Leading Australian philanthropist, Tim Fairfax AC (M’64), will be awarded the fourth Geelong Grammar School Medal for Service to Society on Saturday 10 July.

Tim will receive his award at the Geelong Grammar School & Geelong Grammar Foundation Black Tie Dinner, incorporating the 10th James R. Darling Oration, which will be presented by acclaimed Australian playwright, screenwriter and novelist, Joanna Murray-Smith. The Dinner will be held in the David Darling Play House at the School's Corio Campus.

Tim-FairfaxJoanna Murray-Smith











Tim’s leadership and philanthropic support has had a profound and transformational impact on rural and regional development, visual arts, and education in Australia, and particularly his home state of Queensland. Tim was Chancellor of the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Chairman of the University of the Sunshine Coast Foundation and a Director of Australian Schools Plus, which promotes philanthropic support for schools in low socio-economic areas. He has served as Chairman of the National Portrait Gallery, a board member of the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) Foundation and is President of the Queensland Art Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) Foundation. He founded the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation in 2008 to support people in rural and remote communities in Queensland and the Northern Territory and is Chairman of the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR), overseeing the development of mental health programmes for rural and regional Australians.

Tim said that he was “very humbled” to be awarded the Medal for Service to Society, which is the highest honour the School and our Foundation can bestow. The medal was established to recognise people who, by way of the excellence of their achievements, have made sustained contributions to the betterment of society. “There are so many Old Geelong Grammarians who have gone out and achieved, so you always ask, ‘why me?’. Hopefully, I’ve made a contribution, but I don’t think I’ve made a contribution that stands out more so than other Old Geelong Grammarians who have given service to society.”

Tim said that he was passionate about supporting the needs of rural and regional Australians. “Having had a rural property myself, which I worked for 20 years, and through living in a rural community, you get to know the inadequacies of that,” he explained. “When I left the bush, I was very passionate that people in rural and regional Australia should have the same quality of life and opportunities as those living in metropolitan towns.” Through the Tim Fairfax Foundation and FRRR, Tim is focused on improving the connectedness, resilience, and sustainability of rural communities through programmes like Tackling Tough Times Together (TTTT), which supports local grassroots initiatives that assist drought-affected communities. “Having experienced a drought, it was very close to my heart. I knew what other people were going through and so this was a great avenue to help them in some way,” Tim said.

Tim was named as one of five Queensland Greats in 2013, was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in 2014 and was a national finalist in the Senior Australian of the Year category in 2016. He joins an eminent group of GGS Medal of Service to Society recipients, comprising Thai health and education activist Mechai Viravaidya (P’59), human rights lawyer and refugee advocate Dr Eve Lester (Fr’81) and legendary Papua New Guinea obstetrician and maternal health advocate, Professor Glen Liddell-Mola (P’64).