The 2022 Oration is to be delivered on November 12 by influential Australian, Wendy McCarthy, AO who has released her memoir, Don’t Be Too Polite, Girls.

The Patrick White Oration is a major, stand-alone literary event that forms an important and integral part of the Scone Literary Festival.

The Oration celebrates the work of Patrick White, Australia’s only Nobel Laureate for Literature and recognises the Upper Hunter’s strong literary heritage.

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One of Australia’s most influential women, Wendy has made her mark in many extraordinary ways over an extraordinary career spanning more than 50 years. A prominent businesswoman, agent of change and former university administrator, Wendy has worked for reform across the public, private and community sectors, in education, family planning, human rights, public health, and overseas aid and development, as well as in conservation, heritage, and media.

She has been on the leading edge of feminism and corporate and public life in this country and her trailblazing advocacy and leadership have made her a widely respected and revered figure.  

Wendy is a woman who shaped her times as much as she was shaped by them, and now, at 80 years of age, in her memoir, she shares her remarkable life and achievements, and the lessons she learned.


November 12, 2022




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160 Satur Road, Scone, NSW 2337

Sir Peter CosgroveYou Shouldn’t Have Joined…

General Sir Peter Cosgrove AK, AC (Mil) CVO, MC (Retd) is one of Australia’s most significant public figures. As a soldier he saw action in Vietnam, winning the MC, and rose to the very top of his profession, becoming Chief of the Defence Force. Upon his retirement from the army, he immediately took charge of the huge relief and rebuilding operation in Queensland after the devastation of Cyclone Larry.

In 2014, Cosgrove became Australia’s Governor General. As Governor General he travelled far and wide, supporting Australians in times of crisis, sadness, joy or celebration, representing us on the world stage with humour, intelligence and a force of personal magnetism that was felt by everyone from the Queen to US Presidents.

When he retired in July 2019, it was as one of the most beloved and respected governor generals in Australia’s history. Cosgrove represents the traits we truly value: warmth, humanity, toughness and loyalty. His humour and empathy shone through the pomp and ceremony, and his time as Governor General will be remembered as much for his laughter as for the usual dignities of the office.

you-shouldnt-have-joined-book-coverThis book is the memoir of his extraordinarily full and eventful life, covering some of the military life that featured in his 2006 bestseller, My Story, but in a way that reflects how his perspective has since changed—whilst also allowing us an incredible insight into the role and world of Australia’s Governor General.

Cosgrove was there as three Prime Ministers were toppled by their own parties. He was there through disasters both natural and man-made, such as the destruction of MH 17. He was there for world leaders, and for ordinary Australians. This book is the story of his life and experiences, written with intelligence, forthrightness, compassion, and a brilliant eye for a telling anecdote.