Nathan John Grills

Nathan-John-GrillsBallarat Grammar 1988 – 1994

  • Victorian Rhodes Scholar
  • Highly Decorated Medical Professional
  • ‘Compassion Advocate’ for World Vision and Compassion International

Nathan Grills (’94), the 2002 Victorian Rhodes Scholar, grew up on a farm in Ascot, near Ballarat, the third of four children.

During his school days he became involved with World Vision and Compassion International as a ‘Compassion Advocate’. By the end of Year 12 Nathan had represented the School in four different first sports teams as well as participating in other sports, debating, School Productiions, Lions’ Club Youth of the Year, and in Environmental and Social Service committees. He achieved Drama Colours, a Hockey award, Academic Merit and Excellence awards, and a Premier’s Award for VCE Biology.

Like his elder brothers, Nathan was awarded a scholarship to the Australian Defence Force Academy and deferred a place in Medicine at Monash University after achieving outstanding VCE results.

He enjoyed his year at the Academy, was Naval Dux of the year, and played in many sports. But his growing desire to help the disadvantaged in Australia and the wider world led him to leave the Academy and take up his place at Monash in 1996.

As a medical student, Nathan was Monash representative to the Victorian Branch Council of the Australian Medical Association, served on the Monash University Academic Board and Faculty Board, was President of the Monash University Medical Undergraduate Society, won the Professor Wallace Ironside Award, two Vice Chancellor’s medical travel grants, and an invitation to the Monash University Chapter of the Golden Key Society. His fellow students selected him for the Faculty of Medicine’s Paul Bryce Prize for the most significant contribution to the undergraduate course. Nathan was appointed as the community youth representative to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

Nathan saw the disadvantages experienced by both rural and indigenous Australians. Keen to do something positive to help alleviate the difficulties faced by these two groups, he set about promoting awareness of these issues. He completed the John Flynn Scholarship program, which involved working in a particular rural community, Palm Island, for four consecutive years. The Victorian Government awarded him a Rural Health Scholarship.

He served in medical assistance programs in Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Thailand and Africa. In 2000 he was selected to go to Nepal as an Australian Youth Ambassador for Development. His passion for helping the disadvantaged led Nathan to apply for, and be awarded, a Rhodes Scholarship. At Oxford University, he studied for a Master’s degree in Philosophy (International Development), gaining essential grounding for leading community health programs, creating international health policy, directing humanitarian organisations, or assisting practically with clinical medicine.

Nathan married Claire Larkin, a Ballarat girl and fellow doctor, in 2000.

Nathan’s strong Christian faith is central to his life and to his desire to help those in need.