Vale Robin Sharwood

The Melbourne Law School community is deeply saddened to hear of the death of Professor Robin Sharwood AM on Sunday, 12 April. He was 83.

Professor Robin Sharwood AM pictured with former classmates

Professor Robin Sharwood AM (fifth from left) pictured with former classmates in 2007

Prof Sharwood's involvement with MLS dates back more six decades, having graduated with an LLB (Hons) in 1954, winning the Supreme Court Prize.

He was also a Senior Lecturer from 1958-1962 and returned to teach at the Law School in 1980, being made a Professorial Associate and Fellow in 1989.

MLS Dean Professor Carolyn Evans said few people had made such a significant contribution to MLS over such an extensive period of time as Prof Sharwood.

"Professor Sharwood was a dear member of the Melbourne Law School community. His tremendous contribution to the Law School, characterised by his strong intellect, generosity of spirit and collegiality leaves a lasting legacy in the history of Melbourne Law School and its community," she said.

"Robin was a truly gifted teacher whose students remember his lectures with admiration and warmth. His knowledge of legal history was extraordinary and his lectures are remembered by generations of students as among the finest they attended. He combined a deep knowledge of his subject with an elegant communication style and a dry wit."

"Professor Sharwood had a strong friendship with the late Sir Zelman Cowen, a former Dean of the Law School, and one of the highlights is the fitting tribute he paid to this leading figure of MLS at the Sir Zelman Cowan Public Lecture held at the Law School in 2014," Professor Evans said.

"At this time, it is apt to reference a quotation from Shakespeare's Hamlet which Professor Sharwood used to describe his friend, but which is testament to both men as leading figures of the Law School and broader community:

'He was a man, take him all in all.
I shall not look upon his like again.'"

Prof Sharwood was educated at Mont Albert Central School and Wesley College before completing his Bachelor of Arts (1953) at the University of Melbourne.

After completing his LLB, Prof Sharwood served articles of clerkship with Norris, Coates and Hearle, and was admitted to practise in 1955.

He was then appointed the Walter Perry Johnson Graduate Research Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, where he obtained his LLM the following year.

He returned to Australia two years later to take up positions with MLS and Ormond College before he was appointed Chair in Law at the Australian National University.

In 1965, he became Warden of Trinity College, a position he held until 1973, and later worked at the Victorian Law Foundation before his return to MLS.

Prof Sharwood was also Lay Canon of St Paul's Cathedral for almost 35 years, as well as Chancellor of the Anglican Church to the Dioceses of Wangaratta (1974-99) and Ballarat (1995-2002), advising on matters of Ecclesiastical Law, a specialty in which he practised pro bono for more than three decades.

He was also involved in the Arts Council of Australia, Australian Broadcasting Commission, Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne Trust Fund, and Friends of the Gallery Library of the National Gallery of Victoria.

On Australia Day in 2000, he was appointed a Member of the Order for Australia for service to legal education and for service to the Anglican Church of Australia.

His funeral service will be held at St Paul's Anglican Cathedral, corner of Swanston and Flinders Streets, Melbourne at 3pm on Wednesday, 22 April.

By Andy Walsh