10. Majak Daw (AFL footballer)
AFL star Majak Daw, who plays for the North Melbourne Kangaroos, arrived in Australia with his parents and siblings in 2003, from war-torn Sudan. In 2009 he became the first Sudanese Australian to be drafted to an AFL club. Majak was born in Sudan's capital Khartoum and was one of nine children. The family fled to Egypt before finding a home in Australia. In 2016 he won the AFL's Mark-of-the-Year award. "Since I've come here, Australian society has been very welcoming to me and my family,” said Majak in 2011.
9. Najeeba Wazefadost (ambassador for refugees)
Najeeba Wazefadost was just 12 years old when her family fled Afghanistan where they were persecuted by the Taliban. They flew to Indonesia and boarded a boat for Australia. “There was no other choice for us than escaping the country and going to somewhere safe,” she told the ABC. "We would not have survived there.” She now lives in Sydney where she is an ambassador for the Refugee Council of Australia, has a Bachelor of Medical Science and owns a childcare centre. “I am surrounded by a network of amazing Australians and I consider them my close family,” she told SBS. “And Australia is my home.”
8. Harry Triguboff (property tycoon)
“High-Rise Harry" transformed Australia with his Meriton apartment complexes - and become a multi-billionaire in the process. Not bad for a former milkman. Harry Triguboff is the son of Russian Jews who fled Russia for China during Lenin's ascendancy. They came to Australia in 1947. Following a university education, Harry worked in South Africa and Israel. He then returned to Australia where he worked as a taxi driver, milkman and a real estate agent. In the 1960s he bought some land in Tempe, Sydney and built a block of eight units. And he hasn’t stopped building since.
7. Judy Cassab (artist)
Holocaust survivor Judit "Judy" Cassab was an Australian painter born in Austria to Hungarian-Jewish parents. After fleeing the Nazis (Judy's immediate family members perished in concentration camps), she and her husband, Jancsi Kampfner, arrived in Australia in 1951 where Judy established herself as a portrait artist. The mother of two won the Archibald twice and was a finalist over 40 times. She died in Sydney in 2015. Art critic John McDonald called her “one of the best loved of all Australian artists.”
6. Richard Pratt (businessman)
Richard Pratt's Jewish parents Leon and Paula fled Poland with their family in 1938 before the Nazi invasion. They settled in Shepparton, Victoria. Born Richard Przecicki, Richard worked as an actor in London and New York before returning to Australia where he worked in his father's business, Visy Industries (a paper, packaging and recycling business then known as Visy Board). Richard took over the business upon his father’s death in 1969 and began expansion. At the time of his death in 2009 his net worth was $5 billion.
5. Tan Le (entrepreneur)
Tan Le was 4 years old when her family migrated from Vietnam to Australia as refugees. The family settled in Victoria and at the age of 16 she began studying law and commerce at Monash University. In 1998 she was the Young Australian of the Year for her community service volunteer work (she was president of the Vietnamese Community of Footscray Association). She's now best-known as an entrepreneur, having co-founded Emotiv, an electronics company that specializes in electroencephalography (EEG) headsets and technology.
4. "Dr Karl" Kruszelnicki (science expert, doctor, tv and radio host)
Call him a human Google (though more reliable). The son of Holocaust survivors who fled Sweden in the wake of World War 2, “Dr Karl” migrated with his family to Australia where they settled in Wollongong, NSW. He finished a physics degree by the age of 19, and at the age of 32 commenced a Bachelor of Medicine. He graduated in 1986 and worked as a children’s doctor. But he felt he could be more influential in the media. He was right. With an infectious enthusiasm for science he made his TV debut in 1985 as the presenter of ABC's Quantum and has reported science on The Midday Show, Good Morning Australia, Today Show and Sunrise and has had multiple radio gigs on the ABC. He has written 44 books on science (so far). "The unexplored life is not worth living,” Dr Karl once said. “Each time a second goes past, you'll never get that second back again."
3. Les Murray (TV presenter)
Born in Hungary in 1945, Les Murray (aka Laszlo Urge) came to Australia with his family in 1956 during the Hungarian Revolution. He kick-started his media career at Channel Ten before joining SBS to work as a journalist and write Hungarian language subtitles. But it wouldn’t be long before he started to cover his greatest love - soccer. He was the host for SBS's coverage of the World Cup from 1986 and became Australia’s voice and face of what he called the “world game”. “Mr Football” hosted On the Ball, World Sports and The World Game. He died in 2017, aged 71, after a long bout of illness.
2. Frank Lowy (businessman)
Forced to live in a ghetto in Hungary during World War II, Frank Lowy would come to Australia and accrue one of the world’s greatest fortunes. He arrived in Australia in 1952 and began a small business, delivering small goods. His next venture would become one of the world’s biggest corporations. With partner John Saunders he created the Westfield Development Corporation through the construction of a shopping centre in Blacktown, Sydney. And he just kept on building them. Westfield, of which he is now board member, is now a global shopping centre company with nearly $30 billion in assets. His estimated personal net worth is $8 billion. “The human being is very resourceful,” he once said. “When you fight for survival, you don’t think much, you just do. If you think too much, you sink.”
1. Anh Do (comedian, author, painter)
Is there anything Anh Do can’t do? The comedian, author, artist and actor was just a child when his family fled Vietnam for Australia in 1980. They spent five days in a little leaky boat that was robbed by pirates. He rose to prominence in Australia as a stand-up comedian and in 2011, his wildly popular memoir, The Happiest Refugee, won the Australian Book of the Year. But what he really wanted to do was paint. His portraits have been finalists in several Archibald Prizes, and in 2016 he launched the ABC's Anh’s Brush with Fame, where he paints Australian celebrities while chatting to them. He’s also behind the WeirDo children’s books, amongst other books. “If the worst happens, if you lose and fail, but you still celebrate coming second because you’ve given it a red hot go,” said Anh. “There is no need to fear failure.”