Roy Wright (physiologist)

Sir Roy Douglas Wright AK (7 August 1907  28 February 1990) was an Australian physiologist, known to his colleagues as "Pansy Wright".


He was born in Central Castra, Tasmania. He became Professor of Physiology at the University of Melbourne from 1939 to 1971 and was later Chancellor of the University from 1980 to 1989.[1] He advised the leaders of the optometry profession who were responsible for setting up the Victorian College of Optometry in 1939 and 1940 and helped plan the first four-year optometry course. He was involved again when the optometry course was transferred to the university.

The young Roy Douglas Wright of the 1930s sported circular glasses frames,[2] while an older, more refined Wright turned his attention to a more edgy rectangular frame style by the early 1980s.[3]

He was a colourful supporter of causes, as his biography "Pansy Wright — A biography of Roy Douglas Wright" by Peter McPhee (1999) attests. He challenged students, colleagues and institutions, asserting at one time: "Whatever you do, whether you do it well or do it badly, do it brilliantly. Avoid mediocrity on all accounts".

In the Australia Day Honours of 1983, he was made a Knight (AK) of the Order of Australia.

He was the brother of Sir Reg Wright, a long-serving Liberal Senator from Tasmania, who was also knighted, and who died only ten days later, on 10 March 1990.


  1. "Wright, (Roy) Douglas (1907 - 1990)". Biographical entry, Faculty of Science. University of Melbourne. 16 November 2009. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  2. "University Chancellors, Roy Douglas Wright, Professor Emeritus, Sir (1907-1990)". External link in |website= (help);
  3. "The first issue of Chiron, 1983". External link in |website= (help);

External links

Academic offices
Preceded by
Sir Oliver Gillard
Chancellor of the University of Melbourne
Succeeded by
Sir Edward Woodward
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