One of Australia’s most accomplished businessmen, Bob Oatley, has been recognised in the Australia Day honours list on 26 January, 2014.
Mr Oatley was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his distinguished service to the Australian wine and tourism industries, to the sport of yacht racing, and to the community as a supporter of medical research and visual arts organisations.
Having established the world-renowned winery Rosemount Estate in 1969, Mr Oatley is credited with placing Australian wine on the global stage, pioneering new wine styles and methods of marketing. It was in 2006, at 80 years old, that he established Robert Oatley Vineyards, based in Mudgee, NSW.
Today, Robert Oatley Vineyards is distributed internationally and is one of Australia’s fastest growing family-owned wineries, testament to the Oatley’s long-term commitment to the Australian wine industry.
Acquiring the popular Australian tourist destination Hamilton Island in 2003, Mr Oatley together with his family, have committed significant funds to improve the Island’s infrastructure and facilities, transforming it into the world-class and award-winning tourist destination it is today. His vision has seen the development of the luxury five-star resort – qualia – which has received a host of international awards including ‘The Best Resort in the World’, in the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards.
Along with his dedication to the tourism and wine industries, Bob has long held a passion for sailing. His ongoing support and commitment to the sport is evident across the years including his continued support of the Australian Sailing Team and Coach, Victor Kovalenko, showcased superbly at the London Olympics, resulting in an impressive medal count – three gold and one silver. He has also drawn worldwide attention to the iconic Sydney Hobart Race, of which his super-maxi Wild Oats X1 has won line honours a record seven times.
Additional accolades include winning the Admirals Cup Yacht Race, an international yachting regatta known as the unofficial world championship of offshore racing. Most recently, Mr Oatley proudly announced Hamilton Island Yacht Club as the official Challenger of Record for the 35th America’s Cup, putting Australia back in the ring for the America's Cup after a decade-plus absence.
His philanthropic endeavours include donating much needed funds to cancer research and the donation of the portrait of Captain Cook to the Portrait Gallery in Canberra, for all Australians to enjoy.
‘I’m exceptionally humbled by this recognition. To share my passions of wine, sailing and Hamilton Island, as well as my good fortunes to aid cancer research and visual arts with the people of Australia gives me immense pleasure and pride. I am a proud Australian, so to be awarded the Order of Australia is a great honour,' said Bob Oatley.