Sharpe quit domestic rugby at the end of the season and only deferred his international retirement at the request of Wallaby boss Robbie Deans after serious injuries to fellow locks James Horwill and Dan Vickerman.
The former Force and Reds star went on to take over the Australian captaincy after David Pocock and Will Genia followed Horwill on to the treatment table and he has now agreed to stay on for another few weeks at least having been chosen to lead the Wallabies on their European tour this month.
The major accolade comes five years after Sharpe picked up his first John Eales Medal and a full decade after he was voted rookie of the year back in 2002.
As well as winning the award named after the first man to lead the Wallabies to series success over the Lions, Sharpe was also awarded the Australia's Choice Player of the Year award, which was voted for by fans, and the inaugural Spirit of Rugby - Nick Farr-Jones award, for his services to the sport.
Sharpe tallied 1,068 votes in the Australia's Choice poll to beat second-placed Quade Cooper by almost 400 votes, while Pocock was his nearest rival for the John Eales Medal.
Votes for the top award are cast on a three-two-one basis by every member of the matchday Wallabies squad after every Test played and Sharpe finished with a score of 259 in comparison to Pocock's 235, Berrick Barnes' 160 and Genia's 149.
Prop forward Ben Alexander scooped the try of the year for his score against South Africa in Perth, while Pocock's replacement on the openside flank, Michael Hooper, was named rookie of the year.
John Eales Medal 2012 top 10
1. Nathan Sharpe - 259
2. David Pocock - 235
3. Michael Hooper - 171
4. Berrick Barnes - 160
5. Will Genia - 149
6. Kurtley Beale - 144
7. Adam Ashley-Cooper - 131
8. Scott Higginbotham - 120
9. Digby Ioane - 108
10. Sitaleki Timani - 103