The Honourable Paul Henderson AO

Chancellor, Charles Darwin University

Early years: Paul Henderson was born in Croix-Chapeau, France, where his father was serving with the United States military. He was educated in the United Kingdom and studied marine engineering through the City and Guilds of London Institute. He worked as an apprentice marine fitter in Southampton before emigrating to Australia in 1982, where he worked as an underground fitter at the zinc mines in Rosebery, Tasmania. He moved to Darwin in the Northern Territory in 1983, working as a marine fitter. In 1985 he began working for the Northern Territory Government as a computer operator, later becoming IT Operations Manager for the Health Department.

Member of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly: Mr Henderson was elected to the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly in August 1999, representing the Darwin-based electorate of Wanguri. From 2001 – 2007, he was a senior Government Minister responsible for many portfolios including Education and Training, Business, Asian Relations and Trade, and Regional Development.

Northern Territory Chief Minister: Mr Henderson was elected unopposed as Parliamentary Leader of the Labor Party and Chief Minister of the Northern Territory in 2007 and held those posts until August 2012. As Chief Minister he dealt with a range of issues and challenges and helped guide the Northern Territory on the path to sustainable economic growth. His Government delivered the $34 billion lchthys LNG project for Darwin, the second largest investment in Australia’s history and the largest investment by any Japanese company outside of Japan.

Recognising that economic prosperity must be translated into social benefits, Mr Henderson is committed to the development of Northern Australia. He is equally focused on forging closer economic, social and cultural ties to our Asian neighbours and retains close relations with many leaders across South-East Asia.

As Chief Minister he was instrumental in establishing both the NT Medical Program and the North Australian Centre for Oil & Gas at CDU.

Post political career: Since retiring from politics in January 2013, Mr Henderson has co-founded and been Managing Partner of a Darwin-based consultancy focusing on business development and project facilitation. 

Family: Married to Stacey for 30 years with 3 children Alasdair, Liam and Isabel.


  • On 26 June 2013, granted the title "The Honourable" for life by the Governor-General.

  • Made an Officer of the Order of Australia in the 2019 Australia Day Honours list for his contribution to the Northern Territory.

  • Appointed Chancellor of Charles Darwin University in February 2019 and inducted to the position in March 2019.


University Profile

Charles Darwin University is a new world university; committed to bringing people together to use knowledge to shape the future. It’s a place where everyone can follow their passion to make things better – however big or small.

The University’s main campus is located in Australia’s most northern capital city of Darwin; a young, multicultural and cosmopolitan tropical city that sits on the rim of South-East Asia. As the only university in the Northern Territory, CDU is uniquely placed to provide education, training and research expertise to match the growing focus on Australia’s north.

The University was conceived to support the economic, environmental, cultural and social development of the Northern Territory. Working in partnership with the Territory and Commonwealth governments, CDU has established a Higher Education, Vocational Education and Training, and Research portfolio strongly focused on Northern Australia and the surrounding South-East Asian region.

The University has grown from local community origins during the past 50 years to become an internationally renowned dual sector university that caters for students across the Northern Territory, Australia and the world.

The University has developed innovative methods of flexible delivery to broaden outreach to students with online learning. Enriched by the social, cultural and natural endowments of the Northern Territory, and a commitment to the advancement and prosperity of the region, Charles Darwin University enables staff and prepares students to be creative thinkers and effective contributors in a complex and changing world.

Driven by the need for students to be educated as specialists and trained to be job ready in fields that benefit the local and national economies, and ranked as one of Australia’s top 3 universities under 50 (Times Higher Education rankings 2015-2016), CDU has cemented their position as a sustainable, innovative, multi-sector tertiary education provider.

Today Charles Darwin University has more than 24,000 students spread across 11 campuses and centres in the Northern Territory, as well as in Melbourne, Sydney and online. CDU also delivers training in more than 170 locations across the Northern Territory, South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales.

Recognised leaders in environmental studies (tropical and desert knowledges), Indigenous education and studies, remote nursing and education, South-East Asian studies and online learning; the diversity of the University’s study programs and delivery methods is rare among Australia’s universities.

To find out more, visit the Charles Darwin University website 



Council of Charles Darwin University

Council assumes stewardship of the University through a set of responsibilities set out in Section 8 of the Charles Darwin University Act 2003 (NT). Council works to:

  • Monitor the performance of the Vice-Chancellor

  • Approve the mission and strategic direction of the University

  • Approve the budget and business plan of the University

  • Oversee the management of the University, including approving significant commercial activities

  • Regularly review delegations under the Act

  • Monitor systems of accountability implemented by the University

  • Review management practices and performance of the University

  • Oversee risk management across the University.

Membership of Charles Darwin University’s Council is as follows:

Ex-Officio Members

The Hon. Paul Henderson AO, Chancellor  – Chancellor (to 31 December 2021)
Professor Simon Maddocks – Vice-Chancellor
Dr Aggie Wegner – Chair of Academic Board (to 31 December 2021)

Appointed Members – Administrator

Professor Judith Whitworth AC (to 29 September 2021)
Mr Alan Morris (to 29 September 2021)
Mr Richard Ryan AO (to 18 April 2019)
Mr Ken Davies (to 18 April 2019)
Ms Jodie Ryan (to 18 August 2020)

Elected Members

Mr Raymond Simpson – Academic Staff (to 31 December 2019)
Mrs Leena Kesava Panicker – Academic Staff (to 31 December 2019)
Mr Mayank Sharma – Post Graduate Student (to 31 December 2019)
Mr Benjamin Poveda-Alfonso – Undergraduate Student (to 31 December 2019)


Other Governing Bodies

Other Governing bodies within the University include:

Academic Board

Chair – Dr Aggie Wegner

Finance and Infrastructure Development Committee

Chair – Mr Richard Ryan AO

Audit and Risk Committee

Chair – Mr Alan Morris

Nominations, Honorary Awards and Legislation Committee

Chair – The Hon. Paul Henderson AO, Chancellor

Remuneration Committee

Chair – The Hon. Paul Henderson AO, Chancellor

Tender Committee

Chair – Ms Joanne Schilling