Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Walter Andreas Dullo (1902–1978)

by Klaus Loewald

This article was published:

Walter Andreas Dullo (1902-1978), chocolate-maker and musicologist, was born on 26 November 1902 at Königsberg, East Prussia, Germany, son of Andreas Franz Wilhelm Dullo, an administrator and mayor, and his Jewish wife Clara Alice, née Japha. Raised as a Lutheran, Andreas attended the gymnasium at Offenbach before reading mathematics (1921-24) and law (1929-33) at the Humboldt University of Berlin. In the intervening years he studied music at the University of Heidelberg. Prevented by the Nazi administration from practising law, he first learned massage and then Swiss chocolate-making. On 9 June 1937 at Berlin-Friedenau he married Annemarie Deutsch of Berlin; they were to remain childless. The couple reached Sydney in the Rendsburg on 11 September, bringing with them second-hand, chocolate-manufacturing machinery.

After attempting to make chocolate in their flat at Double Bay and working as a married couple in domestic service, in 1939 they opened a small shop in New South Head Road. In their one-roomed premises the Dullos—eventually assisted by Walter's two younger sisters—made the chocolates by hand; a curtain screened them from a minuscule sales area. To attract his first customers, Dullo sold small packages door-to-door. As the fame of the product spread, wartime rationing of ingredients posed difficulties and customers had to be content with ¼lb. purchases. Classified as a refugee alien, in 1943-44 Walter served with the Allied Works Council as a labourer at Alice Springs, Northern Territory. He was naturalized in 1944.

In time the quality and novelty of the Dullos' chocolates and truffles attracted customers from many parts of eastern Australia; foreign consuls and ambassadors were among the earliest enthusiasts; and children loved the surprise Easter eggs and rabbits. Despite growing prosperity, cautious Mr Dullo never expanded the business, preferring to devote his leisure hours to music, his dominating passion. He retired in 1970.

With Richard Goldner, Dullo had founded the Musica Viva Society of Australia in 1945; he was also vice-president of the Sydney Mozart Society and correspondent of the Mozarteum at Salzburg, Austria. Dullo came to know soloists and conductors who relied on his advice, listened to his collection of recordings, and acquired scores and sheet music that he obtained for them from Berlin. He completed two unfinished piano sonatas by Schubert (later recorded by the Australian pianist Romola Costantino), composed cadenzas for several Mozart piano concertos, wrote 'Schubert and the Twin Brothers' (24 Hours, July 1977), and prepared programme notes for the Australian Broadcasting Commission, Musica Viva and the Mozart Society. As patron of the Music Broadcasting Society of New South Wales Co-operative Ltd, he arranged classical programmes for radio 2MBS-FM.

Appointed to the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1977, Dullo had an extensive knowledge of the history of art, the German classics and European religious sculpture. His hobby was to expose, in marginalia, errors in logic made by writers of detective stories. A powerfully built and gentle man, he combined his wide learning with a dry wit, an encyclopaedic knowledge of classical and romantic music, and unending devotion and loyalty to friends. Dullo died on 22 August 1978 in Royal North Shore Hospital and was cremated; his wife survived him.

Select Bibliography

  • J. Wilton and R. Bosworth, Old Worlds and New Australia (Melb, 1984)
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 11 Apr, 21 Dec 1976, 11 Feb, 23 Aug, 18 Dec 1978
  • naturalisation file, A435/1 item 44/4/3968 (National Archives of Australia)
  • private information.

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

Klaus Loewald, 'Dullo, Walter Andreas (1902–1978)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1996, accessed online 21 June 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 14, (Melbourne University Press), 1996

View the front pages for Volume 14

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


26 November, 1902
Kaliningrad, Russia


22 August, 1978 (aged 75)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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