Lawrence Campbell Oratory Competition

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The Lawrence Campbell Oratory Competition is an annual competition in impromptu public speaking between representatives of each of the Great Public Schools (GPS) and Combined Associated Schools (CAS) in New South Wales, Australia. It was established in 1935, in honour of Lawrence Campbell, a famous teacher of elocution in various schools in Sydney, New South Wales, in the early twentieth century. Between 2006-2013, in all but one year (2009), the comeptition was won by a student in year 11.

Format[edit]

The Lawrence Campbell Oratory is widely regarded as the most prestigious, and difficult of the New South Wales Public Speaking Competitions. Each candidate is required to give a speech of eight minutes length of one of three topics given to him or her 15 minutes beforehand. In this competition, the emphasis is on oratory, the art of speech, and so the manner of delivery counts at least equally with the subject matter. The emphasis is on giving a speech that combines humour with pathos, dramatic elements with more conversational moments, serious commentary with light-hearted asides, quotations drawn from a variety of sources, but all around a common thread based on the chosen topic, and showing the style of the candidate. Accordingly, the style of speech is very different from many other public speaking competitions in which candidates research and prepare speeches of their own in advance, often on questions of current affairs or public policy. With only fifteen minutes to prepare and without the aid of books or references, the content of the speech will test the candidates' general knowledge and ingenuity.

Participating Schools[edit]

Crest School Location Enrollment Founded Denomination Day/Boarding School Colors Number of wins
Barkercollege.jpg Barker College Hornsby 2000 1890 Anglican Day & Boarding Red & Blue Three
Cranbrook School Bellevue Hill 1000 1918 Anglican Day & Boarding Red, White & Blue Two
Knoxgrammar.jpg Knox Grammar School Wahroonga 1850 1924 Uniting Church Day & Boarding Black & Blue Three
Newingtoncoatofarms.jpg Newington College Stanmore 1600 1863 Uniting Church Day & Boarding Black & White Five
Staloysiussydney.jpg St Aloysius' College Milsons Point 1200 1879 Catholic
(Jesuit)
Day Blue & Gold Four
St Ignatius' College Riverview 1569 1880 Catholic
(Jesuit)
Day & Boarding Blue & White Twenty-two
St Joseph's College Hunters Hill 1000 1881 Catholic
(Marist Brothers)
Day & Boarding Cerise & Blue Three
Sydney Boys High School Moore Park 1140 1883 N/A Day Chocolate Brown &
Sky Blue
Eight
Sydney Church of England Grammar School.png Sydney Church of England Grammar School North Sydney 1300 1889 Anglican Day & Boarding Navy Blue & White Seven
Sydney Grammar School Logo.png Sydney Grammar School Darlinghurst 1109 1854 Non-denominational Day Black & Gold Sixteen
Thearmidaleschool.jpg The Armidale School Armidale 800 1894 Anglican Day & Boarding Navy Blue & Straw None
The King's School Parramatta 1400 1831 Anglican Day & Boarding White & Sky Blue One
The Scots College Bellevue Hill 1600 1893 Presbyterian Day & Boarding Gold & Blue Two
Trinitygrammarcrest.jpg Trinity Grammar School Summer Hill 1700 1913 Anglican Day & Boarding Green, White & Grey Three
Waverleycollege.jpg Waverley College Waverley 1430 1903 Catholic Day Royal Blue & Gold None

Each school is represented by one speaker. Saint Ignatius’ College has the most distinguished history, with twenty-two winning candidates in the competition's history. In recent years, Sydney Grammar, Newington College and Barker College have been the most successful schools. Waverley College and The Armidale School have never fielded a winning candidate.

Topics[edit]

Because of the emphasis on oratory, the topics usually admit of wide latitude for the candidates to be creative. Often, quotations from literature, public figures, and popular culture are chosen as topics, along with proverbs or even single words. Past topics include:

  • Assume a virtue if you have it not
  • One crowded hour of glorious life is worth an age without a name
  • I must follow them, for I am their leader
  • He thinks too much – such men are dangerous
  • Because it was there
  • If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it
  • The devil can recite scripture for his purpose
  • When in disgrace...
  • Hope
  • Eureka
  • The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in the stars
  • Lyposuction
  • Away
  • I am Fate's lieutenant; I act under orders
  • Couch Jumping
  • Right as the world goes is only in issue between equals in power while the strong do as they will and the weak suffer as they must
  • "Look at my works, you mighty, and despair" (2011)
  • Born This Way (2011)
  • Two cheers for Democracy (2011)
  • Blood will have Blood (2013)
  • The Usual Suspects (2013)
  • The kindness of strangers (2013)

Notable past winners[edit]

The Lawrence Campbell oratory competition has many distinguished previous winners, particularly in the areas of law, politics, and the arts. Famous past winners include:

The only people to have won the competition on two occasions are:

  • RW Bowie (Sydney Grammar - 1939, 1940)
  • Murray Gleeson (St Joseph's - 1953, 1955)
  • Anthony Jones (Scots - 1999, 2000)
  • Jeremy Raper (Sydney Grammar - 2001, 2002)
  • Joseph Ware (Barker College - 2008, 2009)

Controversies[edit]

There have been many controversies in the history of the competition. These usually arise out of allegations of plagiarism and the use of prepared material in the speech.

Often, the candidate is given the benefit of any doubt, if only because candidates train intensively for the competition and must necessarily think of themes, quotations, and one-liners that may emerge in the speech the candidate later gives at the competition. However, the wholesale repetition of prepared material is strongly discouraged, and with enough proof, a winner may be stripped of the title if wholesale preparation is shown.

Previous winners and runners-up[edit]

Year Winner School Runner-Up School Third Place School
1935 RF Hughes St Ignatius'
1936 DF Cummings St. Ignatius'
1937 J D E Bedford ShoreSchool.jpg Shore
1938 WB Pritchard ShoreSchool.jpg Shore
1939 RW Bowie Sydney Grammar School Logo.png Sydney Grammar
1940 RW Bowie Sydney Grammar School Logo.png Sydney Grammar
1941 FA Jensen Sydney Grammar School Logo.png Sydney Grammar
1942 Not held (Death of Lawrence Campbell)
1943 AC Gould St Ignatius'
1944 P Clyne Sydney Boys High
1945 AE Melville ShoreSchool.jpg Shore
1946 HH Jamieson ShoreSchool.jpg Shore
1947 AM Gallagher
W Glen-Doepel
St Joseph's
Sydney Boys High aeq
1948 B Beveridge Sydney Boys High
1949 AD Robb
AD Dingle
Sydney Boys High
Knoxgrammar.jpg Knox aeq
1950 GJ Woodburne Sydney Boys High
1951 DH Lance Sydney Grammar School Logo.png Sydney Grammar
1952 JM Bennett ShoreSchool.jpg Shore
1953 A. Murray Gleeson St Joseph's
1954 M Halstead Staloysiussydney.jpg St Aloysius'
1955 A. Murray Gleeson St Joseph's
1956 JP Hamilton Sydney Boys High
1957 LD Waddy King's
1958 Mungo MacCallum Cranbrook
1959 AG Whealy St Ignatius'
1960 BP Jones St Ignatius'
1961 B Hudson Newingtoncoatofarms.jpg Newington
1962 Gerard C Windsor St Ignatius'
1963 Nick F Greiner St Ignatius'
1964 Clifton R Hoeben St Ignatius'
1965 CG McDonald St. Ignatius'
1966 Nick P Enright St Ignatius'
1967 JS Eyers St Ignatius'
1968 PA Boyle St Ignatius'
1969 WJ Kavanagh St Ignatius'
1970 L Olson Sydney Grammar School Logo.png Sydney Grammar
1971 JD Scahill St Ignatius'
1972 Malcolm B Turnbull Sydney Grammar School Logo.png Sydney Grammar
1973 P Green Newingtoncoatofarms.jpg Newington
1974 AC Byrnes St Ignatius'
1975 JJ McInerny St Ignatius'
1976 RR Harper Sydney Grammar School Logo.png Sydney Grammar
1977 S Marks St Ignatius'
1978 DI McMahon ShoreSchool.jpg Shore
1979 Max Bonnell Trinitygrammarcrest.jpg Trinity
1980 GC Mangan St Ignatius'
1981 CM Kelly Sydney Grammar School Logo.png Sydney Grammar
1982 Bruce Meagher St Ignatius'
1983 Mark Swivel Sydney Boys High
1984 J Rice Staloysiussydney.jpg St Aloysius'
1985 S Nixon Sydney Grammar School Logo.png Sydney Grammar
1986 Adam Spencer Staloysiussydney.jpg St Aloysius'
1987 A McKenna Staloysiussydney.jpg St Aloysius'
1988 Andrew O'Keefe St Ignatius'
1989 B Franklin Cranbrook
1990 JN Greiner St Ignatius'
1991 Max Wood Trinitygrammarcrest.jpg Trinity
1992 Angus Fitzsimons Knoxgrammar.jpg Knox
1993 Charles Firth Sydney Grammar School Logo.png Sydney Grammar
1994 Mark Walsh St Ignatius'
1995 David Yeo Sydney Grammar School Logo.png Sydney Grammar
1996 Peter Phillips Newingtoncoatofarms.jpg Newington
1997 Gareth Tilley Sydney Boys High
1998 Jeremy Bell Trinitygrammarcrest.jpg Trinity James Brown Knoxgrammar.jpg Knox
1999 Anthony Jones Scots
2000 Anthony Jones Scots
2001 Jeremy Raper Sydney Grammar School Logo.png Sydney Grammar
2002 Jeremy Raper Sydney Grammar School Logo.png Sydney Grammar
2003 Not awarded Winner revoked for cheating 2nd and 3rd place also queried so not awarded
2004 Mark Longhurst Newingtoncoatofarms.jpg Newington Kip Williams Cranbrook
2005 Patrick Bateman Sydney Grammar School Logo.png Sydney Grammar Hayden Guthrie Barkercollege.jpg Barker College
2006 Vikram Joshi Sydney Grammar School Logo.png Sydney Grammar Nathaniel Ware Barkercollege.jpg Barker College
2007 Edward Miller Newingtoncoatofarms.jpg Newington Vikram Joshi Sydney Grammar School Logo.png Sydney Grammar
2008 Joseph Ware Barkercollege.jpg Barker College William Harris Scots Sam Molloy Sydney Grammar School Logo.png Sydney Grammar
2009 Joseph Ware Barkercollege.jpg Barker College Conor Bateman King's Daniel Farinha Staloysiussydney.jpg St Aloysius'
2010 James Monaghan Sydney Grammar School Logo.png Sydney Grammar Daniel Farinha Staloysiussydney.jpg St Aloysius' Jack Price Barkercollege.jpg Barker College
2011 Bo Seo Barkercollege.jpg Barker College Michael Rees Newingtoncoatofarms.jpg Newington James Monaghan Sydney Grammar School Logo.png Sydney Grammar
2012 Ed Minack ShoreSchool.jpg Shore Bo Seo Barkercollege.jpg Barker College Harry Maher St Joseph's College
2013 Robbie Ferguson Knoxgrammar.jpg Knox Ed Minack ShoreSchool.jpg Shore Manish Poologasundram Trinitygrammarcrest.jpg Trinity
2014 Tushaar Garg Sydney Boys High Robbie Ferguson Knoxgrammar.jpg Knox Joshua Wooller Scots

Notes[edit]

External links[edit]