Bill Tweddell

2010 College Recipient, College of Arts, Society and Education

Bill Tweddell served as Chancellor of James Cook University for seven years between March 2016 and April 2023.  He was the University’s fifth Chancellor and the first JCU graduate to be elected to the role.

Before that, Bill enjoyed a distinguished career in Australia’s diplomatic service spanning four decades (1976-2016). Immediately before becoming Chancellor, he served as Australia’s Ambassador to the Philippines from January 2012 till January 2016

He began his studies at the University College of Townsville in 1968, completing a Bachelor of Arts in 1971, after JCU was established, and then continuing on to complete a Bachelor of Economics in 1975, completing both degrees part-time while working at the University.

The following year he joined the Department of Foreign Affairs and was soon posted to Dhaka in Bangladesh, with subsequent appointments to Athens and New Delhi, where he rose to the rank of Deputy High Commissioner.

In 1995 -1996, Bill was High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and the Maldives and, from 1996 to 1998, Chief of Staff and Principal Adviser to the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer.

He was Consul General to Hong Kong and Macau from 1999 to 2001 and, in 2002, was appointed Australia’s Deputy High Commissioner in London, where he served until 2005.  He was Australia’s Ambassador to Vietnam from 2005 to 2008.  Before he took up his appointment as Ambassador to the Philippines (2012-2016) , he was Head of the Americas and Africa Division in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra from 2008 to 2011.

Bill is a member of the Council of The John Flynn College and a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, the National Press Club and the Australian Institute of International Affairs. He is Patron of the Barrier Reef Orchestra.

In 2024 Bill became a Life Member of the Foundation for Australian Literary Studies.

Bill is married to Chris (née Austin, also a JCU graduate).  They have two adult sons, Andrew and Paul.

Updated September 2023