This is the most prestigious Oration of the Urological Society of Australia and New Zealand.
Dr Richard Harris OAM, Australian of the Year 2019
Dr Richard “Harry” Harris works in anaesthesia and aeromedical retrieval medicine in Adelaide, South Australia. He has expertise in diving, wilderness and remote area health. His passion for cave diving goes back to the 1980’s and has taken him to the corners of the globe in search of new adventures.
Harry and his teammates have explored the Pearse Resurgence in New Zealand to 229m depth, Daxing Spring in China to 213m and Song Hong Cave in Thailand to 196m to name a few. In his own words, he is an enthusiastic but inferior underwater photographer and videographer who is resigned to capturing opportunistic images via helmet cams.
Harry has a professional and voluntary interest in search and rescue operations, establishing the first sump rescue training course in Australasia. By building relationships with emergency services in Australia he has been preparing for such an event. The 2018 Thailand Cave Rescue was an opportunity to put this training to work.
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”.