In 2011 the Perth Modernian Society commenced the annual oration presentation. Each year the Society hosts an oration at Perth Modern School for students and staff featuring prominent alumni. The following list includes links to articles and presentations.


‘The Power of One – Governor Reflects on the Value of Education’
His Excellency the Honourable Chris Dawson APM, Governor of Western Australia

The Governor joined a long and distinguished list of alumni to deliver the Perth Modernian Oration for 2022, and his remarks signposted his future priorities as well as reflections on the value of education.

This was the first occasion in which the Annual Oration has been delivered in the Cyril Tyler auditorium allowing a considerably larger audience.

His Excellency (PMS student 1971 – 1975), chose as his theme ‘The Power of One’ which he related to one of your former teachers, the late Bobbie O’Sullivan.


‘Restoring Full Employment While Dealing with Climate Change’
Professor Ross Garnaut AC

Eminent Modernian (1959-1963) Professor Ross Garnaut AC addressed a packed audience on 6 May 2021 in the Beasley Auditorium’. Ross addressed the challenges for Australia of achieving a Net Zero Carbon economy, and particularly the opportunities that it will offer to today’s high school students.

In doing so, he read extracts from his latest book, ‘Reset: Restoring Australia after the Pandemic Recession’. Ross emphasised the relevance of the school’s motto, Savoir c’est pouvoir, saying that the research is clear: climate change is real and can be combatted, but the longer it takes for the world to act to stem the threat, the more difficult the task will be. Ross stressed the importance of studying science subjects, and especially Chemistry in order to better deal with the undoubted opportunities.


‘What Employers Really Want’ – Slideshow
Professor Gary Martin
(CEO Australian Institute of Management, WA)


‘Out of My Ivory Tower’ – Slideshow
Bruce Armstrong


‘Relating my school life and my role as CEO of Fortescue Metals Group’
Elizabeth Gaines


‘Unfinished Business’
Dr Judyth Watson


AGM – ‘Science and Conservation’
Philip Jennings AM
Emeritus Professor of Physics and Energy Studies at Murdoch University.

‘Reflections on being a Modernian’
Professor Lesley Parker AM FTSE


Global Citizenship: Learning to contribute to and take part in a Wider World and Slideshow 
Professor Shirley Randell AO, PhD, Hon.DLitt


‘A geologist’s life. of rocks, reefs and wrecks’
Dr Phillip Playford AM


‘Broad Education – Key to Career Choices’
Janet Holmes à Court AC


‘Intricacies and machinations of the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague’
Hon. Kevin Parker AC RFD KC


‘Quality Public Education – an Opportunity for the Individual and an Opportunity for the Community’
Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG

Special Visitors to the School


Address by The Honorable Robert Hawke AC GCL   

WA Governor Chris Dawson, 2022
Elizabeth Gaines, 2018
Last modified on 7 March 2023