Dr Charles Perkins AO Annual Memorial Oration and Prize

Charles Perkins and family at his graduation, 1966

In 2001, the University of Sydney launched an annual oration by a leading spokesperson within the field of Indigenous and non-Indigenous race relations.

The Dr Charles Perkins AO Memorial Oration was established with the full support of the Perkins family and in acknowledgement of his tireless dedication to human rights and social justice for Indigenous Australians.

2016 Oration Panel Discussion: 50 years back – 50 years forward

Thank you for attending this year's Oration on Thursday, 27 October 2016.
Download the video of the evening or listen to the broadcast from Radio National’s AWAYE! program, presented by panel moderator Daniel Browning.

In the news

It is 50 years since Charles Perkins graduated from the University of Sydney. This important anniversary coincides with the unfolding of a number of critical national debates.

The 2016 Charles Perkins Oration explored this important alignment of anniversaries and debates in the context of 100 years in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We asked a panel of key people to reflect on the change over the 50 years since Charles’s graduation and to explore what the next 50 years should hold.


  • The Hon. Linda Burney, MP (ALP)
  • The Hon. Ken Wyatt AM, MP (Liberal Party)
  • Senator Malarndirri McCarthy (ALP)
  • Richard Weston, CEO – Healing Foundation
  • Moderator: Daniel Browning, producer and presenter of AWAYE! at Radio National
  • MC: Professor Shane Houston

Dr Charles Perkins AO Memorial Prize

This prize was established in 2000 commemorating the life-long achievements of Dr Perkins, the first Indigenous Australian graduate of The University of Sydney. There are three prizes awarded to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students have achieved outstanding results in their Bachelor or Honours degree.

Banner photograph of Charles Perkins courtesy of Fairfax Media. The University of Sydney appreciates the generous permission of the Perkins family and the Charlie Perkins Trust for Children and Students for the use of this photograph.