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Chancellors Exhibition

W. C.
 Sir J. S. J.
Sir R. J. 
Hon G. J.
Hon. Sir A. F.
Dr J. S.
D. M. Gonski

This photographic display brings to you the Chancellors of the University of New South Wales since its inception in 1949.

When the university was first incorporated in 1949 the executive had the titles of president, vice president and director. The titles were changed to chancellor, deputy chancellor and vice-chancellor respectively when the enabling statute was amended in 1955.

For further information, please contact the Archives.

Wurth, Wallace Charles CMG, LLB, Hon. LLD (Syd), F.S.T.C.
14 January 1896 - 16 September 1960  
Service to UNSW
Chancellor 1955 - 60
President 1949 - 55
Member - Council 1949 - 60
Deputy Chairman - Developmental Council 1947 - 49  
Wallace Charles Wurth, n.d. (Photographer: Sidney Riley, UNSW Archives CN449)     

Wallace Wurth, the university's first president and chancellor, was born in Mudgee and educated at Sydney High and Sydney University. In 1912 he entered State Public Service in NSW. During World War I he served three and a half years with the AIF. In his professional life he distinguished himself as an exceptional public administrator. In 1936 he was appointed member of the NSW Public Service Board and his administrative capabilities resulted in his appointment as its chairman in 1939; a position he held until his death in 1960. He was member, chairman and president of many organisations and as such was a man with wide influence.

His experiences as Director General of Manpower during World War II had convinced him of the need of more scientists and technologists for Australian industries. This belief led Wallace Wurth to devote much of his energy to the conception and development of this University. He was a foundation member and Deputy Chairman of the Developmental Council from 1947 - 1949, and then became president and first chancellor of this university, from 1949 - 1955 and 1955 - 1960 respectively, leading it continuously for the first twelve years of its existence.

Wallace Wurth participated actively in the detailed organisational and planning work of the early years. He was an enterprising administrator and employed the provisions of the establishing Act and his position as Chairman of the Public Service Board by making use of many of the services of officers and employees of government departments for the advancement of the University. It is due to his efforts that the University secured its current campus site and later more adjoining land. Under his guidance the University became a fully fledged university with the responsibility for conducting diploma courses transferred from the Department of Education to the University; the titles of the executive officers changed to chancellor, deputy chancellor and vice-chancellor; the size of Council increased to include agricultural pastoral and rural interests, and university independence was formalised with staff formerly employed by the Department of Education becoming employees of the university. The scope of university teaching was broadened with courses in arts and medicine added. Finally, during his custodianship, the name of the university was changed from New South Wales University of Technology to the University of New South Wales.

To honour the services of Wallace Wurth to this university the Council established the Wallace Wurth Memorial Fund for delivery of the Wallace Wurth Memorial Lecture with the lecture given by a prominent public figure and on a subject of general interest. In recognition of his contribution to the establishment of the medical faculty, the medical building was named the Wallace Wurth School of Medicine.

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Clancy, The Hon. Sir John Sydney James KBE, CMG, LLB (Syd), Hon. DLitt, Hon. LLD (UNSW)
                 30 May 1895-15 October 1970
Service to UNSW 
Chancellor 1960 - 70
Vice President/Deputy Chancellor 1953 - 1960 
Member - Council 1949 - 70
Hon. Sir John Sydney James Clancy, 1961 (Photographer: Max Dupain, UNSW Archives CN449)         

Sir John Clancy was born in Sydney and educated at Darlinghurst Marist Brothers High and Sydney University. He entered Public Service in 1913. During World War I he served with the AIF from 1914-1918. He was admitted to the Bar in 1925. He served as District Court Judge from 1931-1947 when he was appointed Puisne Judge of the Supreme Court of NSW. He served in this position until his retirement in 1965.

Sir John was a foundation member of the University Council, having been appointed to Council in 1949. He became deputy chancellor in 1953 and was unanimously elected chancellor upon Wallace Wurth's death in 1960. He served the university continuously as chancellor until his retirement in June 1970.

During his time the University saw great progress and growth. Total enrolments rose from less than 8000 to nearly 17000 and the number of research and teaching staff rose from ca. 600 to 1000. The building expansion during those years included practically the whole of the upper campus, the Engineering complex, Applied Science, the Philip Baxter, Warrane and New Colleges, Goldstein Hall and College, Architecture, Physics and the Union. In the academic field the university expanded through the establishment of a number of new faculties adding breadth essential for the full development of the university. Sir John Clancy was a tireless worker for the university and a strong advocate of the students. He participated in and chaired countless committee meetings. Sir John Clancy also had a long and continuous relationship with the Sports Association. In late 1952 he successfully sponsored in Council the request to establish the Sports Association and also stipulated that membership of the Association should be compulsory for all registered students of the University. He was invited to become the first Patron of the Sports Association.

On 23 August 1971 the University of New South Wales posthumously awarded Sir John the degree of Doctor of Laws (honoris causa). Lady Clancy accepted the testamur and also opened the Sir John Clancy Auditorium, which is a permanent reminder on campus of Sir John's many years of service to the university.

The University Archives holds private records of Sir John Clancy documenting key events in his life. Some of the photographs from these records are displayed in the Sir John Clancy Exhibition.

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Webster, Sir Robert Joseph CMG, CBE, MC, Hon. DSc (UNSW, Wollongong) FASA, FAIM, FIAM
10 June 1891 - 4 August 1981
Service to UNSW 
Chancellor 1970 - 75
Deputy Chancellor 1960 - 70
Member - Council 1949 - 75
Member - Developmental Council 1947 - 49
Sir Robert Joseph Webster, 1961 (Photographer: Max Dupain, UNSW Archives CN486-3-18A)

Robert Webster left school at fifteen in 1906. He served with the first AIF in Egypt, Gallipoli and France from 1914 to 1918 and was awarded the Military Cross. He was General Manager, Queensland Cotton Board 1926 to 1936; he became General Manager, Bradford Cotton Mills Ltd (later Bradmill Industries Ltd) in Sydney in 1936, later becoming managing director and chairman of directors. He retired in 1976.

Sir Robert Webster has been associated with the university since its beginnings. As a member of the Developmental Council from 1947 to 1949, foundation member of the Council and serving on the executive and other Council committees he played a significant part in the planning and development of the University of New South Wales. He was the university's deputy chancellor from 1960 to 1970 and served as its chancellor from 1970 to 1975.

As a leading figure in textile technology Sir Robert brought with him much experience in industry and management. A tireless worker in the fields of education and textile technology he bridged the gap between the academic and the business world. He knew the value of research and was at the forefront of those demanding a more scientific approach to management. He had a leading role in the establishment of the School of Textile Technology in 1955, which offered the only degree course in that field in Australia. The building accommodating the School was named the Sir Robert Webster Building after him. Unisearch Ltd, the University's research and development company, owes much to Sir Robert's support and guidance as Sir Robert was Chairman of Directors of Unisearch Ltd when it was first established.

Over his five years as chancellor Sir Robert had conferred more than 16,000 degrees and diplomas. He showed continuing and personal interest in the work of the university across the whole range of its activities. In 1976, to honour his contribution to the university, Council bestowed the title Chancellor Emeritus on Sir Robert.

Sir Robert Webster's private records are held in the University Archives. The papers cover aspects of Webster's family life, his career as soldier, farmer, manager, industrialist and university chancellor.

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Samuels, The Hon. Gordon Jacob AC, CVO, MA (Oxon), Hon. LLD (Syd), Hon. DSc (UNSW)
12 August 1923 - 10 December 2007
Service to UNSW 
Chancellor 1976 - 94
Member - Council 1969 - 94
Hon. Gordon Jacob Samuels, 1978 (Photographer: John Hearder, UNSW Archives CN1127)    

Gordon Samuels was educated at University College School, London, and Balliol College, Oxford. During World War II he was posted to the 96th (Royal Devon Yeomanry) Field Regiment Royal Artillery. From 1942 to 1946 he served in Northern Ireland, India and Malaya and reached the rank of captain. Gordon Samuels was admitted to the Bar in NSW in 1952. He took silk in 1964, was appointed to the Supreme Court of NSW 1972-1992 and then to the Bench of the New South Wales Court of Appeal 1974-1992. He was an Acting Judge Court of Appeal Supreme Court New South Wales 1992-1993, Chairman of the NSW Law Reform Commission 1993-1996 and Governor of New South Wales from 1996-2001.

Gordon Samuels was elected to the University Council in 1969 and became the university's longest serving chancellor. He was first elected chancellor in 1976 and was re-elected by Council to that position nine times. He retired in 1994 to pursue other professional interests.

The university owes him a special debt for his services through Council and its committees. As chancellor he devoted a generous amount of time, thought and energy to university business and in solving issues of policy which required informed and thoughtful resolution. He believed the role of the chancellor was to act as honest broker within the university and as a sounding-board for the vice-chancellor. He enjoyed presiding over university wide debates and tackling issues confronting the university. In 1989 he successfully led the campaign against the proposal by the New South Wales Minister for Education to merge this University into a state-wide university by amalgamation with a number of colleges of advanced education.

Gordon Samuels has been involved in all aspects of university life. He played a key role in establishing the University of New South Wales Foundation, is a life member of the Sports Association and had long and close links with many of the university clubs and sporting bodies. He also supported the Arts, was the inaugural presiding member of the Advisory Board of the Australia Ensemble, and provided encouragement to the Ensemble, the School of Music and Music Education and the Collegium Musicum Choir. He was frequently an ambassador for the University in the community and overseas. He presented about 70,000 students with their degree and each graduand was greeted personally.

In 1992 the Samuels Building was opened. This new research building was named after Gordon Samuels and his wife Jacqueline Samuels in honour and recognition of their services to the university since 1976. In 1994 the university conferred upon Gordon Samuels the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa, and the degree of Doctor of the University, honoris causa, upon his wife.

In 2005 a book based on oral history interviews with Gordon Samuels - Gordon Samuels Looking Back - A University Chancellor Reflects - was published as part of the University Archives' twenty-fifth anniversary celebrations and with generous assistance from the U Committee.

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Mason, The Hon. Sir Anthony Frank AC, KBE, CBE, BA LLB (Syd), Hon. LLD (ANU, Syd, Melb, Monash, Griffith, Deakin, UNSW), Hon. DCL (Oxon), FASSA
b. 21 April 1925
Service to UNSW 
Chancellor 1994 - 99
Member - Council 1994 - 99
Hon. Sir Anthony Frank Mason, 1996 (University Photographer, UNSW Archives 00A31)

Sir Anthony Mason was educated at Sydney Grammar and the University of Sydney. Admitted to the Bar in NSW in 1951 he had a distinguished legal career. Among his achievements are his appointment as Queen's Counsel in 1964, Commonwealth Solicitor-General 1964-1969, Vice-Chairman of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law in 1968, Judge of the Court of Appeal, Supreme Court of NSW 1969-1972. He was appointed to the High Court of Australia in 1972 and became Chief Justice in 1987 until his retirement in 1994. In the same year Sir Anthony Mason became the university's fifth Chancellor. He presided over and guided the university through a difficult time in Australian education with cutbacks in government funding, imposition of government policies on university autonomy and organisational restructuring. During his time as chancellor he supported many activities such as being the driving force behind the 1998 University Symposium on Native Title and therefore revitalising the concept of holding university symposia on campus. He was also a dedicated member of the board of the University of New South Wales Foundation pioneering fundraising events and providing funds for scholarships research and capital development.

In 2006 Council approved the naming of the Law Building garden as The Sir Anthony Mason Garden.

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Yu, Dr John Samuel, AC, AM, MB BS (Syd), Hon. MD (Syd), Hon. DLitt (UWS), Hon. DSc (UNSW), DCH (RCP&S), FRACP, FRACMA
b. 12 December 1934           
Service to UNSW 
Chancellor 2000 - July 2005
Member - Council 2000 - July 2005
Dr John Samuel Yu, 2000 (Visiting University Photographer)

Educated at Fort Street Boys High and Sydney University, Dr Yu has had a distinguished career in medicine and community affairs and is strongly committed to education. He was Chief Executive of the New Children's Hospital at Westmead from 1978 to 1997 and a staff physician at the Royal Alexandria Hospital from 1972 to 1997. As a chairman, patron and member Dr Yu has served on many management boards and charitable organisations including Musica Viva, Starlight Foundation and the Art Gallery of New South Wales. He is also Chairman of the Australian China Council of the Department of Foreign Affairs. He was honoured as Australian of the year in 1996. He was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 1989 as well as a Companion of the Order in 2001.

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 Gonski, David Michael AC, AO, LLB, BCom (UNSW), FAICD, FCPA
b. 7 October 1953
Service to UNSW
Chancellor 1 August 2005 -
Member - Council 1 August 2005 -
Chair - Board of Directors UNSW Foundation 2007 -
Member - Board of Directors UNSW Foundation 1999 -
David Michael Gonski, 2005 (Photographer: Britta Campion)

David Gonski was born in 1953 in Cape Town, South Africa, and migrated to Australia with his family at the age of seven in 1961. He attended Sydney Grammar School and graduated BCom LLB from UNSW.

He is a professional company director and chairman, and corporate adviser and consultant. He is highly regarded for his ability to find ways to negotiate calmly through the toughest corporate tangles, bringing divergent parties together to get business deals done. He is Chairman of Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd and Investec Bank (Australia) Ltd. He is also a director of the ANZ Banking Group and the Westfield Group. In 2003, he received a UNSW alumni achievement award for his outstanding leadership and innovation in the field of business and commerce.

Mr Gonski became a member of the Board of Trustees of Sydney Grammar School in 1993 and Chairman in 2003. He is a member of the Prime Minister's Community Business Partnership and chairs its Taxation and Philanthropy Working Group. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the UNSW Foundation; President of the Board of Trustees, Art Gallery of New South Wales (since 1997); and Chairman of the Australia Council (since 2002). He has also served as Chair of Film Australia, as Chair of NIDA and the Bundanon Trust, as Deputy Chair of the Library Council of New South Wales, and on the Board of St Vincents Hospital.

In 1996, Mr Gonski was named to undertake a Review of Commonwealth Assistance to the Film Industry, and he presented a report of that review in 1997. He was also a member of the committee appointed in 1998 to conduct an Inquiry into the Major Performing Arts Sector. He was appointed to the Order of Australia as an Officer (AO) in 2002 and a Companion (AC) in 2007. He received the Centenary Medal in 2003.

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