Honorary awards

Dulcie Stretton CBE

The degree of Master of Arts (honoris causa) was conferred upon Dulcie Stretton CBE at a ceremony held in 1997 for her work, over 40 years, for the promotion of adult education, reading and libraries.

Dulcie Stretton CBE

Mrs Dulcie Stretton CBE (centre) with grandson Jacob and daughter, Andrea, photo, Tracey Schramm, 'The University of Sydney News', 20 March 1997.


Presented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ken EItis


I have the honour to present Dulcie Stretton, CBE, for the conferring of the degree of Master of Arts, honoris causa.

Mrs Stretton was born in Melbourne and educated at MacRobertson Girls' High School. For over 40 years she has been a tireless worker, in both professional and voluntary capacities, for the promotion of adult education, reading and libraries.

From 1957 to 1969 she was employed as the Liaison Officer of the Victorian Council of Adult Education. During those years she also served as the President of the Adult Education Association of Victoria, was a foundation Executive Member and later Honorary Secretary-Treasurer of the Asian and South Pacific Bureau of Adult Education.

In 1970 Mrs Stretton commenced a new career as the Congress Executive Officer of the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science, working alongside Sir Zelman Cowan and others in the organisation of ANZAAS Congresses in Brisbane, Sydney and Perth. Since 1974 she has run her own business as a professional conference organiser and consultant.

From the 1950s Dulcie Stretton has been equally devoted to the cause of libraries as one of the cornerstones of education. She served for over a decade as the Chair of the Library Week Committee of Victoria, followed by more than 20 years as the Foundation President of the Australian Library Promotion Council. After moving to Sydney in 1974, she also became the Chair of the Library Promotion Committee of New South Wales, a member of the Library Council of New South Wales, and was President of that Council from 1979 to 1983. At the end of her term as President she initiated the establishment of The Library Society, as the Friends' Group of the State Library of New South Wales, and remains the Society's patron.

Mrs Stretton has also had a very active involvement in the National Book Council of Australia, as a foundation member of the Council's executive and, at various times, Chair of the New South Wales branch and Deputy Chair of Council.

Her work in the promotion of education, reading and the arts has also included a long standing association with the Australian National Commission for UNESCO, chairing its Communications Committee from 1975 to 1977, and periods as a member of the ABC's Victorian and Federal Talks Advisory Committees.

Dulcie Stretton's many years of leadership in such a wide range of organisations has been recognised by the award of a CBE, the Alfred McMicken Award for outstanding personal contribution to libraries, and the Library Association of Australia's Redmond Barry Award. It is most appropriate that the University of Sydney now also honours her contributions in all these significant areas.

Chancellor, I have great pleasure in presenting Dulcie Stretton, CBE for admission to the degree of Master of Arts honoris causa.