Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 14

View articles from the Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 14

Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 14

Period: 1940-1980
Names: Di-Kel
General Editor: John Ritchie
Published in hardcopy 1996


In 1940 Alex Gurney's comic strip, 'Bluey and Curley', centred on two larrikin Australian soldiers, first appeared in the pages of Melbourne's Sun-News Pictorial. In 1980 Special Broadcasting Services (S.B.S.) commenced television transmission in Sydney on channel VHF-0 and included an Italian variety programme. Many of the events that occurred and the people who rose to prominence in the intervening years provide the subject matter for volume 14 of the Australian Dictionary of Biography. It contains 666 entries by 572 authors and is the second of four in the 1940-1980 section which will include some 2700 lives.

Spanning the years from 1940 to 1980, volumes 13 to 16 illustrate such themes as immigration, accelerating industrialism, urbanization and suburbanization, and war (World War 11, Korea, Malaya and Vietnam). While other themes are also illuminated —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 14 the subjects range from John Fraser, a national serviceman who died at the age of 23, to the temperance worker Cecelia Downing who lived until she was 94 years old. Although the majority of the men and women included in this volume flourished in the 1940-1980 period, a minority of the lives, like that of the anthropologist Alfred Haddon, who was born in 1855, 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. Volume 13, the first of the 1940-1980 section, was published in 1993. 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 volumes 12 to 14. An index to volumes 1-12 was published in 1991 and the A.D.B. was produced on CDROM in 1996. 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 marked a change from the floruit to the 'date of death' principle. When volumes 15-16 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 been accumulated in the biographical register at the A.D.B.'s offices 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 Mrs Pauline Hore, 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 to 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 Returned & Services League of Australia, the Australian Department of Defence and the Australian Red Cross Society; to the Royal Society of New South Wales, the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, the Royal Australasian College of Radiologists, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, the New South Wales Medical Board, the Dental Board of New South Wales, the Royal Humane Society of New South Wales, the Medical Women's Society of New South Wales, the Institution of Radio and Electronic Engineers, the New South Wales Police Service, the Australian Federation of Business and Professional Women, the Institute of Chartered Accountants, the Chartered Institute of Transport in Australia, the Chartered Institute of Company Secretaries in Australia, the Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association of New South Wales, the State Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber of Automotive Industries of New South Wales, the Chamber of Manufactures of New South Wales, the Motor Traders Association of New South Wales, the National Australia Bank, the Westpac Banking Corporation, the Australasian Performing Right Association, the Australian Music Examinations Board, International P.E.N. Australia, the Australian Club, the United Grand Lodge of New South Wales, the Loyal Orange Institution of New South Wales, the Royal Sydney Golf Club, the Australian Golf Club, the New South Wales Ladies' Golf Union, the Australian Jockey Club, Hockey New South Wales, the Surf Life Saving Association of Australia, the South Sydney District Rugby League Football Club, the Salvation Army, and Relationships Australia, all in Sydney; to the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, the Royal Australian Chemical Institute, the Royal Australian College of Ophthalmologists, the Australian Institute of Radiographers, the Baker Medical Research Institute, the Dental Board of Australia, the Australian Institute of Physics, the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, the Society of Automotive Engineers, the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, the Institute of Patent Attorneys of Australia, the Churches of Christ in Australia, the Mercy Public Hospitals Inc., the Villa Maria Society for the Blind, the Victorian Artists Society, the Education History Research Service and the Australian Hockey Association, all in Melbourne; and to the Royal Australian Institute of Architects, the Australian Academy of Science, the Institution of Engineers, Australia, the National Heart Foundation of Australia and the Air Power Studies Centre, all in Canberra. 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, Denis Darmanin, Don Fairweather, Stephen Foster, Bill Gammage, Bryan Gandevia, Elena Govor, David Horner, Tom Lawrence, Norm Neill, Hank Nelson, Marianne Pikier, Caroline Simpson, Kenneth Smith, F. B. Smith, R. J. M. Tolhurst, Peter Yeend, Norbert Zmijewski, and to 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 London and Edinburgh; by the registrars-general in Fiji and Papua New Guinea; by the Department of Home Affairs, South Africa, and the registrar of births and deaths in Hong Kong; by the bureaux of vital statistics in the State Health departments in California, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey and New York; by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Washington, the State Board of Health, Indianopolis, the county clerks' offices in Cook and Crawford counties, Ohio, and Youngstown County, Illinois, United States of America; by the National Archives of Canada, Ottawa, and the registrars-general, Toronto and Ontario; by the Public Registry, Valetta, Malta; by the City Archives, Oslo and Kristiansand, Norway, and Stockholm, Sweden; by the mayors of Auteuil, Chantilly, Dijon, Neuilly-sur-Seine, Nice, and le, 7e and 14e arrondissements, Paris, France; by civil status offices in Rome and Milan, Italy; by the registry offices at Aachen, Frankfurt-am-Main, Freiburg, Kreuzberg von Berlin and Munich, and the district court of Lübeck, Germany; by the city archives at Basel, Switzerland; by the civil registration offices at Antwerp, Belgium; by the National Archives in Warsaw, Poland; by the National Archives and the Central Statistical Office, Budapest, Hungary; by the Lithuanian State Archives; by St Nicholas Church, Svendborg, Denmark; by the consuls-general for the Czech Republic, Latvia and Poland, in Sydney; by the Belgian, Croatian, Danish, Mexican, Slovak and Spanish embassies, and by the South African High Commission, Canberra.

For other assistance overseas, thanks are due to Pauric Dempsey and Oonagh Walsh, Dublin, and Betty Iggo, Edinburgh; to Susan Luensmann of Remote Control, Virginia, U.S.A.; to the universities of Bristol, Cambridge, Durham, London, Oxford and Sheffield, Imperial College, London, the London School of Economics and Political Science, University College and King's College, London, St John's College, Cambridge, Oriel College, Keble College and St Edmund Hall, Oxford, and Winchester College, Winchester; to the University of Edinburgh, George Watson's College, Edinburgh, the Edinburgh College of Art, and the universities of Aberdeen, Glasgow and St Andrew's, Scotland; to the National University of Ireland, the University of Dublin and Trinity College, Dublin; to the University of Wales, Aberystwyth; to Humboldt-Universität and the Freie Universität, Berlin, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Freiburg, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, Georg-August Universität, Göttingen, and the Technische Universität, Dresden, Germany; to the Universite Stendhal, Grenoble, France, the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, the Pontificio Collegio Urbano 'de Propaganda Fide', Rome, and Charles University, Prague; to Columbia University, New York, Harvard University, the Colorado School of Mines, Clark University, Massachusetts, Renselaar Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York, Cape Western University, Cleveland, Ohio, and the universities of California, Chicago, Miami, Michigan, Minnesota and Pennysylvania, U.S.A.; and to the University of Malaya, the Victoria University of Wellington, the University of Otago and Otago Girls' School, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Gratitude is also due to the Royal Anthropological Institute, the Royal College of Music, the Royal Academy of Music, the Royal College of Organists, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, the Royal College of Physicians, the Royal College of Surgeons of England, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the Royal Veterinary College, the Royal Geographical Society, the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Institute of Physics, the Society of Radiographers, the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, the Institute of Marine Engineers, Trinity College of Music, the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, the Guild Hall, the British Academy, the Commonwealth Institute, the Inner Temple, the College of Arms, the Wellcome Trust, the Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood, Lambeth Palace Library, the Royal Air Force Museum, the Air Historical Branch, R.A.F., and the British Architectural Library, all in London; to the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, the Guild of Church Musicians, Surrey, the Military History Society, Berkshire, and the Ministry of Defence, Gosport, Hayes, Innsworth and London, England; to the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, and the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland, to the staffs of the Österreichisches Biographisches Lexikon, Vienna, Dictionary of Canadian Biography, Toronto, and Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, Wellington, to the reference librarian, Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, the New Zealand Defence Force, Wellington, and the New Zealand Institute of Forestry; to the Society of American Foresters, Maryland, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc., New Jersey, 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 J. I. Ackroyd, Harold E. Albiston, R. R. Andrew, Jean F. Arnot, C. R. Badger, B. D. Beddie, Jean Caswell Benson, Catherine Berndt, Rupert J. Best, L. J. Blake, D. G. Bowd, W. S. Bracegirdle, J. J. Bray, Greg Brown, C. A. Burmester, Ian Burn, Ivan Chapman, Michael J. Cigler, Margaret Bridson Cribb, Frances A. M. L. Derham, George Dicker, Nicholas Draffin, E. W. Dunlop, Jill Eastwood, K. T. H. Farrer, Jim Faull, L. F. Fitzhardinge, Harley W. Forster, Lyndsay Gardiner, G. H. Gellie, M. Gibson, W. D. H. Graham, Nancy Gray, F. C. Green, Patsy Hardy, Alexandra Hasluck, L. M. Heath, John Horan, R. A. Howell, L. J. Hume, S. H. Hume, F. Jacka, G. F. James, Donald H. Johnson, Nancy Keesing, Mary Lazarus, G. L. Lockley, Margeurite Mahood, K. S. Millingen, E. J. Minchin, Christopher Morris, Fred Morton, Leonard J. T. Murphy, F. M. Neasey, W. A. Neilson, Neville Parker, John E. Price, John H. Reeves, E. L. Richard, J. E. L. Rutherford, C. E. Sayers, Michael Shepherd, Bertha M. Smith, Monica Starke, H. J. Summers, T. G. Vallance, Russel Ward, Alan Warden and A. 0. Watson.

Grateful acknowledgment is due to the director and staff of Melbourne University Press, and to Sheila Tilse, Anne-Marie Gaudry, Daniel Campbell, Heather Robinson and Julie Inder who worked for the A.D.B. while Volume 14 was being produced.