The Hawke Centre

About us

The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre is committed to delivering a diverse program of events and exhibitions throughout the year which reflect our fundamental themes: Strengthening our Democracy - Valuing our Diversity - Building our Future

Since its establishment in 1997, The Hawke Centre has developed a public events program with topics ranging from human rights to environment, economy and science, and many more.

The Hawke Centre

Our Centre is widely recognised as a tangible expression of the University of South Australia's commitment to engage meaningfully with the community. Its focus also complements the longstanding reputation of South Australia as a crucible for social inquiry and inventiveness. 

The Centre influences thinking and practice through its public program of events which examines key ideas and solutions for twenty-first century society. In addition, the Centre connects its audience with arts and cultural festivals, as well as with a diverse group of likeminded individuals, community organisations, businesses and government agencies. We also bring attention to key research areas from within and beyond the University of South Australia.

The Hawke Centre is also home of the Kerry Packer Civic Gallery which offers a dedicated guest gallery space for organisations to convey their social messages through art and conduct important outreach. The Gallery extends the Hawke Centre's commitment to engage with the community.

The Hawke Centre acknowledges the traditional Kaurna owners of the land on which it is situated and seeks to foster respect for Indigenous people.

We honour the values of Bob Hawke as a major supporter of education, of international understanding, and of balance between equity and economy to serve the greater social good.

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Complete this form to receive free and regular e-mail updates about the Hawke Centre program. Contact us if you unable to provide an email address. Alternatively, keep up-to-date by following our Events Program on our website.

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  • Past patrons minus-thick plus-thick


    The Hawke Centre honour the contribution of our past patrons, recognising their support with gratitude. Our past patrons include:

    The late Nelson Mandela
    First International Patron, 2001-2013

    Nelson Mandela

    The late Nelson Mandela served as the Hawke Centre's first International Patron from 2001-2013. The UniSA Nelson Mandela series was named in his honour.

    The patronage of Nelson Mandela, one of the twentieth century’s outstanding humanitarian leaders, sent an enduring message about the Hawke Centre and its commitment to education, justice, responsible leadership and active citizenship locally and internationally.

    The patronage also reflected his relationship with Bob Hawke. Mr Mandela recognised Bob Hawke’s actions against the apartheid regime as critical to his release from prison.

    Nelson Mandela was awarded a University of South Australia doctorate by former Chancellor and Hawke Centre patron the late Dr Basil Hetzel AC in a ceremony at the University of Fort Hare, South Africa, 1998.

    The Nelson Mandela Foundation based in South Africa embodies the spirit of reconciliation, Ubuntu, and social justice. Visit the Foundation website for more information about the Foundation's work and Nelson Mandela's life.


    The late Rt Hon Sir Zelman Cowen AK GCMG GCVO QC DCL

    The late Dr Basil Hetzel AC

    The late Dame Roma Mitchell AC DBE CVO

    The late Rt Hon Sir Ninian Stephen KG AK GCMG GCVO KBE KstJ QC

    The late dr lowitja o'donoghue ac cbe dsg



Bob Hawke and UniSA

​"Knowledge is the antidote to fear and prejudice and it is the indispensable basis of good policy-making and of a cohesive community"

The Late Honourable Robert James Lee Hawke, AC, GCL, at the establishment of the Hawke Centre

Named after Bob Hawke, a third generation South Australian and one of the twentieth century’s most notable prime ministers (1983–91), The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre was established by Memorandum of Understanding in December 1997 with a target to establish an active public program, a research institute and a library in purpose-built facilities. On that occasion Bob Hawke remarked:

​"I will do all I can to help make the Centre an institution of which we can all be proud, not as a memorial to an individual, but as another small but important bridge to understanding, compassion, and good policy."


The Late Bob Hawke delivered the first Annual Hawke Lecture in 1998, entitled A Confident Australia, establishing a tradition of excellent insight that has been sustained by a series of outstanding speakers. 

He personally assisted the process of securing a fine group of patrons for the Hawke Centre, especially International Patron, the late Nelson Mandela. He remained steadfastly committed to the Centre and its program, and led the funding drive for the new Hawke Building, opened in 2007.  

The University of South Australia deeply appreciates the Late Mr Hawke’s confidence and his support of the Centre. The Hawke Centre honours his contribution to the nation and its focus on civil society issues reflects some themes of the Hawke era that remain relevant today in Australian life.

Photography Randy Larcombe, Copyright University of South Australia

The Hawke Legacy

Bob HawkeDonate

Help us to deliver an independent program of public events and invest in a unique and acclaimed public learning centre. Read more about how you can make a tax-deductible donation to the Hawke Centre.

Photography Randy Larcombe, Copyright University of South Australia

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The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre has been recognised in various ways for its contributions to public learning and societal advancement. 


2021 Week 2 Best Visual Art & Design Adelaide Fringe Award

Awarded to The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre for its CONTACT exhibition


2021 BankSA Best Visual Art & Design Adelaide Fringe Award

Awarded to The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre for its CONTACT exhibition.


2019 Governor's Multicultural Awards: Community sector category

For outstanding contribution to multiculturalism and social harmony in South Australia. More info.


2019 - Highly Commended,  UniPromo Award for Excellence in Community Engagement

ATEM | Campus Morning Mail Best Practice Awards 2019. For a culturally inclusive approach in its outstanding, free, diverse and accessible public program of lectures.


2011 Governor's Multicultural Awards: Private sector category

For a long-term institutional commitment to multicultural understanding - acknowledging the Centre's international reach and examining the principles of democracy, diversity, egalitarianism and fairness.


University of South Australia Chancellor's Awards for Community Engagement

Awarded recipient in 2006 and 2004, and a special commendation in 2002.


2006 - International Alert Series: the BIG Issues with World Vision and AusAID

Awarded a Chancellor's Award for Community Engagement for the International Alert Series: the BIG Issues which provided a means to generate public dialogue on key issues affecting human well-being, freedom, security and livelihood across the globe.


2001 - Winner of the SA Great Education Award

For outstanding services to the state, particularly in encouraging national and international focus on South Australia through its public program, gathering notable patrons and contributing to the SA community’s knowledge of significant issues. 

VolunteerBecome a Volunteer

Hands up if you want to help create memorable events. Volunteer for the Hawke Centre, and be an integral part of delivering our program.

Volunteering with the Hawke Centre will allow you to connect to your community to help make it a better place. Your help can make a real difference, and the benefits of volunteering can be enormous.

Contact us if you are interested in joining our wonderful team of volunteers.

Contact us

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.