Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 12

View articles from the Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 12

Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 12

Period: 1891-1939
Names: Smy-Z
General Editor: John Ritchie
Published in hardcopy 1990


This volume of the Australian Dictionary of Biography, containing 684 entries by 498 authors, is the last of six for the 1891-1939 section. The two volumes of the 1788- 1850 section and the four of the 1851-1890 section were published from 1966 to 1976. The late Douglas Pike was general editor for volumes 1 to 5, Bede Nairn for volume 6, Nairn and Geoffrey Serie for volumes 7 to 10, and Serie for volume 11. John Ritchie succeeded Serie on 1 March 1988. The chronological division was designed to simplify production, for 7211 entries have been included in volumes 1-12. (Volumes 1-2, for 1788-1850, had 1116 entries; volumes 3-6, for 1851-1890, 2053; volumes 7-12, for 1891-1939, 4042.) The placing of each individual's name in the appropriate section has been determined by when he/she did his/her most important work (floruit). An index will be published in 1991 and four volumes covering those whose floruit was after 1939 and who died before 1981 will be published subsequently.

The selection of names for inclusion required prolonged consultation. After quotas were estimated, working parties in each State and the armed services working party prepared provisional lists which were widely circulated and carefully amended. Many of the names were obviously significant and worthy of inclusion as leaders in politics, business, the armed services, the professions, the arts, the labour movement, etc. Others have been included as representatives of ethnic and social minorities and of a wide range of occupations, or as innovators, notorieties or eccentrics. Some had to be omitted through pressure of space or lack of material, and thereby joined the great mass whose members richly deserve a more honoured place, but thousands of these names, and information about them, have accumulated in the biographical register at the A.D.B. headquarters in the Australian National University. A selection of 8100 of them was published in 1987 as A Biographical Register 1788-1939.

Most authors were nominated by working parties. The burden of writing has been shared almost equally by the staff of universities and other tertiary institutions, and by a variety of other specialists.

The A.D.B. is a project based on consultation and co-operation. The Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University has borne the cost of the headquarters staff, of much research and of some special contingencies, while other Australian universities have supported the project in various ways. The A.D.B.'s policies were originally determined by a national committee, composed mainly of representatives from the departments of history in each Australian university. In Canberra the editorial board has kept in touch with all these representatives, and with the working parties, librarians, archivists and other local experts, as well as overseas correspondents and research assistants in each Australian capital. With such varied support, the A.D.B. is truly a national project.


The Australian Dictionary of Biography is a programme fully supported by the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University. Special thanks are due to Professor K. S. Inglis for guidance as chairman of the editorial board, and to Professor P. F. Bourke, director of the R.S.S.S., A.N.U., and Mr P. J. Grimshaw, the school's business manager. Those who helped in planning the shape of the work have been mentioned in earlier volumes.

Within Australia the A.D.B. is indebted to many librarians and archivists in Canberra and in each State; to the secretaries of historical and genealogical societies; to the Australian War Memorial and the Australian National Gallery in Canberra; to the registrars of probates in the various States, and of the Supreme and Family courts, whose co-operation has solved many problems; to various town and shire clerks; to the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, Sydney; to the Royal Humane Society of Australasia; to the Institution of Engineers, Australia; to the Melbourne Club; and to the Australian Department of Defence for authenticating a host of details. Warm thanks for the free gift of their time and talents are due to contributors, to members of the editorial board and to the working parties. For particular advice, the A.D.B. owes much to the late Brigadier M. Austin, Bryan Gandevia, Michael D. de B. Collins Persse, F. B. Smith, the late G. R. Vazenry, Peter Yeend, and to the staff of the Petherick Room, National Library of Australia.

Essential assistance with birth, death and marriage certificates has been provided by the co-operation of registrars in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory; by the General Register offices in Edinburgh and in London; by Bureaux of Vital Statistics in State Health departments in California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas, United States of America; by the Ministry of Health, British Columbia, and the registrars-general, Ontario and New Brunswick, Canada; by the Immigration Department, Hong Kong; by the assistant-archivist, St Paul's Church, Valetta, Malta; by the mayors of Montpellier, Neuilly-sur-Seine, Nice and Reims in France, and of Noumea, New Caledonia; by civil status officers in Arizzo, Como, Ferraro and Milan, Italy; by the state archives in Frankfurt am Main and Aachen, the Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland, Hannover, and the Evangelischer Regionalverband, Frankfurt am Main, Federal Republic of Germany; by the Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Vienna; and by the South African embassy, Canberra.

For other assistance overseas, thanks are due to Sean Murphy, Dublin, and Betty Iggo, Edinburgh; to Information Systems Consultants Inc., Washington, D.C., U.S.A.; to the archives and libraries of the universities of Cambridge, Durham, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Oxford, the Imperial College of Science and Technology and University College, London, and Sidney Sussex College and Jesus College, Cambridge, England; to the universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Strathclyde, Scotland; to the Queen's University of Belfast, Northern Ireland; to Trinity College, University of Dublin, and University College, Cork, Ireland; to the universities of Auckland and Otago, New Zealand; to the University of Lausanne, Switzerland; to the Free University of Brussels, Belgium; to Friedrich-Schiller Universität, Jena, German Democratic Republic; to Georg-August Universität Göttingen and Philipps-Universität, Marburg, Federal Republic of Germany; and to Columbia University, Harvard University and the universities of Alaska, Chicago and Montana, U.S.A.

Gratitude is also due to the National Portrait Gallery, London, the Royal College of Physicians, the Royal College of Surgeons of England, the Royal Entomological Society of London, the Royal Geographical Society, the Royal Humane Society, the Royal Institute of Public Health and Hygiene, The Royal Meteorological Society, the Royal Society of Health, the Royal Veterinary College, the Geological Society, the British Psychoanalytical Society, the City of London School and the Institute of Psychoanalysis, all in London, to the Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh, to the Department of Justice and the National Archives of Montreal, the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, and the parliamentary archives and the chief coroner, British Columbia, Canada; to the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, the reference librarian, Alexander Turnbull Library, and the Ministry of Defence, Wellington, and the Department of Justice, Lower Hutt, New Zealand; to the Archives Cantonales Vaudoises, Chavannes-pres-Renens, Switzerland; to the state archivist, Oslo; to the Geological Society of America and St Andrew's Cathedral, Honolulu, and the Historical Services Division, Department of the Army,Washington, D.C., U.S.A.; and to other individuals and institutions who have co-operated with the A.D.B.

The A.D.B. deeply regrets the death in 1989 of Dr Jim Gibbney, for eighteen years a dedicated and cheerful research editor. The deaths of such notable contributors as F. R. Arnott, Peter Bartlett, Arthur E. E. Bottrell, C. Craven-Sands, W. G. K. Duncan, W. W. Fielder, D. G. Gallon, S. H. Gilbert, A. C. Gray, A. W. Hammett, F. C. Hutley, Phyllis Mander-Jones, John R. Robertson, Mary Turner Shaw, L. A. Simpson, G. R. Vazenry, John M. Ward and Marjorie Wymark are also regretted, as are those of J. A. La Nauze, D. I. McDonald and L. L. Robson who died after the text of this volume was typeset.

Grateful acknowledgment is due to the director and staff of Melbourne University Press; to the editorial and research staff in Canberra: Darryl Bennet, Helen Boxall, Frank Brown, Martha Campbell, Suzanne Edgar, Gillian Fulloon, Helga Griffin, Hilary Kent, Diane Langmore, Margaret Steven and Sheila Tilse; to Susan Hogan in Sydney, Jennifer Harrison in Brisbane, Joyce Gibberd in Adelaide, Wendy Birman in Perth, Anne Rand in Hobart, Geoff Browne and Syd Tregellis-Smith in Melbourne, and Sally O'Neill at Oxford, England; to the administrative staff: Anne-Marie Gaudry, Edna Kauffman and Ivy Meere; thanks are also due to former staff members—Sarah Ferguson, Rachel Hewson, Merrilyn Lincoln, Peter Milthorp and Ann Smith—who worked on Volume 12.

The Foundation Chairman

When Sir Keith Hancock, the most honoured of Australian historians, died on 13 August 1988 in his ninety-first year, he had seen ten volumes of the Australian Dictionary of Biography appear, and launched the tenth with a sunny speech that displayed both pride and modesty: pride in the work, modesty about his own part in creating it. The future of his creation is now so solidly assured that we can confidently expect a long entry on him in a volume as yet unnumbered. In the meantime Volume 12, completing the third stage of the grand enterprise which began under his leadership three decades ago, is a good place for a brief note on what he did for it.

At Oxford in the late 1940s Professor Hancock was on the central committee of the

Dictionary of National Biography

, later, in Australia, he wrote of that work: 'Its patriotic value, if the phrase may be permitted, is rooted in its scholarly value'. The conjunction of patria and scholarship is significant, made by a man who entitled his autobiography Country and Calling. Writing his life of Smuts in the 1950s, he had good reason to curse the absence of a South African equivalent to the D.N.B. which he reckoned could have saved him a year or more.

When he returned to Australia in 1957 as founding director of the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University, the idea of a local D.N.B. appealed to him, both as an Australian and as a scholar. He shrewdly saw it as just the sort of initiative that would make people in the State universities value the A.N.U., and one of his first archiepiscopal acts was to summon historians from all over the country to a conference on this and other matters, held at the A.N.U. in August 1957. His A.N.U. colleague Laurie Fitzhardinge had proposed a dictionary of biography at the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science conference of 1951 and had begun to compile a national biographical register. Should this register be continued? More ambitiously, should a biographical dictionary be undertaken? The historians answered 'Yes' to both questions and went home leaving Hancock to begin the planning.

By 1960 the enterprise had an Editorial Board, of A.N.U. people and volume editors, a broadly based National Committee and Working Parties in every State. There was not yet a general editor, or even sufficient agreement around the country on Hancock's plan for having a single person rather than a group of, say, four to do that job. He himself was having to give the project more of his own time than he had expected. By late 1961 he had convinced everybody, and a committee chose Douglas Pike, professor of history at the University of Tasmania, to be general editor from January 1962. Then Hancock had to persuade the A.N.U. Council to create a new chair and to appoint Pike to it in accordance with regular procedures. To a few colleagues he sent a draft of his paper for Council, asking if they thought he had got it right. 'I want to leave Council with the feeling that it is not being presented with a fait accompli. I also want to leave them with the feeling that they will be awful cads, and the flouters of nationwide academic opinion, if they don't help us to get Douglas Pike on this campus.'

Council approved. Pike moved to Canberra in January 1964, after two years of commuting in which progress was impeded by a conflict between M. H. Ellis, Sydney journalist and historian, and everybody else. 'The good ship ADB', Hancock said later, 'nearly became a wreck in Sydney Harbour' until Douglas Pike 'salvaged the sinking ship and set it on course'. The salvage was a joint operation. As chairman of Editorial Board and National Committee, and as pipe-smoking neighbour, Hancock gave the general editor counsel, blessing and protection while he turned a vulnerable project into what Bede Nairn describes at the beginning of Volume 6 as 'a complex and efficient production system'. The appearance of Volume 1 in 1966 was perhaps the most gratifying event in Hancock's first year of retirement. By the time he launched Volume 10, twenty years later, he was sure that the makers of the A.D.B. had not only made good their ambition to produce a work comparable with the British model, but had done better. They had been both more scholarly, he judged, delving deep into primary sources, whereas the D.N.B. relied more often than not on published material, and also more adventurous, reaching out beyond the eminent in church and state, commerce and industry, science and literature and art, to include people 'widely representative of endeavour and achievement on every front of our experience as an emergent nation'. To prove the point he cited the entry on Eddie Gilbert, Aboriginal cricketer. The comparison was deeply gratifying to Keith Hancock as scholar and as independent Australian Briton.