Honorary awards

Margaret Sabine

The title of Honorary Fellow of the University was conferred upon Margaret Sabine in 2001.


Dame Leonie, I present to you Margaret Sabine Master of Science University of Melbourne, Doctor of Philosophy University of London, Master of Veterinary Science ad eundum gradum University of Sydney for the conferring of an Honorary Fellowship of the University of Sydney.

This Fellowship marks the generosity, commitment and importance of Dr Sabine to the community both University and beyond.

Margaret Sabine is a virologist. From 1973 until her retirement in 1993 she was a member of the Faculty of Veterinary Science at this University, first as Senior Lecturer and soon after from 1978 as Associate Professor. In 1991 and 1992, she was Head of the Department of Veterinary Pathology.

On graduation from the University of Melbourne, Margaret Sabine joined the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute under Sir MacFarlane Burnett. A move to London, led to her working at University College Hospital Medical School under Professor Wilson Smith, the scientist who first isolated the influenza virus. She says herself that throughout her scientific career she was fortunate to work with a number of the great discoverers of our time. Another Nobel prize winner, Carlton Gajdusek, often visited her laboratory here on his way to and from New Guinea. She herself is the author of approximately 80 papers and co-editor of 2 books on Veterinary Virology. She counts as her most significant discovery the difference between various equine herpes viruses.

She served her profession as a member of the Australian Society of Microbiologists, for many years, as the Book Review editor of the Journal of Microbiology. In 1986, she was the Goldsworthy Orator of the society. She is a Fellow of the Australian College of Veterinary Science and an honorary member of the Australian Veterinary Association.

In the wider community, her contributions include member and occasional chairman of the Student Assistance Review Tribunal from 1975 to 1980, and member of the Aids Advisory Committee from 1988 to 1990. In 1995 she headed the review team for Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Vietnam organised by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research. Currently, she is chairman of the NSW Animal Welfare Advisory Council.

Margaret Sabine has been one of the great contributors to the University of Sydney. She was a challenging teacher, who commanded and still commands great respect as both teacher and mentor. She served on many university committees including the University Senate, the Academic Board, and the Animal Ethics committee. She represented the Senate on the Board of Directors of the University of Sydney Union, and for 11 years, was Vice Principal of the Women’s College providing a strong link
between the College and the academic life of the University.

Through her involvement with the University Club over a period of almost 30 years, she forged many friendships with people from across the University community. She was often a member of the committee and twice was the Club’s President. She drew together people from diverse disciplines fulfilling in a very real way the Club’s primary aim to promote collegiality across disciplines. On her retirement in 1993, her contribution was acknowledged by the Club at a dinner in her honour.

She is indeed a true Fellow of the University. Dame Leonie, I present Dr Margaret Sabine, Fellow of the University.