26 Jan 2010

Professor named Australian of the Year

9:25 pm on 26 January 2010

A mental health expert from the state of Victoria has been named Australian of the Year for 2010.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd presented the award to Professor Patrick McGorry, ahead of Australia Day which is celebrated on 26 January.

Professor McGorry says he would like to use the influence of his award to improve mental health care for adolescents.

Celebrity chef Maggie Beer was named Senior Australian of the Year and SAS Trooper Mark Donaldson, VC, was named Young Australian of the Year.

Nobel Prize winner Professor Elizabeth Helen Blackburn has been named a Companion of the Order of Australia - Australia's highest honour.

The ABC reports Professor Blackburn made history for changing the way scientists think about ageing and disease with her groundbreaking work on cells.

Last year she and two colleagues in the United States were jointly awarded the 100th Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in recognition of their work.

Professor Blackburn says she is glad both the Order of Australia and the Nobel Prize have recognised science.

Others named as Companions of the Order of Australia are BHP Billiton chairman Don Argus, James Fairfax and Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia, Robert French.

Mr Fairfax is a supporter of the National Gallery of Australia and other galleries and museums around the country.

A total of 446 people on the honours list. Australia Day marks the arrival of the first British fleet at Sydney Cove in 1788.