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Noskowski, Ladislas Adam de (1892–1969)

by L. K. Paszkowski

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 11, (MUP), 1988

Ladislas Adam de Noskowski (1892-1969), journalist, was born on 24 April 1892 in Warsaw, son of Piotr de Noskowski, landowner, newspaper-proprietor and publisher, and his wife Stefanja, née Szawlowska. His parents belonged to the upper class of Polish squires or szlachta; the noted composer Zygmunt de Noskowski (1846-1909) was his uncle. Brought up a Catholic, he was educated at Chrzanowski's private high school in Warsaw and in Switzerland and claimed to have attended the University of Warsaw and the Ecole Libre des Sciences Politiques in Paris.

De Noskowski arrived in Sydney on 24 April 1911 as a tourist. A Russian subject, he was naturalized on 4 May 1914 but soon left for California. At Hollywood he played in a number of films including Malcolm in Shakespeare's Macbeth (1916) with Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree in the title role. Paderewski, on a concert tour of California in 1916, engaged de Noskowski as a secretary to help him in his political work for the Polish National Committee. De Noskowski later became secretary of a monthly journal, Free Poland, financed by the Polish National Alliance.

In February 1918 de Noskowski returned to Sydney; on 4 March he married Beatrice Barnett (d.1960) at Glebe Methodist Church and settled at Neutral Bay. Until 1919 he was a translator and interpreter on the staff of the Australian Military Forces censor. Classified as an A2 secondary teacher, he taught French, history and geography at the Cleveland Street (1920-22), Mosman (1922-26) and Manly (1926) intermediate high schools. Pressure of journalistic work caused him to resign on 30 June 1926: from 1919 he had been music critic of the Sydney Mail and contributed articles (mainly on music, history and Poland) to the Sydney Morning Herald, Evening News, Art in Australia, the Home, the Shakespearean Quarterly and Musical Australia. From 1925 he was critic and later editor until 1929 of the Australasian Phonograph Monthly. In 1927-33 he wrote two weekly columns, 'New Records' and 'Player Piano Rolls', either under his own name or the pseudonym 'Paolo' for the Sydney Morning Herald, and in 1929-31 he also conducted his own monthly, Australian Phonograph News. He was also correspondent for the Chicago periodical, Musical Leader. After World War II he introduced musical programmes for the Australian Broadcasting Commission.

In 1933-45 de Noskowski was honorary consul-general for Poland in Australia, New Zealand and Western Samoa. He helped to establish the Polish-Australian Chamber of Commerce under the presidency of A. E. Dalwood, with whom he visited Poland in 1935 to pave the way for a visit by Sir Henry Gullett to negotiate a commercial agreement. When war broke out in 1939 de Noskowski organized the Polish Relief Fund, which sent over £30,000 to London, and persuaded the Australian government to grant £10,000 to the Polish Red Cross Society there. In 1942-45 he edited the monthly Polish and Central European Review, subsidized by the Polish government-in-exile.

De Noskowski contributed a chapter on Sir Paul Strzelecki to G. Rawson's biography, The Count (Melbourne, 1953). He later became an examiner in French and in 1959 prepared two text-books for senior French classes in high schools. In 1966 he started to write a 'History of opera in Australia' and by 1969 his almost completed draft had been highly praised by those who saw it; unfortunately the typescript disappeared. On 11 April he was knocked down by a car, suffered severe head injuries, and died in hospital at Neutral Bay on 29 July 1969; he was cremated with Presbyterian forms. His son Paul, a radio engineer, and an adopted daughter survived him.

Select Bibliography

  • Rocznik Sluzby Zagranicznej RP (Warsaw 1934-39)
  • Notable Citizens of Sydney (Sydney, 1940)
  • Polska Sluzba Zagraniczna po 1 Wrzesnia (London, 1954)
  • L. Paszkowski, Polacy w Australii I Oceanii 1790-1940 (London, 1962)
  • Archiwum Polityczne Ignacego Paderewskiego, 1 (Wroclaw, 1973)
  • W.J. Hudson and H.J.W. Stokes (eds), Documents on Australian Foreign Policy, 4, 1937-1949 (Canberra, 1980)
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 20 Feb 1918, 30 July 1969
  • teachers' records, register of teachers (Education Dept Archives, Sydney)
  • naturalisation file, A1 14/6985 (National Archives of Australia)
  • letters (1947-68) and manuscripts of de Noskowski (privately held).

Citation details

L. K. Paszkowski, 'Noskowski, Ladislas Adam de (1892–1969)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/noskowski-ladislas-adam-de-7864/text13665, published in hardcopy 1988, accessed online 24 October 2014.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 11, (MUP), 1988

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