True Blue: Prime Minister Julia Gillard presents actor Geoffrey Rush with the Australian of the Year 2012 Award.
True Blue: Prime Minister Julia Gillard presents actor Geoffrey Rush with the Australian of the Year 2012 Award. Lukas Coch

Leyburn take a bow

GEOFFREY Rush may be known as the 2012 Australian of the Year, but to Leyburn residents he holds a special piece of history in their town.

Although official biographies of the Academy Award winning actor rightly state he was born and grew up in Toowoomba, reports now suggest he also holds close links to Leyburn.

"He did spend some time (of his childhood years) in Leyburn," Australian of the Year spokeswoman Nicole Browne said.

"His family had a property and he used to spend time with his grandparents there."

Anonymous sources also revealed Rush's father used to own the Cambooya general store in the 1950s.

Leyburn Royal Hotel part manager Iris Moy said the Australian of the Year couldn't have gone to a better person.

"It couldn't gone to a better bloke, we're really rapt he won. He's awesome," she said.

Ms Moy didn't rule out having a pub night named in honour of the Oscar winner in the near future.

"We're definitely going to look into it," she said.

Mr Rush is a highly renowned for his contribution to Australian and international cinema and television, having won the "Triple Crown of Acting" - the Academy, Tony and Emmy awards.

He was also the first Australian-born actor to win an Oscar, for his breakthrough performance in the 1996 film Shine.

Mr Rush is a patron of the Toowoomba's Empire Theatre Foundation and the Spina Bifida Foundation of Victoria.

Rush now lives in Melbourne and is actively involved in the Melbourne International Film Festival, is an ambassador for the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and was recently appointed the president of the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts.


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