To mark the centenary of the birth of Sir Zelman Cowen, one of Australia’s most distinguished statesmen, legal scholars and public intellectuals, the Sir Zelman Cowen Centre at Victoria University curated A Life of Opportunity and Success: Sir Zelman Cowen Centenary Exhibition.
Sir Zelman Cowen AK GCMG GCVO QC became actively involved with Victoria University in 1994, and was a Distinguished Visiting Professor and Chair of the Victoria University Foundation.
Touring exhibition A Life of Opportunity and Success is one of various events celebrating the centenary of Sir Zelman Cowen.
The exhibition on display near the service desk at Footscray Park Library until 19 July offers new insight into the life and legacy of Sir Zelman Cowen, with artefacts, personal memorabilia and an interactive timeline with photographs and films.
The touring exhibition and multimedia presentations include some objects borrowed from VU Archives such as:
- Bonnet and gown worn by Sir Zelman Cowen at conferral of Honorary Degree and subsequent conferral ceremonies and donated by Lady Anna Cowen in 2011 after Sir Zelman’s death.
- Oral history recordings and edited transcripts of interviews between Sir Zelman Cowen and Dr Donald Markwell - The Sir Zelman Cowen Project, 1996.
- Printed flyer and transcript of speech: 1994 Beanland Lecture - ‘Reflections on an Australian Republic’, Sir Zelman Cowen.
- Invitations, brochures, publications for Sir Zelman Cowen Centre for Continuing Legal Education.
On display: materials from Sir Zelman Cowen collection
Some materials from the Sir Zelman Cowen collection are also displayed in a cabinet within the Learning Hub as part of the Special Collections Display: Beyond the Books at Footscray Park Library:
- Human embryo experimentation in Australia – report and related newspaper clipping slipped in by Sir Zelman Cowen
- Report on a planning scheme for the Central Business Area of the City of Melbourne (1964) – a copy of the report with notes in the margins from Sir Zelman Cowen
The Sir Zelman Cowen collection donated in March 2012 by Lady Anna Cowen contains the books and journals from Sir Zelman Cowen’s Commonwealth Office Library. Consisting of 1500 books and journals, the collection has various strengths including Australian constitutional law, federal politics and the law, Australian architecture and Australian literature.
Finding items in the VU Library
In the library catalogue, the items have the prefix FTS COWEN COLL. before the shelf number; refer to Library Guide How to access and use Special Collections for guidance.
Items can't be borrowed, but may be viewed on appointment. For queries and appointment to view items, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.