Zelman Cowen, Date of Birth, Place of Birth, Date of Death


Zelman Cowen

former Governor-General of Australia

Date of Birth: 07-Oct-1919

Place of Birth: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Date of Death: 08-Dec-2011

Profession: lawyer, politician, jurist, university teacher

Nationality: Australia

Zodiac Sign: Libra

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About Zelman Cowen

  • Sir Zelman Cowen, (7 October 1919 – 8 December 2011) was an Australian legal scholar and university administrator who served as the 19th Governor-General of Australia, in office from 1977 to 1982. Cowen was born in Melbourne, and attended Scotch College before going on to the University of Melbourne.
  • His studies were interrupted by World War II, during which he served in the Royal Australian Navy.
  • After the war's end, Cowen attended New College, Oxford, on a Rhodes Scholarship.
  • He subsequently won the prestigious Vinerian Scholarship as the best student in the Bachelor of Civil Law degree.
  • He remained at Oxford after graduating, serving as a fellow of Oriel College from 1947 to 1950. In 1951, Cowen returned to Australia to become dean of the law faculty at the University of Melbourne.
  • In 1953, still while at The University of Melbourne, he was awarded a Fulbright Senior Scholarship in Law to Harvard University.
  • He became known as an expert on constitutional law, and was a visiting professor at a number of overseas institutions.
  • He later served as vice-chancellor of the University of New England (1966–1970) and the University of Queensland (1970–1977).
  • In 1977, Malcolm Fraser appointed Cowen to succeed John Kerr as governor-general.
  • He was an uncontroversial choice, and became the second Jewish holder of the position, after Sir Isaac Isaacs.
  • After leaving office, Cowen returned to academia, serving as provost of Oriel College, Oxford, from 1982 to 1990.

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