University Officers

Sir Mungo William MacCallum KCSG

Sir Mungo William MacCallum KCSG (1854 - 1942) was Chairman, Professorial Board in 1894, a Fellow of Senate from 1898 to 1914 and from 1916 to 1936, Vice-Chancellor from 1924 to 1928, Deputy Chancellor from 1928 to 1934 and Chancellor from 1934 to 1936.


KCSG, MA LLD Glas HonDLitt Oxf
Chairman, Professorial Board: 1894
Fellow of Senate 1898 - 1914 and 1916 - 1936, including election by Senate as
– Deputy Chancellor 1928 - 1934
– Chancellor 1934 - 1936
Vice-Chancellor and
ex-officio Fellow of Senate 1924 - 1928

His background

Sir Mungo William MacCallum was educated at High School, Glasgow and the University of Glasgow where he graduated MA in 1877, excelling in classics, philosophy and literature. Awarded the Luke Fellowship in Humanities, he studied further at Glasgow and later studied medieval literature at the Universities of Berlin and Leipzig.

His career

In 1879, MacCallum was appointed Professor of English Literature at the University College of Wales. In 1886, he was appointed the Foundation Professor of Modern Language and Literature at the University of Sydney.

MacCallum arrived in Sydney in 1887 to take up his post at a time when the University was not only expanding in professional training, but in the Faculty of Arts as a result of the generous Challis bequest. However, the focus of the Faculty on languages had in recent times tended to be on their utility. As an ardent exponent of the benefits of a liberal arts education, particularly the study of literature, he developed the teaching of English literature to a high standard. He also assisted in the development of the teaching of French and German literature. By 1892, honours schools were introduced.

MacCallum was committed to making the university accessible to the general community and gave frequent extension lectures to the wider community. He was also keen to impress the traditions of the University on the student body. In 1897, he became president of the Sydney University Union.

In 1898, he became Dean of the Faculty of Arts, an office he held until 1919, and an ex officio Fellow of the Senate. He retired from these administrative duties in 1920, but became honorary Professor of English Literature and continued to lecture.

In addition to his teaching and administrative expertise, MacCallum made significant scholarly contributions in the field of English literature. His prodigious writings brought him world renown, particularly in the field of Shakespearean scholarship. The MacCallum Building commemorates his name.

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.


Mungo MacCallum, Professor of Modern Literature, 1900, photo G3_224_0359, University of Sydney Archives.


Professor MacCallum in 1911, the 25th year of his occupancy of the Chair of English, photo from 'Hermes', June 1911.


Portrait of Sir Mungo William MacCallum KCSG, 1911, by Sir John Longstaff ((1862-1941), oil on canvas, gift of Mrs W P MacCallum, March 1966, University Art Collection, reproduced with the kind permission of Mr David Longstaff Caldwell and the University of Sydney.

Sir Mungo MacCallum in 1927

Sir Mungo MacCallum in 1927, photo from the Sydney Medical School Senior Yearbook 1927-28, Faculty of Medicine Online Museum.

His membership of Senate

Sir Mungo William MacCallum KCSG was a Fellow of Senate from 1898 to 1914 and from 1916 to 1936.

He was the first Vice-Chancellor in 1924 appointed under the new executive arrangements, acting in the position until 1928. In 1928 he was elected Deputy Chancellor, serving until 1934, and was Chancellor from 1934 to 1936.


Vice-Chancellor Sir Mungo MacCallum with Yeoman Bedell William Barber (left), Registrar Walter Selle (right) and attendant staff, 1924, photo G3_224_0915, University of Sydney Archives.


Vice-Chancellor Sir Mungo MacCallum leading the funeral procession for Henry Ebenezer Barff, who died on 2 May 1925, less than a year after he resigned his position as Warden and Registrar on account of continued ill-health, photo G3_224_0365, University of Sydney Archives.


Chancellor William Portus Cullen on the far left and Vice-Chancellor Sir Mungo MacCallum on the far right in the 1920s, photo, Hood Collection, Mitchell Pictures, State Library of NSW.


Deputy Chancellor Sir Mungo MacCallum (second from right) with the official party at the unveiling of the portrait of Isobel Fidler in Manning House in 1931, photo G3_224_1037, University of Sydney Archives.


The Chancellor Sir Mungo MacCallum (on left) and Dr Arthur Mills, former Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, on their way to attend the Armistice Day service in the Great Hall on 11 November 1936, photo, Hood Collection, Mitchell Pictures, State Library of NSW and caption, Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate, 12 November 1936, National Library of Australia.

In memoriam

MacCallum died on 3 September 1942 at his home at Edgecliff.

A service to the memory of Sir Mungo MacCallum was held at St Andrew's Cathedral at 1.00pm on Friday 4 September 1942. It was attended by representatives of the University, the legal profession, arts, literature, commerce and industry. The lesson was read by the Chancellor, Lieutenant-Colonal Sir Charles Bickerton Blackburn.