Dr David Williamson AO




David Williamson, AO, is one of Australia’s best-known and most widely-performed playwrights.

Over the last thirty years, his plays have been performed throughout Australia and produced in Britain, America, Canada and Europe. A number of his works have been adapted for the screen and television, and he has received numerous awards, including four for best screenplay by the Australian Film Institute and 11 Australian Writers’ Guild AWGIE awards.

David Williamson was born in Melbourne in 1942 and brought up in Bairnsdale, Victoria. He gained a Bachelor of Engineering at Monash University in 1965, and completed an M.A. (prelim) in Psychology at the University of Melbourne in 1971. He was briefly a design engineer at General Motors Holden, and was a lecturer in thermodynamics and social psychology at Swinburne Technical College from 1966 to 1973.

He began writing and performing plays in 1968 with La Mama Theatre Company, in Carlton, Melbourne. His first full-length play to be performed, The Coming of Stork, premiered at the La Mama Theatre in 1970, and later became the film Stork. A number of his other plays have been made into feature films, including The Removalists, the Club, Don’s Party, Gallipoli, The Year of Living Dangerously, Phar Lap and Brilliant Lies.  The production of his two new plays, Influence and Operator, early next year will bring his total output to thirty-five plays, twelve films and five television mini-series.

Mr Williamson was a writer and actor with the La Mama company from 1970 to 1972, and was a member of the Australian Council for the Arts between 1972 and 1975.

He was an Associate Professor of drama at Aarhus University in Denmark during 1978, was a member of the Australian Broadcasting Commission, and was president of the Australian Writers’ Guild from 1979 to 1993.

In 2003, Mr Williamson received the Centenary Medal for service to Australian society through the theatre and writing. He has honorary doctorates of Literature from the University of Sydney, Monash University and Swinburne University of technology.

Chancellor, in recognition of his distinguished career and his contribution to theatre and the arts, I present to you Mr David Williamson, AO, for conferral of the award of Doctor of Letters honoris causa to which he has been admitted by the Senate of the University.


Doctor of Letters honoris causa