University of Adelaide protects the grave of Dr George Duncan

The University of Adelaide has renewed the lease on the grave of Dr George Duncan for another 50 years.

Dr Duncan was a newly appointed lecturer at the University’s law school when, in March 1972, he lost his life in a crime that shocked the nation. He was thrown into the River Torrens and drowned.

His death is seen as a tipping point for gay rights in Australia, with South Australia becoming the first Australian jurisdiction to decriminalise homosexuality just three years later.

“The death of Dr Duncan, fifty years ago, continues to resonate across the nation and especially within our community,” said the University of Adelaide’s Professor John Williams, Executive Dean, Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Economics.

“The perpetrators of his death were never brought to justice, and he left behind no family.

“Half a century on, it is important for the University to preserve Dr Duncan’s grave site for generations to come. It represents a pivotal and historic chapter in human and gay rights, not just in South Australia, but across the nation.

“Equality and diversity are core values of the University of Adelaide, and we continue to work to ensure that the community feels safe, valued and heard.”

The University of Adelaide hosted a public commemoration to mark the renewal of its custodianship of Dr Duncan’s grave during ‘Pridevember’ and the last week of the Feast Festival 2022, South Australia’s biggest LGBTQI+ festival.

The university paid for the funeral and grave at the time of Dr Duncan’s death, and its lease renewal for an additional 50 years will allow people to continue to pay their respects to the murdered academic.

The memorial was attended by Professor Williams and political dignitaries such as Robert Simms Greens MLC.

OIP Staff. Image shows: Kansas Bird, President Student Pride Network, University of Adelaide; Dr Gertrude Glossip, Pride Historian; Professor John Williams, Executive Dean of Arts, Business, Law, Economics and Tim Reeves, Author, The Death of Dr Duncan, University of Adelaide Alumni.

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