2003 – 2012 Kerferd Oration

The George Briscoe Kerferd Oration was inaugurated in 2003 by the citizens of Beechworth to commemorate the sesquicentenary of the naming of their town.

The purpose of the Kerferd Oration is to promote a culture of community discussion through sharing knowledge. The Oration brings to local people an emerging issue presented by an eminent speaker within the context of social justice in rural areas.

The first Oration and the 10th Oration were wonderfully pertinent. In 2003 the then Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria, the Hon John Harber Phillips AC, presented the North Eastern Victoria Republic Movement – Myth or Reality? This was a criminal lawyer’s dissection of the evidence associated with the mission of Ned Kelly.

In 2012 two Orators presented evidence of local research about Sir Isaac Isaacs. Dr Bill Wilson APM OAM answered the question: Did you know Australia’s first Australian-born Governor-General had a 47-year connection to Indigo Shire? And the Hon Tim Fischer AC answered the question: What can we learn today from this national legend?

Local history bookends the first and the 10th Orations. In between, the subjects covered were children, particularly as victims of crime; ageing especially the incidence of dementia and care services in rural areas; the common wealth of the Beechworth community; climate change and social justice; climate change and sustainability; community values, community strengths in emergencies; and sentencing policies – perceptions, reality and their social implications.

As the Oration matured, so started lead-in events from 2006. Lead-in events explore different aspects of the subject from a local perspective and provide preparatory learning ahead of the Oration. Arising from both lead-in events and Orations has come enduring community initiatives. First came the formation in 2008 of the Beechworth Sustainability Group, now merged with Beechworth Landcare to form Beechworth Urban Landcare and Sustainability. Then in 2010, the Indigo University of the Third Age was formed and in 2011, Indigo Fireflies – women supporting response and recovery efforts following a crisis or trauma.

Sponsors are integral to our success. Past corporate sponsors were Telstra Countrywide and Murray Goulburn Co-operative Co. Ltd.

Thank you for your interest and support. With the help of the community the Kerferd Oration will continue in strength in Beechworth.

Joan Simms OAM
Chair, Kerferd Oration Committee
Sunday 29 July 2012

Barry Irvin AM 2017

Giant steps in the right direction

This year’s Kerferd Oration is to be delivered by Barry Irvin AM, the Executive Chairman of Bega Cheese.

Barry Irvin has extensive experience in the dairy industry and has been Chairman of Bega Cheese since 2000. Under his leadership Bega Cheese has grown from a small regionally based dairy company to one of the largest dairy companies in Australia, supplying a large range of dairy products in Australia and around the world.

Barry is also Chairman of Giant Steps, which supports children and families dealing with the challenges of autism, and is a Director of the Gardiner Foundation, which funds leadership programs, study tours, scholarships and in the disciplines of dairy production and marketing, and farm business management.

“I have always believed in giving back, giving a hand up, helping those in need, ” Mr Irvin said.

“In my life I have great demonstrations of that, as people have been so generous to me; at first they wanted to help me with my autistic son Matthew and later help in developing and growing Giant Steps.

“The strength and wisdom of the collective has been demonstrated to me over and over again in both my business and charitable activities.”

Barry’s depth of knowledge of the industry includes a significant understanding of the issues affecting Australian dairy farmers, the key investments required to meet changing consumer needs and the management of long-term customer relationships.

“I think having a vision for an organisation and ensuring you share that vision with all those who will help you realise your dreams is extremely important,” Mr Irvin said.

“Our suppliers, our staff, our shareholders and our community have been supportive through the many changes at Bega Cheese. It is their support that we must always remember and acknowledge as we think about each action and each step the company takes.”

Mr Irvin masterminded the $460 million buy-back of iconic brands Vegemite and Bonox from their foreign owners, as well as the rights to use the famous Kraft brand on its Australian made products.

Many organisations have recognised Mr Irvin’s industry knowledge, inspirational leadership and energetic support of charitable foundations.

Mr Irvin was awarded the NAB Agribusiness Leader of the Year in 2009 and the Rabobank Agribusiness Leadership Award for 2011. In 2008 he was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia for contributions to children with disability and the Australian dairy industry.

Kerferd Oration

The George Briscoe Kerferd Oration was first held in 2003 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the naming of Beechworth. The Oration is part of the Public Lecture Series of La Trobe University. The annual Oration is a free community event sponsored by Indigo Shire Council, La Trobe University, WAW Credit Union and Beechworth Neighbourhood Centre. The Oration will be held at the Kerferd Conference Centre, Mayday Hills, on Sunday 23 July starting at 11am, doors open at 10.15. Continue reading Barry Irvin AM 2017