Prominent alumni

Our alumni have risen to prominence from diverse social and cultural backgrounds.

From the corridors of power in Canberra to improving our understanding of illness, preventing human rights abuses and excelling on sporting fields, our alumni transform lives. Here are some who have made a difference.

Government and world affairs

Australian prime ministers

Governors-general

  • Sir Ninian Stephen KG, AK, GCMG, GCVO, KBE, QC (LLD 1984)
  • Sir Zelman Cowan AK, GCMG, GCVO, QC (DLitt 1980)
  • Sir William McKell GCMG (LLD 1952)
  • Sir William Slim KG, GCB, GCMG, GCVO, GBE, DSO, MC (LLD 1953)
  • William Sidney VC, KG, GCMG, GCVO, PC (LLD 1963)
  • John Baird GCMG, DSO, PC, JP, DL (LLB 1930)
  • Henry Northcote GCMG, GCIE, CB, PC (MA 1906)
  • Quentin Bryce AC (D.Laws 2009)
  • Richard Casey KG, GCMG, CH, DSO, MC, PC (DSc 1968)
  • HRH Henry Duke of Gloucester KG, KT, KP, GCB, GCMG, GCVO (LLD 1934)
  • Sir John Kerr AK GCMG GCVO (LLB 1936)
  • Sir William Deane AC KBE (BA 1951, LLB 1954, Hon LLD 1990)

State governors

  • Marie Bashir AC CVO (MBBS 1956, Hon MD 2002)
  • Richard Butler AC (BEc 1963)
  • Sir Arthur Roden Cutler VC AK KCMG KCVO CBE (BEc 1939, Hon LLD 1967))
  • Dr John Northcott (DLitt 1952)
  • Dr Eric W Woodward (DLitt 1959)
  • Alan Mansfield (LLB 1924)
  • Gordon J Samuels, AC, CVO, QC (LLD 1994)
  • Rear Admiral Peter R Sinclair, AC (DUniv 1992)
  • Sir James A Rowland, AC, KBE, DFC, AFC (BE Aeronautical 1948)

State premiers

  • Morris Iemma (BEc 1984)
  • Clare Martin MLA (BA 1976)
  • William McKell (LLD 1952)
  • Robert Heffron (DLitt 1952)
  • Sir Eric Willis KBE, CMG (BA 1942)
  • Neville Wran AC, QC (LLB 1948)
  • Samuel Griffith (MA 1870)
  • Joseph Carruthers (MA 1878)
  • George Fuller (BA 1879)
  • Thomas Bavin (BA 1894)
  • Nick Greiner, AC (BEc 1968)
  • Nathan Rees (BA 1995)

Nobel laureates

  • Sir Macfarlane (Frank) Burnet (DSc 1961) for Physiology or Medicine in 1960
  • Dr Edward Appleton (DSc 1952) for Physics in 1947
  • Sir John Cornforth AC CBE FRS (BSc 1938, MSc 1939, HonDSc 1977) for Chemistry in 1975
  • John Harsanyi (MA 1953, Hon DScEc 1995) for Economics in 1994

Humanities and the arts

  • Noel Pearson (BA 1987, LLB 1993)
  • Charles Perkins AO (BA 1966, Hon LLD 2000)
  • Bruce Beresford (BA 1964)
  • Jane Campion (DipVisArts 1979, BVisArts 1984)
  • Yvonne Kenny AM (BSc 1972, Hon DMus 1999)
  • Neil Armfield AO (BA 1977, Hon DLitt 2006)
  • Geraldine Brooks (BA '79, Hon LLD 2007)
  • Germaine Greer (MA 1963, Hon DLitt 2005)
  • Kate Grenville (BA 1973)
  • Clive James AM (BA 1961, Hon DLitt 1999)
  • Jill Ker Conway (BA 1958, Hon DLitt 2006)
  • Les Murray AO (BA 1970, Hon DLitt 2001)
  • Marc Newson (BVArts 1984)
  • Roger Woodward AC OM OBE (Hon DMus 1996, DMus 1999)

Law

  • Former NSW Supreme Court Judge Roderick Meagher AO, QC (BA 1954, LLB 1958, LLD 2000)
  • High Court Justice Virginia Bell (LLB 1979)
  • Former High Court Justice William Gummow AC (BA 1962 LLB 1965 LLM 1970 Hon LLD 1992)
  • High Court Justice John Heydon AC, QC (BA 1964 Hon LLD 2007)
  • High Court Justice Susan Crennan AC (LLB1979)
  • Former Chief Justice Sir Anthony Mason (BA 1947, LLB 1049, LLD 1988)
  • Former Chief Justice Murray Gleeson (BA 1959, LLB 1962, Hon LLD 1999)
  • NSW Chief Justice James Spigelman AC (BA '67, LLB '71, LLD '04)
  • Former NSW Chief Justice Sir Philip Street KCMG (BA 1883)
  • Former NSW Chief Justice Sir Kenneth Street KCMG KStJ (BA 1911, LLB 1914, Hon LLD 1952)
  • Former NSW Chief Justice Sir Laurence Street AC KCMG (LLB 1951, Hon LLD 1984)
  • Former High Court Justice The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG (BA '59, LLB '62, B Ec '66, LLM '67, LLD '96)
  • Former Chief Judge Family Court of Australia, the Hon Elizabeth Evatt AC (LLB 1955, Hon LLD 1985)
  • Justice Geoffrey Robertson QC (BA 1967, LLB 1970, Hon LLD 2006)

Science and engineering

  • Pioneer in medicinal chemistry and topical antiseptics Adrien Albert AO (BSc 1933, Hon DSc 1990)
  • Sydney Harbour Bridge designer JJC Bradfield (BE 1889, ME 1896, DSc 1924)
  • Geologist and Antarctic explorer Sir Tannatt William Edgeworth David (DSc 1933)
  • Nuclear physicist, and the only woman with a Rutherford Medal from the (UK) Institute of Physics, Dr Joan Freeman (BSc '40 MSC '43 DSc Honoris causa '93)
  • Pioneer in biological crystallography and the structure of proteins Hans Freeman (BSc 1959, MSc 1951, PhD 1957)
  • World leader in theoretical chemistry Noel Hush AO, FRS, FRACI, FAA (BSc 1946, MSc 1948)
  • Geologist and Antarctic explorer, Sir Douglas Mawson (BE 1902, BSc 1905, Hon DSc 1952)
  • Former Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK government and former President of the Royal Society, Lord Robert May OM AC Kt FRS (BSc 1957, PhD Sc 1960, D Sc 1995)
  • Engineer and astrophysicist Bernard Mills FAA, FRS (BSc 1941, BE 1943, ME 1950, DEng 1959)
  • Former Chief Scientist Jim Peacock AC (BSc 1958, PhDSc 1963, HonDAgr 2002)
  • Theoretical physicist and astronomer Edwin Salpeter (BSc 1945, MSc 1946 DSc Honoris causa '94)
  • Oceanographer and Australia’s first astronaut Paul Scully-Power AM, DSM, NSM (BSc 1966, DipEd 1967, DSc 1990)
  • Geographer Thomas Griffith Taylor (BSc 1903, BE 1905, DSc 1916, Hon DLitt 1959)

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