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2020 Henry Mayer Lecture

A former “Dunera boy” and media and political analyst, Professor Henry Mayer, died after a heart attack at his home in Lane Cove, Sydney, on Saturday. He was 71.

The leading lecturer worked until his death, editing Media Information Australia, as a visiting professor of sociology at the University of NSW teaching on the sociology of AIDS, and as visiting professor in mass communications at Macquarie University.

He wrote and edited several books on Australian politics and the media, and had a 34-year association with Sydney University.

Professor Mayer was born in 1919 in Mannheim, Germany, and educated at private schools in Germany, Switzerland, Italy and England and at Melbourne University.

He was among 2500 Jewish refugees suspected by Britain of being Nazi spies during World War II who were moved to a prison camp at Hay in NSW after coming to Australia on the liner Dunera.

The “Dunera boys” celebrated their 50th-anniversary last year.

Professor Mayer rated the hardship experienced by the “Dunera boys” as inconsequential compared with that of inmates in Nazi concentration camps in Europe.

Professor Mayer is survived by his wife, Elaine, and daughter, Vicki.

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