Queen Elizabeth II has honored veteran Australian Rolf Harris with the Officer of the Order of Australia as part of her birthday honours.
Rolf was given the award “for distinguished service to the performing and visual arts, to charitable organisations, and to international relations through the promotion of Australian culture”.
82-year old Rolf has previously been awarded the Order of the British Empire three times, in 1968, 1978 and 2006
Rolf was born in Perth in 1930. He became a champion swimmer before becoming an artist and entertainer. In 1945, at the age of 14, he won the Swim Through Bassendean race in Perth’s Swan River.
In 1952, at the age of 22, he moved to the UK and started to draw for television programs.
The musical breakthrough came in 1957 when he wrote ‘Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport’ and had a top 10 hit with the song in Australia, the UK and the USA.
Rolf’s forth single ‘Sun Arise’ was covered by Alice Cooper on his ‘Love It To Death’ album. Jimmy Page & Robert Plant also performed the song live on their No Quarter tour as a payback for Rolf recording his own version of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway To Heaven’ one year earlier.
Rolf Harris received an honorary Doctorate from the University of East London in 2007 was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2008.