• Entry type: Person
  • Entry ID: AWE0336

Marles, Fay Surtees

(1926 – ) Fay Marles
  • Born 3 January, 1926, Melbourne Victoria Australia
  • Occupation Educator


Fay Surtees Marles AM (née Pearce) is a former Australian public servant. She served as Victorian Commissioner of Equal Opportunity from 1977 to 1987 and Chancellor of the University of Melbourne from 2001 to 2004.


The daughter of Percy Willam Pearce and Jane Victoria Crisp, Fay Marles completed her secondary education at Ruyton Girls’ School, before attending the University of Melbourne.

Marles graduated from the University of Melbourne in 1948 with a Bachelor of Arts and Diploma of Social Work. She subsequently became a social worker in Queensland. However, after her marriage to Donald Marles in 1952 she was subjected to the marriage bar and forced to resign her position. She and her husband had four children, including politician Richard Marles.

In 1977, Marles was appointed the first Commissioner for Equal Opportunity in Victoria. She retained the position until 1987, when she established Fay Marles and Associates, a consultancy specializing in dispute resolution and human resource management.

Fay Marles was first elected to the University of Melbourne Council in 1984 and became Deputy Chancellor in 1986, before her appointment as Chancellor in 2001, a position she held until 2004. She was the first woman to hold the position.

After retirement the University of Melbourne established the Fay Marles Scholarship in recognition of her strong commitment to social justice and human right. It is offered to research students from Australian Indigenous descent or students who are experiencing compassionate or compelling circumstances.



  • 2010 - 2010

    Inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women

Published resources

Digital resources

Related entries

  • Commissioner
    • Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission (2007 - )