Inspiring Australians Oration


The 2024 Inspiring Australians Oration was delivered by Fiona McLeod AO SC at the Melbourne Town Hall on Tuesday 19 March 2024.

Fiona McLeod AO SC is a Senior Counsel at the independent Bar in Australia practising in the areas of commercial and public law matters. She appears in jury and judge-alone trials and appeals and is also briefed in common law and criminal matters.

Fiona is recognised for her clear legal advice, advocacy and strategic thinking. She represented the Commonwealth of Australia in major cases including leading the legal team in the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission, Queensland Floods Commission and the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sex Abuse.


2008 Order of Australia Association Foundation scholarship recipient James Hicks gave members, guests and students an update.

To read the full script from James Hicks that covers his scholarship, mentoring, making time for the community where you live and embracing opportunities that unexpectedly come your way please click here.


The 2023 InspiringAustralians Oration was delivered by Chris Leptos AO at the Melbourne Town Hallon Tuesday February 28.
Queen’s Birthday 2000 Chris Leptos was a Member ofthe Order of Australia recipient forservice to business, particularly through the promotion of sustainabledevelopment and environmental reporting in industry, and to the community.

Queen’s Birthday 2022Chris Leptos was an Officer of the Order of Australia recipient, elevated fromAM to AO for distinguished service to the not-for-profit sector throughleadership and philanthropic support, to the public sector, and to education.

Chrishas strong connections with the University of Melbourne Business and EconomicsFaculty including a current. Board Member; he is the Initiator and Supporter of1,000 Indigenous Business Leaders program with the aim to nurture and develop 1,000 Indigenousbusiness leaders over 10 years across Australia.

Chrisis an experienced company director, since 2018 he has been the NationalChairman and President of the Heart Foundation, since 2005 the Governor of TheSmith Family and Incoming Chair of Summer Foundation, their focus is stopping young people with a disabilityfrom being forced into residential aged care, by helping them access thesupport needed to be in control of where, how and with whom they live.

Chrishas undertaken a number of sensitive government reform processes including arecent independent review of social and affordable housing.
In 2021he was appointed as the Independent Reviewer for the Food and Grocery Codeunder the Competition and Consumer Act.

This is a brief summary of thecommitment Chris is making to the business and not-for-profit sectors; he certainlybrings a wealth of past and current experience to any table.

We thank the MelbourneTown Hall for their grant toward the cost of the event.


The 2022 Inspiring Australians Oration was delivered by Arron Wood AM at the Melbourne Town Hall on Wednesday February 23.

We thank the Melbourne Town Hall for their grant toward the cost of this event.
News Ltd Telstra Micro Business Award winner Arron Wood AM was in 2020 awarded a Member of the Order of Australia for significant contribution to the environment, to local government and to the community.

Recognition for nearly 25 years of leadership Arron is the former Deputy Lord Mayor for the City of Melbourne and was Chair of the Finance and Governance Portfolio.

He is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and was winner of the Melbourne Business Award for Contribution to the Environment.

Arron was the Chair of the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute for the University of Melbourne and is a member of the South East Water Board in Victoria.

Previously Arron was appointed to the high-level Enterprise Melbourne Advisory Board to attract sustainable investment to Melbourne.

Arron is also passionate about tackling the national challenge of homelessness which has included the push for social housing projects, fundraising, volunteering with the Salvation Army and going on the streets for 10 days as part of the SBS program Filthy Rich and Homeless.

Arron is the founder and was Managing Director for 20 years of the highly successful Kids Teaching Kids Program for students from around the world which attracted $30 million in funding over the life of the program and has seen 145,000 students participate. He remains an ambassador for Kid Teaching Kids.

In addition, Arron Wood AM is committed to mainstreaming environmental sustainability.


Due to COVID lockdown in Victoria, the Inspiring Australians Oration was not held.


Kevin Sheedy AO

The 2020 Inspiring Australians Oration was delivered by Kevin Sheedy AO at the Melbourne Town Hall on Wednesday February 26.

Kevin Sheedy AO is recognised as a VFL/AFL player, coach and ambassador he has had one of the most successful careers in Australian sporting history. There is much more to Kevin than football. He is a marketer, a thinker, an innovator, the holder of awards for community service and an inspirational speaker, capable of talking about topics way beyond the boundaries of sport. Kevin Sheedy is a man for all seasons, and for all reasons.

Kevin reminded members we all have a bank of knowledge gained over many years, use it now to make a difference before it is too late; don’t put the cue in the rack and sit back. He has always looked at ways to solve issues and doesn’t accept broad brush negative responses, if he did the ANZAC Day and Dreamtime at the G would never be AFL blockbusters. Noting the challenges people on the land experience, Kevin established the “Country Game” Round in 2016 noting people across regional Australia don’t get enough recognition for their tireless work on the land.

Australia Day 2019 Kevin Sheedy was elevated to an Officer of the Order of Australia for his distinguished service to Australian Rules football as a senior coach, and to education and employment programs for young people.


 The 2019 Inspiring Australians Oration will be delivered by Sally Capp, Lord Mayor of the City of Melbourne.

The Oration was held on 27th February 2019 at Deakin Edge, Federation Square.

Sally commenced her address by congratulating all those with honours, saying that she was inspired very much by honourees and thanked them for their contribution to our community. Her genuine admiration for honourees was evident throughout her presentation.

The Lord Mayor spoke a little about her role and then mentioned a quote from Winston Churchill Success is going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm, saying that’s the same for all she admires.  Some of her examples of inspiration included people such as JK Rowling who received 12 knock backs when she submitted her writings to publishers – but she never gave up!

Sally spoke about inspiring Australians such as Sir John Monash who struggled at school and became a military hero, stating that Victoria owes a great deal to this inspiring Australian. William Angliss – an immigrant, butcher who embraced new ideas to become successful. The Hon Susan Ryan AO, an Australian public servant/former politician and the Age Discrimination Commissioner, whose work for equal opportunity was very important to Australia. Rob Adams who was a town planner and worked hard in development of the City of Melbourne.

Her personal role models were her uncle David Morgan and Ros Kelly a former Federal Minister. She also mentioned leaders in the community doing extraordinary things and in particular congratulated honour recipients who make our world richer.

She concluded her remarks by quoting Edward Hale: I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something.


In February 2018, the Victoria Branch of the Order of Australia Association was privileged to have Dr Susan Alberti AC deliver an inspirational Oration to an audience of more than 200 people; Association members, friends and senior students from some of Melbourne’s finest schools.

Dr Alberti’s successes in life have been outstanding, achieving many of the personal crusades she has embarked upon.  These, despite and inspired by the many personal tragedies she has faced and overcome.

Courage, determination, resilience and optimism were keynotes of her Oration.  She spoke of the difficulty of losing her husband at an early age and the subsequent need for her to study and become the first woman registered builder in Victoria.  The need for her to then manage four construction businesses and raise a young daughter on her own.  Dr Alberti spoke of the tragedy of her daughter losing her battle to Type 1 diabetes, followed by her determination to successfully overcome her own battle with lymphoma.

Dr Alberti chose to turn these battles into something positive and she established a Foundation raising funds much needed for research into a cure for Type 1 Diabetes. Her boundless energy was also channelled into the successful establishment of the Woman’s Football League (AFLW)

Named the 2107 Melbournian of The Year, Dr Alberti is also The Chairman of the Australia Day Ambassador Program, and remains a passionate supporter of the Western Bulldogs, a generous philanthropist and a very proud Melbournian.


One of the key objectives of Victoria State Chair, Paul Wheelton AM was to have a ‘signature event’ created for the Victoria State Branch. From this the Inspiring Australians Oration was established.

The Inaugural Oration was held on Friday 24 February 2017 at the Deakin Edge, Federation Square in Melbourne with Her Excellency Linda Dessau AC Governor of Victoria invited to present the Oration.

Her Excellency spoke of the many people in her life that had inspired her, whether at school, University, the sporting arena, the Military or within the community.

The Governor concluded with the following: …. “I hope this wonderful initiative of the Victorian Branch of the Order of Australia Association is repeated next year and each year thereafter. I have had to discipline myself to stop here because there is no end to the inspiring Australians to whom I would dearly like to refer……..

And I say this is a wonderful initiative because it gives us all the opportunity to be inspired. We are all the better for the inspiring deeds of others. We are all enriched. A high tide truly does lift all the boats.”

A copy of the Inaugural Oration can be found through the following: 2017 Oration