Actor: Mel Gibson
He was 12 when his family moved from the U.S. to Sydney. Acting school and Hollywood fame followed. But to many Australians, Gibson will always be the leather-clad cop in Mad Max, gun in hand and accent all Aussie. (So Aussie, in fact, that the U.S. version was dubbed into "American.")
Billionaire: Kerry Packer
He hated the word no. So when the men who ran Australian cricket refused to sell him the rights to broadcast the sport, Packer, who was busy building a magazine and television empire, bought the best players and launched his own series. It was a revolution.
Cricketer: Dennis Lillee
With his bristling mustache, shirt open to his chest and in-your-face attitude, Lillee was about the coolest pinup this side of Hollywood in the mid-'70s. He could bowl a bit, too. By the time he retired, Lillee held the record for the most Test wickets. He tried to hit batsmen; he said, "I want it to hurt so much that the batsman doesn't want to face me any more."
Prime Minister: Robert Muldoon
New Zealand has a history of leaders who shape the country in their image. This was Muldoon's: socially conservative, economically socialist. Though he led a center-right government from 1975 to 1984, Muldoon was a fierce defender of the welfare state, high taxes and protectionism. His policies almost crippled the country and opened the way for the free-market revolution of the left-wing Labour government. Smart and blessed with a dry wit, he indulged his sense of humor after losing the top post by narrating a production of The Rocky Horror Show.
Politician: Matiu Rata
Born in the sun-kissed, wind-blasted far north of New Zealand, Rata ended up in parliament as a Labour MP while still in his 20s. When the party won power in 1972, he worked on legislating for Maori land rights and was later instrumental in setting up the Waitangi Tribunal, a permanent body that hears claims based on grievances under the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi signed between the country's Maori tribes and the state (back then that meant Queen Victoria). "New Zealand has never had a color problem," he once said. "Just colorless people in power, with colorless ideas and colorless ideals."
Prime Minister: Gough Whitlam
Between his game-changing 1972 election win and his controversial ouster by the Governor-General in 1975 lay just 35 months. In that time Whitlam and his Labor colleagues advocated land rights for Aborigines, abolished conscription, ditched the last vestiges of the White Australia policy, established relations with China, abolished university fees and the death penalty, cut trade tariffs and mandated equal opportunities for women. And they were just warming up.
Prime Minister: Michael Somare
When Papua New Guinea won its independence in 1975, Somare, the son of a policeman turned trader, became its first Prime Minister. A tenacious and canny operator, Somare has led at regular intervals ever since, proof both of his dedication and of his country's sad lack of progress.