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About the Harry Harris Oration

The Harry Harris Oration was established in honour of the Society’s founder, Samuel Henry Harris (1881 – 1936), and is usually, but not necessarily, made by a non-urologist. Harry Harris was born and educated in Sydney and after graduation as Bachelor of Medicine and Master of Surgery in 1906 he spent a year as resident medical officer at Sydney Hospital. Harris then went into general practice in the Sydney suburb of Enmore. In 1914 Harry Harris was appointed Honorary Urologist to the new department of urology at Lewisham Hospital, Sydney.

Harris came to urology via gynaecology and he was the first full-time specialist urologist in Australasia and he was also the first Australasian urologist to achieve an international reputation for his work.

In 1928, he first published results of his suprapubic prostatectomy with complete closure. Harris’ mortality rate for his own operation was 2.8 per cent, the lowest at the time, and for many years afterwards, for any method of open prostatectomy. Harris was a pioneer in the speciality of urology and a vital figure in the events leading to the formation of the Urological Society of Australasia. He published thirty-seven papers on urology and was on the editorial boards of not only the Australia and New Zealand Journal of Surgery but also the British Journal of Surgery. He was a foundation fellow of the RACS, a member of the International Society of Urology and would have been foundation president of the Urological Society of Australasia if he had not died in December 1936. The inaugural meeting of the Society took place the following month.

The inaugural Harry Harris Oration was delivered in 1969 by Professor M Ewing, the then Professor of Surgery of Melbourne, and was titled “A Place in Prosperity”.

Samuel Henry (Harry) Harris

Past Harry Harris Orators include

2019 – Dr Richard Harris OAM, Anaesthetist and 2018 Thai Cave rescue diver
2018 – Prof Peter Doherty AC, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1996, Australian of the Year 1997
2017 – Elizabeth Cosson AM, Deputy Secretary, Chief Operating Officer for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs
2016 – Dr Mukesh Haikerwal AO, Chair AIHW
2015 – Prof Corey Bradshaw, Sir Hubert Wilkins Chair of Climate Change
2014 – Prof Ian Frazer AC, co-inventor of HPV vaccine, Australian of the Year 2006
2013 – Moira Kelly AO, Humanitarian
2012 – Warren Mundine AO, Chairman, Australian Indigenous Chamber of Commerce
2011 – Sir Ray Avery, New Zealander of the Year 2010, scientist, inventor and philanthropist
2010 – Admiral Christopher Barrie AC RANR Chief of the Defence Force 1998-2002