Zelman Cowen

former Governor-General of Australia (1919-2011)

Sir Zelman Cowen AK GCMG GCVO PC QC (7 October 1919 – 8 December 2011) was an Australian legal scholar and university administrator. He served as the 19th Governor-General of Australia from 1977 to 1982, under Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser. He was the second Jewish person to be Governor-General of Australia (the first being Sir Isaac Isaacs). He also served as the Provost of Oriel College, Oxford from 1982 to 1990. Before this, he was the Vice-Chancellor of the University of New England (1966–1970) and the University of Queensland (1970–1977).

Cowen in 1968

Cowen was born in Melbourne, Victoria to a Jewish family. His father from Belarus and his mother was Australian. In 1945, he married to Anna Wittner. The couple had four children.

Cowen had Parkinson's disease in his later years of life. He died on 8 December 2011 in Toorak, Victoria, at the age of 92.[1]


  1. Nolan, Kellee (14 December 2011). "Former Governor-General Sir Zelman Cowen farewelled on triumphal note". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 21 September 2018.

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