The contributors

The Subversion of Australian Universities, edited by John Biggs and Richard Davis (Wollongong: Fund for Intellectual Dissent, 2002).

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Bob Bessant has been researching Australian higher education for 20 years with particular emphasis on history and administration. He recently participated in an ARC project on changes to universities since 1988. He is a retired Reader from La Trobe University. 

John Biggs majored in philosophy and psychology from the University of Tasmania in 1956, where he was a student of Sydney Orr. His special interest is in student learning and teaching in higher education, and has written extensively in these and related areas. He has held Chairs in Education in the Universities of Alberta, Newcastle and Hong Kong. He is now retired and living back in Tasmania.

William Bostock is currently Senior Lecturer in Government at the University of Tasmania. He has studied and taught at universities in Australia, UK and France, and has published a number of papers on higher education policy and practice in refereed journals. His current research concerns the problem of the electronic archiving of official documents.

Richard Davis is an emeritus professor of History at the University of Tasmania and a fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. Amongst other works he has published the centenary history of the University of Tasmania, Open to Talent. See for further information on relevant writings.

Robin Gwynn is a historian, author of six books, including Huguenot Heritage (Routledge, 1985; second revised edition, Sussex Academic Press, 2001), and of many articles focussing on the Huguenot refugees. Between 1969 and 1996 he was lecturer, reader and associate professor at Massey University. He left Massey to seek ways of opposing the damage being done to tertiary education, and has since twice stood as parliamentary candidate for the Alliance Party. This contribution is a slightly adapted version of his valedictory lecture, which was given a standing ovation by his colleagues.

Brian Martin is associate professor in Science, Technology and Society at the University of Wollongong. He has studied suppression of dissent, including many academic cases, for over 20 years, and is currently international director of Whistleblowers Australia. He is author of ten books and 200 articles in a variety of fields. For further information see

Philippa Martyr left Western Australia in 1995 and, armed only with a PhD in history, set out to seek her fortune (as befits the descendent of a long line of strong-minded females). She became a lecturer at the Tasmanian School of Nursing, and then in 2001 was a Visiting Scholar in the School of Humanities, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford. She has also been a Research Fellow at the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine, University of East Anglia, Norwich. She is a specialist in the histories of medicine and health care, enjoys going to church, and in her spare time writes powerful but unpublishable novels.

Robert Solomon was closely involved in the aftermath of Orr’s dismissal, first as a member of the Staff Association’s executive, then (1961-1963) as the sub-professorial representative on the Council of the University of Tasmania. Historian George Wilson and geographer Solomon prepared the appeal to the Governor as Visitor, and Solomon was vitally involved in the staff tenure regulations following the Visitation. His and John Polya’s inside account of the Orr Case was published as Dreyfus in Australia in 1996.

Peter Tregear has recently been appointed to a Lecturership in Music at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. He has previously taught at the Universities of Melbourne and Queensland. Research interests include music sociology and early twentieth-century opera and music theatre; his centennial history of the Conservatorium of Music, University of Melbourne, was published in 1997. Peter was a resident student at Ormond College between 1990-1992.