Who is Geoffrey Blainey?
Geoffrey Norman Blainey AC, is a prominent Australian historian, academic, philanthropist and commentator with a wide international audience. He is noted for having written authoritative texts on the economic and social history of Australia, including The Tyranny of Distance. He has published over 35 books, including world histories such as A Short History of The World and A Short History of Christianity - and has written for newspapers and television. He held chairs in economic history and history at the University of Melbourne for over 20 years. In the 1980s, he was visiting professor of Australian Studies at Harvard University. He received the 1988 Britannica Award for dissemination of knowledge and was made a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2000.
He was once described by Professor Graeme Davison as the "most prolific, wide-ranging, inventive, and, in the 1980s and 1990s, most controversial of Australia's living historians". He has been chairman or member of a wide range of Australian Government and other institutional councils, boards and committees, including the Australia Council, the University of Ballarat, the Australia-China Council, the Commonwealth Literary Fund and the Australian War Memorial. He chaired the National Council for the Centenary of Federation. His name sometimes appears in lists of the most influential Australians, past or present. The National Trust lists Blainey as one of Australia's "Living Treasures". He currently serves on the boards of philanthropic bodies, including the Ian Potter Foundation since 1991 and the Deafness Foundation Trust since 1993, and is patron of others.
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