27 July 2023



with Richard Harris

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UniSA Video

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Join us for an unforgettable event as we dive into the world of risk-taking with Thai Cave Rescuer and joint 2019 Australian of the Year, Dr Richard 'Harry' Harris SC OAM. In conversation with journalist Julia Lester he will recount the stories of other people who regularly risk their lives and will explain what we can learn from the world's leading risk-takers. 

‘Harry’ Harris does something for fun that would leave the rest of us in shivers. In near darkness and tight spaces, underwater and deep underground, he crawls through unexplored caves in what’s often described as the most dangerous sport in the world.

To us, that’s a nightmare. To him, it’s recreation. He’s highly experienced, has done his research, controlled for all conceivable risks, and he’s completely focused. Flooded underground caves are his safe space. And the discipline involved – even the danger – leaves him better prepared to manage the day-to-day stresses of life in the twenty-first century. Is he the only one who feels that way?

Harry's latest book, The Art of Risk is the ultimate armchair adventure. The book captures Harry's conversations with other ‘risk-takers’ about why they do what they do, how they prepare, and how they have handled things going wrong. Harry shares the experiences of climber Alex Honnold (of ‘Free Solo’), sailor Jessica Watson, film director and deep-sea diver James Cameron, among many less familiar world-beaters, each of whom has a fascinating story. The book includes base-jumpers, drag-racers, snipers, surfers, and people adventuring from the highest of skies to the deepest of oceans.

Harry’s conversations give us insights into what motivates these people and why a life without risk is no life at all. He believes that by doing ‘the hard things’ in life you can push yourself a little further and become stronger, more courageous and resilient.  

Click HERE to purchase a copy of Richard Harris' new book The Art of Risk from Matilda Bookshop's website and choose Hawke Centre Events Free S.A. Postage as the delivery option. They will then deliver or post your book to South Australian addresses at no additional cost when it is published in July, or it can be collected at the event on the night.

Presented by The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre 



dr richard 'harry' harris, sc, oam

Dr Richard ‘Harry’ Harris, SC, OAM and joint 2019 Australian of the Year, is an anaesthetist and cave diver who played a crucial role in the Tham Luang cave rescue in northern Thailand. He has more than thirty years’ experience as a cave diver and also works for the South Australian Ambulance Service’s medical retrieval service.

He is the co-author, along with Dr Craig Challen OAM, of Against All Odds, the inside account of the Thai cave rescue and the courageous Australians at the heart of it.

Podcast: Real Risk - The Adventure Podcast

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julia lester

Julia Lester has worked as a Radio Broadcaster and Producer, TV Current Affairs Reporter, Public Speaker, MC of events concerts and conferences, Interviewer, News Journalist, Teacher, Actor and Musician.

Her interests and areas of knowledge are broad, including politics, music, visual art, literature, ideas, religion, and philosophy. For pleasure she reads widely, performs composes and consumes music, gardens, walks and camps in the bush, travels, visits galleries, has long conversations in cafes trying to work out how the world works. She’s still trying.

Julia was born in Melbourne, grew up in Adelaide, and studied Music, Politics and Education at the University of Adelaide and the University of New England.

After a career in teaching secondary school music and drama, Julia then embraced the media. She initially worked as a journalist in commercial radio and TV.

In 1985 Julia joined the ABC where she stayed, with a few breaks, for 30 years. During that time, she worked as a Journalist and Presenter in TV and Radio across many areas: interviewer and documentary-maker with ABC Radio National, 7.30 Report reporter, live talk host on 891 ABC Adelaide, Presenter of Classic Drive with ABC Classic FM until her retirement in 2015.

Presented by
The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre



While the views presented by speakers within The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre public program are their own and are not necessarily those of either the University of South Australia, or The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre, they are presented in the interest of open debate and discussion in the community and reflect our themes of: Strengthening our Democracy - Valuing our Diversity - Building our Future. The Hawke Centre reserves the right to change their program at any time without notice.