Kenneth Wheare

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Sir Kenneth Clinton Wheare, CMG (26 March 1907 – 7 September 1979)[1] was an Australian academic, who spent most of his career at Oxford University in England.[2] He was an expert on the constitutions of the British Commonwealth.[3]

Early life and family[edit]

Wheare was educated at Scotch College, Melbourne[1] and was later a student at Oriel College, Oxford, gaining a first class degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics and also undertaking postgraduate study. He met his wife Joan (1915-2013) when he was her tutor.[4] One of their sons is Tom Wheare.


Political career[edit]

Wheare served on the Oxford City Council from 1940 to 1957.

Academic career[edit]

In 1944, he was appointed Gladstone Professor of Government at All Souls College. In 1956, he became Rector of Exeter College, Oxford. A gargoyle of his likeness is carved on the Bodleian Library, visible from the Exeter College Fellow's Garden.[1]

Wheare was Chairman of the Rhodes Trust (1962–69), President of the British Academy (1967–71), Chancellor of the University of Liverpool from 1972. He was also a Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford from 1964–66.[5]


He was appointed Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in 1953 and was knighted in 1966.

In 2017, Oxford Brookes University named a newly rebuilt lecture hall after Wheare.


  1. ^ a b c Poynter, J. R. "Wheare, Sir Kenneth Clinton (1907–1979)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Retrieved 14 July 2011. 
  2. ^ Biography, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004.
  3. ^ Markwell, Donald (2016). Constitutional Conventions and the Headship of State: Australian Experience. Connor Court. ISBN 9781925501155.  Appendix 3: Two Constitutional Scholars: Sir Kenneth Wheare and Dr Eugene Forsey.
  4. ^ "Joan Wheare: Rebel with many causes". Oxford Mail. 7 November 2013. Retrieved 22 March 2015. 
  5. ^ "Previous Vice-Chancellors". University of Oxford, UK. Retrieved 14 July 2011. 
Academic offices
Preceded by
Eric Arthur Barber
Rector of Exeter College, Oxford
Succeeded by
W. Greig Barr
Preceded by
Walter Fraser Oakeshott
Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University
Succeeded by
Kenneth Turpin