Fellows of Senate

Sir Daniel Levy

An early graduate of the University of Sydney (BA 1893, LLB 1895), Sir Daniel Levy was a Fellow of Senate of the University from 1913 to 1938.


BA LLB Sydney, MLA
Fellow of Senate 1913-1938

His early years

Daniel Levy was born in London on 10 November 1872.

Arriving in Sydney with his parents in 1880, he was educated at Crown Street Public School where his aptitude for study, combined with his powers of memory, attracted the attention of the headmaster (Mr E Banks). His progress was so rapid that he sat for the junior University of Sydney examination which he passed in a brilliant manner. He scored 7 As, or, in other words, 'high' in English, French, Latin, History, Arithmetic, Algebra and Geometry, taking the medals in French and History for that year; and he was the best public school boy of the year. He won the Hordern prize of £100 for the best pass at the Junior University examination, and was able to study for two years at the Sydney Grammar School.

In the Senior University examination, he passed high in Greek, Latin, French, English, Ancient History, Geometry, Algebra, Trigonometry, Mechanics and Arithmetic, won the John West medal and the University prize of £20 for the "highest proficient," together with six silver medals for English, Greek, Latin, French, Ancient History and Trigonometry.

Mr A B Weigall, the headmaster of the Sydney Grammar School, observed of Levy: 'Undoubtedly, he is an exceptionally clever boy, possessing an extraordinary memory and power of work, as is shown by the fact that within less than two years he has so far mastered Greek as to head the list of successful students examined in that subject at the Senior University examination in September last. The same applies, though perhaps, in a lesser degree, to his knowledge of Latin. His record in languages at the last examination is unquestionably higher than that of any previous candidate. His mathematical aptitude is of a high standard. Though he has been at the Grammar School only one year and nine.months, he has been in the sixth form for a year. It may safely be predicted that if he continues his studies in the Sydney University or in one of the British universities, he will have a brilliant career.'

From 'Australian Town and Country Journal', Saturday 19 October 1889

Daniel Levy  in 1889

Daniel Levy in 1889 in his final year at Sydney Grammar School, photo from the 'Australian Town and Country Journal', 19 October 1889

His student days at the University of Sydney

Levy matriculated at the University in 1890, with first-class honours in classics, mathematics, and modern languages.

An undergraduate Arts student from 1890 to 1892, Levy won a number of scholarships including: Bowman-Cameron (1890), Lithgow (1890), Cooper Scholarship for Classics (1891 and 1892) and George Allen (1891). He received 1st class honours in his second year Classics exams.

He graduated BA with First Class Honours in Latin and Greek and the university medal for classics in 1893, and LLB with Second Class Honours in 1895.

His career

Levy became a lawyer and politican.

Admitted to the Bar on 23 August 1895, he was associate to Mr Justice H E Cohen from 1895 to 1897, and several times acted as crown prosecutor. On 10 February 1902 he was admitted as a solicitor and was readmitted to the Bar on 12 November 1923.

He was elected to the Legislative Assembly for Sydney-Fitzroy in 1901. He represented Darlinghurst from 1904 to 1920, Sydney from 1920 to 1927, Paddington from 1927 to 1930 and Woollahra from 1930 to 1937.

Levy was elected Speaker of the Legislative Assembly on 19 August 1919 and was to serve fourteen years as Speaker: 1919-20, 1920-21, 1921-25, 1927-30 and 1932-37.

He was a trustee of the Public Library of New South Wales from 1906 to 1937 (chairman, 1927-37), the Australian Museum, Sydney, and Sydney Grammar School, a director of Sydney Hospital 1928-37, government representative on the board of the Benevolent Society of New South Wales, member of the East Sydney School Board, sometime secretary of the Shakespeare Society of New South Wales and a council-member of the Millions Club of New South Wales.

He was knighted in 1929.

Unmarried, Levy died of cerebro-vascular disease at his home at Darling Point on 20 May 1937 aged 63 and, after a state funeral, was buried in Rookwood cemetery.

From the ADB biography

Daniel Levy in 1917

Daniel Levy in 1917, photo, Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW, Digital order number: gpo2_40218.

Sir Daniel Levy in 1929

Sir Daniel Levy in 1929, photo, The Sydney Mail, 6 March 1929, Google News Archive.

His membership of Senate

Levy was a Fellow of Senate of the University from 1913 to 1938.

The following resolution was placed on record by the Senate at its meeting held in July 1937: 'The Senate records its deep sense of the loss which the University and the State have sustained by the death of the Honourable Sir Daniel Levy, Knight Bachelor, Fellow of the Senate, and Speaker of the Legislative Assembly. A distinguished graduate of the University with a high place in the public life of New South Wales, he was the first Fellow selected by the Legislative Assembly, and he continued to serve as its representative from his first election in 1913 until his death on the 20th May 1938. He took a keen and active interest in everything concerned with the welfare of. the University with a high sense of public duty and with constant zeal for the spread of learning, throughout the community.'