Australian Dictionary of Biography

  • Tip: searches only the name field
  • Tip: Use double quotes to search for a phrase

Cultural Advice

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains names, images, and voices of deceased persons.

In addition, some articles contain terms or views that were acceptable within mainstream Australian culture in the period in which they were written, but may no longer be considered appropriate.

These articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Australian National University.

Older articles are being reviewed with a view to bringing them into line with contemporary values but the original text will remain available for historical context.

Alfred Lionel Rose (1898–1980)

by Robert I. Taylor

This article was published:

Alfred Lionel Rose (1898-1980), by unknown photographer, 1945

Alfred Lionel Rose (1898-1980), by unknown photographer, 1945

Australian War Memorial, 115567

Alfred Lionel Rose (1898-1980), veterinarian, army officer and public servant, was born on 21 March 1898 at Strathfield, Sydney, fifth child of Herbert John Rose, an Anglican clergyman from England, and his wife Harriett Ethel, née Priddle, who was born in New South Wales. Educated at Sydney Grammar School, Lionel enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 15 May 1916 and was allotted to the 117th Howitzer Battery. He served on the Western Front and was wounded in May 1917. Commissioned in November, he was promoted lieutenant in March 1918. In December 1919 he returned to Australia where his A.I.F. appointment terminated on 21 April 1920.

After studying at the University of Sydney (B.V.Sc., 1924), Rose was appointed a veterinary surgeon in the New South Wales Department of Agriculture. At All Saints Church, Woollahra, on 27 March 1925 he married Helen Blaxland with Anglican rites; they were to be divorced in 1950. Promoted district veterinary officer in May 1927, he was based at Orange and (from 1928) at Cootamundra. He made significant advances in the knowledge and control of a number of serious diseases of livestock, in particular black disease of sheep, toxaemic jaundice and enterotoxaemia. His name was widely esteemed by stock-owners in southern New South Wales.

Rose had joined the Militia in March 1924. By 1940 he was commanding the 21st Light Horse Regiment as a temporary lieutenant colonel. On 4 July he was appointed major, 7th Division Cavalry Regiment, A.I.F. Sailing for the Middle East in December, he took part in the Syrian campaign (June-July 1941) before coming home in March 1942. Promoted lieutenant colonel in May 1943, he was posted in January 1944 to I Corps headquarters, New Guinea, as a general staff officer, 1st grade. For his work (from June 1945) at Balikpapan, Borneo, he was appointed O.B.E. (1947). Back in Australia, he was placed on the Reserve of Officers on 28 May 1946.

Joining the Commonwealth Department of Health as chief veterinary officer, Northern Territory, Rose was transferred to the Department of the Interior in June 1947 as director of the animal industry section, with headquarters at Alice Springs. He established a diagnostic and research laboratory, and concentrated on eradicating contagious bovine pleuro-pneumonia (then rampant in the Territory). His successful strategy was adopted by Commonwealth and State governments.

On 20 October 1950 at the court-house, Cootamundra, Rose married Nell Hooper, née White, a divorcee who died in 1951. At the office of the principal registrar, Adelaide, on 4 May 1955 he married 32-year-old Carmel Mary Kerrison. Rose retired in 1958, but maintained many of his activities in the Territory. In July he became a member (chairman 1963-77) of the Reserves Board which oversaw the preservation of parks and wildlife. After serving in the Legislative Council as a nominated member (1954-58), he won the seat of Alice Springs in 1962; he was defeated in 1965 when he stood as a candidate for the North Australia Party which he had formed in August that year. He also worked as a consultant to pastoral interests and the government.

A member (1926) and fellow (1970) of the Australian Veterinary Association, Rose was awarded its Gilruth prize in 1961. He was elected a foundation life fellow (1971) of the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists. In 1978 he was appointed A.M. Rose died on 2 May 1980 in Alice Springs Hospital; he was accorded a state funeral and was buried with Anglican rites in the local cemetery. His wife and their daughter and two sons survived him, as did the son and two daughters of his first marriage. A virology laboratory at Berrimah was named (1979) after him.

Select Bibliography

  • F. Fenner (ed), History of Microbiology in Australia (Canb, 1990)
  • Australian Veterinary Journal, 56, no 8, 1980, p 396
  • Historia Medicinae Veterinariae, 8, no 2, 1983, p 53
  • Argus (Melbourne), 29 Aug 1950
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 14 Oct 1958
  • Canberra Times, 11 May 1980
  • CP 69 (National Archives of Australia)
  • private information.

Citation details

Robert I. Taylor, 'Rose, Alfred Lionel (1898–1980)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 2002, accessed online 12 July 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 16, (Melbourne University Press), 2002

View the front pages for Volume 16

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Alfred Lionel Rose (1898-1980), by unknown photographer, 1945

Alfred Lionel Rose (1898-1980), by unknown photographer, 1945

Australian War Memorial, 115567

Life Summary [details]


21 March, 1898
Strathfield, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


2 May, 1980 (aged 82)
Alice Springs, Northern Territory, 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.

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.