The state and territory finalists in the four categories for the Australian of the Year Awards provides a unique look at ourselves. Many we've never heard of, but are so pleased we have now. Others are prominent citizens and philanthropists recognised on the world stage. But most are just average Aussies doing exceptional things across a wide range of areas.
They all make us proud, and cause us to shed a tear or two when we hear how they've toiled long and hard to achieve their outcomes.
The 2013 Australian of the Year, Ita Buttrose, is the epitome of a woman who made a difference at a time when change was imminent but didn't need barging to the barricades and burning bras to make the powerful sit up and take notice. She found that the Buttrose way worked - it had the respect of women who were just like her; these women knew that together, they were a force to be reckoned with. There'll be plenty of reckoning yet to come with Buttrose.
The award presentation was a prelude to what the crowd has really come to enjoy over the years: a concert to blast us into the long weekend.
The crowd was pumped for their favourite performers, with the invited guests enjoying a glass or two of Clonakilla wine and pretending to be nonplussed by the famous faces in their privileged enclave. Not me - I love a bit of star-gazing and catching up with previous winners. I often think of just how humbling this award is for those whom we put on pedestals for all the right reasons.