poll of the delegates elected from New South Wales to the Constitutional Convention, which developed a constitution for the proposed federation. Although Sir Samuel Griffith wrote most of the text of the Constitution, Barton was the political leader who carried it through the Convention.

Few people doubted that Barton, as the leading federalist in the oldest state, deserved to be the first Prime Minister of the new federation. However, since no federal Parliament had yet been established, the usual convention of appointing the leader of the largest party in the lower house could not apply. The newly arrived Governor-General, Lord Hopetoun, instead invited Sir William Lyne, the premier of New South Wales, to form a government. Hopetoun’s decision, known as the Hopetoun Blunder, can be defended on grounds that Lyne had seniority. Still, Lyne’s long massive opposition to federation until he changed his mind at the last minute caused him to be unacceptable to prominent federalists such as Deakin, who refused to serve under him. After tense negotiations, Barton was appointed Prime Minister and he and his ministry were sworn in on 1 January 1901.

In September 1903, Sir Edmund Barton left Parliament to become one of the founding justices of the High Court of Australia.

Barton’s commitment to the Australian community through the development of the Australian Constitution and his role as First Prime Minister of Australia and later on the High Court of Australia demonstrate the leadership and vision for which Old Sydneians’ are respected and surely supports his nomination as Old Sydneian of the year – 1919.

Old Sydneian of the Year - Nomination Form

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