The annual Wilks Oration provides an opportunity for the community to hear from a prominent guest speaker. These events are held in honour of Graham Wilks, a founder of the ELC.
About Graham Wilks
Graham Wilks was an inspirational South Australian leader and the founding secretary of the Effective Living Centre. Graham was a caring man who provided great inspiration whilst serving others. His passion for life and well-being had a far-reaching impact upon individuals and community groups alike.
Graham worked as a Presbyterian Minister in New Zealand and as a psychologist – both of which served his passion for building healthy relationships. Graham had a deep and searching Christian spirituality, and he felt there was a need for a forum to explore and express this kind of spiritual expression outside of traditional worship. He was an innovative and respected CEO of The Marriage Guidance Council in South Australia, and shepherded its transformation to Relationships Australia.
Graham was involved in the initial gathering of a small group from Christ Church Wayville and beyond who originally dreamt up the ELC concept. This group was seeking ways to create connections for South Australians seeking new expressions of Christianity, while also recognising our growing multi faith and “no faith” society.
Before the creation of the ELC, Graham sadly suffered a debilitating stroke that had a huge impact on his life and his contributions to the planning group. He sadly passed away in 2001 in St George’s (in their family home).
Graham was always known for being a great inspirer and mentor with a special knack for uplifting and challenging those around him. His inspirational thinking and hard work was key in the establishment of the ELC.
The annual Wilks Oration was created in recognition of his substantial contribution to the foundation of the ELC and his contribution to thinking and relationship-building in South Australia.
Past Orators & Topics
2022: Tameka Thompson – Aspire – Working Towards Ending Homelessness
2021 (held in Feb 2022): Stan Grant – The Politics of Identity
2020: Event cancelled due to COVID
2019: Professor Samar Akkach – Humanism and the Sacred in search of common ground
2018: Professor Henry Reynolds – Australia’s Unnecessary Wars
2016: Emeritus Professor Gillian Triggs – Revitalising a Commitment to Human Rights
Written version available.
2015: Tanya Hosch – It’s Time…to Recognise First Australians in the Constitution
2014: Rev Prof Andrew Dutney – Are We Still a Fair Go Society?
2013: Rachael Kohn – We Are All Believers Now
2012: Hieu Van Le – Australia’s Migration – Challenges and Opportunities
2011: Event cancelled; planned speaker was Dr Tim Flannery.
2010: Hon Michael Kirby – Why Are Australians So Worried About a Citizen Initiative Human Rights Charter?
2009: Event cancelled; planned speaker was Hon Michael Kirby.
2008: Sue Park – The New Empowerment Model and How It Works
2007: Prof John Hirst – Living With Difference: the Australian Story
2006: Prof Colin McMullin – The Wellbeing of Children Affected by Armed Conflict and Migration
2005: Dr Lowitja O’Donoghue – Reconciliation
2004: Julian Burnside QC – Human Rights – Yours, Mine or Ours
2003: Prof David Tacey – Emerging Spirituality in Australia Today
2002: Inaugural dinner event with speaker Ian Cox