Sir Zelman Cowen
Cowen in 1968
|19th Governor-General of Australia|
8 December 1977 –29 July 1982
|Prime Minister||Malcolm Fraser|
|Preceded by||Sir John Kerr|
|Succeeded by||Sir Ninian Stephen|
|Provost of Oriel College, Oxford|
|Preceded by||Baron Swann|
|Succeeded by||Ernest Nicholson|
|Vice Chancellor of the University of Queensland|
|Preceded by||Sir Fred Schonell|
|Succeeded by||Brian Wilson|
|Vice Chancellor of the University of New England|
|Preceded by||Sir Robert Madgwick|
|Succeeded by||Alec Lazenby|
|Born||7 October 1919|
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
|Died||8 December 2011 92) (aged|
Toorak, Victoria, Australia
Anna Wittner(m. 1945)
Sir Zelman Cowen, AK, GCMG, GCVO, PC, QC (7 October 1919 – 8 December 2011) was an Australian legal scholar and university administrator who served as the 19th Governor-General of Australia, in office from 1977 to 1982.
A Queen's Counsel, or King's Counsel during the reign of a king, is an eminent lawyer who is appointed by the monarch to be one of "Her Majesty's Counsel learned in the law." The term is recognised as an honorific. The position exists in some Commonwealth jurisdictions around the world, but other Commonwealth countries have either abolished the position, or re-named it to eliminate monarchical connotations, such as "Senior Counsel" or "Senior Advocate". Queen's Counsel is an office, conferred by the Crown, that is recognised by courts. Members have the privilege of sitting within the bar of court.
Cowen was born in Melbourne, and attended Scotch College before going on to the University of Melbourne. His studies were interrupted by World War II, during which he served in the Royal Australian Navy. After the war's end, Cowen attended New College, Oxford, on a Rhodes Scholarship. He subsequently won the prestigious Vinerian Scholarship as the best student in the Bachelor of Civil Law degree. He remained at Oxford after graduating, serving as a fellow of Oriel College from 1947 to 1950.
Melbourne is the capital and most populous city of the Australian state of Victoria, and the second most populous city in Australia and Oceania. Its name refers to an urban agglomeration of 9,992.5 km2 (3,858.1 sq mi), comprising a metropolitan area with 31 municipalities, and is also the common name for its city centre. The city occupies much of the coastline of Port Phillip bay and spreads into the hinterlands towards the Dandenong and Macedon ranges, Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Valley. It has a population of approximately 4.9 million, and its inhabitants are referred to as "Melburnians".
Scotch College is an independent Presbyterian day and boarding school for boys, located in Hawthorn, an inner-eastern suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
The University of Melbourne is a public research university located in Melbourne, Australia. Founded in 1853, it is Australia's second oldest university and the oldest in Victoria. Melbourne's main campus is located in Parkville, an inner suburb north of the Melbourne central business district, with several other campuses located across Victoria.
In 1951, Cowen returned to Australia to become dean of the law faculty at the University of Melbourne. In 1953, still while at The University of Melbourne, he was awarded a Fulbright Senior Scholarship in Law to Harvard University.He became known as an expert on constitutional law, and was a visiting professor at a number of overseas institutions. He later served as vice-chancellor of the University of New England (1966–1970) and the University of Queensland (1970–1977). In 1977, Malcolm Fraser appointed Cowen to succeed John Kerr as governor-general. He was an uncontroversial choice, and became the second Jewish holder of the position, after Sir Isaac Isaacs. After leaving office, Cowen returned to academia, serving as provost of Oriel College, Oxford, from 1982 to 1990.
In academic administrations such as colleges or universities, a dean is the person with significant authority over a specific academic unit, over a specific area of concern, or both. Deans are occasionally found in middle schools and high schools as well.
Constitutional law is a body of law which defines the role, powers, and structure of different entities within a state, namely, the executive, the parliament or legislature, and the judiciary; as well as the basic rights of citizens and, in federal countries such as the United States and Canada, the relationship between the central government and state, provincial, or territorial governments.
The University of New England (UNE) is a public university in Australia with approximately 22,500 higher education students. Its original and main campus is located in the city of Armidale in northern central New South Wales. UNE was the first Australian university established outside a state capital city.
Cowen was born in Melbourne in 1919 into a Jewish familynamed Cohen, the son of Bernard Cohen (1892 – 1975), from Belarus and Sara Cohen (née Granat; 1893 –1989), born in Australia. His paternal grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Belarus in the Russian Empire. The name was formally changed to Cowen when he was a young boy. He was educated at St Kilda Park State School, Scotch College and the University of Melbourne. He served in the Royal Australian Navy during the Second World War, and was in Darwin during the bombing raid of 1942, before being transferred to Brisbane to work in the cipher unit of General MacArthur's office. He married Anna Wittner in 1945. Cowen then went as a Rhodes Scholar to New College, Oxford, where he completed a Bachelor of Civil Law degree and jointly won the Vinerian Scholarship. From 1947 to 1950 he was a fellow of Oriel College, Oxford, and was also a consultant on legal matters to the British Military Government in Allied-occupied Germany.
Jews or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and a nation, originating from the Israelites and Hebrews of historical Israel and Judah. Jewish ethnicity, nationhood, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish people, while its observance varies from strict observance to complete nonobservance.
Belarus, officially the Republic of Belarus, formerly known by its Russian name Byelorussia or Belorussia, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe bordered by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital and most populous city is Minsk. Over 40% of its 207,600 square kilometres (80,200 sq mi) is forested. Its major economic sectors are service industries and manufacturing. Until the 20th century, different states at various times controlled the lands of modern-day Belarus, including the Principality of Polotsk, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, and the Russian Empire.
The Russian Empire, also known as Imperial Russia or simply Russia, was an empire that existed across Eurasia and North America from 1721, following the end of the Great Northern War, until the Republic was proclaimed by the Provisional Government that took power after the February Revolution of 1917.
In 1951 Cowen returned to Australia and became Dean of the Law Faculty at the University of Melbourne, a post he held until 1966 where he appointed, and worked with Francis Patrick Donovan. During these years he was frequently a visiting professor at American universities, including the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois and the University of Washington. He also advised the British Colonial Office on constitutional matters and advised the governments of Ghana and Hong Kong on legal issues. Among many other works, he published a biography of Sir Isaac Isaacs, the first Australian-born and first Jewish Governor-General of Australia.
Francis Patrick Donovan, was Australian Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the OECD, and Ambassador and Special Trade Delegate to the United Nations Office at Geneva. After retirement from the Diplomatic Service, he became a Vice-Chairman of the International Court of Arbitration.
The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois. The university is composed of an undergraduate college, various graduate programs and interdisciplinary committees organized into five academic research divisions and seven professional schools. Beyond the arts and sciences, Chicago is also well known for its professional schools, which include the Pritzker School of Medicine, the Booth School of Business, the Law School, the School of Social Service Administration, the Harris School of Public Policy Studies, the Divinity School and the Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies. The university holds top-ten positions in various national and international rankings.
The University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign is a public research university in Illinois and the flagship institution of the University of Illinois System. Founded in 1867 as a land-grant institution, its campus is located in the twin cities of Champaign and Urbana.
Cowen was appointed Vice-Chancellor of the University of New England in Armidale, New South Wales, in 1966. The following year, he produced for ABC television the "Yes" case for the Australian referendum, 1967 (Aboriginals).From 1970 to 1977 he was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Queensland in Brisbane, during the difficult years of the Vietnam War and Springbok tour student protests. In 1977 Ray Crooke painted Portrait of Professor Emeritus Sir Zelman Cowen which is part of the University of Queensland collection. By this time he was regarded as one of the leading constitutional lawyers in the English-speaking world. He was Emeritus Professor of Law at Melbourne and the Tagore Professor of Law at the University of Calcutta. During his time in Queensland he handled disturbances at the university, resulting from protests against the Vietnam War, with diplomatic skill.
Armidale is a city in the Northern Tablelands, New South Wales, Australia. Armidale had a population of 24,351 as at June 2017. It is the administrative centre for the Northern Tablelands region. It is approximately halfway between Sydney and Brisbane at the junction of the New England Highway and Waterfall Way. Armidale traditional owners are Anaiwan people. Many Gumbaynggirr people have settled in Armidale since colonisation.
The University of Queensland (UQ) is a public research university primarily located in Queensland's capital city, Brisbane, Australia. Founded in 1909 by the state parliament, UQ is Australia's fifth oldest university and is colloquially known as a sandstone university. UQ is considered to be one of Australia's leading universities, and is ranked as the 48th most reputable university in the world. The University of Queensland is a founding member of online higher education consortium edX, Australia's research-intensive Group of Eight, and the global Universitas 21 network.
Brisbane is the capital of and the most populated city in the Australian state of Queensland, and the third most populous city in Australia. Brisbane's metropolitan area has a population of 2.5 million, and the South East Queensland region, centred on Brisbane, encompasses a population of more than 3.5 million. The Brisbane central business district stands on the historic European settlement and is situated inside a peninsula of the Brisbane River, about 15 kilometres from its mouth at Moreton Bay. The metropolitan area extends in all directions along the floodplain of the Brisbane River Valley between Moreton Bay and the Great Dividing Range, sprawling across several of Australia's most populous local government areas (LGAs)—most centrally the City of Brisbane, which is by far the most populous LGA in the nation. The demonym of Brisbane is "Brisbanite".
When Sir John Kerr's turbulent period of office as Governor-General ended with his early resignation in 1977, the Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser, offered Cowen the post. He was in some ways a perfect choice. He was a distinguished Australian with an international reputation, his knowledge of the Constitution and the law were beyond dispute, and his political views were unknown. The fact that Cowen was Jewish gave his appointment a multicultural aspect in keeping with contemporary Australian sentiment. He served four and a half years as Governor-General, from December 1977 to July 1982.
From 1982 to 1990 Cowen was Provost of Oriel College, Oxford.After his retirement he returned to Australia and became active in Jewish community affairs in Melbourne. He also pursued a range of other interests, including serving for five years on the board of Fairfax Newspapers (three of them as Chairman) during a turbulent period for the company; and being patron of St Kilda Football Club. During the lead-up to the 1999 Australian republic referendum, he supported a moderate republican position.
On 7 June 1945, Cowen married Anna Wittner (born 5 July 1925)and had four children, Shimon, Yosef, Kate and Ben. His son, Rabbi Shimon Cowen, is Director of the Institute for Judaism and Civilization in Melbourne.
Cowen suffered from Parkinson's disease for at least the last 15 years of his life.He died on 8 December 2011, at the age of 92, at his home in Toorak, Victoria. It was the 34th anniversary of his swearing-in as Governor-General in 1977.
His state funeral at Melbourne's Temple Beth Israel in St Kilda was attended by the Governor-General, Dame Quentin Bryce, the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, and former Prime Ministers Malcolm Fraser, Bob Hawke and John Howard.
Cowen's first honour was a Knight Bachelor in 1976. When appointed Governor-General he was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George (GCMG) and Knight of the Order of Australia (AK) in 1977, and sworn of the Privy Council in 1977. When Queen Elizabeth II visited Australia in 1980 she appointed Cowen a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO).
He was an Honorary Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (FTSE).
In 1981, the Royal Australian Institute of Architects (RAIA) established the Sir Zelman Cowen Award for Public Architecture which is widely recognised as Australia’s leading award for public buildings.
Melbourne Law School awards the Zelman Cowen Scholarship to incoming Juris Doctor students. Awarded purely on the basis of academic merit,it is the law school's most prestigious scholarship. A special issue of the "Melbourne University Law Review" in 2015 published papers from a 2014 conference on legal, international, liberty, literary, university, and other public issues of significance in Cowen's life and work; contributors included Glyn Davis, Justice Susan Kenny, Michael Crommelin, Donald Markwell, Cheryl Saunders, and Sir Frank Berman.
Zelman Cowen was a 1953 Fulbright Senior Scholar in Law from The University of Melbourne to Harvard University.
The Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia is the representative of the Australian monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II. As the Queen is shared equally with the 15 other Commonwealth realms, and resides in the United Kingdom, she, on the advice of her prime minister, appoints a governor-general to carry out constitutional duties within the Commonwealth of Australia. The governor-general has formal presidency over the Federal Executive Council and is commander-in-chief of the Australian Defence Force. The functions of the governor-general include appointing ministers, judges, and ambassadors; giving royal assent to legislation passed by parliament; issuing writs for election; and bestowing Australian honours.
Sir Isaac Alfred Isaacs was an Australian lawyer, politician, and judge who served as the ninth Governor-General of Australia, in office from 1931 to 1936. He had previously served on the High Court of Australia from 1906 to 1931, including as Chief Justice from 1930.
Sir Ninian Martin Stephen was an Australian judge who served as the 20th Governor-General of Australia, in office from 1982 to 1989. He was previously a Justice of the High Court of Australia from 1972 to 1982.
Sir William Patrick Deane is a former Australian lawyer and judge who served as the 22nd Governor-General of Australia, in office from 1996 to 2001. He was previously a Justice of the High Court of Australia from 1982 to 1995.
Ormond College is the largest of the residential colleges of the University of Melbourne located in the city of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. It is home to around 350 undergraduates, 90 graduates and 35 professorial and academic residents.
Sir David Iser Smith is a retired Australian public servant. He was the Official Secretary to the Governor-General of Australia between 1973 and 1990, in which capacity he served Sir Paul Hasluck, Sir John Kerr, Sir Zelman Cowen, Sir Ninian Stephen and Bill Hayden.
The Vinerian Scholarship is a scholarship given to the University of Oxford student who "gives the best performance in the examination for the degree of Bachelor of Civil Law". Currently, £2,500 is given to the winner of the scholarship, with an additional £950 awarded at the examiners' discretion to a proxime accessit (runner-up).
Glyn Conrad Davis AC is a Distinguished Professor at the Australian National University's Crawford School of Public Policy. From January 2005 until September 2018 he served as the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Melbourne.
Melbourne Law School is one of the professional graduate schools of the University of Melbourne. Located in Carlton, Victoria, MLS is Australia's oldest law school, and offers J.D., LL.M, Ph.D, and LL.D degrees. The University of Melbourne Law School has been ranked seventh in the world and first in Australia in the Times Higher Education World University 2018 Subject Rankings for Law.
The Jewish Museum of Australia is the only Jewish community museum in Australia, which aims to "explore and share the Jewish experience in Australia". It is located in St Kilda, a suburb of Melbourne.
Walter Jona was a Liberal Party member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly.
Sir Kenneth Clinton Wheare, CMG was an Australian academic, who spent most of his career at Oxford University in England. He was an expert on the constitutions of the British Commonwealth.
Glenister Fermoy Sheil was an Australian politician, representing the National Party in the Senate for the state of Queensland from 1974 to 1981, and again from 1984-90. He was an amateur tennis player who competed at the Australian Championships in the 1940s and 1950s.
Linda Marion Dessau has been the Governor of Victoria since 1 July 2015. She is the first female and the first Jewish holder of the office. She was a judge of the Family Court of Australia from 1995 to 2013.
For the Montgomery, Alabama, talk radio personality, see Don Markwell
Edmond William "Bill" Tipping (1915–1970) was an Australian journalist, social commentator and activist.
The University of Queensland Library, founded in 1910, provides library access to students of the University of Queensland in Brisbane. It developed from a small provincial university library into a major research library. It was first housed in the Old Government House building of George Street from 1911-1923. From 1923-1948, it was housed in the Art Block of the Central Technical College in George Street, next to the University. In late 1948, the library moved to the new St Lucia campus, residing in the Duhig Building. By 1954, it had already exceeded its capacity.
Shimon Dovid Cowen is an Australian rabbi and academic. He is known for his research on, and advocacy for, the Noahide Laws, on the basis of which, he has publicly opposed homosexual marriage, abortion on demand and euthanasia.
Sir John Kerr
| Governor-General of Australia |
Sir Ninian Stephen
| Provost of Oriel College, Oxford |
1982 to 1990
The Rev Ernest Nicholson
| Chairman of the Press Council |