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Blake, Richard Charles (1903–1967)

by Paul Ashton

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 13, (MUP), 1993

Richard Charles Blake (1903-1967), egg marketer, was born on 5 July 1903 at Newtown, Sydney, son of Richard Daniel Blake, a carpenter from London, and his native-born wife Laura Louisa Amelia, née Amos. Migrating at an early age with his parents to New Zealand, Richard was educated at Auckland Grammar School and Seddon Memorial Technical College. After returning to New South Wales, he initially had a varied career. In 1926 he was a delegate on the central council of the Workers' Educational Association and completed a university extension course in economics. About 1927 Blake established a small business at Marrickville and on 24 March 1928 married a ledger-keeper Lilias Isabel Stuart Topp at the local Presbyterian church. By 1931 he was a senior partner in T. Norman & Co., commercial agents in Sydney, and represented the firm in the Parkes area. Politics also attracted him. Advocating 'abolition of pre-selection and party politics, extension of Federal Government powers and abolition of State Governments and Governors', in February he unsuccessfully contested the Federal by-election for Parkes as the Economic Reform candidate.

By 1934 Blake was a poultry farmer at Cronulla, Sydney, and in 1937 was elected to the Egg Marketing Board as a representative of the producers. As its chairman (1940-43), he edited the periodical, Poultry Farmer, and wrote Modern Marketing as Practised by the Egg Marketing Board of N.S.W. (1940), a modest but significant contribution to the reconstruction of Australian primary industries. In the 1943 election of board members he was defeated because of his 'dictatorial attitude' and his failure to protect the interests of producers, particularly over the disastrous cold-storage project. He was a representative for eleven years from 1937 on the Australian Oversea Transport Association. During World War II the Commonwealth government appointed Blake assistant-controller of egg supplies in 1943 and a member of the Egg Industry Advisory Board. With his extensive experience in marketing, he joined the Australian Egg Board when it was established in 1948 and in October became its superintendent of exports. In 1953-55 he was based in London as the board's official agent. Back in Australia in 1955, he served as Commonwealth representative and chairman of the Australian Egg Board until 1967.

Held 'in high regard by his associates', Blake was zealous in his commitment to the poultry industry, but was able to spend some time with his family, tending the garden at his home in Burns Road, Lane Cove, and playing lawn bowls. He was a governor of the Poultry Husbandry Research Foundation at the University of Sydney from 1961, chairman of the First International Egg Marketing Conference in 1962, deputy-chairman of the Twelfth World's Poultry Congress in Sydney that year and president (1962-66) of the World's Poultry Science Association. In 1963 he was appointed O.B.E. Blake died of hypertensive cerebrovascular disease on 28 February 1967 in a private hospital at Hunters Hill and was cremated. His wife and daughter survived him.

Select Bibliography

  • Egg Marketing Board of New South Wales, A Decade of Egg Marketing in N.S.W. (Syd, 1961)
  • Australian Egg Board, Annual Report, 1948-58
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 16 Jan, 2 Feb 1931, 15 Sept, 21, 25 Oct 1943, 7 Oct 1958, 8, 16 Aug 1962, 8 June 1963, 31 Aug 1964 supplement, 21 Feb 1967.

Citation details

Paul Ashton, 'Blake, Richard Charles (1903–1967)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/blake-richard-charles-9522/text16765, published first in hardcopy 1993, accessed online 18 November 2018.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 13, (MUP), 1993

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