The first part of the MS 6736 collection comprises files, correspondence, speeches and articles relating to Zelman Cowen's work at the Universities of Melbourne, New England and Queensland. Congratulatory messages on the award of his knighthood in 1976 are included. The second and larger part relates to his term as Governor-General and includes congratulatory messages, personal correspondence, miscellaneous files, visitors books, daily programs, orders, speeches and drafts of speeches. There are also correspondence, engagements and addresses of Lady Cowen (253 boxes, 4 cartons, 2 fol. boxes, 1 phase box).
The Acc06.052 instalment comprises two binders labelled "Personal papers - Anna Cowen" containing a typescript of Lady Cowen's diary, 1977-1982, together with two binders labelled "Speeches by H.E. Lady Cowen, 1977-1982, Government House, Canberra" containing typescripts of Lady Cowen's speeches during this period, when Sir Zelman Cowen was Governor-General of Australia (2 cartons).
Constitutional lawyer, academic and Governor-General. Zelman Cowen was Professor of Law at the University of Melbourne from 1951-1966, and Vice-Chancellor of the University of New England, 1967-1969, and University of Queensland, 1970-1977. From 1977 to 1982 he served as Governor-General of Australia. He was Provost of Oriel College, Oxford University, 1982-1990. Following his return to Australia, Cowen served as chairman of the board of Fairfax newspapers and became patron of St Kilda Football Club.