The University of Newcastle, Australia

Newton-John Award

The Newton-John Award recognises innovation and creativity of alumni who have achieved excellence in arts, creative sectors and culture.

The community has been inspired by past recipients working in film and television, leading animation studios and world class photography.


Professor Newton John, one of UONs founding fathers.

Professor Brinley Newtown-John was a man of many parts. He was an intelligence officer with the Royal Airforce, which included being seconded to the Enigma project at Bletchley Park where they were able to break German codes giving the Allies advance notice of enemy plans.

In 1954, he and his young family, including daughter Olivia, emigrated to Australia where he took the role of Master of Ormond College at the University of Melbourne.

He joined the University of Newcastle in 1958 as an associate professor in German and head of the department of arts.

In 1968 he was appointed Deputy Vice-Chancellor and frequently acted as vice-chancellor in place of J. J. Auchmuty. This was an important time for our University, achieving independence and rapidly expanding throughout the following decade.

He was remembered by former students not only for the brilliance of his instruction but also for the sense that he took them seriously and treated them without condescension.

He had a special interest in student activities and welfare, establishing the first university choir, participating in productions by the Student Players, and encouraging student revues.

2019 Recipient

2019 Recipient - Nick Mitzevich

Nick Mitzevich

Director, National Gallery of Australia
Grad Dip Education 1995; Grad Dip Art 1993; B Visual Arts 1992

As Australia's leading arts curator, Nick Mitzevich has made major contributions to Australia’s cultural life.

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2019 Alumni Achievers

2019 Achiever - Gavin Langley

Gavin Langley

Senior Associate at Gehry Partners
B Architecture 1992; B Architecture Design 1988

Gavin Langley is a seasoned architect who has worked across the world, bringing the elements of design and sustainability to everything he has accomplished in the past 30 years.

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2019 Achiever - Rosemarie Milsom

Rosemarie Milsom

Director, Newcastle Writer's Festival
Grad Dip Education 1995; B Arts 1994

In 2012, Rosemarie Milsom, who was then working as a full-time journalist at the Newcastle Herald and juggling two small children, created and launched the inaugural Newcastle Writers Festival.

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