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Stanley Haviland (1899–1972)

by Jack Watson

This article was published:

Stanley Haviland (1899-1972), public servant, was born on 13 April 1899 at Kogarah, Sydney, fourth son of native-born parents Cecil Henry Haviland, clerk, and his wife Emily, née Shaw. Educated at Cleveland Street Superior School, Stanley joined the public service in 1915; he became a junior clerk in the Department of Lands and, from 1920, a clerk in the Department of Local Government. On 16 November that year at the Methodist Church, Glen Innes, he married Florence Mary Nunn.

Following the amalgamation of the departments of Public Works and Local Government, Haviland was appointed assistant under-secretary on 1 November 1936. When the departments were separated in 1941, he retained his post in Local Government until promoted under-secretary and permanent head in October 1946. At a time of expansion and extraordinary growth in local government enterprise, he proved an efficient administrator. He served (1945-46) on the royal commission into the boundaries of local government areas in the County of Cumberland, championed stronger local government and advocated the amalgamation of councils. On his retirement in 1960, he was presented with a bound volume containing individual messages of goodwill from over two hundred shire, municipal and county councils.

In a busy and distinguished career Haviland belonged to many boards associated with various aspects of public life. He chaired several committees that were connected with the 1951 Commonwealth of Australia Jubilee and with the 1954 royal visit; he also chaired the Sydney Opera House Executive Committee (1954-61)—which advised the premier on the selection of the site, the design and the construction of the opera house—and the Sydney Opera House Trust (1961-69). In 1957 he was appointed C.B.E. His other interests included the Library Board of New South Wales (on which he served in 1946-60), the State councils of the Royal Institute of Public Administration and the National Trust of Australia, the board of the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust, and the Australian Museum and Royal National Park trusts.

Haviland was part-time vice-president (1955-57) and full-time president (1960-65) of the Metropolitan Water, Sewerage and Drainage Board. He promoted staff relations, eased formality, and was involved in improving and beautifying picnic areas at the board's dams. At times, however, he remained a controversial figure because of his silence over criticism of the opera house and the fluoridation of Sydney's water supply. An active Rotarian (1948-72) and president (1958-71) of the St George area of the Boy Scouts' Association, he was a devoted family man, affable, short and stocky. Haviland was keen on outdoor pursuits, particularly swimming, fishing and bowls. He was meticulous in the layout of his workshop, and the care of his car, his aviaries and his fernery.

Remaining active, he served (1965-67) on the royal commission that inquired into rating, valuation and local government finance; the government accepted its recommendation to establish the Local Government Grants Commission. Ten months after the death of his wife, Haviland died suddenly on 2 June 1972 at his Kingsgrove home and was cremated. His son survived him.

Select Bibliography

  • H. E. Maiden, The History of Local Government in New South Wales (Syd, 1966)
  • F. A. Larcombe, The Advancement of Local Government in New South Wales 1906 to the Present (Syd, 1978)
  • Sydney Water Board Journal, Apr 1955, Oct 1960, Oct 1972
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 22 June 1966, 5 June 1972
  • private information.

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

Jack Watson, 'Haviland, Stanley (1899–1972)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1996, accessed online 21 July 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

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