Ruth Lissant DOBSON OBE BA

1937 - 1939

Diplomat (1918-89)

RuthDobsonRuth was educated at Malvern School, Mosman and at Frensham where her mother was housemistress. She was at the Women’s College from 1937-1939 and graduated Bachelor of Arts in 1940. After a short stint in various jobs including as temporary secretary to the Principal of the Women’s College in 1941, she embarked on a career specialising in foreign affairs. In 1943 she was research assistant, Department of External Affairs and from 1946-1949 she worked at the External Affairs Office, Australian High Commission in London. From 1950-1953 she served as third secretary in Geneva as well as being on the Third Committee of the General Assembly of the United Nations drafting the convention of the Status of Women. From 1954-1960 she was appointed second secretary to the Information Branch, Canberra and in 1961 was elevated to first secretary, Australian High Commission, Wellington. In 1969 Dobson was assigned to New York as Australian representative at the UN General Assembly. In 1971-1974 she served as counsellor and deputy head of mission, Australian Embassy in Athens.

The 1970s marked the highlight of Dobson’s diplomatic career. From 1974-1978 she was appointed Ambassador to Denmark, the first woman career diplomat to be an Australian ambassador. From 1978-1981 she served as Ambassador to the Republic of Ireland. She was awarded an OBE in 1982.

In Australia she was vice president of Royal Commonwealth Society, committee member of the Australian Institute of International Affairs and member of the Immigration Review Panel. She became governor of the Winifred West Schools in Mittagong. Her last major position was President of the Federation of University Women before her death on 14 December 1989.

Extract, Biographical Register, The Women’s College
within the University of Sydney, Volume 1, 1892-1939

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