The annual national awards were presented by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the Great Hall of Parliament House in Canberra, just ahead of Australia Day on 25 January.
Among those who received the national recognition alongside 70-year-old Dr Farquhar were Professor Michelle Simmons (NSW), 2018 Australian of the Year; Eddie Woo (NSW), 2018 Australia’s Local Hero; and Samantha Kerr (WA), 2018 Young Australian of the Year.
Dr Farquhar was the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) award recipient, who went along with seven other Senior Australian award winners, to represent their respective states and territories nationally.
“It’s nice to be recognised - and it did come as a surprise, a pleasant surprise,” he says.
“Having a seniors category helps ensure diversity and it is nice to have more than one person for the awards too.”
He adds that there is a great importance in recognising older Australians for more than their age, and highlights the need to welcome them into, and not shut them out of, the workforce.
“There is a lot of energy and talent in people over 60 - as they are the age group considered as senior,” he explains.
“We need to be careful not to displace people coming into the workforce for all of that experience, energy and knowledge they have to offer.”
Currently still working to tackle some of the most profound challenges facing humanity and the environment, National Australia Day Council Chair Danielle Roche congratulated Dr Farquhar and all the other 2018 award recipients.
“Michelle, Eddie, Graham and Samantha are inspirational Australians whose contributions are making our wonderful nation a better place and making a real difference to the lives of others,” she says.
“They are breaking down barriers, forging new futures, looking at old problems in different ways and creating new pathways.
“They are a truly extraordinary group of people, and through their success, they remind us we all have something to contribute.”
Other state and territory 2018 Senior Australian of the Year award winners include:
Kathleen Mazella, WA; Tony Scherer, TAS; Kathy Guthadjaka, NT; Dr Catherine Hamlin, NSW; Dr Dimity Dornan, QLD; Barbara Spriggs, SA; and Professor Paul Zimmet, VIC.