Jim Pryor was born at Horsham, Victoria, on 14 November 1928, and died at Ballarat, Victoria, on 7 March 2002.

He gained his medical degrees at the University of Melbourne in 1950, with Honours in Surgery. After a residency at St Vincent's Hospital, he travelled to the United Kingdom to obtain his Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS). He returned to Australia in 1959 and obtained his Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS) the following year.

He lived in Ballarat, where he developed a broad and extensive practice. He became closely involved with community activities, especially the Ballarat Football Club. In his later years he devoted much of his time and energy to the establishment of the Sir Albert Coates Memorial Trust, and to the erection of a statue honouring the city's surgical hero, who had been one of his teachers in surgery.

Recognising an increasingly litigious mood within society and the impact this would have on surgical practice, Jim Pryor played a key role in the establishment of the Medico-Legal Section of the College. He was its inaugural chairman. In addition, he made an outstanding contribution to provincial and rural surgery.


  • The name of the lectureship shall be The James Pryor Memorial Lecture.
  • The object of the lectureship is to acknowledge Jim Pryor's achievements in setting up the Medico-Legal Section within the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.
  • The lectureship will replace the existing Foundation Lecture of the Medico-Legal Section.
  • The lecture will be given at the time of the Annual Scientific Congress, under the aegis of the Medico-Legal Section.
  • The Section will be responsible for the choice of lecturer and subject, but the Section may delegate the choice of subject to the lecturer.
  • There will be no tangible reward for the delivery of the lecture.

James Pryor Memorial Lecturers

2021 - Mr Michael Gorton - Reflections from the Health Practitioner Regulator – AHPRA and beyond 
2019 - Sir Malcolm Grant - Conflicts of interest for doctors and the commercial world 
2018 - Dr Peter Robinson - ACC New Zealand
2017 - Professor Vinay Rane - My brother's keeper
2016 - Professor Guy Maddern - The medico-legal aspects of new technology

2015 - Professor George Sikorski - In what respect does the physically injured surgeon with a financial claim differ from non-claimant patients? A literature review.
2014 - Professor Graeme Brazenor - To what extent should a medico-legal examiner 'test' the subject?
2013 - Professor Ron Paterson - Competent, fit and safe : how to be a 21st century surgeon and avoid the lawyers
2012 - Mark Sidhom - Medicolegal aspects of multidisciplinary clinics
2011 - Associate Professor Leigh Atkinson - Pain and Suffering: Personal Injury and the Australian Courts
2010 - Professor Peter Cossman - The Special Dilemma of Upper GI Cancer Treatment
2009 - Professor Christopher Wallace - Trainees: How do we Handle the Risk?
2008 - Professor Richard Deyo - Surgeons, Science and the Device Industry
2007 - The Honourable Geoffrey Davies - Professionalism
2006 - Stewart Boland - The Medical Indemnity Landscape: Now and in the Future
2005 - J. Reason - Assessing the Culpability of Unsafe Acts
2004 - Gordon Waddell - Back Pain and Incapacity for Work
2003 - Justice Paul de Jersey - Negligence, Insurance and the IPP Report: Recent Developments in Australian Medical Law