Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9

View articles from the Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9

Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9

Period: 1891-1939
Names: Gil-Las
General Editor: Bede Nairn and Geoffrey Serle
Published in hardcopy 1983


This volume of the Australian Dictionary of Biography, containing 678 entries by 460 authors, is the third of six for the 1891-1939 section. The two volumes of the 1788-1850 section and the four of the 1851-1890 section have already been published. The late Douglas Pike was general editor for volumes 1 to 5 and Bede Nairn for volume 6 and Nairn and Geoffrey Serie for volumes 7 and 8. The chronological division was designed to simplify production, for more than 7000 entries will be included in volumes 1-12. (Volumes 1-2, for 1788-1850, had 1116 entries; volumes 3-6, for 1851-1890, 2053; and 4000 are planned for volumes 7-12). 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). A general index volume will be prepared when the three sections are completed.

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. Many others have been included as representatives of ethnic and social minorities and of a wide range of occupations, or as innovators, notorieties or eccentrics. Many 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; however, many thousands of these names, and information about them, are accumulating in the biographical register at the Dictionary headquarters in the Australian National University.

Most authors were nominated by working parties. The burden of writing has been shared almost equally by university staff and by a wide variety of specialists in other fields.

The Australian Dictionary of Biography is a project based on consultation and co-operation. 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. Its policies were originally determined by the national committee, composed mainly of representatives from the departments of history in each Australian university. At 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 Australian Dictionary of Biography can truly be called a national project.


Special thanks are due to Professor K. S. Inglis and Dr A. Barnard for their guidance as chairman and acting chairman of the editorial board and to Professor G. M. Neutze, director of the Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University, and Mr P. Grimshaw, business manager of the research school. Those who helped in planning the shape of the work have been mentioned in earlier volumes.

Within Australia the Dictionary is greatly indebted to many librarians and archivists in Canberra and in each State; to the secretaries of many historical and genealogical societies; to the Australian War Memorial, Australian National Gallery and Department of Veterans' Affairs, in Canberra; to the registrars of probates, in the various States, and of Supreme and Family Courts, whose generous co-operation has solved many problems; and to the Department of Defence for authenticating many details. Warm thanks for the free gift of their time and talents are due to all contributors and to all members of the national committee, editorial board, and the working parties. For particular advice the Dictionary owes much to M. Austin, Margaret Brennan, B. Gandevia and T. G. Vallance.

Essential assistance with birth, death and marriage certificates has been provided by the generous co-operation of registrars in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia, the Northern Territory, the Australian Capital Territory and Norfolk Island and by the government statist, Victoria; by the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand; by the General Register Office, Edinburgh, Scotland; by Bureaux of Vital Statistics in State Health departments in California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, Pennsylvania and South Carolina in the United States of America; by registrars-general in Fiji and Trinidad and the principal civil status officer, Port Louis, in Mauritius; by the mayors of Cannes, Pau, St Jean-de-Luz and Strasbourg in France; by the mayor of Bochum and the director, city archives, Braunschweig, Federal Republic of Germany; by the civil status officers, Genoa and Milan, Italy; by the archivist, Lund, Sweden; by the department of Internal Affairs, South Africa; by the mayor of Noumea, New Caledonia; and by the Royal Danish Embassy and the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany.

For assistance overseas, thanks are due to Sean Murphy, Dublin, and Ignatius Cleary, Corofin, Ireland; to Information Systems Consultants Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, in the United States of America; to the archives and/or libraries of the universities of Birmingham, Cambridge, Durham, Leeds, London, Manchester and Oxford and of the Imperial College of Science and Technology, King's College and University College, London, in England, of the universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, in Scotland, of Queen's University of Belfast, in Northern Ireland, and of Trinity College, University of Dublin, in Ireland, and of Stanford, California, Yale, Connecticut, and New York universities in the United States of America.

Thanks are also due to the British Architectural Library, the Chamberlain's Court, Guildhall, the Geological Society of London, the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, the Linnean Society of London, the Public Record Office, the Royal Academy of Arts, the Royal Academy of Music, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, the Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Philatelic Society, all in London, to Marlborough College, Wiltshire, and the Ministry of Defence, Middlesex, in England; to the National Archives, Indonesia; to Los Angeles Public Library, California, and Concordia Historical Institute and the National Personnel Records Centre, Missouri, in the United States of America; the Dictionaries of Canadian and South African Biographies; and other individuals and institutions who have co-operated with the Dictionary.

The Dictionary deeply regrets the death of such notable contributors as J. J. Auchmuty, K. A. Austin, W. Bossence, A. R. Chisholm, Rev. H. Condon, E. G. Coppel, Sir William Crowther, Monsignor J. H. Cullen, Alan Dougan, Philip Geeves, Helen Haenke, Morton Herman, K. Hindwood, H. T. E. Holt, T. S. Louch, Austin McCallum, C. A. McCallum, G. R. Manton, Jean Martin, Leslie Moorhead, E. J. R. Morgan, Barbara Penny, Father E. Rowland, H. E. Rundle, Alfred Stirling and Fred Williams.

Grateful acknowledgment is due to the director and staff of Melbourne University Press; to the editorial and research staff in Canberra: Frank Brown, Martha Campbell, Suzanne Edgar, James Gibbney, Helga Griffin, Diane Langmore, Merrilyn Lincoln, Sally O'Neill, Ann Smith and Margaret Steven; to Barbara Dale, Ruth Frappell and Michal Bosworth in Sydney, Betty Crouchley in Brisbane, Joyce Gibberd in Adelaide, Wendy Birman in Perth, Margaret Glover in Hobart, Mimi Colligan in Melbourne and Leonie Glen in London; and to the administrative staff: Helen Bankowski, Marion Consandine, Bronwyn Dingwall, Frances Dinnerville, Dianne Mahalm, Ivy Meere and Carolyn Page.