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Soepomo Soerjohoedojo (1931–2016)

Dr Soepomo Soerjohoedojo (also spelled Supomo Suryohudoyo), retired Senior Lecturer in The Australian National University’s Faculty of Asian Studies, died in Canberra on 8 July, aged 84. He was born on the outskirts of Yogyakarta in Indonesia on 12 August 1931. After winning government support to study at schools in Yogyakarta, he completed a master’s level (Dokterandus) degree in philology at Yogyakarta’s Gadjah Mada University and became a founding administrator of Gadjah Mada’s Department of Archaeology in 1962. In 1967 he came to the Faculty of Asian Studies at ANU to pursue doctoral studies in philology. Subsequently, he was appointed to the Faculty of Asian Studies where he remained until his retirement in 1997.

Pak Pomo, as he was affectionately known, enjoyed international admiration for his studies in Old Javanese philology. He is best known for his meticulous annotated translations of three epic poems in Old Javanese. His massive edition of the Arjuna Wijaya by Mpu Tantular— probably written around 1370—was first submitted as a PhD dissertation at the ANU in 1971 and published in 1977. His annotated translation of the epic poem Bharatayuddha by Mpu Sedah and Mpu Panuluh—written in 1157—appeared in 1993. Most recently, he was a lead author in a small team that prepared a monumental edition of the Sumanasāntaka by Mpu Monaguna, probably written at the beginning of the 13th century. This was published in 2013.

The three studies present scrupulous English translations of the difficult Old Javanese texts as well as introductions and commentary that throw extraordinary light on Hindu-Buddhist society, religion and literature in pre-Islamic Java. Between these landmark studies, Pak Pomo also published a remarkable series of shorter studies on in pre-Islamic Java as well as three atmospheric memoirs of his childhood and youth in Yogyakarta.

During his 30 years with the Faculty of Asian Studies, Pak Pomo taught courses in Indonesian, modern Javanese and Old Javanese, as well as Indonesian literature and society. He was unstintingly generous as a mentor and research colleague. Those who knew him will miss his laughter and his disconcerting modesty. He will be remembered with love by his students and colleagues.

Citation details

'Soerjohoedojo, Soepomo (1931–2016)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 17 July 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Suryohudoyo, Supomo

12 August, 1931
Yogyakarta, Java, Indonesia


8 July, 2016 (aged 84)

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.