Sir Zelman Cowen (1919-2011) was an Australian lawyer, academic, and public servant who served as the 19th Governor-General of Australia. He was born on October 7, 1919, in Melbourne, Australia. Cowen had an accomplished career and made significant contributions to the legal and educational fields in Australia.
Cowen completed his law degree at the University of Melbourne and later earned a doctorate in Jurisprudence from the University of Oxford. He became a barrister and practiced law before transitioning to academia. Cowen served as a professor of law at the University of Melbourne and the University of Sydney, where he made valuable contributions to legal scholarship.
In 1977, Cowen was appointed as the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Queensland. He played a crucial role in rebuilding the university after the devastating floods in 1974 and enhancing its reputation as an academic institution.
Sir Zelman Cowen's most significant public role came in 1977 when he was appointed as the Governor-General of Australia, succeeding Sir John Kerr. He served in this role until 1982. As Governor-General, Cowen carried out his duties with distinction and helped restore public confidence in the office after the controversial dismissal of the Whitlam government in 1975.
After his tenure as Governor-General, Cowen continued to contribute to public life. He served as the Chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and also held several diplomatic and advisory positions. He was actively involved in various philanthropic causes and received numerous honors for his services.
Sir Zelman Cowen passed away on December 8, 2011, at the age of 92. He left behind a lasting legacy as a distinguished jurist, academic, and public servant who made significant contributions to Australia's legal and educational institutions.