Dr Harrison Bryan AO



Mr Chancellor,

Harrison Bryan retired in July of this year from his position as Director-General of the National Library of Australia, a position he had held with distinction since 1980.

After service as a lieutenant in the Signals Corps of the A.I.F., Mr Bryan returned to this University and graduated with honours in History in 1948 and as Master of Arts in 1954.

After graduation, he successfully completed the course in librarianship at the Public . Library of New South Wales. On his return to Brisbane he was appointed Assistant to the Librarian, a rather curious QOsition since the office of Librarian had been vacant for some considerable time. In 1950 he was formally appointed as James Forsyth Librarian, a post in which he developed the skill, dedication and innovation for which he was later to become nationally known. For thirteen years Mr. Bryan fought long and hard to improve a comparatively small and under-funded University Library. By the time he moved to the University of Sydney in 1963, he had established a firm basis for the development of a major academic resource.

been common in Australia. Harrison Bryan fostered that concept and, under his guidance, the University of Sydney Library became the flagship for university library development in Australia. In 1973 and 1974 he was President of the Library Association of Australia.

In his available spare time, Harrison Bryan researched and published extensively. His Life and Work of John Murtagh Macrossan provided an important insight into late-Victorian Queensland politics and business life. A series of survey works on Australian and British libraries followed.

He also wrote an unpublished history of this University and subsequently gave the typescript to the Fryer Library where it has since become essential background reading for incoming Vice-Chancellors.

Harrison Bryan's appointment as Director-General of the National Library of Australia in 1980 just five years before his retirement date attests to his pre-eminence among Australian librarians. By this time the enthusiastic, and sometimes iconoclastic, young man who worked here in the 1950s had become the recognised and highly respected elder statesman of his profession. At the National Library he promoted the co-operative sharing of resources, particularly through the Australian Bibliographic Network, which is a shared computer­based cataloguing system. During his period as .pirector-General, the first formal body for cooperation between Commonwealth and State governments on library and information matters was set up in the form of the Australian Libraries and Information Council. For his services to librarianship he was created an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1984.

In 1984 he received the H.C.L. Anderson Award from the Library Association of Australia for services to the profession and to the theory and practice of librarianship and on 6 June, 1985 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws of Monash University.

Mr. Chancellor, for his services to librarianship in Australia, I present to you Harrison Bryan, Officer of the Order of Australia, Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, Master of Arts of this University, Doctor of Laws honoris causa of Monash University, Fellow of the Library Association of Australia, for the award of the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, to.which he has been admitted by the Senate of this University.


Doctor of Laws honoris causa