Open a world of new ideas
To dare means to exceed your potential – to be more than you thought was possible. Whether it’s the pursuit of knowledge, an itch for inspiration, or a never-ending desire to break barriers, DARE magazine is your first step to a world of new ideas.
Get the latest take on trending issues, smart tips to boost your financial goals, or a fresh way to indulge in everyday joys, all from the comfort of your favourite reading spot. DARE also features exclusive stories from some of Australia’s favourite personalities.
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Stories that go beyond the page
DARE is the magazine for more than just readers. It’s your bi-monthly reminder to connect, explore, and indulge in the journey you’re on. Don’t just read it – DARE it.
What's new and trending? We present snippets of the latest products, news and research, all designed to inspire, excite and improve your life.
Go beyond the normal and into the new. Discover the world, and yourself, with travel tips, career pathways, emerging technology and more.
Life is easier when it goes as planned. We tackle the daring questions to help you carve the way to success.
We’ll show you how to make the things you love even better or help you find your new favourite pastime.
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The new face of ageing in place
Whether aged seven or 70, we want home to feel secure, comfortable and provide connection to the people, places and things we love. Fortunately, we’re enjoying the benefits of home longer as an increasing number of older Australians are opting to age in place, rather than enter aged care facilities.
“Ageing in place is being able to live independently and thrive in a home environment that supports your changing needs as you grow older,” explains designer Mairead Murphy of Maike Design. Paul Porjazoski, architect and director at Bent Architecture, who is passionate about design that enables people to live well in their older years in the home that they love, says: “Good design is central to ensuring that the home remains a safe, accessible and comfortable place.”
“In a practical sense, ageing in place is about future-proofing your home and maximising adaptability,” adds Anna Dutton Lourié, architect and interior designer at Bower Architecture.
Strategies can be subtle and often involve undertaking minor modifications or engaging a professional to help meld beautiful form with functionality. Here, our three experts share their ideas.
If these paws could talk
Pet owners are using new electronic gadgets to train their animals to ‘speak’ – but are our furry friends just pushing our buttons?
Since dogs were first domesticated more than 30,000 years ago they have learned a trick or two. Most dogs can respond to basic commands – sit, stay, come – and know exactly what you’re talking about when they hear “walk” or “treat”. But can they really speak?
When San Diego speech pathologist Christina Hunger brought home Stella, a blue heeler/ catahoula mix pup in early 2018, she noticed similarities between Stella’s communication skills and those of toddlers before they start using words.
Having worked with augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices to help non-verbal children express themselves, Christina began experimenting with Stella, using a four pack of recordable answer buzzers she bought online.
Christina started with a button that said the word “outside” and used the button with Stella every time they went for a walk and for toilet training. Within weeks, the dog began using the button to say she needed to be let out.
“I started my experiment with just a few recordable buttons that Stella could push to say, ‘outside,’ ‘play,’ and ‘water’, and the same language facilitation strategies I use with children,” says Christina, who documents her story on the website hungerforwords.com and her book, How Stella Learned to Talk. “Now, Stella uses a homemade communication device to say more than 45 words, and counting!”
Starting again as the solo manager of your finances after a relationship breakdown can be difficult. DARE’s experts share their tips on how to navigate the challenges.
When Katie split from her husband of 20 years, she was adamant she wanted one thing for herself and their teenage children: the house.
Her childhood sweetheart, whom she discovered was having a long-running affair, capitulated and she congratulated herself as she signed off on the win. But it turned out to be a hollow victory.
“He’d always looked after everything with the house, and it was only months later that I discovered it had enormous problems that it was going to cost a small fortune to fix,” says Katie, 56, three years on.
“I just don’t have the cash resources to manage, and I can’t sell it either as those issues are putting other people off too.”
It’s a situation that financial experts see all too often. "We regularly have one partner desperately trying to hold onto the family home as part of the financial settlement after a separation to retain some sense of stability,” says financial adviser Alex Jamieson, from AJ Financial Planning.
“But it often places that person under tremendous financial pressure. All their wealth is now taken up by that one asset, which can take an enormous emotional financial toll.”
It can also be tough trying to manage finances wisely following the breakdown of a relationship, especially if one partner played a larger role in overseeing the budget, savings and spending than the other. But this situation can be remedied and, with some smart advice, the less fiscally able person can look forward to a financially more secure future.
Food is the magic to building community
He’s devoted his life to advocating for the rights of asylum seekers, now Kon Karapanagiotidis has joined forces with his mother Sia in a meat-free Greek cookbook that celebrates inclusive meals for sharing with family, friends and neighbours.
Human rights campaigner and Asylum Seeker Resource Centre founder Kon Karapanagiotidis is a fierce advocate for asylum seekers and refugees. He is also a strong believer in the power of food, with his new cookbook, A Seat at My Table: Philoxenia, embracing the Greek philosophy of ‘philoxenia’ – to welcome a stranger with open arms.
Alongside his beloved mother Sia, 75, Kon has assembled over 100 vegan and vegetarian recipes passed down through generations of his family. “Every day at the ASRC for the past 21 years we’ve put on a big lunch for everyone; people from over 60 countries sit together and share a meal together,” he tells DARE.
“It allows everyone to feel welcomed, valued and seen. This is our shared language, the act of sharing food together as equals and feeling loved and cared for. It is the magic to building community and connection.”
The inspiring book highlights the importance of preserving family history. Kon, 51, was born in Victoria to hardworking Greek migrant parents. “I lost my father Leo when I was just 27 and I had so many regrets about the stories I never asked him and I didn’t want to have the same regrets with my mum,” says Kon.
“Being able to document her recipes, cook this food together and share this experience is something I am so grateful for, and it will help keep my family’s culture and stories alive for generations to come. Sia is so proud to see her name on the cover and the book has turned out just as we’d hoped – a home cooking book that makes you feel like you are in our home.”
Inclusivity is at the heart of the book. Every recipe is meat-free, and Kon also reveals how each dish can be made vegan or gluten free if needed. “I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 15 because of my love of animals. I also wanted to share that Greek cooking is more than just souvlaki. Along with India, it is the world’s oldest vegan and vegetarian food culture and I wanted to show the breadth and beauty of it to the broader community.”
Minimising food waste is another key theme. “My parents grew up in poverty and were taught from childhood about the importance of not wasting anything. Within the book there are dozens of tips on preserving excess veggies from the garden, what to do with fresh produce on its last legs and how to make a delicious meal with whatever you have in the pantry and fridge.”
Kon is donating 100% of the book’s proceeds to the ASRC. “Beyond raising funds to provide food security to refugee families, I hope this book inspires more people to be compassionate, to welcome those in need in their community and be kinder and more aware of how many are doing it tough.”
Life after a split
Cynical as it may be, celebrity splits are not only unsurprising these days, they’re practically expected – something to which late actress Zsa Zsa Gabor would likely have agreed, considering she was one knot-tie away from her marriage tally hitting double digits.
Yet when beloved Australian star couple Hugh Jackman, 55, and Deborra-lee Furness, 68, announced they were going their separate ways in September 2023, it caused no small amount of shock – not just because of the actor’s regular public proclamations of love for his wife, but also the fact they were married for 27 years and appeared to be in it for the long haul.
Yet ‘grey divorce’ – a term coined for those splitting later in life after lengthy marriages or de facto partnerships – is on the rise, with the Australian Institute of Family Studies revealing that couples who were married for 20 years or more accounted for a quarter of the 56,244 divorces in 2021, as opposed to only one in five in the 1980s and 1990s.
The rise in older divorce is supported by the new Love After 50 research from Australian Seniors, which finds that 37% of over 50s have had doubts about continuing their current relationship, and 25% have considered separating or divorcing.
Davide Di Pietro, director of the Family Counselling Clinic at Sydney’s The Resilience Centre, a specialist service for those experiencing relationship breakdowns, says that divorce is now less taboo than it has been in the past, which plays a major role in its rise among older Australians. However, he doesn’t believe it’s the main factor.
“I think empty nest syndrome is probably the number-one reason – couples realising the thing that was keeping them together was raising children,” says Davide. “Then once that’s done, couples can grow apart and may need to figure out how to recalibrate their relationship.
“People are also living longer, which I also think plays a big part. At 50 they may still have 20, 30, 40 years of life left, so people are considering how they want to live their life moving forward and divorce suddenly becomes a viable option.
Game, set and perfect match
On the eve of the Australian Open, we talk to tennis legend Todd Woodbridge about his shock heart attack, life after hanging up the racquet and landing a dream role as a TV game show host.
If 12 months ago you'd have told tennis legend Todd Woodbridge that he would be hosting one of Australia’s newest game shows, “I would’ve laughed at you!” he says.
But despite coming somewhat out of the blue, his new gig as host of the international smash Tipping Point plays perfectly to 52-year old Todd’s strengths as a people person and all-rounder.
“I was asked to do a screen test for the show on a Tuesday and said they needed me to come in on the Thursday. I spent all day Wednesday watching Ben Shephard videos [the UK host of Tipping Point]. In a makeshift set-up we did a screen test and I thought that would be the end of it.
To my surprise they came back and said: ‘You’re exactly how we want the show to be,’” he tells DARE from his home in Melbourne. Todd was then flown to Bristol in England to shoot an initial 10 episodes, using 30 Australian expats as contestants. His ease behind the podium was the culmination of years of honing his television act as a sports broadcaster and his natural rapport with people from all walks of life.
“I’ve been interviewed, I’ve been the interviewer, I’ve hosted, I’ve done reality shows. It felt like all the bits and pieces accumulated into the way that I could stand there and manoeuvre the show around. I’ve never felt out of my depth and have felt really comfortable with it.
It’s a similar confidence that propelled Todd onto the world stage as a professional tennis star at the age of 16. Despite steady success as a singles player (he was ranked 19th in the world in 1997), he focused on the doubles game and became one of very few tennis stars to achieve a career Golden Slam, meaning he won each of the four tennis Grand Slam events (some of them multiple times), as well as gold at the 1996 Olympics. Many of the victories were by the side of his long-time doubles partner Mark Woodforde, and The Woodies, as they were known, remain one of Australia’s greatest-ever sporting success stories.
Following his retirement, Todd has worked as a TV tennis pundit, and his new role as a game show host will overlap with Australia’s peak tennis season. After having a mild heart attack in October 2022, he is keenly aware of maintaining balance in his life as he juggles the show’s filming with his commentary commitments for January’s Australian Open and warm-up events.
Cheers to that
A tour through wine country can be a treat for all the senses. DARE samples the best wine – and beer – holidays around the world.
Here's the thing about wine regions: they're not ugly. In fact, you can almost guarantee that if you visit a part of the world known for the production of wine, it will be beautiful. Probably stunningly so.
That’s just one reason to combine wine with travel: it is going to take you somewhere lovely. And then, of course, you have the chance to sample the beverage itself, along with the history and the culture of the wineries, and the amazing restaurants that will inevitably be close by. It’s no wonder so many travellers are choosing wine regions for their holidays.
“Visits to wineries for tours and tastings are always popular,” says John Wood-Dow, director of European Waterways, a river cruise company offering specialist wine journeys. “But our guests also seek a broader immersion in the heritage, culture and gastronomy of the region. Many have an interest in wine and have developed some degree of knowledge but most wineries, along with our guides, are there to educate along the way.”
Wineries and wine regions are always evolving. In South Australia’s famed Barossa Valley, there’s a whole host of reasons to visit, according to John Geber, proprietor of historic winery Château Tanunda.
“We’re being inundated in wine regions with beer, gin, whisky distilleries,” says John. “People come here and they see a gin distillery, a brandy house, a whisky distillery, craft brewers, they’re getting a lot of interest. And all of that, in a funny way, rejuvenates regions like the Barossa.
Whether you’re an established wine aficionado, or just someone who likes a cold drink at the end of the day, there’s plenty to enjoy on a holiday in a wine region. These are some of our favourites around the world – with a little something for beer drinkers, too.
Kate Jenkins, 55
Employees everywhere have Kate to thank for her work as Sex Discrimination Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission. Since 2016, the lawyer has fought for issues that affect many of us, including cultural reform in organisations such as the Australian Defence Force, and tackling sexual harassment and assault at Australian universities.
Most notably, recommendations in her landmark Respect@Work report – released publicly in early 2020 – have been brought into law. This is, Kate says, a “major achievement” when it comes to how Australia approaches workplace sexual harassment.
“It changes our settings from being reactive to also being proactive, so that employers are required to take meaningful action to prevent harassment from occurring,” she explains.
“I’m especially worried about how little has changed for our new job entrants. Almost half of workers under 30 have experienced sexual harassment in the last five years. The new focus will be about making sure sexual harassment stops.”
Having recently completed her seven-year term as Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Kate feels she has plenty more to offer: “I would have been keen for a little bit more time!”
Ronni Kahn, 70
Though she never intended to start a charity, OzHarvest founder and CEO Ronni had what she has described as a midlife “epiphany” almost 20 years ago. As then-owner of a successful events company in Sydney, she witnessed huge amounts of untouched food being thrown away at the end of each night, but one pivotal day she was compelled to take action. “When I started rescuing food and delivering it to people in need, I knew I had found my destiny and life’s work,” she tells DARE.
Since 2004, her non-profit “yellow army” has grown from one van to a fleet of 73. “We have over 100 amazing OzHarvest drivers who rescue 250 tonnes of food every week and make sure it gets to people who need it most at the 1,900 charities that we serve,” says Ronni.
She’s now also focusing on education. “OzHarvest is 100% committed to achieving the national target to halve food waste by 2030, but we need change at all levels of society – urgently – from government, businesses to everyone at home,” says Ronni. “People are quick to blame supermarkets, but households waste the most at 2.5 million tonnes every year.”
Lloyd Clarke, 62 and Sue Clarke, 61
The Clarkes lost their daughter, Hannah, and three grandchildren in horrific circumstances in 2020 – set alight in their car by Hannah’s controlling husband.
The couple had never heard of coercive control before and after the tragedy were confronted with a choice: “Do we close our eyes and allow other families to suffer or do something about it?” they tell DARE.
They chose the latter, setting up the Small Steps 4 Hannah Foundation to H.A.L.T (named for Hannah and her children Aaliya, Laianah and Trey) the cycle of domestic violence and to campaign for coercive control laws, now active in NSW and underway in Queensland.
The foundation has also co-produced guidance on red flags and risks of homelessness for victims of domestic violence and run trials with police on how to speak to victims.
“Most importantly, we’ve turned the ground on Hannah’s Sanctuary, a new residential development for women and children escaping violence and coercive control. It’s everyday Australians like us who are affected by the impacts of coercive control. It made sense that we use our experience to educate and advocate for change.”
Professor Peter Shergold, 76
Professor Shergold is not a man who rests on his laurels. Last year, the well-known policy expert and champion of social change was in the media responding to Fault Lines, an independent review into Australia’s response to COVID for which he was chair. Unsurprisingly, the review concluded that “older Australians should have been better protected”. “All Australians, no matter their age, deserve equal access to hospital care,” he tells DARE.
The important piece of work caps a distinguished academic and public service career that includes secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet from 2003 to 2008, and 12 years as chancellor of Western Sydney University, a position he stepped down from last December. “He has been one of the strongest and most passionate advocates for this university, our students, and the transformational power of higher education,” says vice-chancellor and president Professor Barney Glover.
Professor Shergold remains chair of the Centre for Social Impact (he was the founding CEO at its launch in 2008), as well the NSW Education Standards Authority and the James Martin Institute for Public Policy.
Alison Covington, 52
When Alison heard about the charity Good360 in the US, she was in awe of its scale and efficiency – distributing billions of dollars worth of new goods to people in need over several decades. She knew an online marketplace for businesses to donate spare wares could have the same impact in Australia, where $2.5 billion worth of unsold household goods is wasted annually, while one in six people lives below the poverty line. Alison founded Good360 Australia in 2012, and launched the online marketplace three years later.
“It is a big job to educate businesses to donate these goods and connect them to our network of around 3,500 charities and disadvantaged schools Australia-wide, which is growing every day,” she tells DARE. “Already, 34 million items have been donated.”
The charity also provides support during natural disasters. “Since January 2020, Good360 has connected 17.4 million requested items to disaster-affected communities,” says Alison, who has a small team of about 30 people.
The goal is to support 10 million people by distributing $1 billion worth of goods by 2025: “My biggest hope is we see an increase in awareness so that all spare and excess goods are donated, enabling Australians to go from surviving to thriving.”
Bernie Shakeshaft, 55
Youth worker Bernie founded BackTrack in 2006 to support vulnerable youngsters after becoming frustrated with the system. He’s since worked with more than 1,000 troubled teens to keep them alive, out of jail and in employment, training or education.
Bernie takes a holistic approach, addressing educational, housing, financial, legal and social problems. “We hang in for the long haul, doing whatever it takes for as long as it takes,” he tells DARE. “When you see young people come through the program, do it tough, then come out the other side, get qualifications, start their own families and come back to help the next generation, that’s a good day for sure.”
Key to Bernie’s success are teaming the kids up with dogs – “We keep about 25 dogs and they are engaged in lots of BackTrack activities” – and harnessing the skills of grandmotherly types who can dispense a hug along with wisdom. “Having grandmas around brings out the best in all of us,” he smiles.
Bernie, who’s based in Armidale, NSW, has won a swathe of awards but admits there are no quick fixes. “When we began, the kids were aged 16-17. Now they’re 10-11. The problems are more complex. But our mission statement is still to help as many as we can.”
Gabi Hollows, 69
As founding director of the Fred Hollows Foundation, Gabi (an orthoptist and Fred’s widow) is optimistic about ending avoidable blindness in her grandchildren’s lifetime. “Right now, there are still 43 million people globally who are blind, but more than 90% of them don’t need to be. As Fred would say, let’s get on with it and get the job done,” she tells DARE.
The organisation was conceived with acclaimed eye surgeon Fred around the couple’s dining room table 30 years ago. “I don’t think we had any idea what we were getting ourselves into. I know Fred would be blown away by the scale to which the foundation has grown,” says Gabi. “It has been an incredible journey and a true privilege to have helped restore sight to more than three million people in over 25 countries.” This could not have been possible without the community of “incredible supporters across Australia and around the world”, she adds.
Gabi and the foundation continue to “get the job done”, working towards closing the eye health gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. The team is currently working to train more eye health workers in Australia to deliver culturally appropriate care and remove barriers preventing people from getting treatment, such as fear and geographical distance.
Dame Quentin Bryce, 80
When Dame Quentin was sworn in as Australia’s 25th governor-general in 2008, she made history as the first woman to hold the position. The former academic, lawyer, senior public officer and university college principal was a natural choice – bringing more than 40 years of experience in leadership to the role. During her six years as governor-general, she put Indigenous and women’s rights on top of her agenda.
Dame Quentin met and married architect and designer Michael Bryce during her arts-law studies at the University of Queensland. Together, the couple raised five children and travelled the world, building a life around her stellar career. Grappling with grief upon Michael’s death in 2021, Dame Quentin recalled a phrase used by the late Queen about grief being the price of love. “I think it says a lot of things. It's a very beautiful expression," she told The Australian Women’s Weekly.
Recently she’s been eyeing new writing projects, international travel, and spending time with her grandchildren. “I’m very conscious of keeping fit and well, being responsible about my health. I do Pilates three times a week and I swim. I love being in the water and I love to walk.”
Eric Siggurs, 83
When Eric retired in 2005, he did what most retirees do: he travelled with his wife, Claire, then did a few odd jobs around the house. But after having worked for 47 years with an engineering company, he eventually grew tired of not contributing to society.
“I wanted to volunteer. I wanted to do something useful. I could have joined Meals on Wheels, but Claire said I would most likely eat all the meals myself,” Eric tells DARE. So he started volunteering for Technology for Ageing and Disability SA more than a decade ago, at age 70.
Now the 2023 South Australian nominee for Senior Australian of the Year makes equipment to help people with disabilities be independent, contributing to more than 60 projects that have improved lives. Among the items Eric has designed and built are parallel bars that can be attached to treadmills, allowing children with disabilities to exercise at home, and rotatable frames so people with mobility issues can produce art.
“I enjoy spending time down in my shed inventing things,” he says. “What I enjoy most about volunteering is not only the pleasure I get from adults but also from the children’s faces, and more importantly, the satisfaction I get that’s keeping me active.”
Ian Sinclair, 93
Having served as its inaugural chair, former National Party leader Ian is patron of the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR), which distributes grants to communities. “Wherever you live in Australia, everyone deserves the same chance to enjoy health and education and the same opportunities there are in big cities,” he says. “FRRR was established to try and do this. It provides a link between government and private donors and partners.”
Initially set for a legal career and admitted to the bar in 1952, Ian instead bought a grazing property near Bendemeer, NSW. Describing himself as a “bushie”, he bred cattle and sheep there until 2001 and now fattens cattle at Dumaresq Island near Taree.
Widowed as a father-of-three when wife Margaret died of brain cancer in 1967, and surviving a double heart bypass in 1991, he’s no stranger to adversity. His second wife Rosemary founded the National Association for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN), leading to Ian’s most recent advocacy work.
“While committed still to a range of philanthropic causes, my activities are less than a few years ago,” Ian tells DARE. “The most significant today is First Steps Count [child and community centre] in Taree, in support of my wife Rosemary.”
Wendy Rose, 83
Wendy is known for her insight and initiative. In 1985, together with visionary co-collaborators Wendy Poussard and Ruth Pfanner, she co-founded International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA) – Australia’s leading agency entirely focused on women’s rights and gender equality in the Asia Pacific region.
They started by renting a tiny one-room office above a real estate agency in Melbourne. Their first break came when a woman walked in off the street and wrote a cheque for several thousand dollars – enough to start up a health program for women in the Philippines. Today, IWDA has worked with 194 program partners across 36 countries and territories, supporting projects run by and for local women.
“Over the years there has been change for women, but there is still a long way to go,” Wendy tells DARE. “We must continue to work hard to ensure that women can have power, money and security. I frankly get a little depressed at the lack of progress in Australia. The unacceptable level of family violence especially against women indicates that Australian society in some ways is no more ahead than those we regard as developing societies.”
Michael Kirby, 84
A former justice of the High Court, the Honourable Michael Kirby AC CMG has possibly more accolades to his name than he does years. The international jurist, university professor and academic has won countless awards, including the Australian Human Rights Medal in 1991.
Although Michael retired in 2009 – as Australia’s longest serving judge – he has remained active in causes close to his heart, and late last year was elected honorary life member of the International Bar Association.
His career has encompassed pro bono work for disadvantaged groups, including Indigenous people, and international activities with the United Nations. He is a staunch supporter of LGBTIQA+ rights and an elected patron (along with Ita Buttrose) of Qtopia, Sydney’s first queer museum, launched in February during WorldPride.
Michael was also recently named patron of mental health organisation Cybermindz. “Mental health, mental wellbeing, peace in the world and in our own minds, is an important element of human existence,” he says.
Senator Patrick Dodson, 75
Known as the Father of Reconciliation, the Yawuru man and Labor Senator for WA is at the heart of the Voice campaign, which seeks to recognise Indigenous people in the constitution, and consult on matters affecting them. The proposal will be decided by Australian voters in a referendum this year. “The upcoming referendum on the Voice is an extraordinary moment for our country,” Senator Dodson says. “I have a great amount of faith in the Australian people – in their generosity and goodwill. I hope to walk with you all towards real change for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”
Having dedicated his life work to advocating constructive relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people – his past roles have included inaugural chair of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation and commissioner in the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody – he now sees the Voice as our greatest hope. “In Aboriginal years, I am a very old man. I do not expect that another opportunity to improve our lot will come around in my time left. I want everyone to open their hearts and vote ‘Yes’.”
Kirsten Junor, 55
Since childhood, former film and television costume designer Kirsten has been a regular visitor to Reverse Garbage in Sydney’s Marrickville, often scouring its eclectic treasures.
Now she’s the CEO of the iconic reuse and recycling centre that diverts a staggering 35,000 cubic metres of items – such as industrial off-cuts, art and craft supplies, furniture and other odds and ends – from landfill each year.
Passionate about fighting over-consumption, Kirsten is spearheading an education campaign to showcase the potential of recycling, rehoming and reusing. “I see the plight the planet is in and what gets me out of bed every day is that we can do something about it. I want people to stop and think about the consequences of their actions, particularly their consumption. Do you need racks of clothes? You can only wear one outfit at a time!” she tells DARE.
Describing herself as thrifty, she encourages consumers to think deeply about the products they are purchasing, where they came from and what went into making them, before tossing them away. “We no longer call it waste because waste is actually a resource that has great value,” she says. “Every time a product is thrown away, the materials and energy that went into its production goes to waste too.”
Natalie Isaacs, 60+
Natalie was running a successful cosmetics business when she had a light-bulb moment. She wanted to live more sustainably, so she focused on her family’s energy consumption, reducing the household’s electricity use by a staggering 20%. Natalie realised if she could achieve such results, encouraging others to do the same could create significant environmental change.
In 2009, she started the 1 Million Women movement, a global network followed by the likes of former New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern, that empowers women to act on climate change through everything they do. “How we live each day matters. One small action at a time multiplied by millions and millions of people changes the system,” says the author of Right Here Right Now and Every Woman’s Guide to Saving the Planet.
“The world needs a lifestyle revolution. It’s easy to sign a petition or to put pressure on governments and march on the streets, but we can’t do that on the one hand and then live our lives filled with overconsumption on the other. I know through my own climate journey from apathy to action, that profoundly changing your lifestyle is not easy, but it is key in helping to solve the challenge of this climate crisis we face.”
Professor James Dale, 72
The scientist, researcher and humanitarian is saving lives around the world in a most unexpected way: with bananas. Thanks to groundbreaking research by Professor Dale and his team at Queensland University of Technology, he is genetically modifying bananas – a staple in many poorer countries – to boost their pro-vitamin A levels.
“Vitamin A deficiency is probably the third largest of the public health problems of the world,” Professor Dale tells DARE. “Somewhere between 600,000 and two million children die from vitamin A deficiency every year, and it causes blindness in another 400,000 children.”
The super banana project, which received funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is now in the final stages of development in East Africa.
He has also placed disease-resistant genes into local Cavendish bananas to protect them from a fungus that destroy crops in Australia, and in 2022 the professor was awarded a Companion of the Order of Australia for his vital research, which also investigates developing rapid testing for genetic diseases and producing edible, plant-based vaccines.
“There is a wonderful African proverb that relates very well to our work: ‘If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go with others.’”
Professor John Newnham, 70
Professor Newnham buzzes when he talks about the progress of his latest national health program, ‘Every Week Counts’. “It’s absolutely humming; we have about 50 hospitals involved and 245 sub-projects running in conjunction. We are on our way to becoming the first country in the world to strategically lower the preterm birth rate. It’s incredible,” he tells DARE.
The WA-based 2020 Senior Australian of the Year is chair of the Australian Preterm Birth Prevention Alliance and a world leader in the prevention of preterm birth, which remains the leading cause of death and disability in children up to five years of age in the developed world. In Australia, one in every 12 pregnancies ends too early and, until recently, preterm birth was considered an accidental and unavoidable consequence of pregnancy – Professor Newnham’s groundbreaking research is proving otherwise.
“I’m absolutely energised by the work we are doing and inspired by the people I’m working with because we are achieving incredible things,” he says.
“As a nation we should be so proud. This breakthrough collaborative model we are doing in preterm birth care is working so well it could be rolled out in other areas of healthcare, too.”
Cathy Freeman, 50
Who could forget the images of Australian running star and proud Kuku Yalanji woman Cathy lighting the Olympic flame at the start of the Sydney Games in 2000, then winning gold in the 400m final 10 days later?
Born in Mackay, Queensland, today Cathy lives in Melbourne with her husband, stockbroker James Murch, and their daughter, 11-year-old Ruby. In 2007, she established the Cathy Freeman Foundation, now Community Spirit Foundation, a non-profit organisation focusing on educational programs for remote First Nations children and young people.
“Growing up, I had the opportunity to experience quality educational opportunities and the support to go with it,” she explains. “By going to school, I was able to recognise my potential as an athlete and fulfil my dream of achieving Olympic gold.”
Cathy stepped down as the foundation’s director in 2021 after 15 years of service, and last year penned inspirational children’s book The Heartbeat of the Land, about the country of her ancestors. “I represent a possibility for all kids, but certainly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids in particular. It’s a role that I take quite seriously,” she says. “I’m quite aware of the impact that it generates. I’m not one for resting on my laurels.”
Jo Horgan, 54
Mecca founder Jo has redefined the cosmetics industry. In 1997, the former L’Oréal marketing executive – with degrees in English literature, Latin and communications – took a punt and launched her first retail store in Melbourne’s South Yarra. Entirely self-funded and owned by Jo and co-CEO (and husband) Peter Wetenhall,
Mecca has since grown to more than 100 retail stores across Australia and New Zealand, with revenue of $572 million in 2020. “We want to be the world’s most loved beauty destination,” Jo says.
Known for her passion for retail innovation, Jo is also a philanthropist. In 2016, she launched Mecca’s charitable arm, M-Power, to support disadvantaged women and girls through education, and to mentor women in underrepresented industries.
Jo also sits on the board of the NGV (National Gallery of Victoria) Foundation and last year launched the Mecca x NGV Women in Design Commission, which invites an international female designer or architect to create a major new work for the NGV Collection.
“We have a voice and a responsibility now,” she told the Australian Financial Review.
“We have over four million women on our database. We have an incredible connection with our customers. So how do we use that for good?”
Glenn McGrath, 53
One of the most successful fast bowlers in international cricket history, Glenn is equally revered as a campaigner for women’s health. He and his late wife Jane founded the McGrath Foundation in 2005 to fund breast cancer care. Jane died in 2008 from the disease, but the couple’s legacy means there are now nearly 200 specialised breast cancer nurses (with plans for 250 by 2025).
These nurses have so far provided physical, psychological and emotional support to more than 118,000 families through their breast cancer journey. The foundation also offers health education programs and scholarships for specialist training.
“When we started the McGrath Foundation, we felt if we could help one person by telling our story it would make it worthwhile. What it’s grown into is incredible,” says Glenn.
"I feel very proud and humble, and I see it as a huge sign of respect to myself, the foundation and people going through breast cancer.”
Glenn married his second wife, Italian-American interior designer Sara Leonardi, in 2010, and five years later welcomed a daughter, Madison, joining Glenn’s two older children.
“I’m busier now than I’ve ever been,” says Glenn. “There’s never a dull moment.”
Senator Penny Wong, 54
When Prime Minister Anthony Albanese delivered his victory speech following the 2022 federal election, introducing him to the stage was his close friend and confidante, Senator Wong.
The South Australian is a soaring star in politics and widely respected, having risen up the ranks as an immigrant (she was born in the Malaysian state of Sabah and moved Down Under when she was eight years old) to become the first Asian-born person to serve in an Australian cabinet. She is currently Leader of the Senate and Minister for Foreign Affairs, representing the country on the world stage and demonstrating an impressive command of foreign languages in her speeches abroad.
She believes in fighting for social justice and is a proud member of the LGBTQIA+ community, sharing two children with her partner Sophie Allouache and acting as a leading voice in the push for Australia’s same-sex marriage plebiscite in 2017.
Senator Wong described taking part in the recent WorldPride march across the Sydney Harbour Bridge alongside Sophie and the Prime Minister as “a special moment”.
“For those who fought before us and for those who will follow, happy WorldPride,” she said.
Professor Germaine Greer, 84
When she returned to Australia in 2021 after a glittering 55-year career in academia in England, Professor Greer, one of the world’s most famous and forthright feminists, made a move that surprised many: she checked herself into an aged care home in Murwillumbah in northern NSW. Her stay lasted just 10 months, having unhappily coincided with the COVID residential home lockdowns.
“I was not a patient, but an inmate,” she told The Australian.
More than half a century after the publication of her groundbreaking first book, The Female Eunuch, the noted writer and intellectual is now using her powerful voice to talk about aged care, which she believes is one of the most pressing feminist issues today.
Last year she spoke frankly at the Canberra Writers Festival about an industry where, according to the program for her talk, almost 90% of the direct care workforce are women, as are more than 70% of the residents.
“I was appalled by how little the staff were paid,” says Professor Greer, who now lives with her brother and his family outside Melbourne. She is also troubled by the high cost of moving into care.
“People had to sell their homes and then, if they decide, no, this is not for me, they can’t break out… because their money is tied up.”
Professor Fiona Wood, 65
As soon as medical student Fiona Wood was told that women could never be surgeons, she made up her mind that was exactly what she would do. And now, 48 years on, she’s celebrated as a remarkable pioneer – for both sexes – in the fields of burns medicine and research.
“My mantra has always been to ensure the quality of the outcome is worth the pain of survival,” she tells DARE.
Named Australian of the Year in 2005, Fiona is globally admired for the revolutionary spray-on skin technique that saved so many lives after the 2002 Bali bombings. She has also managed to combine a stellar career with having six children. In the early days, she’d take her children on medical rounds; now two of them are following in her footsteps, with one a surgeon and the other a researcher.
“My research at the Fiona Wood Foundation is aimed at pushing back the boundaries of what we know to learn more about what happens to someone on every level when they sustain a serious injury, so we can treat them more effectively,” she says.
“Scarless healing is my holy grail. That’s what always drives me: learning today to make tomorrow better.”
Dr Richard Harris, 58
When experienced cave diver and specialist anaesthetist Dr Harris was initially asked to sedate 12 young footballers, keep them underwater for 2.5km and bring them out of a Thai cave that was about to be flooded by monsoonal rains, his initial response was: “Absolutely not! I can’t think of a more certain way to sentence those kids to death.”
When he arrived, however, he realised there was no other option and, incredibly, in July 2018 he and dive partner Dr Craig Challen pulled the team and their coach out alive.
In 2019 the pair were named joint Australian of the Year for their heroism, and Dr Harris uses his platform to talk about the importance of safe risk and resilience. Last December, he quit medicine to continue the work, including writing, podcasting, helping troubled children and making films on exploration, science and adventure.
“I embrace adventure more as I age because I’m aware my time and good health have an expiry date, but I’m also a more careful risk manager,” he tells DARE.
“It remains important for everyone, from kids to older people, to challenge ourselves. If we stop we start to park our brains and bodies, and go into a premature decline.”
Neil Perry, 65
It wasn’t that long ago – in July 2020 – that culinary veteran Neil announced his retirement from restaurants after a stellar 35-year career. The founder of Rockpool Dining Group, whose venues include Spice Temple, Rockpool Bar & Grill and Saké, has also been the food, beverage and service director for Qantas for more than 25 years.
But it seems he soon had a change of heart, opening neighbourhood restaurant Margaret in Sydney’s Double Bay a little more than a year later. Named after his mother, the two-hatted eatery – and its sister bar Next Door, which opened soon afterwards – is Neil’s first solo restaurant.
As if there wasn’t enough on his very full plate, the veteran chef – who is also the author of 10 cookbooks – announced in February that he will open a new modern Asian restaurant, also in Double Bay, later this year.
“It occurred to me I was in the first Good Food Guide in 1984, [as] chef at Barrenjoey House at Palm Beach, and since that time I have been in every guide except the one year,” he reflects on Instagram.
“It’s been quite a ride.”
Jack Heath, 62
The tragic suicide of his young cousin in 1992 sparked a fire in Jack to improve the lives of people affected by mental illness. In 1997, he founded the Inspire Foundation (now ReachOut), the world’s first online mental health service for young people, which also established roots in Ireland and the United States. He then took the knowledge gained at the coalface of mental health issues to SANE Australia, serving as CEO for more than eight years.
Today Jack is CEO of Philanthropy Australia, continuing a lifelong commitment to creating tangible social change. “For a few decades that I worked in the mental health space I was so charged, almost with a sense of desperation and urgency to make change,” he tells DARE. “In recent years I’ve come to appreciate that it’s our own internal shifts that have the biggest impact on the world.”
A practising Buddhist, Jack says meditation and contemplation keep him energised.
“I’ve changed the way I go about things, more compassion than passion, and I’m in a better position to make a contribution to the world. I still have the fire but it’s more centred and focused. I know I can take a different path to achieve what I want.”
Hugh Jackman, 54
Hollywood A-lister and all-round nice guy, Sydney-born actor Hugh is in a contemplative mood. Playing Wolverine in the first X-Men film brought phenomenal success 23 years ago, but it’s his latest role in the critically acclaimed film, The Son (by Florian Zeller, the same writer/director who brought us The Father), that Hugh says has changed him as a man, an actor, a father and as a husband to fellow actor Deborra-lee Furness.
The film tackles tough issues such as generational trauma and the wounds of divorce and mental illness, and Hugh hopes it will encourage fundamental conversations about depression, anxiety and suicide.
“This movie really tells the story of a family grappling with how to deal with a 17-year-old boy going through a real crisis,” he told A Current Affair. “And I think these conversations are needed. They’re urgent and I feel this movie is going to spark them.
“The pandemic has accelerated what was already a really massive issue. And maybe apart from the pandemic, mental health has become actually the next biggest issue we are talking about,” he adds. “The tragedy is there is help available. We need to build a society where it's okay to ask for help, it's okay to not be okay.”
Hugh, who is also a goodwill ambassador for World Vision Australia, says The Son talks about the issue of mental health without giving answers or easy fixes, just playing out what it’s like for a family going through these issues. He started therapy himself during filming.
“I grew up in a large family with difficulties and some mental health issues,” Hugh told The Guardian. “After doing the film, I understood the complications around it and that I may have leapt to some judgements about certain people’s behaviours. I’m much less judgemental about it now.”
Russell Crowe, 59
Although he’s starred in plenty of Hollywood movies, including State of Play and Gladiator (for which he won an Oscar), New Zealand-born Australian actor Russell has never turned his back on the local film industry. “I want to refocus our politicians, of all persuasions, on the power and reach of our local screen industry,” he says.
“We need the fiscal tools to be globally competitive, while simultaneously fostering local talent and magnetising the industry to attract international productions.”
Setting aside his busy international schedule, Russell recently stepped into the role of president of the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA), and is moving its annual awards night from Sydney to the Gold Coast from 2024, a nod to Queensland’s booming film industry.
Russell also put his money where his mouth is for the thriller/drama Poker Face, which debuted last November. Cast as the lead, he rescued the project on the brink of its collapse by taking on the director role just weeks out from shooting. It was lockdown in Sydney and Russell’s efforts saved the jobs of 288 people.
“It was probably one of the most torturous 12 months of my life.”
Liane Moriarty, 56
From coining the words on the back of the Sultana Bran box during a career in advertising copywriting to walking the Hollywood red carpet with new pals Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon, Liane’s rise to fame has been somewhat of a page turner.
The Sydney-born author has sold tens of millions of her books, which include Big Little Lies, Nine Perfect Strangers, Truly Madly Guilty and her most recent, Apples Never Fall, for which Harry Potter producer David Heyman secured the TV rights six months before its publication date.
“Seeing my books adapted for television has been a really glamorous and fun perk of the job,” Liane tells DARE. “Although I have been fairly hands-off with the adaptations, I’ve loved the experience of observing the process from the sidelines.”
With her knack for creating realistic, relatable characters and scintillating plotlines, writing remains her raison d’etre. “I’m definitely a novelist, not a screenwriter!” she says. “It’s such a privilege and a joy to be able to get up each day and ‘go to work’ making up stories for a living.”
Baz Luhrmann, 60
Hailing from Herons Creek, a tiny town in country NSW, Baz has defied the odds to become Australia’s most commercially successful film director, with classics including Strictly Ballroom and The Great Gatsby making him a household name around the world. His latest stylised biopic, last year’s smash-hit Elvis, won a slew of AACTAs and was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture (he was also previously nominated in that category for Moulin Rouge!).
The director, producer, writer and actor worked tirelessly to bring Elvis Presley’s story to life, convincing the late rock star’s former wife, Priscilla, to give the project her blessing. “There were things that were going to be difficult for them [his family] to see about Elvis,” admits Baz. “But they were also going to see the humanity and true spirituality of him, which was the most important thing.”
Baz and Catherine Martin, his equally successful costume designer wife of more than 25 years, will no doubt be eyeing their next creative venture. “I don’t want to look back on my work. I’m no longer me doing Moulin Rouge! at 40, or Strictly Ballroom at 28,” Baz told The Guardian. “I want to be the me of today or tomorrow. I only really want to look forward.”
Louise Herron, 64
In 2012, Louise, a former lawyer and corporate adviser, became the seventh CEO and first woman to lead the World Heritage-listed Sydney Opera House, which is this year celebrating its 50th anniversary. During her tenure, the iconic building has undergone a $300 million, decade-long upgrade, and last September Louise was recognised with the City Visionary Award, for her impact on the evolution of Sydney’s physical environment.
“The Opera House is a gift: it’s the greatest building of the 20th century and now it’s ready for the 21st. We want everyone to come pouring in and explore what’s on and, most of all, their own creativity,” Louise says.
“What the Opera House does is part of all the great things happening in art galleries, museums and theatres in the city, western Sydney and more broadly. It takes all of us together to realise the city’s full potential and to really put it back on the map after the pandemic.”
By completing the transformation, Louise says she wanted to dispel the myth that the icon was a “place of privilege”, and instead ensure “everyone is welcome”.
“That means outside, inside, on site, online, however you want to enjoy the Opera House, it’s yours to enjoy.”
Evonne Goolagong Cawley, 71
One of eight children, Evonne grew up in the wheat town of Barellan in NSW – a world away from the international professional tennis circuit. The proud Wiradjuri woman went from hitting a ball against a wall to world number one, picking up 14 Grand Slam titles (including singles and doubles) in her glittering career.
The mother-of-two was the first Indigenous woman to win a major title and the first – and so far only – mother to win Wimbledon in the post-World War I era, an achievement she accomplished in 1980. Last year, Evonne was honoured with Australia’s Spirit of Tennis Award.
She retired due to injury in 1983 and later returned home to Australia from the US, setting up home in Queensland and realising her dream of giving Indigenous children more opportunities through tennis through the Evonne Goolagong Foundation. With the motto ‘Dream, believe, learn, achieve’, it provides young First Nations players access to development camps, tennis mentoring and school scholarships, and is a vehicle for creating better education and health outcomes.
As Evonne told The Age, “We have a nearly 100% success rate of the kids staying in school, because they want to keep playing tennis. That’s how we’ve got a lot of Indigenous kids playing this wonderful game.”
Phil Kearns, 55
For rugby fans, Phil will always be the legend who played 67 tests for Wallabies from 1989-1999 – and captained the team 10 times. But his post-sporting years have been memorable for different reasons, as he established firm footholds in the corporate world and in particular the property sector. Now CEO of property developer AVJennings, Phil says it’s a privilege being the leader of such a historic brand.
“But I never expected I’d end up here – I often say to my kids that I don’t think I’ve ever done a job that I thought I was going to do!” he tells DARE. “And that’s the way of the world these days. That said, my passion is around changing businesses and growing them and modernising them, and getting the culture right. That’s the stuff that’s really fun.”
Although he’s no longer a rugby commentator – “I did it for 21 years and now I’ve got my weekends back!” – Phil still helps the game wherever he can, including playing a big part in the winning bid to bring the Rugby World Cup to Australia in 2027. “I’m not sure what role I’ll have when it happens, but the great thing about having the Cup here will be the legacy that it leaves behind.”
Naomi Simson, 59
While most of us will know Naomi as the warm, friendly ‘Red Shark’ on hit TV show Shark Tank Australia, or the founder of successful experience marketplace RedBalloon, this multi-layered businesswoman does a lot behind the scenes to support fellow business owners.
Naomi has written two bestsellers, has a successful business podcast and can often be found on a stage sharing insights on everything from the future of work to socially conscious leadership. But she’s faced hard times, too – including during the onset of the pandemic, which was “just devastating” for her RedBalloon business, much like it was for many others. “It was like going off a cliff. We were in free-fall,” she said in 2020, adding that the JobKeeper scheme was a lifesaver for her and her staff.
But Naomi bounced back and says the silver linings to come out of the pandemic’s dark days will be a wave of innovation, ideas and start-ups. “No matter what we face, businesses have to stay agile. We’ve always been a nation of innovation and we’ll see a lot more of it as we choose the road we want to take forward.”
Rod Laver, 84
Widely considered the greatest tennis player of all time, Rod secured 11 Grand Slam singles titles in his career, and was the last man to win the four biggest tournaments in a single calendar year, a feat he achieved in 1969. In 2000, centre court at Melbourne Park, home to the Australian Open, was renamed the Rod Laver Arena, in honour of his success.
“For something like that to happen in your lifetime it’s very special and I consider it to be the crowning moment of my career,” says Rod, who was born in Rockhampton, Queensland, and first picked up a racquet when he was just six years old.
The octogenarian now lives in California, but every January he can be found sitting courtside in the Melbourne stadium named after him, cheering on the next generation of tennis stars. “It’s a totally different world,” he told The New York Times of the powerful modern game. “I think our tennis was very good. But we were playing with small wooden rackets. Today’s players have a bigger-headed racket. They’re taller guys. They’re great athletes.”
Colin Trenouth, 71
Colin likes to keep busy, so after being made redundant in 2011 he decided to sign up as a volunteer with Meals on Wheels at South Australia’s Edwardstown branch. He’s been there ever since, often working six days a week and doing everything from organising and training volunteers to packing, allocating and delivering meals.
“I look forward to every day,” Colin tells DARE as he finishes a session training a new volunteer. “I enjoy the people I work with and seeing the customers, and I really like Meals on Wheels. It’s not just about providing a meal, we do welfare checks on people too. Often our customers don’t see anyone else all day and they like to have a chat and see a friendly face. It’s lovely to see them smile. There are other meal delivery services but they don’t offer the personal interaction we do.”
Meals on Wheels also loves Colin, nominating him for the Outstanding Contribution Award, which he won as part of the recent national awards program. “I was so chuffed,” he says. “I’m going to use the prize money to attend the next Meals on Wheels national conference in Sydney.”
David Gonski, 69
When your name is linked to a famous report into education reforms and funding (as the Gonski Review just happens to be), it’s probably the first thing people ask you about at dinner parties. But that’s not the only claim to fame for David, a veteran business leader, patron of the arts and philanthropist.
His day job is chancellor of the University of NSW, he sits on multiple boards and is well known for being one of Australia’s leading thinkers. His 2015 book, I Gave a Gonski, is a collection of speeches touching on issues he’s most passionate about – from why we must have more women on boards to the need for better education funding.
And it’s clear he’s not about to turn down new challenges, either. Last year, David was appointed chair of new retirement living provider Levande (formerly Stockland). The new board and executive leadership team say they’re committed to ensuring the highest level of support for senior Australians.
“We’re starting with 10,000 residents and obviously, we want to grow that and have a duty to them to assist them in allowing them to live the life they really want to live, and really deserve to live,” says David.
Gabrielle Chan, 57
After moving to a NSW sheep and wheat farm in 1996, the former Canberra press gallery journalist quickly noticed a cultural and economic divide between city and country life. She put pen to paper and has since become one of Australia’s fiercest rural advocates, bridging the gap between politicians and primary producers.
Gabrielle’s books Rusted Off: Why Country Australia is Fed Up, and Why You Should Give a F*ck About Farming, have given a voice to country communities. “In Australia, farmers manage 50-60% of the landscape, so in a changing climate how they manage that and their very existence is essential to Australia’s future. That’s why farming matters,” she tells DARE.
“The pandemic was the perfect example, when supermarket shelves are empty and you can’t get products from overseas because the supply chain has shut down, it shows you need a diverse and robust farming system to make sure we have resilience.”
As the rural and regional editor at Guardian Australia, Gabrielle is developing a network of storytelling that reaches every corner of regional Australia. “I feel like the message is starting to get through. We all eat, and eating is an agricultural act, so if you eat, you should be interested in agriculture,” she says.
Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, 75
Everyone’s favourite science guru and his Polish-born, Holocaust survivor parents arrived in Australia as refugees in 1950, spending three years in a camp before eventually settling in Wollongong, NSW. “Dr Karl”, as he’s affectionately known, has since written 47 books “with more on the way” and has degrees in physics and mathematics, biomedical engineering, medicine and surgery.
Describing himself a “lifelong student”, the fun-loving personality was awarded the UNESCO Kalinga Prize for the Popularisation of Science in 2019 for his work promoting science in schools and the media. Dr Karl is a regular TV host and commentator on ABC and BBC radio, and also spends his time podcasting, working on his latest book and acting as the Julius Sumner Miller Fellow at the University of Sydney.
Despite his accolades, Dr Karl lists his greatest achievement in life as raising his three children – Alice, Karl and Lola – with wife Dr Mary Dobbie. “It’s all about the next generation. When I go down to vote at the primary school, I’m not voting for what will benefit me, but what will benefit my children,” he says.
Anna Schwartz, 71
Arguably one of Melbourne’s most formidable and powerful contemporary gallerists, Anna is deeply embedded in the city’s creative alumni. A self-taught businesswoman, she opened her eponymous art gallery in Flinders Lane, Melbourne, in 1986 after setting up the United Artists Gallery with a group of artist friends in St Kilda in 1982.
“I didn’t start with a capital fund or anything, I started with zero,” she says.
Today she is referred to as the ‘kingmaker’ of the art world, having championed contemporary art for the past four decades, discovering and cultivating the careers of visionary artists from Australia and overseas.
The Anna Schwartz Gallery represents more than 30 established and emerging artists, and works on individual projects with local and international artists and curators. It was founded on the principle of artists being able to do whatever they want to do, without constraints.
“I take pride in the fact that everything the gallery is today, is the work that the artists and I have done – and the people who have collaborated with the gallery,” Anna says. “It has established a cultural position. And not as many artists need to wash dishes as they used to.”
Kylie Kwong, 53
The famed chef closed the doors to beloved restaurant Billy Kwong in Sydney in 2019, after 19 years of service. Following more than two decades of near constant work, Kylie soon found herself at a loose end, with plans to open a new eatery stalled by COVID. “As the weeks went by, I realised the situation wasn't going to go away any time soon, and I thought to myself: what am I going to do?” Kylie told Gourmet Traveller.
She began volunteering at Addison Road Community Organisation in Sydney, supporting people experiencing food insecurity. She also joined other chefs in feeding staff at RPA Hospital in Camperdown during lockdown. “It was to say, we acknowledge what you’re going through, and we really want to spoil you,” says Kylie.
Her newest Sydney venture – Lucky Kwong – is named after Lucky, the “angel baby” she and wife Nell lost 10 years ago. The casual eatery reflects simple dishes and Kylie’s Asian heritage.
Appointed Member of the Order of Australia in 2023, Kylie dedicated the honour to Nell, mother Pauline and Lucky. “Community, collaboration and connecting with people through food is what motivates me,” she says. “Within this space, we experience the very best of humanity.”
Kylie Minogue, 54
When WorldPride came to Sydney this year, no-one was surprised when Australia’s own Princess of Pop headlined the opening concert. Explained the event’s CEO Kate Wickett: “Kylie is not only a beloved musician and rainbow icon, but the highest-selling Australian-born solo artist of all time.”
This year sees the release of her 16th studio album. “I’ve been making albums now for over 30 years but each one is a different journey,” Kylie says. “To be back in the studio with some of my favourite people is simply a joy.”
And she doesn’t just top the charts in music – Kylie Minogue Wines is also a hit, selling seven million bottles globally since its launch in 2020. The singer is hands-on with the brand, visiting vineyards and meeting winemakers. Kylie promotes her own spectacles, fragrances, homeware and lingerie ranges as well, and still takes on the occasional acting job. In 2022, she appeared in the Channel 10 finale of Neighbours, the TV show that made her a star.
She once again calls Australia home, having moved back to Melbourne in 2021 after three decades in London. “Work will still take me back to Europe and the US, but knowing Australia is my base again is really lovely.”
Peter FitzSimons, 61
As a columnist, occasional broadcaster, commentator, author, guest speaker, former Wallaby, husband of media personality Lisa Wilkinson and former chair of the Australian Republic Movement, Peter wears a lot of hats – or more correctly, red bandannas.
And since the Queen’s death last September, he is renewing calls for Australia to become a republic. “Just as King Charles III has not delayed for a moment in resuming his duties, we submit that Australia should not delay the discussion about its future under the monarchy any longer. It's time,” he says.
As one of Australia’s biggest-selling non-fiction writers he knows a thing or two about the nation’s place in history, with popular books including Gallipoli, The Opera House and most recently The Battle of Long Tan, about the country’s most deadly Vietnam War battle. He relishes the research process and the discoveries he makes about our past. “Every time I talk to old soldiers it’s always a privilege,” says Peter. “They’ve always got a story to tell.”
Richard Fidler, 58
Richard is a popular man on the airwaves. For more than a decade he has presented the ABC Radio National show Conversations, each episode delving deeply into an interviewee’s life story, and the podcast of the program now has more than six million downloads each month. But getting the career balance just right has been a labour of love for the broadcaster and writer.
As he recently told The Sydney Morning Herald, “I work on Conversations four days a week; three of my episodes go to air each week.” (Co-host Sarah Kanowski presents the weekday show the other two days.) “Then on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I work on my books – such a different activity, such a different kind of pleasure. One is a balance for the other.”
Richard is the author of bestselling history books, with his latest tome, The Book of Roads & Kingdoms, set during Islam’s Golden Age. In a previous life, he was a member of iconic comedy trio The Doug Anthony Allstars, who started out busking on the streets of Canberra in 1984 before taking their unique act to the world. “We did it until we couldn’t stand it any more, which was 10 years.”
Shaynna Blaze, 60
Interior designer and TV personality Shaynna is passionate about stopping the cycle of family violence. It’s the reason she co-founded Voice of Change, a charity that champions education about – and action against – an issue that is often hidden behind closed doors. She believes telling stories of family violence through the arts – with mediums such as film, music, exhibitions, theatre, fine arts and roleplay – will amplify the voices of abuse survivors.
Despite a career in front of the camera, including on The Block, Selling Houses Australia and Celebrity Apprentice, Shaynna is familiar with feeling powerless to communicate about abuse that is happening to you. “Family violence comes in many different forms of verbal, coercive, physical and financial control, which I’ve experienced,” she says. “It’s something I didn’t know how to handle. All these things happen very slowly and get confused with what love actually is.”
Shaynna believes everyone has a role to play in preventing family violence. “The last five years, watching the news and seeing the amount of women that have been murdered, and their children, it’s just been intense. The charity just naturally came about – it wasn’t something I went ahead to do, it was something I just had to do.”
Steve Waugh, 57
Former Australian cricket captain Steve says he stopped being a cricketer as soon as he hung up his ‘baggy green’ cap in 2004. That same year, he and wife Lynette established the Steve Waugh Foundation to support children with rare diseases, who often fall between the cracks of the health system. “Rare diseases are quite common and most people will know someone who has a rare disease,” Steve tells DARE. “Unfortunately, many of these people are the forgotten ones; the orphans of the health system without hope, support and funding.”
Steve set out to have a real impact, changing lives via a holistic approach to every child and situation. “To be able to do this, the team at the foundation stand by the words ‘strength of character’, which underpins everything we do and aspire to. We recently passed the milestone of having supported over 420 different rare diseases through our grant recipient program, as well as supporting over 2,500 individuals and families through our grants and programs.”
For Steve and Lynette, motivation to continue comes from the grant recipients themselves. “Seeing the incredible difference to the quality of life we contribute to drives the foundation to be the best it can possibly be.”
Tim Winton, 62
The author of 29 books and four-time winner of the Miles Franklin Award has been celebrating Australia’s lands and waters in his stories for over 40 years – including in his 1997 novel Blueback, about a magnificent blue groper whose habitat comes under threat, which has just been adapted into a film. “It’s lovely to watch an old book have a new life, interpreted by someone else on screen,” Tim tells DARE.
The passionate environmentalist and patron of the Australian Marine Conservation Society, has also finished a three-part ABC documentary, Ningaloo Nyinggulu, about the famous reef in his home state of WA. “The sea is particularly important in my work and I’ve taken every opportunity to celebrate and defend it,” he says. “The people fighting for clean water, healthy seas and coral reefs – these people are heroes and patriots. These people are fighting for our home.”
He believes senior citizens can play a major role in saving the environment. “Most of us won’t live to see the worst of it, but I’d like to die knowing I had done my bit. Everyone talks about how much community service and unity there was ‘in the good old days’. We need those old values, and some of those old folks showing the way.”
Troy Cassar-Daley, 53
Singer and proud Gumbaynggirr/Bundjalung man Troy made history in 2022 when he won his 40th Golden Guitar, annual awards that celebrate Australian country music. He now holds more of the awards than any other individual artist, surpassing some very big names. “It’s very humbling,” Troy tells DARE. “It’s not ideal overtaking someone who’s your hero, like Slim Dusty is to me, but I’m very, very proud.”
Troy is as passionate about making music as he was starting out 30 years ago. “It’s been a dream job because the work has never felt like work and the whole thing to this day has been an adventure.”
He is currently on a national tour, with plans to record another album. Troy will also carve out time for his family, fishing and painting. “Some of my best work is still on the road ahead,” he says. “I’m still very hungry for knowledge in my 50s, in particular learning about Australia’s true Indigenous history, to set the record straight and in doing so bring our nation together. Every time I play at a beautiful community somewhere, I think of the joy music brings our people. The relatability of country music runs deep.”
Wendy Harmer, 67
Bestselling author, comedian and radio commentator, Wendy defies being pigeonholed in her long media career. “I do have a capacity for reinvention and ability to make my own luck,” Wendy tells DARE. “When I began as a teenage cadet journalist, it seemed a path was laid out before me. I chucked it all in for stand-up comedy. I now know that taking chances and trusting my instincts pays off in quite unexpected ways. Even if the results are less than stellar. My mantra is: ‘Life is short. Try to make every mistake possible.’ I’m working on it.”
With a memoir out this year and advocacy work for a variety of good causes including The Smith Family, Wendy describes herself as a jack of all trades. “I’m not a highly skilled person in any particular discipline, so making a living from my wits on stage, radio and in writing has been most rewarding. It’s been more than I ever expected I could do.”
As to what comes next, “Who knows?” Wendy says. “I’ve never set myself goals and don’t intend to start now. Grandchildren would be wonderful. As an older mother, I hope I don’t miss out!”
Deborra-lee Furness, 67
Founder of National Adoption Awareness Month, Adopt Change in Australia and co-founder of Hopeland in the US, Australian actress and producer Deborra-lee is immensely proud of what she and her team have achieved in 13 years, despite the hurdles. “I could not foresee how much pushback we would get from government and bureaucracy,” she tells DARE. “How hard it would be to shift an anti-adoption culture and the collective stigma around adoption,” adds the star, who adopted children Oscar and Ava with her actor husband Hugh Jackman.
“I had personal experience trying to adopt in Australia and that is where I saw the lack of support, energy, enthusiasm, financial and people resources put into finding loving homes for our most vulnerable citizens. This is what motivated me to want to speak out.” Deborra-lee says she is “personally proud” Adopt Change now advises policy with politicians. “They now look to us for direction.”
The actress, whose new film Force of Nature is released this year, wants to see every child have a secure home, inclusive education and easy access to support. “My personal goals are always to continue to grow, learn, serve, share, create and contribute through the arts and my philanthropic and advocacy work.”
DARE magazine is complimentary for Australian Seniors policyholders
At Australian Seniors, we believe you should be at your best. That’s why we’re giving all eligible policyholders complimentary issues of DARE magazine, providing you with the knowledge and insight to make the most of everyday. That means you can look forward to more than just great cover – you’ll also have access to breaking topics, helpful advice, exclusive celebrity interviews and more. It’s our way of helping you enjoy what you’re already protecting.
Policyholders of our Life, Funeral, and Health Insurance products will receive ongoing complimentary issues of DARE magazine, while policyholders of our Car, Home, Contents, Landlords, and Pet products will receive ongoing complimentary digital issues. Travel Insurance policyholders are eligible for one digital issue of DARE magazine. If you’d like to keep reading after that, you can always purchase a subscription.
To find out if you’re an eligible customer, read our full terms and conditions.
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May I congratulate DARE magazine for its first edition. Content was spot on for pertinent and wide-ranging interests and issues facing seniors, and presentation was attractive and of a high standard.
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I really enjoyed reading the new magazine. It came at the perfect time as I have some spare time on my hands. I actually sat down & read most of it one sitting. The contents was really interesting & easy to read with nice variety of relevant topics. Thanks so much! I will look forward to receiving edition 2 of DARE magazine.
DARE magazine Frequently Asked Questions
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DARE magazine is complimentary to Australian Seniors policyholders. The number of issues our policyholders will receive is dependent on the type of policy they have in place. Review the Terms & conditions of this offer for more information.
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