In 1989 the then president T.S. Reeve noted that the College sometimes missed an opportunity to be identified with a significant speaker or significant event, due to the limited number of named lectures available at that time, and the conditions that applied to them. He suggested that a lecture be established whereby the president could invite persons of note to address the College. Council resolved to establish this lecture in October 1989. It is to be delivered from time to time by an eminent person of the president's choice, on any subject.


  • The lecture shall be known as The President's Lecture.
  • The lecture will be given at the invitation of the president.
  • The lecturer shall be an eminent person visiting or resident in Australia or New Zealand.
  • The choice of topic shall be at the discretion of the lecturer.
  • The award will take the form of a bronze medal.

President's Lecturers

2021 - Professor Mike Griffin - “It’s good to talk”. Talking to patients with cancer 
2019 - Professor Paul Bo-San Lai - Beyond core competencies of surgical training – the STEPWISE approach 
2018 - Dame Clare Marx - Clinical leadership - it really matters
2017 - Professor Ian Harris - Surgery as a value proposition

2016 - Lieutenant David Morrison - Driving culture change - from the head and the heart
2015 - Professor Rohan Parks - The legacy of learning
2014 - Professor Keith Willett - If it's about quality and health cost let us run healthcare
2013 - Sir Ray Avery - Improvements in global health care through disruptive science and technology
2012 - Professor Chandra Muzaffar - The challenge of forging unity in a multi-ethnic society
2011 - Professor the Lord Ara Darzi - Healthcare reforms
2010 - Hon. Dr Kim Hames - Current and future opportunities in health
2009 - Rowan Gillies - Medical, Ethical and Operational Challenges in Humanitarian Assistance
2008 - Sir Gordon Wu - The China Economic Miracle: 1978-2008
2007 - Sir Tipene O'Regan - A Small Voyage around My Father's Dreams
2006 - Professor Bruce Barraclough - Improving Care through Leadership
2005 - Fiona Wood - Striving for Excellence: Who Pays?
2004 - R. Smith - Is Surgery an Anachronism in an Evidence-based World?
2003 - Justice D.A. Ipp - Judges and Judging
2002 - J. Smeaton - Emerging Opportunities in Regenerative Medicine
2001 - P. Stanley - Healing beyond Technology in the Era of Painful Surgery
2000 - Professor A.K.C. Li - A Surgeon for All Seasons (incorporating the Sir Edward ("Weary") Dunlop Memorial Lecture)
1999 - Sir Peter Blake - Attitude and Passion
1998 - President's Symposium - The Provision of Health Care to Indigenous Peoples
Presenter: Dr. Norman Swan
Speakers: I. Anderson, Sandra Bailey, Professor W. Cumming, Barbara Flick, Professor M. Gracey, Senator the Hon. J. Herron, Professor C. Mantell, Professor D. Marshall, Professor I. O'Rourke, I. Spencer, Professor D. Watters
1997 - M. Turnbull, P. O'Shane and P. Ruthven - Visions for Australia's Future
1996 - Professor Heather Couper - ET... Please Phone Earth!
1995 - Professor Verena Tunnicliffe - Hot Vents: A Fantasy on the Ocean Floor
1994 - Sir Edmund Hillary - Adventure is for Everyone
1993 - J. Walmsley - Conservation and the Private Sector
1992 - Sir Terence English PRCSE - Surgeons, Managers and Politicians in the 1990s
1991 - J. Maloney - Financing Health Care: Doctor vs Politician
1990 - N. Thompson - Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome: The Controversy in the Management of Gastrin Today (September)
1990 - J. Terblanche (August)