Keith Murdoch Oration

2019 Keith Murdoch Oration

The 2019 Keith Murdoch Oration was presented on 16 April 2019 by Robert Thomson, Chief Executive of News Corporation, on the topic 'Truth, trust and tech'.

About Robert Thomson

Robert Thomson is Chief Executive of News Corporation. Robert started his career as a copyboy at the Herald in Melbourne before moving to the Sydney Morning Herald. With an illustrious career spanning five decades, Robert has held a number of senior international editorial positions, at the Times of London, the US edition of the Financial Times, and the Weekend FT.

A published author, he assumed his current role in 2013, having served as editor-in-chief of Dow Jones & Company and managing editor of the Wall Street Journal from 2008.

About the Keith Murdoch Oration

The Keith Murdoch Oration is State Library Victoria's major biennial fundraising event. It raises funds to support the work of State Library Victoria, and to recognise the Library as a centre for excellence in the world of ideas and information.

The Oration also reflects the Library's commitment to promoting debate within the community about knowledge and culture.

The inaugural Keith Murdoch Oration was presented by Rupert Murdoch in 2001, on the topic of the human wealth of nations. Others have included:

  • Noel Pearson in 2016 on 'Still hunting the radical centre: revisiting Daniel Patrick Moynihan'
  • Lachlan Murdoch in 2014 on a free media
  • The Honourable Paul Keating in 2012, on Asia in the new world order
  • Hugh Evans in 2009 on Australia's global future
  • Lord Sebastian Coe in 2006 on the future of sport
  • Nobel Prize-winning scientist Professor Peter Doherty in 2004, on libraries and learning.

About Keith Murdoch 

The Keith Murdoch Oration was established by the Library in 2001 to honour the outstanding contribution of Sir Keith Murdoch as Trustee (1933 to 1939) and later President (1939 to 1945) of the Public Library (the precursor to State Library Victoria), Museums and National Gallery of Victoria.

Sir Keith was born in Melbourne and educated at Camberwell Grammar School and the London School of Economics. He began his journalistic career with The Age and, after stints with several papers in Australia and the United Kingdom, was posted to Gallipoli as a war correspondent. Commissioned by then-Prime Minister, Andrew Fisher, Sir Keith investigated the Australian Imperial Force mail service and associated matters at Gallipoli. Following his reports of weaknesses in military arrangements at Gallipoli, he became an influential figure in political circles.

After returning to Australia, Sir Keith joined the Herald & Weekly Times and his media interests broadened to include several papers and also commercial radio. As one of Australia’s legendary newspapermen, Sir Keith was devoted to making knowledge available to the community – an attribute manifest in his leadership of the Library.

Sir Keith was knighted in 1933, the same year he joined the Library’s Board of Trustees. His great ability, sound judgement, considerable drive and lively interest in literature shaped the Library into the great cultural and knowledge institution it is today. The legacy of Sir Keith’s work continues today through the generosity of his children and grandchildren. In 2001 the Murdoch family donated $5 million towards an exhibition space in the Library, named the Keith Murdoch Gallery.

More information

For information about tickets or sponsorship for future Keith Murdoch Orations, please contact the Library's Partnership Manager Elisabeth Kerdelhué on 03 8664 7591 or at ekerdelhue@slv.vic.gov.au.

For all media inquiries, please contact Natalie Silber at nsilber@slv.vic.gov.au.