McGrath was out of the game for 12 months in mid-2003 and recovered from two operations, was 34 when he came back. He beat Shane Warne and Adam Gilchrist for prize recognising performances in 2004-05.
"What the Wisden year, leading up to the Ashes series, proved was that McGrath makes Australia complete," Greg Baum, editor of Wisden Australia 2005-06 who presented McGrath with the award in Hobart on Tuesday, said. "Two injuries in Ashes series underscored it, to Australias regret."
McGrath took 69 wickets at an average of 18.17 before claiming his 500th victim at Lord's in July. "McGrath is like his bowling: it should never be presumed that he is gone," Baum said. Michael Bevan, who scored 1464 runs including eight centuries, was Wisden Australia Pura Cup Cricketer of the Year.