Skip to main content
Dr Charles Perkins Oration annual event

Dr Charles Perkins Oration

On Tuesday 25 October we celebrate the life and work of one of our most impactful alumni, Dr Charles Perkins.

This year marks the 22nd anniversary of the Dr Charles Perkins Oration and Memorial Prize. We are proud to partner with the ABC as the host broadcaster to bring you this special event with keynote speaker, Larissa Baldwin.

Join us for the 2022 Charles Perkins Oration

Larissa Baldwin

Larissa Baldwin - Keynote Speaker

We are pleased to announce Larissa Baldwin, GetUp’s CEO, as the keynote speaker for the 2022 Charles Perkins Oration.

Larissa Baldwin is a proud Widjabul Wia-bul woman from the Bundjalung Nations. Larissa has dedicated her life to First Nations justice, climate action, and a fairer Australia.

Prior to GetUp, Larissa co-founded Seed, Australia’s first Indigenous youth climate network, after having worked internationally as a respected campaign strategist and messaging expert.

Larissa is an expert on gas policy and has spent extensive periods of time in the Northern Territory working directly with Traditional Owners and communities, who don’t support fracking on their land. She’s also undertaken extensive research and policy campaign work on gas supply, the gas industry, and its impacts on climate change and fossil fuel emissions.

In 1965, as a student at the University of Sydney, Charles Perkins organised a student bus tour around New South Wales. This was called the Freedom Ride, and it highlighted the state of race relations in Australia. It is recognised as one of Australia's most significant civil rights events.  

Named in honour of Dr Charles Nelson Perkins AO, who was the first Aboriginal man to graduate from the University of Sydney in 1966, the Dr Charles Perkins AO Memorial Oration and Prize was established in 2001 to recognise and celebrate the outstanding contributions made by Charles and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to our community, country and society.

22 years on, the theme of race relations is still current. This event helps to build an understanding of race relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians and empower individuals and the wider community to contribute to this important conversation. 

Prize winners

Celebrating the University’s deep history and connection to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, the Oration includes a recognition of academically gifted students through the Charles Perkins Memorial Prize.

Awarded to the top four Indigenous students at the University based on the highest academic results in their field, each winner is awarded $4000.

The 2022 recipients of the Charles Perkins Memorial Prize are:

  • Mirritya Ebsworth
    Arts and Social Sciences
  • Bree Foyle
    Medicine and Health
  • Fiona Wright
    Medicine and Health
  • Rachel Montgomery
    Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning

Watch on demand - 2021 Charles Perkins Oration with Tony McAvoy SC

2021 Orator, Tony McAvoy SC

Counsellor McAvoy is a Wirdi man from the central Queensland area around Clermont. He is Australia’s first Indigenous Senior Counsel and Co-Chair of the Indigenous Legal Issues Committee of the Law Council of Australia.

Appointed Senior Counsel in 2015, Tony has developed a strong native title practice and has significant experience in the areas of environmental law, administrative law, human rights and discrimination law, coronial inquests and criminal law.

Who is Charlie Perkins?

“I am hard-nosed about some things and you have to be in Aboriginal affairs."

The legacy of Charles Perkins

Rachel Perkins explains the significance of the Charles Perkins Oration.

Speaking out

Past Orators reflect on 20 years of the Charles Perkins Oration.

Related news