University Officers

Emeritus Professor Dame Leonie Kramer AC DBE

Emeritus Professor Dame Leonie Kramer AC DBE was a Fellow of Senate of the University of Sydney from 1969 to 1974 and from 1989 to 2001, as follows:

  • 1969 – 1974: Fellow elected by the graduates
  • 1989 – 1991: Fellow elected by the graduates, and elected Deputy Chancellor
  • 1991 – 2001: Chancellor and Fellow of Senate


(1924-2016 )
AC DBE, BA Melb MA Sydney DPhil Oxf HonDLitt Tas HonLLD Melb & ANU HonDLitt Qld & NSW DUniv GUPS St Petersburg, FACE FAHA
Fellow of Senate 1969 - 1974 and 1989 - 2001, including election by Senate as
– Deputy Chancellor 1989 - 1991
– Chancellor 1991 - 2001

Education and career

Dame Leonie Kramer was educated at the Presbyterian Ladies College, Melbourne, the University of Melbourne, where she gained a Bachelor of Arts in 1945, and Oxford University where she gained a Doctor of Philosophy in 1953. During her postgraduate years at Oxford she tutored at St Hugh's College.

She was appointed Lecturer in English in 1958, then Senior Lecture and finally Associate Professor in English at the University of New South Wales (UNSW). She remained at UNSW until 1968 when she was appointed Professor of Australian Literature at the University of Sydney. She was Visiting Professor at Harvard University’s Chair of Australian Literature Studies from 1981-82. She is an Emeritus Professor of Australian Literature at the University of Sydney.

A major focus of her critical writing has been the works of Henry Handel Richardson. She also edited the Oxford History of Australian Literature (1981).

Dame Leonie Kramer has served on numerous public bodies during her long career. These include:

  • Council of the National Library 1975-1981
  • Member of Secondary Schools Board from 1976-1982
  • Member of the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters 1977-1981
  • Universities Council from 1977-1986
  • Member of the ABC Board since 1977
  • Chair of the ABC from 1982-1983
  • Commissioner of the NSW Electricity Commission from 1988-1995
  • Senior Fellow of the Institute of Public Affairs from 1988-1996
  • Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) from 1987-1992

Kramer has also served on the boards of large corporations including Western Mining Corporation and ANZ Banking Group.

In 1986 she received the Inaugural Britannica Award for the ‘dissemination of learning for the benefit of mankind’. Other awards include an honorary DLitt from the University of Tasmania, an honorary LLD from both the University of Melbourne and the Australian National University. She was appointed OBE in 1976 and DBE in 1983.

Dame Leonie Kramer was Deputy Chancellor of the University of Sydney from 1989-91 and Chancellor from 1991-2001.

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.

Honorary doctorate

The degree of Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) of the University of Sydney was conferred upon Dame Leonie by the current Chancellor, Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir, on 8 April 2009.