Michael Gudinski receives posthumous Melbourne Achiever Award

“Michael lived and breathed all things Melbourne,” his family said in accepting the award

The incomparable legacy of Michael Gudinski has been commemorated by the Committee For Melbourne, who honoured the late Australian music mogul with the 2022 Melbourne Achiever Award.

Though the journeyed the world over an incomputable number of times, Gudinski always held Melbourne in the highest regard – he was born in the suburb of Carlton, attended Mount Scopus College in Burwood, cut his teeth promoting dance hall events in the CBD, and founded Mushroom Records there in 1972. Many of the artists he championed were fellow Melbournites, and outside of the music world, he was a life-long supporter of the St Kilda Football Club.

Gudinski was posthumously honoured with the Melbourne Achiever Award on Wednesday (May 11), during the Committee’s annual gala dinner – held in person this year for the first time since 2019 – at the newly developed Centrepiece venue in Melbourne Park. The award was accepted by Gudinski’s family, with the Committee saying he was chosen for the title by virtue of his role as “the most powerful and influential figure in the Australian music industry”.

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In a statement shared by the Committee this week, interim CEO Matt Gaffney said: “Michael Gudinski had a lifelong passion and made significant contribution to the Australian music and entertainment industries. Michael’s impact was felt far and wide, with the Australian music scene shaped by his influence.”

The late legend’s family also made a statement highlighting his lifelong commitment to celebrating Melbournian culture. It reads: “Michael lived and breathed all things Melbourne. He was a global ambassador for our city and beamed with joy showing it off to many world famous artists and business leaders, hosting them in our great town over the years. 

“He tirelessly fought tooth and nail to ensure Melbourne was seen as the live music capital of Australia and known as one of the great music cities of the world, which it indeed is! During the pandemic he ensured our city maintained its music tradition and reserved its vibe. Creating many unique initiatives to ensure Australian artists, iconic Melbourne venues and of course music fans remained positive through the power of music.

“His legacy and influence over Melbourne will continue to thrive for generations to come, as will that of Mushroom, a great Melbourne success story. As we enter Mushrooms 50th year in 2023 the company is as strong as ever and we will continue to do everything in our power to ensure Melbourne retains our position as one of the greatest live music cities of Melbourne. 

“It’s an honour for our family to have him recognised this evening and we wish we could be in the room with you all to celebrate his many achievements.” 

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Gudinski, aged 68, died in his sleep last March. His death prompted an outpouring of tributes from Bruce Springsteen, Molly Meldrum, Kylie Minogue, Ed Sheeran, the Foo Fighters, Midnight Oil, Jimmy Barnes and many, many more. The same month, Sheeran, Minogue and more performed at a state memorial for Gudinski at Rod Laver Arena. “The Big G took this little scrawny girl from Melbourne to the world and back home again,” Minogue said during her tribute. “He believed in you when you couldn’t believe in yourself.”

A year on from his death, it was announced that Gudinski would be remembered with a statue of his likeness outside of Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena. Matt Gudinski, Michael’s son and current CEO of Mushroom Group, honoured his father during the unveiling: “My family and I are humbled by this great tribute and recognition of my late father that acknowledges his contribution to the Australian music scene and the city of Melbourne.”

In the coming months, production will begin on a feature documentary, simply titled Gudinski, honouring the late icon’s life and storied career. The film will be helmed by director and co-writer Paul Goldman – who’d previously steered the Ben Cousins documentary Such Is Life – as well as co-writer Toby Creswell (former editor for Rolling Stone) and producer Bethany Jones (Molly: The Real Thing).

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