Every year the Henry Lawson Festival Committee welcomes a special guest to join in the festivities. Over the years the festival has seen numerous influential and famous special guests.

Genevieve Jacobs AM… 2024 Festival Guest of Honour!

Home grown success story, Genevieve Jacobs AM, has been announced as the VIP for the 2024 Henry Lawson Festival of Arts. Originally from Quandialla, Genevieve will return to the region as the ‘Official Guest’ of the celebrations from the 6-10th June.

President of the Henry Lawson Festival Committee, Belinda Power, explained Genevieve embodies all that the festival stands for. Genevieve grew up in Quandialla and began her 30 year print, radio and digital media career as a journalist with the Cootamundra Herald. She was a longtime ABC Canberra presenter, Group Editor for Region Media group and is now the CEO of the ACT’s community foundation, Hands Across Canberra.

“Amongst the many other accolades, Genevieve is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She is a director of the Cultural Facilities Corporation, setting strategy for Canberra’s major cultural institutions, and Regional Development Australia’s Southern NSW board.

“She is also a director of the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture and the University of Technology’s Centre for Media Transition. Genevieve chairs the Canberra International Music Festival board and has an enduring interest in building and strengthening community engagement.

“In 2021, Genevieve was made a Member of the Order of Australia in recognition of her services to broadcasting and the community and in 2023, won a national Telstra Business Award for Building Community with Region Group.

“Genevieve has never lost her local regional roots and is also a partner in the family farm at Wallendbeen with her husband David and four children. We are exceptionally proud to welcome Genevieve back as the ‘Official Guest’ for the 2024 festival as we get ready for what is planned to be one of the best events yet!

Genevieve said “In many ways my life has been spent with Henry Lawson: his poetry was a staple in our childhood and my grandmother Daisy would frequently quote his final lines from Said Grenfell to my Spirit – “You were born on Grenfell goldfield – and you can’t get over that”.

Henry spoke plainly and beautifully about the reality of life in the bush – the isolation, the danger, the vulnerability of the men and women from whom we are descended. He knew the hardscrabble life of the miners and drovers, the women waiting alone for their men to return and often, the stark inequity of a world where the poor were, literally, second class faces in the street.

At a time when social cohesion is under pressure and cost of living is high, a festival that celebrates one of Australia’s greatest writers and brings together a regional community is more necessary than ever. Post Covid, we’re seeing the disappearance of so many events. But this festival belongs to this community. It’s in the hearts of all of us who grew up within sight of the Weddin Mountain, whose family stories include Ben Hall and Stan McCabe. There’s still gold in Grenfell – but these days, it’s in all our hearts.

Year Official Guest
2023 Hugh Mackay – Psychologist & Author
2022 James Morrison – Musician
2019 Inga Simpson – Author
2018 Alison Bell – Theatre and Television
2017 Tara Moss – Author, Journalist, TV Documentary Presenter
2016 Vanessa Grimm – News Presenter
2015 Roy Billing – Actor & Writer
2014 Mark Grentell – Director/Writer/Producer
2013 Chris Coleman – Broadcaster
2012 Dick Smith – Entrepreneur
2011 Gregory Bryan – Historian
2010 Juliettre Palmer-Frederick – Author
2009 Max Cullen – Actor
2008 Sandy Fussell – Author
2007 Hon Ian Armstrong OBE – National Party
2006 David Foster OAM – Wood Chopper
2005 Don McAlpine – Cinematographer
2004 Her Exec. Prof Marie Bashir AC – NSW Governor
2003 Alan Jones AO – Broadcaster
2002 Jan O’Neill (Lehane) – Tennis Star
2001 Colin Buchanan – Country Singer
2000 Peter Bensley – Actor
1999 Judy Nunn – Actor
1998 Paula Duncan AM – Actor
1997 Garry McDonald AO – Actor
1996 Dr Hilarie Lindsay OAM – Author
1995 Carol Willis – Camp Quality
1994 Geoff Lawson OAM – Cricketer
1993 Alan Moir – Cartoonist
1992 Leon Becker AM – Broadcaster
1991 Mike Hayes – Journalist
1990 Briget Goodwin – Film Maker
1989 Eric Rolls AM – Author
1988 Slim Dusty – Country Music Singer
1987 Di Morrissey – Author
1986 Thomas Keneally AO – Author
1985 Peter Lawson – Artist
1984 James Dibble AM – ABC News Reader
1983 Jennifer Murphy – Actor
1982 Peter Summer – Actor
1981 Malcolm Thompson – Actor
1980 Leonard Teale – Actor
1979 Steve Liebmann – Television Presenter
1978 Lorraine Bayly – Actor
1977 Clive Evatt QC – Labor Party
1976 Ted Roberts – Author
1975 John St Vincent Welch – Past Festival President
1974 Patrick White – Author
1973 Dr Hilarie Lindsay OAM – Author
1972 Hon George Freudenstein MLA – NSW Country Party
1971 Harold Goodwin – Founder of the Henry Lawson Festival
1970 Chuck Faulkner – Actor
1969 Leonard Teale – Actor
1968 Bill Peach – Television Personality
1967 Bertha Jago (Lawson) – Daughter of Henry Lawson
1966 Michael Sawtell – Author
1965 Neil Hutchison – ABC Television
1964 John Thompson – ABC Broadcaster
1963 Ald Harold Jensen – Lord Mayor of Sydney
1962 Eric Baume – Journalist
1961 Sir Eric Woodward KCVO – NSW Governor
1960 Olav Nordland – Norwegian Consul
1959 Hon Ray S Maher MLA – Labor NSW
1958 Prof Colin Roderick CBE – Author