MOUNT Barney resident and Beaudesert High School teacher Luke Stegemann came home from Canberra last week with a prestigious award for his work as a cultural historian and writer.
The 2018 Malaspina Award was presented to Mr Stegemann on Thursday by the Association of Spanish Researchers in Australia-Pacific and the Spanish Embassy in Australia.
The award recognises contributions to the advancement of cultural and/or scientific relationships between Spain and Australia.
Mr Stegemann, who penned a book called The Beautiful Obscure describing the cultural and political histories linking Spain and Australia, travelled to Canberra for a presentation ceremony at the National Library of Australia.
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He said he was thrilled to give a speech at the ceremony and to receive the international award from Spanish ambassador Manuel Cacho.
“Spain has been part of my life for 30-plus years,” Mr Stegemann said.
“I was fresh out of uni when I first went there and I had no idea of the impact it would have on me.
“I married a Spanish woman and my daughter lives in Spain.
“To have the Spanish government recognise my work is an enormous honour.”
As well as his life as a researcher and writer, Mr Stegemann also teaches English and history at Beaudesert State High School.
Mr Stegemann, who is fluent in Spanish, said he spoke for 20 minutes at the ceremony, mostly in English.
He said he would be giving another speech in Madrid next month on associations between Australian and Spanish history.
“This time I will be speaking for an hour, in Spanish,” he said.
The Malaspina Awards were named for Alejandro Malaspina, who led Spanish scientific expeditions in the late 18th century, one of which arrived in Australia in 1793, five years after the arrival of the First Fleet.