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Dorron, Victor Henry (1903–1969)

by K. R. Howe

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 14, (MUP), 1996

Victor Henry Dorron (1903-1969), instructor in woolclassing, was born on 24 July 1903 at Ellensvale, Genoa, Victoria, second son of Thomas Henry Dorron, a farmer from New South Wales, and his South African-born wife Eileen May, née Bucknall. In 1882 Victor's paternal grandfather, John Augustus Dorron, had selected land to the east of Mallacoota and built the Lakeview Hotel which remained the local centre of social activity until the end of World War I. Victor's maternal grandfather Henry Bucknall was the original selector at Gipsy Point. In 1901 Thomas and Eileen settled at Ellensvale on the Wallagaraugh River, four miles (6.4 km) upstream from Gipsy Point. Seven years later, when Victor and his brother were of school age, the family shifted to grandfather Bucknall's Amberlee, near Gipsy Point, and the boys rowed four miles (6.4 km) to the nearest school at Genoa.

Like most children reared in the country, they made their own pleasures, mostly in the bush or on the rivers: they went hunting, shooting, snaring or fishing, and sometimes put the proceeds from their exploits towards their school expenses. Skins were worth around three shillings each; dingo scalps earned £5 from the shire and wombat scalps five shillings. Victor sold fresh fish for three shillings per lb. As he grew older, he assisted his father in such enterprises as wattle-bark harvesting and road construction.

In 1921 Victor joined the Gordon Institute of Technology at Geelong to learn woolclassing, rapidly reaching a degree of proficiency which enabled him to win the Geelong Woolbrokers' Association's scholarship, worth £400. Having gained practical experience in the shearing sheds of Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, he became assistant to the head of the woolclassing section of the G.I.T. in 1925 and was subsequently appointed senior instructor in woolclassing. During 1929 he had charge of the sheep and wool section on the Better Farming Train which toured most Victorian country centres. In 1931 Dorron travelled to Britain and took a textile course at the University of Leeds; he also visited textile centres in Germany, Switzerland, France and Belgium, as well as colleges in England and Scotland. He returned to Geelong where he married a saleswoman Jessie Isobel Gordon on 23 December 1933 at St Paul's Anglican Church.

Dorron supervised (1926-56) weekend wool classes at the Ballarat School of Mines, and gave instruction in shearing and woolclassing at Dookie and Longerenong agricultural colleges. In 1956 he was appointed head of the wool school at the G.I.T. He was in demand as a judge at the Geelong Agricultural Show, and at the Geelong and the Hamilton legacy shows. In 1966 he helped to introduce recognized woolclassing courses into country technical and high schools. He retired in 1968. Still fit and active, Dorron boasted that he had never been ill in his life and attributed his health to a 'tough' upbringing in a bush environment. He looked forward to enjoying his favourite pastimes of boating and fishing, but died of acute myeloid leukaemia on 7 October 1969 at Geelong. Survived by his wife, son and daughter, he was buried in Western cemetery.

Select Bibliography

  • K. R. Howe and J. G. Browne (eds), Mallacoota Reflections (Mallacoota, Vic, 1990)
  • Snowy River Mail, 27 Nov 1968
  • private information.

Citation details

K. R. Howe, 'Dorron, Victor Henry (1903–1969)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/dorron-victor-henry-10033/text17689, published first in hardcopy 1996, accessed online 22 November 2018.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 14, (MUP), 1996

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