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Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Moore, Max Lyall (1897–1979)

by Robin K. Hood

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 15, (MUP), 2000

Max Lyall Moore (1897-1979), sports administrator, was born on 3 June 1897 at Ipswich, Queensland, fifth child of Tasmanian-born parents Albert Phillip Moore, tailor's-cutter, and his wife Mary Louisa, née Briant. Brought to Tasmania as an infant, Max was educated at Goulburn Street State and Hobart High schools. He became foundation secretary (1915) of the Old Hobartian Association. In 1919 he began an apprenticeship as a journalist with the Mercury. He later obtained an auctioneer's licence and worked with A. G. Webster & Sons Ltd where he established a sporting club for fellow employees. At St John's Anglican Church, Hobart, on 9 December 1939 he married Phyllis Pott, a 30-year-old ledgerkeeper.

An active swimmer, Moore was secretary (1922-49), president (1949-72) and a life member (1972) of the Tasmanian Amateur Swimming Association. He frequented the Sandy Bay Baths, a ramshackle wooden structure open to the swells of every tide and the cold winds off the Derwent River. These spartan conditions made him determined to ensure that Hobart had a suitable heated swimming-pool in which to hold State and national championships. While the Amateur Swimming Union of Australia threatened to bypass Tasmania for want of appropriate facilities, he petitioned local and Federal politicians for financial support. It was not until swimming was televised (1956) at the Olympic Games in Melbourne that his campaign received strong community backing, culminating in the opening of the Hobart Olympic Pool in 1958.

Driven by boundless energy, Moore served a wide range of community groups, especially those representing youth. Chairman (1944-62) of the Associated Youth Committee (later Youth Council of Tasmania), he founded (1950) and presided (1951-78) over the Youth Hostels Association of Tasmania which built a chain of hostels throughout the State. As chairman (1944-75) of the Tasmanian branch of the National Fitness Council, he helped to provide programmes to cater for the accelerating demand for recreational pursuits; largely due to his initiative, seaside camps were established at Barnes Bay, Rheban, Port Sorell and Port Esperance, snow and adventure camps were set up in the central highlands, and indoor sporting stadiums were built at Montagu Bay, Launceston, Devonport, Burnie and Moonah.

Moore was honorary secretary (1938-63) of the Tasmanian Olympic Council, and a member of the organizing committees for the British Empire (and Commonwealth) Games (from 1934) and for the 1956 Olympic Games. He was also a State secretary (1948-61) of Empire (British Commonwealth) Youth Sunday, chairman (1953-54) of the sport and youth committee for the Tasmanian sesquicentenary celebrations and honorary secretary (1962-75) of the Tasmanian branch of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme. A justice of the peace, he served as a special magistrate in the children's court. In 1964 he was appointed O.B.E.

With a phenomenal memory for names and faces, Moore had a warm personality and a friendly smile. His leadership and service encouraged many volunteers to join him in furthering sport and recreation in Tasmania. Survived by his wife and two sons, he died on 12 March 1979 in Royal Hobart Hospital; his body was bequeathed to the faculty of medicine, University of Tasmania. The Max Moore Memorial Stadium was opened at Moonah in 1984.

Select Bibliography

  • Youth Hostels Association of Tasmania Inc, Tangara, June 1979, p 6
  • Mercury (Hobart), 19 July, 9 Sept 1972, 8 May 1976, 14 Mar 1979
  • private information.

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Citation details

Robin K. Hood, 'Moore, Max Lyall (1897–1979)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 2000, accessed online 30 October 2020.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 15, (MUP), 2000

View the front pages for Volume 15

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