Death of a Monash founder
Even while at Monash, Sir Louis worked to improve universities overseas. He oversaw the development of new universities in Papua New Guinea in the 1970s and served as Chancellor of Papua New Guinea University of Technology from 1973-75. Following his retirement from Monash in 1976, he remained active in Australia’s research community.
He was a member of several committees, including the Australian Science and Technology Council (1975-78). His services to education led to numerous honours throughout his life, including a knighthood in 1976. The Sir Louis Matheson Library and the Matheson Pipe Organ in Robert Blackwood Hall were both named in honour of the University’s first vice-chancellor, in recognition of the enormous impact he had on Monash from its early days.
In 1989 he suffered a stroke, which left him confined to a wheelchair until his death in 2002. His family believes the events of the student troubles from 1967-74 contributed to his ill health: “I think he wore himself out at Monash,” Mathesons’ widow Audrey says in 2010.