Honorary awards

Emeritus Professor Noel Desmond Martin AM

The title of Honorary fellow of the University was conferred upon Emeritus Professor Noel Desmond Martin AM in 2004.


Today the Senate of the University confers on Emeritus Professor Noel Desmond Martin AM a Fellowship of the University. A Fellowship for Noel Martin allows the University to celebrate with heartfelt gratitude and joy, an extraordinary contribution to the University and the wider community that has extended over 60 unbroken years.

Noel Martin entered the Faculty of Dentistry from St Joseph’s College in 1941 and immediately joined the Athletics Club. Thus from the very beginning were forged the twin passions of his University life, dentistry and sport.

He was awarded a Sporting Blue in Athletics for the 1942-43 season for outstanding performances in the high jump. In 1944 he completed the BDS degree with honours. He intended to practice but was too young for registration. On his Graduation Day he was asked to join the Faculty of Dentistry. The next year, Noel was confirmed as a Lecturer in Preventive Dentistry.

Noel completed a Master of Dental Science degree in 1947. He became an Associate Professor in 1955 then, after a posting to the University of Illinois as a Fulbright Travelling Scholar, in 1961 was appointed Professor and Head of the Department of Preventive Dentistry.

Noel was Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry for a remarkable eighteen years, gaining the respect and affection of a whole generation of dentistry students, many of whom still maintain contact with him.

He served as a Fellow of the University’s Senate from 1971 to 1974.

Beyond the University, Noel Martin’s great contribution to society was in leading the fight for fluoridation of drinking water. He is widely recognised as the architect of fluoridation. Despite his modesty and unassuming nature, Noel proved to be an indefatigable and very effective public advocate.

Noel pursued his philosophy of preventive health not just in dentistry but also in medicine. He was appointed President of the Community Health and Anti-Tuberculosis Association, and is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons, the American College of Dentists, the International College of Dentists, the American Public Health Association, the Royal Academy of Medicine (Ireland), and the Royal Society of Medicine (Great Britain).

He is a Life Member of the International Association for Dental Research and the International Congress of Oral Implantologists and has received meritorious service awards from the Australian Dental Association, the Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons and the International Pierre Fauchard Academy.

Over 40 years, from 1962 to 2002, he served both as a Senate Representative on the Sports Union’s Management Committee and as a Trustee of the same organisation. He was Sports Union President from 1965 to 1967.

In 1983 the Sports Union recognised Noel’s then four decades of service to Sydney University Sport by renaming the Darlington Sports Centre as the Noel Martin Recreation Centre.

The decade of the ‘Nineties’ was a period of great sporting achievement, enhancement of facilities, consolidation of financial strength and the implementation of a comprehensive system of sporting scholarships. Through it all Noel was the elder statesman, counsellor and confidant to the Sports Union’s Executive Director, Greg Harris, and President, Bruce Ross. In 2003, in recognition of his unprecedented sixty years of service Noel was appointed Governor of Sydney University Sport. Noel Martin, dentist and sportsman, your true legacy is all around you in the achievements of our dental graduates and our sporting students and alumni and in the dental health of the public.

Noel Martin, the University of Sydney salutes you, and for your great and ongoing service confers on you a Fellowship of the University.