Fellows of Senate
Professor Ernest Rudolph Holme OBE
An early graduate of the University of Sydney (BA 1891, MA 1909), Professor Ernest Rudolph Holme OBE was a Fellow of Senate from 1921 to 1925.
Fellow of Senate 1921 - 1925
His early days
Ernest Rudolph Holme was born on 18 March 1871 at Footscray, Melbourne, third son of Rev Thomas Holme, Anglican clergyman and native of Manchester, England, and his Queensland-born wife Martha Louisa Maria, née Zillman.
His father became incumbent of All Souls Church, Leichhardt, Sydney, in 1882 and Ernest was educated at The King's School, Parramatta.
His student days at the University of Sydney
Holme graduated BA with first-class honours in Latin and English at the University of Sydney in 1891 and MA in 1909.
In 1891-94 Holme was an assistant master at Sydney Church of England Grammar School (Shore) and in 1894 was appointed lecturer in English (and also taught French and German) at the University of Sydney under Professor (Sir) Mungo MacCallum.
On leave in 1905, Holme studied at the universities of Paris and Berlin.
Next year his report to the University Senate on 'Aspects of Commercial Education in Europe' was published. In 1908 Holme was appointed associate professor and continued to teach modern languages.
Holme originated the plans for a reconstituted university union in 1912, providing it with its own building, gardens and lawns; he was president of the Sydney University Union in 1912-13. He tried to make evening students feel a valued part of the university and was 'almost perpetual' patron of their association.
On the outbreak of World War I in August 1914 Holme was appointed interpreter on the censorship staff, and was in charge of censoring foreign mail. In 1918 he helped to organize reinforcements for the Australian Imperial Force raised by the Sydney University Undergraduates' Association. In August he was appointed honorary captain in the AIF's education service, embarking for London after the Armistice. In February 1919 he became assistant director of education (university studies) under Bishop Long, and superintended the entry of Australian servicemen, waiting for demobilization, into British and French universities. He returned to Sydney in February 1920 through the United States of America and wrote a discursive survey, The American University (1920).
Holme was appointed to the new McCaughey Chair of English Language in July 1920.
Dean of the faculty of arts in 1921-25, Holme contributed to the expansion of the range of faculties and was prominent in the group of academics and administrators who shaped the course the university was to pursue for the next twenty years.
He was a driving force behind the development of the university's war memorials the bronze honour rolls in the main entrance of the quadrangle unveiled in 1931; the university's Book of Remembrance (1939); and the War Memorial Carillon. In 1927-28 he was director of the university's seventy-fifth anniversary appeal which raised £300,000. He was also secretary of the University Extension Board, a director of the University Club and a founder in 1923 and later president of the (Australian) English Association.
Holme had been appointed OBE in 1920 and commander of the Belgian Order of Leopold II in 1935.
He retired from his chair in 1941, but retained a keen interest in the affairs of the University, which awarded him an honorary DLitt in 1952. He died in hospital on 20 November 1952.
From the Australian Dictionary of Biography
His membership of Senate
Holme was elected a Fellow of Senate from 1921 to 1925, representing the teaching staff.