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The Bill Cowan Barr Smith Library Fellowship

Marnie - born and graduated in New Zealand. She was a sportswoman, a pianist and a leader. She had three children, then became Chief of Staff at PGC (now Seymour College). She donated generously to charity. She was well read and had a wicked sense of humour. She died in 1995.


The Fellowship is funded by the Cowan Grant, a Trust established by Marnie Cowan in 1994. She and husband Bill believed in the benefits of tertiary education, and wanted to help students financially.

The Trust's continuing aim is to help financially stressed tertiary students. The Trust is administered by five trustees: four are members of the Cowan family, and one is an independent advisor.

Since its commencement the Trust has given over $2.9m in grants for various scholarships.

This page is designed to answer your questions and is based on the Rules which govern the Fellowship.

Purpose of the Fellowship

  • Provide financial assistance up to the value of $13,000 annually towards study for postgraduate degrees by research using the collections of the Barr Smith Library, University of Adelaide.
  • Assist postgraduate students financially with uninterrupted time to work with the Library's collections.
  • Promote the Barr Smith Library as a centre of research excellence.
  • Encourage research using the Library's collections and the production of publications based on them.
  • Publicise the Library's collections.

Bill - struggled financially to graduate MA (NZ) and BA London. He was The University of Adelaide Librarian, Barr Smith Library, for 31 years from 1933 to 1964. He was a scholar of the classics, a perfectionist and rather demanding. The family lived very frugally. He died in 1984. The Fellowship is named in his honour.

Barr Smith Library Collections

The Library website has information on Special Collections and the general collections.

Candidates seeking assistance with the research strengths of the collections in general should consult the relevant Liaison Librarian. Candidates proposing use of the Special Collections are advised to consult the Special Collections Librarian.


  • Students currently residing temporarily or permanently in Australia and undertaking a postgraduate degree by research in a discipline in which the Barr Smith Library at the University of Adelaide has strong general or Special Collections.
  • Preference may be given to students from rural or regional Australia.
  • The Fellowship is awarded once only to an applicant. Subsequent applications will not be considered.
  • Recipients must be undertaking study towards a postgraduate degree by research either commencing or in progress. Academic supporting testimonial is required and there must be evidence that the student's progress complies with the University's requirements.
  • Postdoctoral researchers may be eligible within three years of a doctoral award where the research using the Barr Smith Library collections is being undertaken in attachment to an Australian University.

Selection Criteria

Selection will be based on:

  • financial need
  • academic merit and research potential, to be determined by previous academic record and academic referee statement(s)
  • originality of the use of Barr Smith Library collections
  • preference may be given to research topics relating to the history of research in Primary Industry conduced at the Waite campus, or to more general research in South Australian history
  • interview [if required].

Fellowship Recipients


The award may support and contribute to:

  • travel to the Barr Smith Library in Adelaide
  • accommodation, preferably at Kathleen Lumley College (Postgraduate College of the University of Adelaide), for one Semester
  • other agreed costs associated with undertaking the research.

If required, the Library will provide borrowing membership and complement the award by covering an agreed amount towards photocopying, and inter-library loans.

Obligations of Fellows

  • Take up their Fellowship within 12 months of the award.
  • Spend significant time during their Fellowship at the Barr Smith Library and/or its Branch Libraries.
  • Give a public presentation if requested, preferably a Friends of the Barr Smith Library Discovery Lecture, and communicate the results of their research to University staff.
  • Publish the results of their research. This may be a conference contribution or/and a scholarly journal contribution on an aspect of the research.
  • The Fellow may be required to complete a Student Project Participation Agreement.
  • Where appropriate, the Library or the University Press will have the first opportunity to publish the results of their research.
  • Place a copy of the published research in Special Collections of the Barr Smith Library.
  • Acknowledge the Bill Cowan Barr Smith Library Fellowship in their published results and/or PhD acknowledgements.

How to Apply

Applications must be received on the Fellowship Application form, which also requires the applicant to arrange a confidential academic reference.

Applications opened on 25 October 2017, and close on 27 February 2018.

Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their applications by 27 March 2018.


If you have questions or require more information please contact:

The University Librarian
Barr Smith Library
University of Adelaide

Phone: (08) 8313 4064
Fax: (08) 8313 4369


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