Rawdon Dalrymple was born in Sydney and went to school and university there. He was Rhodes Scholar for NSW in 1952 and graduated from Oxford with first class honours in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. He lectured in philosophy at Sydney University and then joined the Department of External Affairs in 1957. He joined the Asian Development Bank in Manila in 1967 as Alternate Director, was then minister in the Australian embassy in Jakarta from 1969 to 1972, and ambassador to Israel from 1972 to 1975. In 1981 Mr Dalrymple was appointed ambassador to Indonesia, in 1985 ambassador to the United States and in 1989 ambassador to Japan. He was made an officer of the Order of Australia in 1985. After retiring from Foreign Affairs and Trade in 1994 Rawdon Dalrymple had a number of business and government appointments.