Honorary awards

Robert Lee Maple-Brown

The title of Honorary Fellow of the University was conferred upon Robert Lee Maple-Brown at the Faculty of Medicine graduation ceremony held at 2.00pm on 1 May 2009.

Robert Lee Maple-Brown

The Chair of the Academic Board Professor Bruce Sutton conferring the title upon Mr Maple-Brown, photo, copyright Memento Photography.


Professor Sutton, I have the honour to present Mr Robert Lee Maple-Brown for election as an Honorary Fellow of the University.

Robert Maple-Brown grew up in country NSW and attended a Sydney boarding school for his secondary education. He completed a Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of New South Wales after working at AWA, IBM and McNall and Hordern, a sharebroking firm.

After spending two years working in London Mr Maple-Brown joined Yarwood Vane, a large Chartered Accounting company. He spent three years there and obtained his chartered accounting qualification.

In 1970 he joined International Pacific Corporation Ltd, a merchant bank which later became Rothschild Australia Ltd. Robert managed investment portfolios for institutional clients and was appointed a director responsible for the investment management division in 1976.

In 1984 having left Rothschild Australia, he formed Maple-Brown Abbott Ltd, a boutique investment management firm. Robert was Chief Executive until June 2000 and is now the non-executive Chairman. The firm currently manages in excess of $10 billion on behalf of superannuation funds, institutions and private clients. The firm pursues a “value” investment philosophy and has an enviable long term performance record in the management of Australian equity portfolios and balanced funds.

Robert Maple-Brown has found the time to contribute significantly to many organisations and has generously devoted much of his energy and resources to a variety of philanthropic concerns.

He has been Chairman of the UNSW Foundation since May 2004 having been a director of the Foundation board since 1996. The UNSW Foundation was established in 1988 as the major fundraising arm of that University. Mr Maple-Brown has been equally well disposed to the University of Sydney in his great support for universities.

Robert has been a director of the trustee of the McCaughey Memorial Institute which is closely associated with this University since 1991. He has also been a supporter of the James S Ashton Memorial Scholarship awarded to outstanding students in agricultural and veterinary sciences areas.

He is Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Sir David Martin Foundation which assists marginalised young people by supporting programs for adolescents who are homeless or otherwise disadvantaged. The Royal Flying Doctor Service is another organisation which has benefited from his help.

Medical research has been the fortunate recipient of Mr Maple-Brown’s concerns. The Bowel Cancer Foundation of this University has been of particular interest.
He also supports the Children’s Cancer Institute Australia, Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute, the National Breast Cancer Foundation and the Fred Hollows Foundation.

Mr Maple-Brown is a backer of many arts organisations: amongst these are The National Gallery of Australia, the Australian Ballet, the Sydney Symphony and the Red Room Company which creates, promotes and publishes a spectrum of poetry by Australian writers.

Robert’s family have had a long and proud association with this University. His mother graduated in Arts in 1935 and his brother Anthony graduated in Engineering in 1961.

In 1967 Robert married Susan Arnold who graduated in Science from this University in 1966. They have four children: Dougal, Louise, Andrew and Clare all of whom have degrees from this University from among the diverse fields of Law, Commerce, Medicine, Engineering and Physiotherapy.

Remarkably, Mr Maple-Brown’s grandfather (Harry Herbert Lee) and two of his wife’s grandparents: her grandmother (Enid Craig MacDonald) and grandfather (Reginald McDougall Bowman) all graduated in Medicine from The University of Sydney in the early years of the twentieth century.

Professor Sutton, I have great pleasure in presenting to you, Mr Robert Maple-Brown for election as an Honorary Fellow of the University and I invite you to confer the title upon him.