Honorary awards

The Right Honourable Robert Gordon Menzies

The honorary degree of Doctor of Laws was conferred upon the Right Honourable Robert Gordon Menzies by the Chancellor Sir Charles Bickerton Blackburn KCMG OBE at the ceremony of conferring of honorary degrees held on 29 August 1952 as part of the University of Sydney's Centenary celebrations.

The Right Honourable Robert Gordon Menzies, CH QC, LLM Melb Hon LLD Melbourne, Bristol & Queen's College, Belfast, was Prime Minister of Australia.

The Right Honourable Robert Gordon Menzies

The Dean of the Faculty of Law Professor K O Shatwell (on left) presenting the Right Hon Robert Menzies to the Chancellor Sir Charles Bickerton Blackburn for the honorary award, a Sydney Morning Herald photo, with copies held by the University of Sydney Archives.


Presented by the Dean of the Faculty of Law, Professor K. O. Shatwell:

Mr Chancellor, I present to you Robert Gordon Menzies, a member of Her Majesty's most honourable Privy Council, one of Her Majesty's Counsel, a Master of Laws of the University of Melbourne, and Prime Minister of Australia.

Today this University pays its tribute to one whose academic, professional and public merit has been honoured by British Universities, great cities, and by Gray's Inn. After a distinguished scholastic career, rich in honours, he achieved eminence in practice as a barrister before the Victorian Supreme Court, the High Court of Australia and the Privy Council. In 1928 he abandoned the material rewards and the safe prospect of professional honours for the onerous and thankless task of serving the public in the political field. As a Minister of the Crown in Victoria for five years he transcended the domestic limits of State politics, and made a notable contribution to the national welfare by his grasp of the political and legal difficulties inevitable in a Federal system. In the Federal sphere he served as Attorney-General from 1934 to 1939, when there fell upon him the grave responsibility of heading the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia in the dark days which overtook the Empire. For two years he bore this heavy responsibility in a way to which not we, but history, must pay tribute. In 1949 the people recognised his great services in office and his statesmanship in opposition by calling upon him again to lead them in days as difficult, as dangerous and as uncertain as when he first took office as Prime Minister. At a time when the voice of Australia is necessarily raised in the councils of the world it is heard with respect when it speaks through the mouth of Robert Gordon Menzies.

Mr Chancellor, I present Robert Gordon Menzies for admission to the Degree of Doctor of Laws in this University.

From "The University of Sydney Centenary Celebrations August 26 - August 31, 1952" compiled by the Office of Information and Public Relations. Allan Gamble, Information and Public Relations Officer.