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Rawdon Dalrymple

(New South Wales & University 1952) (6 November 1930 - 29 September 2023)

Scholar, diplomat and sportsman, Rawdon Dalrymple was, above all, a thinker who contributed greatly to Australia’s search for identity in the Asia-Pacific.

Dalrymple’s ancestry was a mix of Scottish, English and Polynesian. His great-grandfather on his mother’s side sailed from South America to Pitcairn Island. He subsequently took many of the Bounty mutineers and families to settle on Norfolk Island.

Dalrymple’s parents, both of whom served in World War I – his mother as a nurse and his father as a sapper – were of modest means. Through a mix of scholarships and his mother’s determination, Dalrymple attended Shore after Warrawee Public School.

Indeed, Dalrymple’s academic brilliance constantly ensured the opening of opportunities which otherwise would have been out of financial reach.

Studying philosophy at Sydney University in 1948-51, Dalrymple spent his final year at Wesley College off the back of a scholarship from the Ku-ring-gai Branch of the RSL, in recognition of his parents’ war service.

Importantly, Wesley College introduced him to rowing, at which he excelled, and which was central to him being awarded the NSW Rhodes Scholarship for 1952. At University College, Oxford, Dalrymple became captain of the college boat club and rowed in the Isis Eight, Oxford’s second crew. He graduated with first class honours in philosophy, economics and politics.

Attending University College at the same time was a Rhodes scholar from Western Australia – future prime minister Bob Hawke. Dalrymple and Hawke became firm friends, their lives intersecting regularly thereafter both personally and professionally.

Read the full obituary here.