Since 2001 an oration has been delivered on the evening of the Memorial's anniversary, or on a convenient date nearest to it. Past orations include:
Date Title Speaker Outline 12 November 2001 The Blainey Oration Emeritus Professor Geoffrey Blainey Discussed the First World War which gave rise to the Memorial, and the situation in Australia when the Memorial was opened in 1941. 11 November 2003 The Korean War and Australia Robert O’Neill AO Spoke of enhanced displays and interpretations in the galleries over the years before speaking about how particpation in the Korean War affected Australia's future course. 11 November 2004 Gallipoli in a Nation’s Remembrance Les Carlyon How Gallipoli means different things to different people: the facts stand up for themselves, but are mixed up with legend, myths and symbolism. 11 November 2005 Vietnam - 30 years on Paul Kelly Reflections on a war that divided the nation 30 years later. He said it was a complex war in its origins and nature. Australia's commitment was evaluated, and the terms of the nation's reconcilliation to the legacy described. 10 November 2006 Was there a Battle for Australia? Dr Peter Stanley He posed the question of how war touched Australian shores in 1942, was there a Battle for Australia subsequently and what did it involve. 9 November 2007 On writing official history Ashley Ekins The co-author, with the late Dr Ian McNeill, of the last two volumes of the official history discussed his work and related issues. 11 November 2008 Architecture and the Australian War Memorial Richard Johnson MBE Additions to the Memorial's site must complement and not detract from the heritage listed main building: interactions with Memorial staff in doing this were discussed 11 November 2009 ANZAC Day and the Australian psyche Professor Kim Beazley AC ANZAC Day was said to be "powerfully salient in national memory. It has its critics," but was said to be "our one unconfected, popular moment of deep commemoration." 11 November 2010 Looking forward - looking back Steve Gower Reflected on 15 years as Director and where the Memorial might develop in future. 11 November 2011 Reflections on 'Service and sacrifice' Air Chief Marshall Angus Houston (ret'd) A reflection on the almost 100 years of ‘Service and Sacrifice’ of our defence personnel and on the toll of war on Australian lives, families and society. 12 November 2012 Anzac Day's early rituals Professor Bill Gammage AM
* These speeches were given to mark the anniversary of the opening of the Australian War Memorial on 11 November 1941.