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Sir Zelman Cowen (1919–2011) by Wes Walters, 2000 © National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, Gift of Marc Besen AO and Dr Joseph Brown AO OBE 2000


Cowen, Sir Zelman (1919–2011), legal scholar, governor-general of Australia, and college head, was born Zelman Cohen on 7 October 1919 in St Kilda, Melbourne, the only son of Bernard Cohen, later Cowen (1892–1975), businessman, and his wife Sara, née Granat (1893–1989). In March 1922 his father changed his surname by deed poll. Both families were part of the mass exodus of Jews from tsarist ...