A voice for reconciliation and song enriches Australia

Jimmy Little AO, (Officer of the Order of Australia, 2004)

Jimmy Little AO, Officer of the Order of Australia, 2004 Photo: Pierre Baroni

Jimmy Little AO, (Officer of the Order of Australia, 2004)

Jimmy Little is respected for his half-century of contribution to the entertainment industry, but his greatest contribution may be his gentle philosophy of friendship and understanding.

Born at an indigenous mission on the Murray River called Cummergunga (‘My Place’ in the Yorta tongue), Jimmy grew up with a guitar in his hand and has been a pioneer in the great indigenous creative renaissance.

‘Mum and Dad were vaudevillians. I grew up backstage and entertainment just seemed the natural thing to do.’ Pleasing an audience also came naturally to the soft-spoken musician who says ‘I look on everyone as a potential best friend, a lifetime friend. Music is a great way to say “hello” to them.

‘We’re all gifted with the opportunity to succeed. But you get further if you extend the hand of friendship.’

His first hit was Mystery of Life in 1956. Since then, 30 albums, numerous gold records, films, TV shows and stage performances as musician and actor are testament to the affection Australians hold for him.

A less-known side to Jimmy is his work among young people for education and health, and for reconciliation. ‘Reconciliation is a never-ending word. We have to deal with it daily, person to person, all through our life.'

Jimmy is on the Tamworth Roll of Renown, a member of the Australian Music Hall of Fame, has an ARIA award and an honorary doctorate. In 2004 he was made an Officer of the Order of Australia for his distinguished service to the nation and to humanity.

See: Officer of the Order of Australia

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Last Updated: 24 May, 2006