Sir Albert Coates Oration and Memorial Awards

Albert CoatesSir Albert Coates is one of Ballarat's most distinguished sons and Federation University Australia is honoured to be able to collaborate with the Albert Coates Memorial Trust in organising an oration in his honour. The first Oration was delivered in 2001.

Albert Coates was born at Mt Pleasant. Leaving school at 11 years he worked as a butcher and apprentice bookbinder. During World War One Coates served as a medical orderly at Gallipoli. He was discharged from the Army on 21 February 1919, aged 24, and upon his return to Australia he put himself through medical school by working at night in the postal service. Within a year of graduating, he was appointed acting Professor of Anatomy at the University of Melbourne.

Aged 46, he volunteered for duty during World War II and on 17 March 1942 he became a prisoner of war at Padang Sumatra. He left Padang on 7 May as Medical Officer to a party being sent to Burma, and thereby became involved with the infamous Thai-Burma Railway. Hundreds of lives were saved by his surgical work during this time.

After returning to Australia Albert Coates became Senior Surgeon at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and Stewart Lecturer in Surgery at the University of Melbourne.

On 8 September 2006 the former Mt Helen Union Building was named the Albert Coates Complex. Members of the Coates family were present for the naming ceremony.

Sir Albert Coates Oration 2022

Federation University Australia together with the Albert Coates Memorial Trust, has the pleasure of welcoming the 2022 Albert Coates Orator:

Professor Peter Doherty AC FRS
An Australian immunologist and Nobel Prize winner

In times of crisis: from Coates to COVID and Climate Change

The 2022 Oration will be held at Federation University's Mt Helen Campus, Wednesday 16 November from 5:45pm for a 6:00pm start - and will also be livestreamed for the very first time!



2022Professor Peter Doherty AC FRS - In times of crisis: from Coates to COVID and Climate Change
Oration impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic
2019The Hon Linda Dessau AC - Governor of Victoria
2018Air Chief Marshal Sir Angus Houston AK, AFC (Retd) - Leadership Matters
2017The Hon Tim Fischer AC - One Hundred Years Ago, Who Won World War One
2016Lieutenant General David Morrison AO (Retd) - 2016 Australian of the Year
2015Dr Lachlan Grant - Voices from the past: Recovering memories of POW's for The Changi Book, 70 years on
2014Lieutenant General Ken Gillespie AC DSC - Serving Australia: the ANZAC legacy of Albert Coates
2013Dr Rosalind Hearder - Coates and Co. Australian doctors in Japanese captivity during WW2
2012Lynette Ramsay Silver OAM - Beyond the Call
2011Professor P Mark Hogarth - Medical Research and 21st Century Biotechnology: A triumph over adversity?
2010Associate Professor Bruce Waxman - Triumphs and Disasters: Journeys of a surgeon's life
2009Dr Lynn Hemmings - Vietnam Memories: Australian Army Nurses in Vietnam
2008Major General Steve Gower AO - Remembrance and Commemoration
2006Professor Kwong Lee Dow AM - Contrasting education in the time of Albert Coates with education today
2005Professor Emeritus Geoffrey Blainey AC - Australia in Peril: Pearl Harbour to the Coral Sea
2003Mr John Edwards - Ethics, morality and other things
2002Professor Robin Sharwood AM - Finding the way
2001Professor Bruce Barraclough AO - Sir Albert Coates - a life

Albert Coates Memorial Scholarships

The Albert Coates Memorial Scholarships are awarded by the Albert Coates Memorial Trust to students who are able to achieve academic excellence whilst overcoming challenging circumstances.

You can view more information on the Albert Coates Memorial Scholarships website

Images reproduced with the generous permission of the Albert Coates Memorial Trust