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Judith Cornell Oration

The Judith Cornell Oration (JCO) is a biennial event initiated by ACORN in 2002.

The JCO is a celebration of the achievements of Australian perioperative nurses and to allow future visions to be shared. Orators are distinguished perioperative nurses who, throughout their careers, have made a significant contribution to advancing perioperative nursing in Australia.

Judith Cornell AM (1940–2014), after whom this award is named, is one such a nurse. In 1975, Judith was one of two NSW Operating Theatre Association (OTA) representatives who attended the planning meeting that led to the first Australasian Conference of Operating Room Nurses, held in Canberra in 1977. Judith chaired this conference, at which it was decided to form the Australian Confederation of Operating Room Nurses, ACORN. The inaugural ACORN National Council meeting was held the following year with two representatives from each state. Judith was the first chair of ACORN and served on council for many years. The purpose of the national body was to look into all aspects of nursing practice in the operating room and, to that end, ACORN produced its first Standards, Guidelines and Policy Statements in 1980. Following her retirement from perioperative nursing in 1986, to take on other challenges, Judith was made a life member of the NSW OTA.

ACORN salutes the achievements of Judith Cornell AM, and the outstanding contribution she made to perioperative nursing in Australia.

2024 Orator nomination

Nominations for the 2024 Judith Cornell Orator open on 1 June 2023.

For more information about the nomination process and selection criteria.


2002 Judith Cornell (NSW) (deceased)

2004 Narelle Hines (NSW) (deceased)

2006 Bernadette Brennan (VIC)

2008 Dr Lois Hamlin (NSW)

2010 Judith Berry (SA)

2012 Menna Davies (NSW)

2014 Dr Patricia Nicholson (VIC)

2016 Carollyn WIlliams (VIC)

2018 Sally Sutherland-Fraser (NSW)

2020 no orator (conference cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions)

2022 no orator (conference held as a virtual event due to COVID-19 restrictions)

2024 Phyllis David AM (NSW)

Previous orations

Judith Cornell Orations available to download:

Carollyn Williams - 'The getting of wisdom'

Sally Sutherland-Fraser - 'Who do you think you are?'

Phyllis Davis – 'I am a nurse'