Department History

Great Hall, 1895

The Department of Government and International Relations has had a continuous presence at the University of Sydney – in different Faculties, with different names, and with different levels of autonomy over time – since the appointment by the University Senate in April 1917 of two lecturers to teach Public Administration in the Department of Economics.

Such was the success of these and subsequent appointments that the University founded the the Department of Government and International Relations was in 1947, initially names as the Department of Public Administration. The department grew out of founder Francis Armand Bland's belief that public administrators should be given a well-rounded education, rather than the type of narrow technical training that was being offered elsewhere.

Since our founding more than 75 years ago, the Department has educated thousands of students in our undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. Notable alumni include Australian journalist and former Ms Magazine editor Anne Summers (PhD '79), former Chief Justice of New South Wales James Spigelman (BA '67, LLB '71), and public speaker and business consultant Dominic Thurbon (Honours '07). Sydney-born Hedley Bull - Professor of International Relations at Oxford University and a founder of the English School in international relations - also studied history and philosophy at the University of Sydney.


Francis Armand Bland

Francis Bland

FRANCIS ARMAND BLAND was a notable Australian academic, public servant and politician, serving as an advisor to New South Wales Premier Thomas Bavin and a Member of Parliament for Warringah from 1951 - 1961. He is an alumnus of the University of Sydney (B.A., 1909; LL.B., 1912; M.A., 1914), and played a seminal role in the formation of the Department of Public Administration, which later became the Department of Government and International Relations.

Prof Bland was born in Macdonaldtown, NSW in 1882. In his mid-twenties, Bland began studying arts, law and economics at the University of Sydney, and in 1910 shared the Professor Pitt Cobbett's prize for political science. Bland was admitted to the Australian Bar in 1913, and read with Sir Frederick Jordan, who would later become chief justice. Between 1916 - 1918, Bland took leave to study at the London School of Economics under the school's co-founder Graham Wallas. Upon his return to Australia, Bland was appointed assistant-director of tutorial classes at the University of Sydney, and began a thirty-year-long career lecturing in public and municipal administration.

In 1930, Bland joined a new programme in economics, public administration, modern political institutions for un-matriculated public servants that would lay the groundwork for the Department of Public Administration. The multi-disciplinary nature of the course reflected Bland's pedagogical philosophy that public administrators should be given a well-rounded educational foundation, rather than simple technical training.

Bland used his academic post as a soapbox to advocate for public policy reform in New South Wales, often drawing the ire of university and state officials. In 1932, Bland led a public campaign to end the firing of high-level public administration officials under State Premier JT Lang, and alleged that the the premier was using a spoils system to get university officials to censor him.

Although he was a controversial figure on campus, Bland received the support of Premier (Sir) Bertram Stevens to get parliamentary support for a new chair in public administration. The Department of Public Administration was officially formed in 1935, with Bland at the helm.

Historical data drawn from the Australian Dictionary of Biography.

Henry Mayer

Henry Mayer

HENRY MAYER was a key figure in the study of media and communication in Australia. After serving as a professor at the University of Sydney for more than a decade, Mayer accepted a position at the University of Queensland.

From 1976 to 1991, Mayer edited the influential journal Media International Australia (MIA), which played a major role in establishing media studies as a legitimate area of study in Australia. Since 1993, MIA, based at the University of Queensland, has hosted the annual Henry Mayer Lecture to commemorate his contributions to media studies in Australia.

Following Mayer's death in 1991, Prof Rodney Tiffen of the University of Sydney edited a collection of unpublished essays, entitled Mayer on the Media: Issues and Arguments on topics including media control and accountability, media diversity, and censorship.

Historical data drawn from the University of Queensland.

Carole Pateman

Carole Pateman, UCLA

CAROLE PATEMAN is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a leading thinker on political theory, race and ethnicity.

Prof Pateman was born in Sussex, England, and studied at Oxford University, where she received her BA in 1967 and D.Phil in 1971. She accepted a position at the University of Sydney in 1972, and was Reader in Government from 1980-1989. While she has been at UCLA since 1990, Pateman signed on as Adjunct Professor at the Australian National University between 1993-2000 and has been a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia since 1980.

Pateman's 1988 book The Sexual Contract, which received the Benjamin Lippincott Award from the APSA in 2005, has been credited with bringing feminism into mainstream political theory. Other major contributions to political theory include Participation and Democratic Theory (1970) and The Problem of Political Obligation (1985).

She has held fellowships at a number of esteemed research institutes, including Stanford, Princeton, and Uppsala. She was also president of the Australasian Political Studies Association and the International Political Science Association. She is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in 2007 was named a fellow of the British Academy.

Christopher Hood

Christopher Hood, the University of Oxford

CHRISTOPHER HOOD is a leading scholar on government and public administration, currently serving as the Gladstone Professor of Government and Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. Among other academic credentials, Hood is a Fellow of the British Academy, Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration (US), and the director of the Economic and Social Research Council Programme Public Services.

Hood is an alumnus of the University of York (B.A., 1968) and the University of Glasgow (B.Litt., 1976). He started his academic career as a lecturer in the Department of Politics at the University of Glasgow, and Senior Teaching Fellow at the National University of Singapore. Hood was professor of Government and Public Administration at the University of Sydney between 1986-1989. Before joining the faculty of All Souls College, Hood served as Professor of Public Administration and Public Policy at the London School of Economics from 1989-2000.

During his three-decade-long academic career, Hood's research has focused on the organisation, capacity and limits of executive government. His influential publications include The Limits of Administration (1976), The Tools of Government (1983), and The Art of the State (1998 and 2000) for which he was awarded the Political Studies Association's W.J.M. Mackenzie Book Prize in 2000. In 2007, Hood was awarded the Public Management Research Association's H. George Frederickson Award for Career Contributions to Public Management Research, and elected a Fellow of the Sunningdale Institute. And in 2008, the University of Sydney's Department of Government and International Relations created the Christopher Hood Prize for Postgraduate Coursework to honour high-achieving students in the department.

Since 2011, Hood has a led two major research projects - collectively entitled "Reshaping Executive Government" - which are being funded by the Leverhulme Trust and Hood's ESRC research professorship.