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.

Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 13

View articles from the Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 13

Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 13

Period: 1940-1980
Names: A-De
General Editor: John Ritchie
Published in hardcopy 1993


In January 1940 cheering crowds farewelled soldiers of the 6th Division as they sailed to do battle in the deserts of the Middle East. In December 1980 an inquest into the death of Azaria Chamberlain began at Alice Springs. Many of the events that occurred and the people who rose to prominence in the intervening years provide the subject matter for volume 13 of the Australian Dictionary of Biography. It contains 670 entries by 537 authors and is the first of four in the 1940-1980 section which will include some 2700 lives.

Spanning the years from 1940 to 1980, volumes 13 to 16 illuminate the themes of immigration, accelerating industrialism, urbanization and suburbanization, and war (World War II, Korea, Malaya and Vietnam). While other themes are also reflected— material progress, increasing cultural maturity, conservative and radical politics, conflict and harmony, loss of isolation and innocence—the emphasis of the biographies is on the individuals. The entries throw light on the complexity of the human situation, and on the greatness and the littleness of moral response and actual behaviour which this can evoke. In volume 13 the subjects range from Robert Davies, a midshipman who died at the age of 18, to the pharmacist Henry Cox who lived until he was 104 years old. Although the majority of the men and women included in these volumes flourished in the 1940-1980 period, a minority of the lives, like that of the explorer Caroline Barnett, who was born in 1860, reveal facets of Australian history long before 1940.

The two volumes of the 1788-1850 section, the four of the 1851-1890 section and the six of the 1891-1939 section were published from 1966 to 1990. 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, Serie for volume 11 and John Ritchie for volume 12. An index to volumes 1-12 was published in 1991. 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 6-12, for 1891-1939, 4042). For the period from 1788 to 1939, the placing of each individual's name in the appropriate section was determined by when he/she did his/her most important work (floruit). By contrast, the 1940-1980 section only includes individuals who died in this period. Volume 13 thus marks a change from the floruit to the 'date of death' principle. When volumes 13-16 have been completed, the A.D.B. will begin work on the period 1981-1990.

The choice of names for inclusion required prolonged consultation. After quotas were estimated, working parties in each State, and the Armed Services and Commonwealth working parties, 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 church, the professions, the arts and the labour movement. Some have been included as representatives of ethnic and social minorities, and of a wide range of occupations; others have found a place as innovators, notorieties or eccentrics. A number 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.

Most authors were nominated by working parties. The burden of writing has been shared almost equally by the staff of universities 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 A.N.U. has borne the cost of the headquarters staff, of much research and of occasional special contingencies, while other Australian universities have supported the project in numerous 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 these representatives, and with working parties, librarians, archivists and other local experts, as well as with research assistants in each Australian capital city and correspondents overseas. 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 H. G. Brennan, director of the R.S.S.S., and his predecessor Professor P. F. Bourke, 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, schools, colleges, universities, institutes, historical and genealogical societies, and numerous other organizations; to the editors of the Northern Territory Dictionary of Biography, to the Australian War Memorial, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, and the Australian Archives; to the archives and public records offices in the various States and Territories, and registrars of probates and of the Supreme and Family courts, whose co-operation has solved many problems; to various town and shire clerks; to the Police Department, the Australian Dental Association, Big Brother Movement Ltd, the Powerhouse Museum, the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, the Royal Humane Society of New South Wales, the Royal Society of New South Wales, the Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Technical and Further Education History Unit, all in Sydney; to the Royal Humane Society of Australasia, the Australian Society of Certified Practising Accountants, the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, the State Electricity Commission of Victoria, the Association of Professional Engineers Australia and the Victorian Artists Society, all in Melbourne; to the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists, Queensland; to the company historian, Qantas Airways Ltd; 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 Stuart W. Alldritt, Cecily Close, Chris Coulthard-Clark, Mary Eagle, Bill Gammage, Bryan Gandevia, Joan Hughes, Oliver MacDonagh, Norm Neill, Hank Nelson, Greg Pemberton, Bill Ramson, Caroline Simpson, Kenneth Smith, F. B. Smith, R. J. M. Tolhurst, Peter Yeend, Norbert Zmijewski, and the staff of the 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 the registrars general of the Bahamas, Bermuda and Papua New Guinea; by the registrar of births and deaths, Singapore; by Bureaux of Vital Statistics in State Health departments in California, Florida, Michigan and New York, United States of America; by the Ministry of Health, British Columbia, Canada; by the Public Registry, Valletta, Malta; by the State Archive, Kristiansand, and the Office of the Population Register, Larvik, Norway; by the mayors of Nice, Sablons, and 14e, 16e and 19e Arrondissements, Paris, France; by civil status officers in Altivole, Cagliari, Grumo Appula, Verona and Venice, Italy; by the citizens records officer in Nova Gorica, Slovenia; by the state archives in Bonn, Bremen, Charlottenburg von Berlin and Schmalkalden, and the Evangelisch Lutherische Landeskirche, Mecklenburg, Germany; by the State Archives, Basel, and the civil registration offices in Lucerne, Meyrin and Neuchâtel, Switzerland; by the State Archive in Cracow, Poland, and the consul general for Poland, Sydney; and by the German, Hungarian and South African embassies, Canberra.

For other assistance overseas, thanks are due to Oonagh Walsh, Dublin, and Betty Iggo, Edinburgh; to Susan Luensmann of Remote Control, Virginia, U.S.A.; to the archives and libraries of the universities of Cambridge, Durham, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Oxford, and Reading, Imperial College, London, the London School of Economics and Political Science, University College London, Stonyhurst College, Lancashire, and the Haberdashers' Aske's School, Elstree, England; to the University of Edinburgh, Scotland; to the University of Wales, Aberystwyth; to the University of Toronto, Canada; to the New Zealand Vice-Chancellors' Committee and the universities of Auckland and Canterbury, and Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand; to the universities of Geneva and Zurich, Switzerland; to Albert- Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Universität Greifswald, Ludwig- Maximilians-Universität Munich, Germany; and to New York University, Columbia University, New York, University of Rochester, New York, Harvard University, Louisiana State University, Queens College, New York, and Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

Gratitude is also due to the Royal Anthropological Institute, the Royal College of Music, the Royal College of Physicians, the Royal College of Surgeons of England, the Royal Geographical Society, the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Royal Society of Health, the British Association of Paediatric Surgeons, the Church Missionary Society, the Institute of Physics, the Institution of Electrical Engineers, the Wiener Library, and the Worshipful Company of Butchers, all in London; the British Association of Social Workers, Birmingham, the Old Bedfordians Club, Bedford, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, Milton Keynes, and the Ministry of Defence, Hayes and Innsworth, England; to the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and the Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh; the General Register and Record Office of Shipping and Seamen, Cardiff, Wales; to Kenya National Archives, Nairobi; to Deutscher Alpenverein E.V., Munich, Germany; to the staffs of the Österreichisches Biographisches Lexikon, Vienna, Dictionary of Canadian Biography, Toronto, and Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, Wellington; to Auckland Grammar School, the reference librarian, Alexander Turnbull Library, and the New Zealand Defence Force, Wellington, New Zealand; to the Leo Baeck Institute, New York, 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 deaths of such notable contributors as Richard E. Apperly, A. G. Austin, E. A. Beever, E. K. Braybrooke, W. L. Calov, Catherine Cameron, Manning Clark, Peter Cook, Arthur Corbett, R. M. Crawford, David Dexter, E. A. Dunphy, Diana Dyason, Malcolm S. S. Earlam, Brian Eaton, J. W. Evans, L. M. Field, Kathleen Fitzpatrick, L. R. Gardiner, Dorothy Green, Guy B. Gresford, Peter Harrison, Helen Heney, Wilfrid E. Henn, Ian Hogbin, Ronald Hopkins, E. J. H. Howard, J. C. Irwin, Prue Joske, M. J. B. Kenny, Coral Lansbury, T. J. Linane, Joan Lynravn, Arthur McMartin, I. W. Morley, Ada M. Norris, W. M. O'Neil, J. Percival, W. R. Ray, Gordon Rimmer, E. M. Robertson, A. de Q. Robin, G. H. Stephens, S. E. Stephens, G. Sturgeon, S. G. Tomlin, V. A. Warded, P. Wardle, Alan Watt, Rowan Webb and Harley Wood.

Grateful acknowledgment is due, as well, to the director and staff of Melbourne University Press, and to former A.D.B. staff members—Helen Boxall, Lindie Davey, Kathleen Dermody, Vicky Fairhall, Emma Grahame, Jenny Holmes, Hilary Kent and Jenny Newell—who worked on volume 13.