This article was originally published in 2014.
Editor, historian and racing writer Les Carlyon has been appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday honours.
cmCARLYON_narrowweb__300x450,0The award – the most senior general award in the Australian honours system – makes Carlyon the most highly decorated journalist of his generation.
A former editor of The Age and editor-in-chief of the Herald and Weekly Times, he is author of two of the best-selling military histories of the past decade, Gallipoli and The Great War, which won the Prime Minister’s Prize for History in 2007.
His AC was awarded for “eminent service to literature through the promotion of the national identity as an author, editor and journalist, to the understanding and appreciation of Australia’s war history, and to the horseracing industry”. It ranks him alongside the great British journalist/historians Sir Max Hastings and Sir John Keegan.
Appointed editor of The Age at 33, after the death of Graham Perkin, Carlyon has won every significant journalism award in Australia.
He has won two Walkley awards, for magazine feature writing and journalistic leadership, and was named the Graham Perkin Journalist of the Year in 1993.
In 2004 he was awarded the Melbourne Press Club’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
In accepting the Lifetime Achievement Award, he said there were only two reasons for being a journalist.
”One is that you’re curious about the world and the people in it – and this is where political correctness, from either the left or the right, is a danger because political correctness, by its very definition, is hostile to curiosity. It says, in effect, you’ve got to look at the world through a keyhole, not a big bay window.
”And the other reason for being a journalist is because you love to write. The rest is all dross. All journalists are ever remembered for are their words.”
Another former Age editor, Michael Gawenda, was also recognised in the Queen’s Birthday honours, becoming a Member of the Order of Australia.
Gawenda was awarded for his significant service to the print media industry as a journalist and editor, and the advancement of professional education and development.