Honorary awards

The Honourable John Matthews

The degree of Master of Pharmacy (honoris causa) was conferred upon The Honourable John Matthews in 2001.


Chancellor, I present to you the Honourable John Matthews for the conferring of the degree of Master of Pharmacy (honoris causa).

John Matthews successfully completed his Materia Medica course at the University of Sydney in 1948, which led to his qualification and registration as a pharmacist. Since his graduation John Matthews has dedicated his life to serving the pharmaceutical profession, the pharmaceutical industry and, from his involvement in Local and State Government, the wider community, particularly in rural Australia.

John Matthews greatly influenced the development of the pharmacy profession through his early appreciation of business developments and their impact on pharmacy practice. He commenced his career working at St Vincent’s Hospital in Bathhurst. Shortly afterwards, in 1952, he acquired his own community pharmacy in that city. His understanding of pharmacy practice and his business acumen led to his appointment as Chairman of Australian Pharmaceutical Industries Limited. Under his leadership and guidance, API has become a leading pharmaceutical wholesaler in Australia. It was due to John Matthew’s influence that API developed a close relationship with the University of Sydney through the Pharmacy Practice Foundation.

He worked closely with members of the council of the Pharmacy Practice Foundation to secure a grant of $1.2 million to establish, at the University of Sydney, the first chair of pharmacy practice in Australia. This initiative was a major achievement for the profession. He has been involved with the Pharmacy Guild of Australia for many years and served in the NSW state branch from 1967 to 1970. He continues to provide advice to the national body in its dealings with Government, and has influenced and moulded the professional development of community pharmacy in Australia. In 1998, he was made a Fellow of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia for his contributions to the profession.

John Matthew’s involvement in the wider community led to his election as Mayor of Bathurst, a position he held for ten years. Because of his interests in education, he became a member of a committee that recommended the establishment of the first College of Advanced Education in New South Wales. From 1981 to 1998, he was a member of the New South Wales Legislative Council. During his nineteen years of service to the public of New South Wales, he was a member of a number of State Government committees, including Transport, Treasury and, notably. the New South Wales Government Rural Committee. John Matthew’s interest in and high regard for issues associated with rural Australia have led to significant international business investment in Bathhurst.

His personal encouragement of innovation in education and research in pharmacy practice influenced API to become a major long-term donor to the University. He actively supported the setting up and successful promotion of the Australian Pharmacy Practice Research Centre and the Pharmacy Alumni Association at the University of Sydney.

It would be no exaggeration to say that his example and influence raised the status of his profession as is exemplified by the creation, last year, of the Faculty of Pharmacy at this university.

Chancellor, I present to you the Honourable John Matthews, leader in the pharmaceutical profession and Government, for the conferring of the Degree of Master of Pharmacy (honoris causa) and I invite you to confer the degree upon him.