Folk-pop icons the Seekers can add the Order of Australia to its long list of accolades.
The four band members -- Judith Durham, Athol Guy, Keith Potger and Bruce Woodley -- were appointed Officers of the Order of Australia (AO) with the publication Monday of the Queen's Birthday Honours list.
The latest honor comes a year after singer Durham nearly lost her life to a brain haemorrhage whilst the group was on tour celebrating its 50th anniversary. Durham has since recovered, but she was unable to attend the APRA Awards last June when the group was feted with the prestigious Ted Albert Award for outstanding services to Australian music.
The Seekers became the first Australian act to top the U.K. singles chart when their 1965 song “I’ll Never Find Another You” peaked out at No. 1. Later that year, they hit the top spot again in Britain with “The Carnival Is Over.” In the space of just two years, they grabbed six top 10 hits in Britain, including their best-known track "Georgy Girl," which was nominated for an Academy Award for original song and reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100.
In March 1967, at the height of their fame, the band played to an audience of 200,000 -- still considered the biggest concert crowd in the southern hemisphere. Also during 1967, they were named “Australians of the Year.” Durham went solo in the same year.
They Seekers were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 1995 and Durham was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in the same timeframe. The group has the unusual distinction of having had a stamp issued in its honor.
More than 570 Australians received awards in the general division of the Order of Australia this year. The awards—a system established by Queen Elizabeth II of England and the commonwealth states, which include Australia, in recognition of special achievements by the country's citizens—usually coincide with Queen Elizabeth II's birthday.
The Seekers lead a strong cast of Australian music industry professionals to make the cut. Also recognized is jazz pianist, composer and conductor Paul Grabowsky (AO), while Nine Network’s entertainment reporter Richard Wilkins, Opera Australia artistic director Lyndon Terracini and radio broadcaster Angela Catterns were appointed members of the Order of Australia (AM). Anne and John Brennan Keats have been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for promoting Australian music through their independent classical and jazz print publishing company Wirripang.