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Secretaries to Senate

Geoffrey Dale

Geoffrey Dale was Registrar and Secretary to Senate of the University of Sydney from 1947 to 1950.


BEc Sydney
Registrar: 1947 - 1950


Educated at Fort Street Boys High School he had headed the pass list of his school with "A" in seven subjects at the Junior Public Examinations in 1903 and had also gained fifth place in the Public Service Examination. Mainly because of ill health Dale did not continue at school but took a position as clerk in the office of the Public Service Board. In 1911 however, he enrolled in the Economics (Diploma) course at Sydney University and in 1914 obtained the Diploma of Economics and Commerce. After satisfying the matriculation and course requirements he was in 1916 awarded the degree of Bachelor of Economics.

Dale then, in 1917, joined the AIF and served overseas. After the cessation of hostilities in November 1918 he was selected for the position of instructor (with the rank of Sergeant), under the AIF Education Scheme. In September 1919 he was discharged and he had then returned to the Public Service and been appointed to a senior position.

His career at the University of Sydney

Dale was not happy in the Public Service and when in 1921 the position of Assistant Clerk of Examinations was advertised by the University, Dale applied. Among his referees were Professors HF Irvine (Economics), HT Lovell (Psychology) and FA Todd (Latin).

Dale was appointed to the position in December 1921 and so began almost thirty years of loyal service to the University. At the end of 1921 he was promoted to Clerk of Examinations. In January 1934 he became Assistant Registrar and in May 1947, on the retirement of Selle, he was appointed Registrar.

Geoffrey Dale

Geoffrey Dale, photo G3_224_375, University Archives.

Dale was a just and conscientious man whose knowledge of the University's organisation and procedures could not be faulted. He was always ready to explain the intricacies of the most complicated University situation, and this with speed and clarity and with unfailing good humour.

Though his duties were many he found time to participate in University life outside his official duties. During his years as an evening student he was President of the Evening Students' Association and later became President of the Union. The University Baseball Team and the Staff Cricket Association also received his keen support. Dale was not a musician but it was largely due to his efforts that the lunchtime Carnegie Music Recitals were inaugurated .

At the time of his death in 1951 the Professorial Board recorded its appreciation of his service: "Throughout his University life he was what he aspired to be - a perfect University servant. Dale knew nothing of personal aggr andisement or the prestige of high office. He laboured selflessly and almost obscurely for the great Institution he loved."

Many of his friends and colleagues were concerned when, on his retirement in 1950 on the grounds of ill health, he had chosen to move away to Newcastle . The resolution of the Professorial Board explained why he had taken this step: "For Geoffrey Dale had great compassion. He chose Newcastle for his retirement so that he might initiate a project that had long been in his heart - a Citizens' Committee to bring some brightness into the lives of the inmates of the Newcastle Mental Hospital"

Dale was, in the words of his colleagues, a man "who loved his fellow men."

Senate's tribute

At its meeting on 21 May 1951, Senate resolved to place on record its sense of the loss sustained by Mr Dale's death. 'Throughout his service as an administrator, Mr Dale, by his foresight, ability and energy, laboured impersonally to serve the best interests of the Institution he loved so well.' For more than a quarter of a century 'he rendered valuable service to the University in an unobtrusive manner, his work being characterised by thoroughness, painstaking efficiency, and without any regard for his personal well-being. ... The Senate desires to pay tribute to the memory of a loyal and able servant.'

From an article by Ursula Bygott, University of Sydney Archives 'Record", March 1992, and the 1951 Senate Report