Sir John Downer Oration
The University of Adelaide established the Sir John Downer Oration in 2012 as a biennial public lecture in
Sir John Downer was a notable South Australian. A leading barrister in Adelaide, Sir John was first elected to the South Australian House of Assembly in 1878 and was twice elected Premier of South Australia. In 1901 he was elected as one of the first South Australian senators in the Federal Parliament. He served one term as a senator and then in 1905 was elected to the South Australian Legislative Council where he served until his death in 1915.
Beyond these public offices, Sir John also played a major role in the debates and constitutional conventions that took place throughout the 1890s. Together with Edmund Barton and Richard O’Connor he was responsible for drafting the Australian Constitution during the 1897-98 Convention in Adelaide.