Sir Zelman Cowen Centre (SZCC) is named in honour of distinguished Australian statesman and scholar, the late Sir Zelman Cowen.

Sir Zelman Cowen AK GCMG GCVO QC, became actively involved with Victoria University (VU) in 1994.

He was a Distinguished Visiting Professor and Chair of the Victoria University Foundation.

Sir Zelman led VU’s efforts in gaining philanthropic support for students in their studies. On retiring, he became VU’s Inaugural Patron and remained a staunch friend of the University.

Brief history

  • Born in St Kilda in 1919.
  • Studied law at Oxford University.
  • From 1951, he was Professor of Public Law and Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Melbourne.
  • Knighted in 1976.
  • Governor-General of Australia (1977–1982).
  • One of Australia's most distinguished jurists.
  • Provost of Oriel College Oxford in 1982.
  • Chairman of the UK Press Council (1983 and 1988).
  • Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Oxford in 1988.
  • Sir Zelman passed away on 8 December 2011.

In 2012 Lady Anna Cowen donated the books and journals from Sir Zelman Cowen’s Commonwealth Office Library to Victoria University.

View the Sir Zelman Cowen collection

Portrait of Sir Zelman Cowen with (from left to right) the Hon. Linda Dessau AC, Governor of Victoria, John Gandel AO and Lady Cowen.