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John Manning Ward (1919–1990)

The Vice-Chancellor of the ANU, Professor Laurie Nichol, has expressed his deep sadness at the death of the former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney, Emeritus Professor John Ward, and at the deaths of Mrs Patricia Ward and their daughter Jennifer, who were killed in the train crash north of Sydney last Sunday night.

He told ANU Reporter that many members of the ANU had known Professor Ward well. His death was a tragic personal loss of an esteemed colleague and a good friend.

The Ward family was among a party of 15 steam train enthusiasts from Sydney University travelling on the famous 3801 steam train on an excursion run between Sydney and the Hunter Valley. The Dean of Engineering, Associate Professor John Glastonbury, who was active in supporting the restoration of the 3801 engine, and his wife, Mrs Beverly Glastonbury, were among those injured.

The most seriously injured was the Registrar and Deputy Principal of Sydney University, Mr Keith Jennings, whose wife Moira Jennings was killed.

Others who were injured in the crash included Professor John Booker, head of the School of Civil and Mining Engineering, and Mrs Elizabeth Booker; Professor Stephen Salisbury, Dean of the Faculty of Economics; Professor Murray Wells, Director of the Graduate School of Management and former Dean of Economics and Mrs Pamela Wells; and Ms Susan Hollingsworth of the Department of Chemical Engineering.

Professor Ward's career at the University of Sydney spanned 47 years. He was a distinguished historian and was appointed Challis Professor History in 1947. In 1981 he was appointed Vice-Chancellor, retiring in January 1990 at the age of 70.

Professor Ward was educated at Fort Street Boys High School. He was the Smuts Visiting Fellow at Cambridge University in 1972; Visiting Fellow at All Souls College Oxford in 1968 and Visiting Professor at Yale University in 1963. He was admitted to the NSW Bar in 1948. He was the only graduate of the University of Sydney to have held the post of Vice-Chancellor.

Original publication

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Citation details

'Ward, John Manning (1919–1990)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 17 July 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


6 July, 1919
Burwood, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


6 May, 1990 (aged 70)
Brooklyn, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

train accident

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

Key Organisations