Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Arthur Rudolph Bailey (1863–1938)

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Arthur Rudolph Bailey (1863-1938), pharmacist, was born on 21 August 1863 at Ballarat West, Victoria, son of Christopher Bailey, Irish-born merchant, and his wife Ellen, née Jones. He was educated at Ballarat College and became a commercial photographer in Ballarat, in Melbourne (where he was associated with J. W. Lindt) and at Charters Towers, Queensland. He was a medal-winner at the Colonial and Indian Exhibition, London, in 1886. He entered the Victorian College of Pharmacy in 1890 and was registered as a pharmacist on 10 October 1894. He then opened a business in Glenferrie Road, Malvern, where he worked throughout his life. On 4 February 1895 at Christ Church, Hawthorn, he married Margaret McNeil Tough.

Bailey was a council-member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Victoria in 1901-37 and president in 1903-06, 1912-15 and 1924-25. For over thirty years he represented his profession on the Food Standards Committee appointed under the provisions of the Health Act and was a driving force behind the Pure Foods Act. Elected to the Pharmacy Board of Victoria in 1912, he remained a lifelong member, was president in 1919-23, 1929-30 and 1935-36, and represented it at every interstate conference in that period. From 1909 he was a prominent leader of the Australian Pharmaceutical Conference of which he was president in 1913-23, and through it was one of the leading workers in producing the first Australian Pharmaceutical Formulary. In 1915 with Dr Sidney Plowman he compiled a Digest of the New and More Important Features of the British Pharmacopaeia—1914, published by the Victorian government. From 1920 he was a director of the Australasian Journal of Pharmacy and became chairman of its publishing company.

Bailey gained early debating experience in the Australian Natives' Association and was president of the Malvern branch in 1903-04. He was also a conscientious magistrate on the Malvern bench, a prominent Freemason and a Rotarian. Described as hefty yet dapper, with a waxed and pointed moustache, usually with a flower in his buttonhole, he was a popular leader of his profession.

Bailey died at Malvern on 25 April 1938, survived by his wife, a daughter and three sons who became pharmacists. He was buried in Brighton cemetery and left an estate valued for probate at £24,922.

Select Bibliography

  • Australasian Journal of Pharmacy, 30 May 1938
  • records (Pharmacy Board of Victoria, Parkville)
  • private information.

Citation details

'Bailey, Arthur Rudolph (1863–1938)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1979, accessed online 13 June 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 7, (Melbourne University Press), 1979

View the front pages for Volume 7

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


21 August, 1863
Ballarat, Victoria, Australia


25 April, 1938 (aged 74)
Malvern, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.