Francis Patrick Donovan

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Francis Patrick Donovan
Francis Patrick Donovan, Australian Diplomat, 1977.jpg
Australian Ambassador to the United Nations Office at Geneva
In office
Australian Ambassador to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
In office
Personal details
Born (1922-02-01)1 February 1922
Ingham, Queensland, Australia
Died 3 February 2012(2012-02-03) (aged 90)
Paris, France
Nationality Australian
Spouse(s) Maria Kozslik
Children Patrick and Cristiane
Alma mater Melbourne Law School
Magdalen College, Oxford
University of Queensland
Occupation Diplomat
Profession Legal professor
Religion Roman Catholic

Francis Patrick Donovan, AM (1 February 1922 − 3 February 2012) was Australian Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the OECD, and Ambassador and Special Trade Delegate to the United Nations Office at Geneva. After retirement from the Diplomatic Service, he became a Vice-Chairman of the International Court of Arbitration.

Early life[edit]

Donovan was born in Ingham, Queensland on 1 February 1922 to a Roman Catholic family. He was educated at St Joseph's College, Nudgee and the University of Queensland. After joining the Australian Militia at the beginning of World War II whilst at University, he then served in the 2nd Australian Imperial Force, where he was commissioned into the 55th/53rd Battalion and served as the battalion's Adjutant later in the war. Donovan then went as a Rhodes Scholar to Magdalen College, Oxford, where he completed a Bachelor of Civil Law degree.[1] In 1950, in Chicago he met and married Maria Kozslik, a Hungarian, who later became an author[2] and journalist.

Educational career[edit]

On returning from the United States, Donovan became a Reader in Law at the University of Adelaide. In 1952, he was appointed Chair of Commercial Law at Melbourne University by his friend Zelman Cowen,[3] who would later serve as 19th Governor General of Australia. During this time, he was a visiting professor at Columbia Law School and was President of the Melbourne University Staff Association. In 1953, the University granted him a Master of Laws degree.[4] Whilst at Melbourne, Donovan published key case books for Australian Commercial law,[5] and one publication 'Signed, Sealed, and Delivered: An Introduction to Australian Commercial Principles' was printed 6 times. Throughout his life he was also a Barrister of the Supreme Courts of Victoria and Queensland.

Diplomatic career[edit]

In 1961, Donovan resigned from his Chair in the Melbourne Law School to join the diplomatic service, specialising as a trade representative. His appointments began as a Commercial Counsellor at the Australian Embassy in Rome,[6] and then becoming a Minister (Commercial) in the Department of Foreign Trade, Commercial Adviser to the Australian High Commission, London, and Deputy Head of the Australian mission to the European Economic Community.

After leaving the mission at the EEC, he was appointed Ambassador and Permanent Representative from Australia to the OECD, serving from 1977–1980.[7] After leaving Paris, Donovan was made Special Trade Delegate to the United Nations Office at Geneva from 1980–1982 whilst retaining his honorific title of Ambassador.[8] In Geneva, and in retirement, he remained a consulted expert on the GATT.[9]

On Australia Day 1976, Francis Patrick Donovan was created a Member of the Order of Australia for his contributions to the Diplomatic Service,[10][11] and in 1980 was inducted as a Knight of Magistral Grace into the Australian branch of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.[12]

Later life and death[edit]

After retiring from the Diplomatic Service, Donovan retired to Paris, France and became a member of the International Court of Arbitration. In 1994, he became a Vice-Chairman of the Court,[13] and for this service was created a Chevalier in the Legion d'Honneur in 1998.

His son, Patrick Donovan married author Tessa Dahl, daughter of Roald Dahl and Patricia Neal, and his daughter Cristiane was employed by the OECD.

Donovan died on 3 February 2012, aged 90, in Paris, France, and was buried in the ground of Magdalen College, Oxford.

Awards and decorations[edit]

OrderAustraliaRibbon.png Member of the Order of Australia (AM) 1976
39-45 Star BAR.svg 1939-45 Star 1945
Pacific Star BAR.svg Pacific Star 1945
Defence Medal BAR.svg Defence Medal 1945
War Medal 39-45 BAR.svg War Medal 1939-1945 1945
Australia Service Medal 1939-1945 BAR.svg Australia Service Medal 1939–45 1945
SMOM-c.svg Knight of Magistral Grace of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta 1980
Legion Honneur Chevalier ribbon.svg Chevalier of the Legion d'Honneur 1998


  1. ^ "Obituary". Rhodes House, Oxford. Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  2. ^ "List of books published by Maria Kozslik". OCLC. Retrieved 13 October 2013. 
  3. ^ Waugh, John (2007). First Principles: The Melbourne Law School, 1857–2007. Melbourne University. p. 154. ISBN 0522854486. 
  4. ^ "University of Melbourne Obituary". University of Melbourne Law School. Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  5. ^ "Author Record, National Library of Australia". National Library of Australia. Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  6. ^ "Record as Commercial Counsellor at the Rome Embassy". Food and Agriculture Organisation, United Nations. Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  7. ^ "Obituary". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  8. ^ "University of Melbourne Obituary". University of Melbourne Law School. Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  9. ^ "Minutes of Meeting adding Donovan to GATT Panel" (PDF). World Trade Organisation. Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  10. ^ "Association of the Order of Australia Record" (PDF). Association of the Order of Australia. Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  11. ^ "Order of Australia citation record". Australian Government. Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  12. ^ "Obituary". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  13. ^ Derains, Yves (2005). A Guide to the ICC Rules of Arbitration. ICC International Court of Arbitration. p. 393.