Honorary awards

Robert Edgar Purves

The title of Honorary Fellow of the University was conferred upon Robert Edgar Purves at the Faculty of Medicine graduation ceremony held at 2.00pm on 2 May 2008.


Mr Purves with Deputy Chancellor Alan Cameron AM, photo, copyright Memento Photography.


Deputy Chancellor, I have the honour to present Robert Edgar Purves for the conferring of the title of Honorary Fellow of the University.

As the former chairman of Clyde Industries, and the current chairman of the D.C.A. Group, Robert Edgar Purves AM has been a leader of industry and commerce. At the same time, as President of the World Wildlife Foundation, he has been a vocal and eloquent champion of the Environmental Conservation movement, where his extraordinary financial and organisational support is a matter of public record. Robert Purves was instrumental in establishing the “Wentworth Group” of leading Australian environmental scientists. Amongst his many philanthropic activities, he funded the study for and the publication of Professor Tim Flannery’s book “The Weather Makers”, a lay-language study which has led the debate on global warming. He also serves as patron and trustee of the Lizard Island Reef Research Foundation.

Mr Purves is chairman of the Raymond Purves Foundation, a family charity which has a long and distinguished association with the University of Sydney. In 1973, the Foundation funded the establishment of the Raymond Purves Research Laboratories at Royal North Shore Hospital, supporting the University of Sydney Chair in Orthopaedics and Traumatic Surgery (the first and at that time only chair of orthopaedic surgery in Australia). The Foundation has, since then, made several major contributions to the laboratories, which, as the premier musculoskeletal research laboratories in Australia, have brought great credit to our University.

The Purves Foundation has also made other major benefactions to the University. It funded the Chair of Surgery in Transplantation from 1977 until 2000, and the Chair of Dermatology from 1987 to 1992. It has also provided major financial support for the Department of Anaesthesia and Pain Management at Royal North Shore Hospital, and for the Centenary Institute for Medical Research, both major activities of the University of Sydney.

As you can see, Robert Edgar Purves is a man for all seasons – a successful industrialist and businessman whose love of nature, concern for the environment and compassion for his fellow man have benefited Australian society in general and this University in particular.

Deputy Chancellor, I present Robert Edgar Purves for the conferring of the title of Honorary Fellow of the University.