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A portrait of Sir Roland Wilson

Sir Roland Wilson

Sir Roland Wilson was an important member of a unique group of public servants who helped to transform Australia into a modern industrial economy after the Second World War. His commitment to nation building and selfless public service is an example we can all aspire.

Hon John Howard, OM, former Australian Prime Minister.


Sir Roland Wilson KBE was an economist and academic who had a remarkable career as a public servant. Born in 1904, Wilson was the first Rhodes Scholar from a Tasmanian state school. He completed two PhD's, one at University of Oxford and one at University of Chicago.

After a short academic career, Wilson joined the public service in 1932 and was quickly appointed Commonwealth Statistician. He then served as Secretary of the Department of Labour and National Service where he contributed to Australia’s economic approach to World War II. In 1951, he was appointed Secretary of the Treasury – he remains Australia’s longest serving Treasury Secretary, with almost 16 years of service.

After retiring from the public service, Wilson was Chairman on the boards of the Reserve Bank of Australia, the Commonwealth Bank and Qantas Airways. In recognition of Wilson's outstanding public service, he was appointed a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 1941, a Knight Bachelor in 1955, and Knight Commander of the British Empire (KBE) in 1965.

Sir Roland Wilson, PhD age
Sir Roland Wilson KBE (1904-1996)
Sir Roland Wilson, 1965
Sir Roland Wilson, 1965
The Sir Roland Wilson Foundation is a partnership between The Australian National University, Charles Darwin University and the Australian Public Service.