The Brendan Award was inaugurated in 1997 by the Australian-Irish Heritage Association to honour those who have given outstanding service to the Irish community in Australia and especially in Western Australia. The first Brendan Award was sculpted by Irish artists Joan and Charlie Smith and has been presented for the past two decades.

This year we are changing the design of the award and this will be presented to this year’s nomination. The title of the award has not been changed. The new award was designed by Denis Bratton and sculpted by Dave Burke of Celtic Swan Furniture.

The new award sculpted in wood takes the form of an Irish Standing Stone, many of which are scattered around Ireland.

They represent many things, gravesites, boundary markers, and remains of religious structures which may have been used by the druids. Some are inscribed with the Ogham alphabet which was in use before the Irish introduced their own form of writing. All the standing stones to-day are granite or sandstone but there is evidence that wood was used also, but wood doesn’t stand the test of time.

St Brendan is one of the most revered Saints in Ireland. He was born c489 in Ciarraigh Lua near Tralee in Co Kerry and died c578. He was known as the Navigator as he sailed round the cost of Ireland and the Scottish Isles spreading the word of God and setting up monasteries.

He was famous for his seven-year voyage in a search for The Land of Delight during which he was supposed to have discovered America. The story of his adventurers wasn’t written until at least sixth centuries after his death. Having said that, he was a real person, and even though the mists and myths of time may have coloured the pages of the old Annals written so long after the good Saint’s demise.

Etched on The Brendan Award are the following Christian symbols.

The Rabbula Cross. The cross is named after the Bishop of Odessa (411-435) and is a very early representation of a Christian cross which was discovered in a 6th century Syriac Gospel Book.

The Chi Rho Cross. This cross is made up from the Greek letter for ‘Ch’ and the P is a Greek ‘r’ and the meaning of XPI (Chi Rho) is ‘Christi) (of Christ).


The other two crosses displayed on the front and the rear are representations of slab crosses situated at Gleanncholmcille in county Donegal.      



Nominations close 31 December 2016

For nomination details and form for the Brendan Award click here