University Officers

Sir Hermann David Black AC

Sir Hermann David Black AC was a Fellow of Senate of the University of Sydney elected by and from the graduates from 1949 to 1990. During these years, he was elected Deputy Chancellor from 1969 to 1970 and Chancellor from 1970 to his death in 1990.


(1904 – 1990)
AC, MEc DUniv Sydney HonDLitt N’cle(NSW) DUniv UNE FCIS FASA
Fellow of Senate 1949 - 1990, including election by Senate as
– Deputy Chancellor 1969 - 1970
– Chancellor 1970 - 1990

Sir Hermann David Black was educated at Fort Street Boys High School. He attended the University of Sydney and graduated as Bachelor of Economics in 1927 with First Class Honours and the University Medal. In the same year he was awarded the Jones Medal as the best graduate and gained a Master of Economics degree in 1937, again with First Class Honours.

In 1933, Black was appointed to the Faculty of Economics as Assistant Lecturer, and became Lecturer in 1935-44 and Senior Lecturer until 1969. From 1936-38, Hermann Black was in the United States as a Rockefeller Research Fellow in the Social Sciences, working mainly at Harvard University.

Black became an Economic Adviser to the New South Wales Treasury, while continuing his work as a Lecturer at the University of Sydney. Throughout the Second World War, he remained an Economic Adviser reporting on such matters as uniform taxation and loan raising for post-war graduates. In 1951 Hermann Black again visited the United States under the support of the State Department, to study the formation of American foreign and economic policy. He met many leaders of American Government, business and education.

In 1969, he was elected Deputy Chancellor of the University and in 1970, he was elected Chancellor, serving in the position until his death in 1990.

In 1974 Hermann Black was made a Knight Bachelor and in 1986 received the award of Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) for ‘service to learning, to education and public affairs’. His many honorary positions included Patron of the University of Sydney Union, Member of the Board of Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (1970-85); Chairman, Board of the Australian Tax Research Foundation, Trustee of the Sir Zelman Cowen Australian Universities Trust (from 1982); Founder and Patron (from 1977) of the University of Sydney Chancellor’s Committee and Chairman of the Australian Archaeological Institute in Athens.

The biographical notes on the Chancellors contain information derived from a variety of sources including: Australia’s First: A History of the University of Sydney; University News; University of Sydney Archives; and Lawlink NSW: Law and History.

Chancellor, University of Sydney 1970 - 1990

In 1969, Sir Hermann Black was elected Deputy Chancellor of the University and in 1970, he was elected Chancellor, serving in the position until his death in 1990.

In the citation for Doctor of the University, Vice-Chancellor Professor John Ward described Sir Hermann's chancellorship as follows:

The Chancellorship of Sir Hermann Black is one of the golden strands in the history of The University of Sydney. He presided over the governing body, the Senate, in times of great change. His wisdom and experience and his unerring judgements of academic propriety and good sense have always been available to Senate, to the Vice-Chancellor and for those who have had good reason to seek them. In troubled times and in easy times, Hermann Blackhas been the embodiment of the best traditions of the University. He has been rewarded with the respect and affection of staff, students, graduates, the public at large and the academic world.

The degree of Doctor of the University was conferred upon Sir Hermann Black AC on Wednesday 20 December 1989.

In memoriam

Sir Hermann Black died in hospital on Wednesday 28 February 1990 after a long illness. A Memorial Service for him was held at 11.00am on Friday 23 March 1990 in the Great Hall.