Australian Dictionary of Biography Volume 19: 1991–1995 (A–Z)
GABBEDY, JOHN PHILLIP (JACK) (1906–1991), banker and government adviser, was born on 19 September 1906 at Menzies, Western Australia, eldest of seven children of Victorian-born parents John Ernest Gabbedy, engine driver, and his wife Marcella, née Sherlock. In 1912 the family moved to Fremantle where Jack attended Christian Brothers’ College. He joined the State Department of Lands and Surveys in 1922 and was assigned to work on the newly established group settlement scheme, championed by Premier (Sir) James Mitchell [q.v.10] with the aim of attracting British migrants to develop new farms that would boost domestic food production. Intelligent and well-organised, Gabbedy attracted the notice of William (Bill) Vickery, a key figure in the administration of the scheme. By the age of twenty-one, he was responsible for the scheme’s stock records, a task involving frequent visits to the south-west of the State. Vickery’s dictum that they were dealing ‘not with components of a scheme but with human beings’ (Gabbedy 1988, 58) resonated with Catholic social teachings Gabbedy had absorbed in his youth; he later testified that he owed Vickery ‘a great deal of whatever understanding I have of what makes people tick’ (Gabbedy 1988, 60).
When the Agricultural Bank of Western Australia assumed administrative control of the group settlement scheme in October 1930, Gabbedy became principal ledger-keeper at its Perth head office, a post he held for three years. He was subsequently appointed a field inspector, relishing country postings and taking an active part in almost every aspect of community life. A capable footballer, cricketer, golfer, and competitive woodchopper, he was described as an ‘untiring, enthusiastic worker’ (Great Southern Leader 1934, 1) for local clubs. On 16 January 1937 at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Bunbury, he married Mary Josephine Boyd, a nurse.
Having been appointed as a paymaster officer, Royal Australian Naval Reserve in 1924, rising to lieutenant commander in 1937, Gabbedy began full-time duty on 5 September 1939, two days after World War II began. He served at the shore establishment HMAS Cerberus V (renamed Leeuwin) (1939–43 and 1945), East Fremantle; aboard the cruiser HMAS Adelaide in Australian waters (1943); and at shore establishments in Queensland, New Guinea, and New South Wales (1943–45). On 7 December 1945 he was demobilised at Leeuwin.
In 1945 the development-focused Agricultural Bank was reconstituted as a State-owned trading bank, the Rural and Industries (R&I) Bank of Western Australia. Gabbedy had been identified as one of its ‘up-and-comers’ (Spillman 1989, 130) and in December 1945 was despatched to open a branch at Carnamah in the Mid-West region, where he again threw himself into community life. He later managed branches at Narembeen (1947) and Manjimup (1948–53) and, in 1953, was promoted to officer-in-charge of the securities department at the Perth head office.
Five months later the sudden death of the only R&I commissioner with rural experience opened a door for Gabbedy. His selection above others with superior banking credentials sparked ‘quite a bubble’ (Spillman 1989, 130) in parliament. Allegations of political favour arose—while in Manjimup, Gabbedy and the minister for lands and agriculture Ernest Hoar had played golf together—and it was erroneously rumoured that Gabbedy had been Hoar’s campaign manager. The issue was settled when rapidly drafted legislation expanded the bank’s board from three to five commissioners, allowing the appointment of two officers with pre-war experience of commercial banking along with the elevation of Gabbedy.
Serving as a commissioner from 1953 to 1971, Gabbedy proved an adept problem solver, combining insight into the development of primary industries with keen political instincts, affability, and wit. During his term the previously country-focused bank established a competitive presence in Perth; it became a savings bank in 1956, and introduced blue light signature verification and Western Australia’s first automated cash dispenser.
Gabbedy served on numerous government advisory bodies, including periods as chairman of the Land Board, the Greyhound Racing Control Board, the Central Zone Development Commission, and the fundraising committee for the 1962 British Empire and Commonwealth Games. He also played a very public role in disaster relief, particularly following devastating bushfires around Dwellingup in 1961. In retirement he published a biography of Charles Mitchell (1972), a history of woodchopping in Western Australia (1981), and a two-volume history of the group settlement scheme (1988). Survived by his wife and their son and daughter, he died at Como, Perth, on 11 July 1991; his ashes were scattered on a lawn at Fremantle cemetery.
Gabbedy, Brian. Personal communication; Gabbedy, J. P. Group Settlement. Vol. 2, Its People, Their Life and Times—an Inside View. Nedlands: University of Western Australia Press, 1988; Gabbedy, J. P. Interview by Ken Spillman, 17 November 1987. Sound recording. State Library of Western Australia; Great Southern Leader (Pingelly). ‘St Matthew’s Club.’ 21 September 1934, 1; National Archives of Australia. A6769, GABBEDY, J. P.; Spillman, Ken. Horizons: A History of the Rural and Industries Bank of Western Australia. Nedlands: University of Western Australia Press, 1989.
GAME, JOHN AYLWARD (1915–1995), neurologist, was born on 3 June 1915 at Launceston, Tasmania, eldest son of Tasmanian-born parents Tasman Aylward Game, bank officer, and his wife Clarice Mary, née Turner. The family moved to Adelaide when John was a child. He was educated at the Collegiate School of St Peter and the University of Adelaide (MBBS, 1938). Awarded the British Medical Association prize for clinical medicine in 1937 and the Everard scholarship in 1938, he graduated top of his class.
In 1939 Game was appointed resident medical officer at the (Royal) Adelaide Hospital. Known as ‘Dr Chook Game’, he married the Adelaide-born charity worker and socialite Barbara Lancaster Beddome on 11 November 1939 at the chapel of his old school. Shortly after World War II broke out, on 30 January 1940 he was commissioned as a flight lieutenant in the Royal Australian Air Force’s Medical Branch. He worked in the Directorate of Medical Services, RAAF Headquarters, Melbourne, and rose to temporary wing commander (1943). From September 1945 he assisted in the repatriation of Australian prisoners of war from Singapore. By January 1946 he was commanding No. 6 RAAF Hospital, Heidelberg, Victoria. Demobilised on 20 March 1947, he later served on the RAAF Reserve, finishing as a temporary group captain in 1972.
Game undertook postgraduate study at the University of Melbourne (MD, 1947). Following a traditional career path for many Australian doctors aspiring to be specialists, he travelled overseas for further study from 1947 to 1949. The recipient of a Red Cross scholarship, he trained at the National Hospital for Nervous Diseases, London, where he came under the influence of Sir Charles Symonds, neurologist, and Francis Walshe, editor of the neurological journal Brain. Returning to Melbourne in 1950, Game was appointed assistant neurologist at the Alfred Hospital under Leonard Cox [q.v.13], whom he succeeded as honorary neurologist (1954–63). After moving into private practice in 1963, he continued to work as a consultant at the Alfred. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians in 1964.
Committed to the advancement of clinical neurology, Game had been a founding member of the Australian Association of Neurologists in 1950, serving as secretary (1950–65) and president (1965–74). As president, he negotiated with government to establish the status of clinical neurologists and to improve their remuneration. He had served on the original board of the Van Cleef Foundation, established in 1961 to fund a chair of neuroscience at the Alfred. One of the founders (1970) of the Australian Neurological Foundation (later the Brain Foundation), he was also an active member of the World Federation of Neurology, serving as a vice-president (1973–78). He was appointed OBE in 1981.
A fine clinician and organiser, Game was highly principled and forthright in his views. Not a researcher by nature, he published relatively little during his career, though he valued research. He retired in the mid-1980s owing to deteriorating health. Afflicted by Parkinson’s disease, he died on 4 December 1995 at Malvern, Victoria, and was cremated. His wife, daughter, and son survived him. He is remembered for his role in ‘shaping the development and organisation of Australian neurology for some two decades’ (Eadie 2000, 74–75).
Commonwealth Gazette. 15 February 1940, 394, 8 May 1947, 1294; Eadie, Mervyn J. The Flowering of a Waratah: The History of Australian Neurology and of the Australian Association of Neurologists. Sydney: John Libbey, 2000; Gilligan, Bernard. ‘Medical Fraternity Mourns Trail-Blazing Neurologist.’ Age (Melbourne), 3 January 1996, 16; ‘St Peter’s College Wedding.’ Advertiser (Adelaide), 13 November 1939, 6; Walker, Alan S. Medical Services of the RAN and RAAF. Vol. IV of Series 5 (Medical) of Australia in the War of 1939–1945. Canberra: Australian War Memorial, 1961.
GARE, NENE (1914–1994), writer and artist, was born on 9 May 1914 at Kent Town, Adelaide, South Australia, and named Doris Violet May, fourth of seven children of locally born parents John Henry Wadham, saddler, and his wife Mary, née Hounslow. After attending East Adelaide Public School and Muirden College, she studied painting at the Adelaide Art School. Growing up in the Depression, she felt her family’s straitened circumstances compared to their wealthy relations. This was the source of the empathy she would later have with Aboriginal and other people living in poverty. She dropped her given names in favour of Nene when she left Adelaide for Perth in 1939, where she worked as a typist (1939–42) while attending art classes at Perth Technical College. On 10 June 1941 she married Frank Ellis Gare, a public servant, at St George’s Cathedral, Perth.
Gare’s first short story was published by the Sunday Times (Perth) in 1943, and was followed by others in Perth and Adelaide newspapers. Her husband’s public service career required the family to move frequently, spending periods at Salamaua, Territory of Papua-New Guinea (1946–48), and back in Western Australia at Carnarvon (1952–54) and Geraldton (1954–62), where he was a district officer with the Department of Native Welfare. The Aboriginal families Nene met there inspired the principal characters of her first and most celebrated novel, The Fringe Dwellers (1961). A compelling account of the impact of 1950s assimilation policy on an Aboriginal family, the novel told the story of the clash of cultures and generations in a family pressured to leave their way of life on an urban reserve for a house in town.
Three memoirs followed Gare’s initial book: Green Gold (1963) drew on her experiences in Carnarvon; A House with Verandahs (1980), a memoir of her Adelaide childhood; and An Island Away (1981) describing the life of a patrol officer’s wife in New Guinea. A collection of short stories, Bend to the Wind, was published in 1978, and Kent Town: A 1920s Girlhood was published posthumously. Her writing drew closely on personal experience and observation, as she explained by reference to The Fringe Dwellers: ‘My novel is factual. I keep a diary. I keep notes. In my memory I hear Aboriginal people talking. I hear it and I type what I hear’ (Mattingley 2006, 19).
In 1962 Frank was appointed commissioner of native welfare and the family settled in Perth. Nene resumed painting, participating in many exhibitions, and winning several awards including the Canning Art prize (1978). Perth’s Swan River and her garden formed much of her subject matter, but she also painted local landmarks, usually in oils or water colours. Sometimes she donated the proceeds of sales to organisations she supported, including Amnesty International and People for Nuclear Disarmament. She also continued her own learning, undertaking courses externally at Murdoch University between 1980 and 1982 in French, literature, and semiotics.
The Fringe Dwellers was the source of much of the acclaim Gare attracted during her literary career, and was favourably reviewed in major Australian newspapers, as well as the London Observer and the Irish Times. Discussing the novel, the anthropologist Diane Barwick [q.v.17] wondered if anthropological material including ‘the impact of change on individuals’ can best be presented in the novel form (NLA MS 8294). By 1985 the book had been reprinted many times and set as a school text. It was adapted as a feature film directed by Bruce Beresford and after a premiere at the Sydney Film Festival in 1986 was a finalist at the Cannes Film Festival the same year. Filmed in south-west Queensland with Gare often attending, it starred Aboriginal actors such as Oodgeroo Noonuccal (Kath Walker) [q.v.], Ernie Dingo, Justine Saunders, and Bob Mazza, and was the first Australian film to cast Indigenous actors in all the leading roles.
Known for her empathy and friendliness, Gare believed that the strong had a responsibility to help the weak, that nations should share their resources equally, and that ‘there are right and wrong choices and the right choice is a lot easier to see than we will admit’ (Age, 1994). Described as sensitive and delicate, she was nevertheless ‘vigorous in her affirmation of life’s fullness and simplicity’ (Campbell 1994, 21). After suffering from heart disease for several years, she died on 24 May 1994 in her home at Shelley, Western Australia, and was cremated. Her husband, two daughters, and two sons survived her; another son had died in his infancy.
Age (Melbourne). ‘Obituary Nene Gare, 1914–1994.’ 7 June 1994, 20; Campbell, Marion. ‘Writer Committed to Underprivileged.’ Australian, 17 June 1994, 21; Canberra Times. ‘The Unfortunates Who Are Trapped between Two Worlds.’ 21 October 1961, 17; Haebich, Anna. Spinning the Dream: Assimilation in Australia 1950–1970. Fremantle: Fremantle Press, 2008; Mattingley, Christobel. ‘An Unassuming Radical: The Powerful Influence of Author Nene Gare’s Work.’ National Library of Australia News 16, no. 7 (April 2006): 19–21; National Library of Australia MS 8294, Papers of Nene Gare.
GERARD, WILLIAM GEOFFREY (1907–1994), company director, and GERARD, KENNETH EDWARD (KEN) (1912–1993), company director and electrical engineer, were the second and third sons of South Australian–born parents Alfred Edward Gerard [q.v.8], electrical engineer, and his wife Elsie Maria, née Goodman. Geoff was born on 6 June 1907 at Salisbury, South Australia, and was educated at Adelaide Technical High School. Ken, born on 24 February 1912 at Prospect, South Australia, was educated at North Adelaide Primary School and Prince Alfred College.
Concerned that the family business in North Adelaide would be unable to support four sons, their father split its manufacturing and wholesaling sections between the boys. Hubert and Jack took over the latter, while Geoff and Ken joined the manufacturing division, which in 1931 was reconstituted as Gerard Electrics Manufacturers Ltd (GEM). Geoff became managing director and, on his father’s death in 1950, succeeded him as chairman. Ken continued studying part time; in 1935 he gained a diploma in electrical engineering from the South Australian School of Mines and Industries (SASMI) and was employed as a lecturer the following year. Appointed a director of GEM in 1938, he became factory manager.
On 10 November 1932, Geoff married Elsie Lesetta, née Lowe at Pirie Street Methodist church. In the same church, on 18 December 1935, Ken married Hestia Mary, née Follett; the marriage would be dissolved in 1974. His training and growing expertise in the field of plastics, combined with his brother’s entrepreneurship, led to GEM becoming a national leader in the field of electrical fittings and plastic moulding. In 1936 the company opened new premises at Bowden. The trade name Clipsal described its main product; clip-on electrical fittings which could fit any size of metal conduit. Wartime brought a significant increase in the company’s sales and a growth in staff numbers to 180. Neither brother served in the armed forces as their occupations were classified as reserved. Recognising the potential for expansion, immediately after the war the company increased its capital from £20,000 to £50,000 by creating new shares for sale to family members. Capacity at Bowden expanded and land was purchased, but increased production was slow because of shortages of building materials and labour. In 1951 a new plastic mouldings plant was constructed. Further growth occurred as the company moved into polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastics. By the time Geoff retired in 1976, the Bowden plant covered 10,000 square metres and employed 600 staff.
Regarded as extremely ambitious and tough, but fair, Geoff was prominent in South Australian and national business affairs. He was appointed CMG in 1963. For more than twenty years he served on the executive of the South Australian and Australian Chamber of Manufactures (president, 1953–54), and was president (1954–55) of the Associated Chambers of Manufactures Australia. He was president (1961–64) of the Liberal and Country League in South Australia and president (1952, 1957) of the Metal Industries Association of South Australia. In 1954 he received its Florence M. Taylor Medal for meritorious service. A foundation Federal councillor of the Electrical Manufacturers of Australia, he was appointed to the council of the Standards Association of Australia and the Commonwealth Immigration Planning Council (1957–68).
Sporting a toothbrush moustache, Geoff loved overseas travel, and also took breaks at the family property at Stirling, and caravan trips with his wife and children. He enjoyed the garden of his Medindie mansion, regular social tennis, and without fail enjoyed a cigar and a glass of whisky before dinner. The Australian American Association (founding member; president, 1961–63), the Rotary Club of Prospect (president, 1953), and the Kooyonga Golf Club (captain, 1953–54, 1976–67) were among the organisations he supported. He chaired South Australia’s Coral Sea Week Committee. Survived by his wife, son and daughter, he died at Medindie on 21 February 1994 and was buried at Enfield Memorial Park.
Ken was mild-mannered and friendly, enjoying golf, food and wine. He served as the first president of the South Australian branch of the Plastics Institute and later as its Federal president (1952–53). Active in the Australian Institute of Metals (president, 1950; vice-president, 1954), he was also a member of the Institution of Engineers Australia and, for over thirty years, was the manufacturers’ representative on the electrical approvals standards committee of Standards Australia. He retained his connection with the SASMI (South Australian Institute of Technology from 1960) as inaugural lecturer in plastics (1944–46), served on its council (1963–84), and was awarded an honorary fellowship in 1986. On 23 March 1974 he married Audrey Gabriel Horowitz in a civil ceremony at Burnside. He was appointed MBE in 1982. A Freemason, he was given the rarely conferred honorary title of past grand master of the Grand Lodge of South Australia. Survived by his wife, two sons and daughter, he died at his home at Medindie Gardens on 3 May 1993 and was cremated.
The brothers’ chief philanthropic activity was their support of service organisations, principally Rotary. Although never a student at Prince Alfred College, Geoff helped form its Foundation and served as inaugural chairman (1974). In 1994–95 Geoff’s son Robert persuaded Gerard Industries to donate $1 million to build the Clipsal Innovation Centre at the school to commemorate the lives of both Geoff and Ken. The college named a theatre after him, and Ken was memorialised with the Ken E. Gerard Workshop.
Aeuckens, Annely. The People’s University: The South Australian School of Mines and Industries and the South Australian Institute of Technology, 1889–1989. Adelaide: South Australian Institute of Technology, 1989; Britton, Heather. The Home of the Trade, 80 Years of Gerard and Goodman. Adelaide: Custom Press, 1997; Gerard, Robert. Personal communication; Gibbs, R. M. A History of Prince Alfred College. Adelaide: Peacock Publications, 2008.
GIBB, CECIL AUSTIN (CEC) (1913–1994), psychologist and university administrator, was born on 18 August 1913 at Marrickville, Sydney, elder child of locally born Harry Austin Gibb, sawmill manager, and his Queensland-born wife Sophia, née Renner. Educated at a series of Queensland schools and at Fort Street Boys’ High School, Sydney, Cec studied psychology and mathematics, and then economics at the University of Sydney (BA Hons, 1935; BEc, 1939; MA, 1940). For his honours thesis on ‘The Psychology of Noise’ he received a university medal in 1935.
Highly commended for his clarity, common sense, attention to method, and geniality by Professor H. T. Lovell [q.v.10] and A. H. Martin [q.v.15], Gibb worked for the New South Wales Department of Education (1936–37), doing ‘factor analysis of school examinations’ (Gibb 1991). His research under the direction of Harold Wyndham [q.v.18] also led to the department’s acceptance of left-handedness in pupils and teachers. Of more long-term significance, work under Wyndham developed Gibb’s skill in factor analysis, a statistical technique for delineating the measurable dimensions of complex phenomena. In 1937 the University of Sydney appointed him assistant lecturer in psychology. He married Margaret Vera Young, a stenotypist, at St Alban’s Church of England, Epping, on 12 August 1939. She typed his master’s thesis, a pioneering (in Australia) application of factor analysis to the study of personality; it gained him a second university medal. Committed to adult education, he lectured after hours on psychology and economics to the Retail Traders Training Institute (1940–41).
During World War II Gibb served (1942–46) in the Australian Army Psychology Service, rising to temporary major (1945); he was briefly in the Citizen Military Forces in 1942, before transferring to the Australian Imperial Force. As a member of the Officers’ Pre-Selection Board from November 1943 to September 1944, he was responsible for assessing men’s aptitude for officer-training. This work shifted his interest from personality to leadership. He formulated an increasingly influential contextual view in which leaders were not bearers of inherited traits. Rather leadership was a role that emerged when group conditions enabled individuals to interact in observable ways about which science could generalise. Having administered tests in Darwin and New Guinea, he was transferred to the Reserve of Officers in March 1946.
In the 1940s universities in the United States of America were leading the development of experimental psychology, and American corporations were interested in applying findings to better management. After resuming at the University of Sydney, Gibb enrolled as a doctoral candidate at the University of Illinois (PhD, 1949), funded by Australia’s Special Plan for Post-Graduate Training Overseas. Raymond B. Cattell, an expert in psychological measurement, supervised his thesis, titled ‘The Emergence of Leadership in Small Temporary Groups of Men’. Gibb returned briefly to teaching at Sydney, before resigning in November 1950 to join Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, United States.
At Dartmouth Gibb coordinated an innovative interdisciplinary program, involving psychology, communications, philosophy, and sociology. In purpose-built facilities, faculty and students were encouraged to observe their own interactions as data for building theories about human relations. He also developed a protocol for observing teacher-student interaction. Published papers from his master’s and doctoral researches led the editors of the Handbook of Social Psychology (1954) to commission his chapter on the psychology of leadership. The scientific products firm E. I. Du Pont de Nemours & Co. employed him as a consultant in the summer of 1955, to advise on employee motivation.
Family pressures to return to Australia and Dartmouth’s unwillingness to give him tenure prompted Gibb to seek an Australian appointment. Turned down by the University of Queensland, he applied to Canberra University College (CUC) and was appointed foundation professor of psychology in 1955. He found congenial the smallness of both Canberra and the college. His inaugural lecture celebrated the relevance of psychology to ‘any situation where some persons are responsible for controlling or changing the behaviour of others’ (Gibb 1956, 3), and affirmed that all psychology was necessarily social. Yet he also held that psychology is a biological science and insisted that his department be placed in the science faculty. He was chairman of the Australian branch of the British Psychological Society in 1958. The dynamics of families was one of his research interests at the time, though he found resistance to his highly mathematical approach. Human behaviour in formal organisations remained his abiding interest; with other CUC social scientists, he participated in a series of seminars called ‘Authority, Hierarchy and Leadership’. In 1962 he was contracted to the Educational Testing Service at Princeton University, New Jersey, United States; his work included the study of executive decision-making.
Appointed OBE in 1970, Gibb was esteemed for his practice of leadership, as well as for his researched knowledge of leadership’s psychology. Having strongly supported the amalgamation of CUC with The Australian National University (ANU) in 1960, he served as deputy chairman of the board of the School of General Studies (1966–71). He found in the fellowship of Canberra Rotary Club (president, 1973–74) an additional forum for the discussion of university affairs. The expansion of higher education continued to engage him as both a practical problem and theme of academic research. In 1969 he began to inquire into the best methods for universities to select from applicants for enrolment. Accepting his recommendation that the university should attach less importance to formal test scores at matriculation, the ANU initiated student recruitment in the final year of high school. In 1972 his visiting fellowships at the universities of Washington and Edinburgh focused on the social psychology of universities. The ANU appointed him acting head of its Office of Research in Academic Methods in 1977, but his retirement in 1978 gave him little chance to shape the office’s research program. His work on universities and their systems continued in the form of a short monograph (1979) on the standardisation of Australian universities admissions processes, commissioned by the Tertiary Education Commission.
Gibb’s focus was not always on university affairs. His papers include two addresses to graduating nurses on the social aspects of their occupation. A (childless) citizen of the Australian Capital Territory, he formed views on the design of its school system. When the public debated whether IQ tests should be used to stream the academically gifted, his opinion was that such streaming fostered ‘class distinctions which are contrary to our contemporary ideology’ (Gibb 1957, 3). In 1970 he agreed to examine a scene of rapid change far removed from Canberra and from elites’ decision-making: the future of Indigenous Australians on the cattle stations of the Northern Territory. At the invitation of the Gorton government, he chaired a committee of officials and industry representatives that toured the Northern Territory. Anticipating that pastoral work could not continue to sustain large camps on pastoral leases, the Gibb Committee report (1971) advised how Aboriginal people could be encouraged into other occupations and enterprises without having to migrate to cities.
Elected a fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia in 1956, Gibb also sat on Australia’s United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Advisory Committee (1960–64). He resigned his ASSA fellowship in 1993, on grounds of his inactivity. Described by Cattell as ‘a gentlemanly, scholarly person … possessed of a good sense of humour’ (NLA MS 9231), he was an outstanding teacher and university administrator. Survived by his wife, he died on 1 May 1994 in Canberra. The ANU Research School of Psychology seminar series is named in his honour.
Cook, Michael. ‘A Distinguished Career at ANU.’ Canberra Times, 14 May 1994, 6, ‘Emeritus Professor Cecil Gibb 1913–1994.’ ANU Reporter, 25 May 1994, 11; Gibb, C. A. Rats, Relations and Roles: Inaugural Lecture Delivered at the Canberra University College on 5 September 1956. Canberra: Canberra University College, 1956; Gibb, Cecil A. ‘Selection for Schools.’ Canberra Times, 30 May 1957, 2–3; Gibb, Cecil Austin. Interview by Stephen Foster, 18 October 1991. Sound recording. ANU Oral History Project. Australian National University Archives; National Archives of Australia. B883, NX142032; National Library of Australia. MS 9231, Papers of Cecil Gibb, 1936–1983.
GIBBS, STANLEY FREDERICK (1909–1991), shipping clerk, was born on 2 January 1909 at Hunters Hill, Sydney, eldest of four children of New South Wales–born parents Lindsay Thomas Gibbs, drover, and his wife Edith, née Trevillion. After leaving school, he worked as a shop assistant and later became a shipping clerk.
On 3 January 1927, at Grays Point, Port Hacking, New South Wales, fifteen-year-old Mervyn John Allum was on the outer fringe of bathers in chest-high water when his leg was seized by a large shark. Gibbs was aboard a launch when he heard a scream, looked up, and saw the shark. He immediately dived into the water and swam to Allum’s assistance. Gibbs kicked the shark with his foot and grabbed its fin with his hand, succeeding in getting the badly injured Allum released from the shark’s jaws. A rowing boat reached the scene and the oarsman, Donald Campbell, pulled the pair on board, but Allum died shortly after.
The coroner announced his finding on the death of Allum on 20 January. Gibbs’s ‘bravery and self-sacrifice’, he said, ‘merits the award of the Victoria Cross, if such a distinction can be conferred in the circumstances’ (Sydney Morning Herald 21 January 1927, 8). The award to him of the Albert Medal, for gallantry in peacetime, was announced on 8 February, and presented before an enormous crowd of onlookers on 29 March at Sydney Town Hall by the Duke of York during his tour of Australia. A fund established in recognition of Gibbs’s bravery eventually totalled over £400.
At St Stephen’s Church of England, Newtown, on 20 April 1929 Gibbs married Catherine Charlotte Coulson. After her death in 1933, he married Rosamunde Marcelle Walker on 20 April 1935, also at St Stephen’s; the marriage did not last. On 9 February 1942 he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force. Posted to the 35th Battalion, he embarked for Finschhafen, New Guinea, on 18 January 1944. On the day of his arrival, however, he broke his leg. He was repatriated and on 28 December discharged from the AIF to work in an essential occupation.
After the war Gibbs worked for the Australian Gas Light Company in Sydney. He remained with the firm until his retirement in 1974; he had by then worked with the company for forty-five years. He had married Doris Mannix, a clerk, on 9 September 1948 at St Matthew’s Church of England, Bondi. When the Albert Medal was discontinued in 1971, living holders were deemed George Cross recipients. Queen Elizabeth II presented him with the George Cross at Buckingham Palace on 12 July 1972.
Survived by his third wife and a daughter and son, Gibbs died on 3 March 1991 at Bondi and was cremated.
Daily Telegraph (London). ‘Stanley Gibbs, GC.’ 14 January 1992, 17; National Archives of Australia. B883, NX87937; Sydney Morning Herald. ‘Shark Attack at Port Hacking.’ 4 January 1927, 11; ‘Shark Tragedy.’ 21 January 1927, 8.
GIBSON, EDWARD GORDON (TED) (1915–1991), Baptist minister and theological educator, was born on 27 June 1915 at Ashfield, Sydney, youngest of three sons of New Zealand–born parents Ivie Sloane Gibson, bookkeeper, and his wife Harriet Anne, née Thomas. Ted was educated at Fort Street Boys’ High School but, failing to matriculate, took up accountancy. He regularly attended Sunday school and Christian Endeavour at Haberfield Baptist Church and, following his conversion at age sixteen, became a lay preacher. Applying to the Baptist Union of New South Wales to become a home missionary, in 1939 he was appointed to the Cessnock Baptist Church for one year. In 1940 he began his formal training at the Baptist Theological College of New South Wales (Morling Theological College), where he was a prize-winning student for each year of the four-year course and gained the LTh diploma (Melbourne College of Divinity, later MCD University of Divinity) in 1942.
After graduation he studied further, lectured part time at the college, and served on denominational committees. On 16 December 1943, at North Croydon Baptist Church, he married a manageress, Winifred Mona (‘Lass’) Colechin. Gibson was ordained in 1944, but resigned from his church in 1945 on medical advice. Appointed pastor of Waverley Church in 1946, he studied through the University of London (BA, 1947). In 1949 he became principal of Perth Bible Institute (Perth Bible College) and there continued his studies at the Melbourne College of Divinity (BD, 1951), University of Sydney (MA, 1951), University of London (BSc (Econ), 1952), Berkeley Baptist Divinity School, United States of America (ThD, 1954), and University of Western Australia (BEd, 1957).
In 1959 Gibson was appointed superintendent of the Sydney Bible Training Institute. Two years later, failing to become principal of the Baptist Theological College of New South Wales, he moved to South Australia as principal of the Adelaide Bible Institute (Bible College of South Australia). He was appointed vice-principal of the Baptist College of South Australia in 1964. Unsuccessful in being appointed principal of this college, he applied for a similar position at the Baptist Theological College of Queensland (Malyon College), Brisbane. Conservative forces there welcomed his application in preference to others, seeing him as one who could realign the theological direction of the college; he was appointed to the position in September 1967. The first Australian-trained principal, he immediately stamped his imprint on the college, adding a Bible college section, enlarging the faculty, and effecting a relocation to a new campus.
His devotional approach made him a popular convention speaker and preacher. Many of his addresses were tape recorded and reported, but he did not publish any academic works. Strong advocacy of his particular theological views, including scriptural inerrancy, pre-millennial eschatology, and an emphasis on the Holy Spirit, attracted loyal students from long distances and swelled enrolments dramatically.
Gibson retired in 1982 and was appointed principal-emeritus. President of the Baptist Union of Queensland (1979–80) and president-general of the Baptist Union of Australia (Australian Baptist Ministries) (1984–88), he was also the first dean of the Brisbane College of Theology (1983–86). Predeceased by his wife and survived by one daughter and two sons, he died of myocardial infarction on 17 August 1991 at Brookfield, Brisbane, and was cremated.
Calvert, John David. ‘A History of the Adelaide Bible Institute (ABI) 1924–1962 with Special Reference to the Development of Its Theological Education.’ Master’s thesis, University of South Australia, 2000; Manley, Ken R., ed. From Woolloomooloo to Eternity. Milton Keynes: Paternoster, 2006; Monteith, Graham Given. ‘A Biography of Dr E. G. Gibson 1915–1967.’ Diss., Baptist Theological College of Queensland, 1995; Nickerson, Stanley Walter. ‘Baptist Theological College of Queensland 1904–1982.’ PhD thesis, University of Queensland, 1995; Nickerson, Stanley Walter and Les Ball. For His Glory: 100 Years of the Queensland Baptist College of Ministries. Brisbane, Queensland Baptist College of Ministries, 2004.
GILBERT, KEVIN JOHN (1933–1993), First Nations human rights defender, poet, playwright, and artist, was born on 10 July 1933 to the Wiradjuri Nation on the banks of the Kalara (Lachlan) river near Condobolin, New South Wales, youngest of eight children of New South Wales–born parents John Joseph Gilbert, labourer, and his wife Rachel Elizabeth, née Naden. His father’s ancestry was English and Irish, and his mother was of Aboriginal and Irish descent. Kevin’s childhood—as would later be reflected in his books Me and Mary Kangaroo (1994) and Child’s Dreaming (1992)—was one of intimate connection with his mother’s Country. When he was seven his father killed his mother then himself; he and his siblings then moved between relatives and the child welfare system. He ended up in an orphanage where, after several attempts, he escaped and lived once more with extended family at the Murie camp, Condobolin. With them he travelled within the Wiradjuri Nation in central New South Wales as they made their living as fruit-pickers and bush-workers. For a time, he was a station manager on local landholdings. On 12 June 1954 he married Goma Scott, a domestic, at the Condobolin Court House.
In 1957, aged twenty-four, Gilbert was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of his first wife. He spent fourteen years in the most notorious prisons in New South Wales. By his own testimony this was a brutal and dehumanising experience with extended periods in solitary confinement. With little formal education, up to fifth class, he spent much of his time in prison educating himself on a wide range of subjects and read dictionaries from cover to cover. Supported by the Robin Hood Committee’s prison visitors, he also developed his artistic talent, particularly painting and printmaking, producing artworks of Wiradjuri spirituality and teachings. The Arts Council Gallery, Sydney, exhibited his art before his release. An anthology of his poetry, End of Dream-Time (1971), was published before he was freed, but he publicly disowned it because the publisher had changed the meaning of his original works.
Gilbert’s iconic play, The Cherry Pickers (1968), was the first play written by an Aboriginal person. He stipulated it could only be performed by an all-Aboriginal cast. Depicting the richness and humour of extended family within the impoverished life of itinerant fruit-pickers, the play signalled his deep commitment to expose and politicise the conditions of Aboriginal life, ongoing struggles, and survival. It was first workshopped in 1971 and the prologue, added later, was workshopped at the First Black Playwrights Conference in 1987. He self-published the play in 1988, but only posthumously were full productions performed, with an all-Aboriginal cast, first by Koemba Jdarra in 1994 and later, with an Aboriginal director, by the Sydney Theatre Company, which then toured The Cherry Pickers in England during the 2002 Commonwealth Games.
After Gilbert’s release from prison in 1971, he married Cora Walther, a publicity officer, on 24 July at the Methodist Church, Balmain. In 1973 he established the Kalari Aboriginal Art Gallery at Kooringhat, near Taree, New South Wales, to encourage and develop artistic talent in the community.
Gilbert’s release coincided with the rise of militant Aboriginal protest, including the Black Power movement, in the 1970s. A young generation of Aboriginal activists, impatient for change, initiated political strategies to demand redress by the Australian state. Determined to effect change he helped mastermind the Aboriginal Embassy in Canberra in 1972, which he could not physically attend on account of his parole conditions. The Embassy was precipitated by Liberal Prime Minister (Sir) William McMahon’s [q.v.18] announcement on 26 January 1972 that the Commonwealth would lease Aboriginal people their own land following a decade’s long campaign by the Yolngu people in Arnhem Land and others for land rights. This demonstrated the difficulties First Nations Peoples faced in finding justice within Australian colonial law.
For the next decade Gilbert worked on developing a political language and platform for First Nations’ liberation, editing magazines of the Black resistance, including Alchuringa, Identity, and Black Australian News. He also published two seminal works—Because A White Man’ll Never Do It (1973) and the collective voice oral history work Living Black (1977). Both were products of his experiences of contemporary Aboriginal life and consciousness. In these searingly bleak portrayals of Aboriginal treatment he saw poverty and dysfunction as the direct result of colonisation. He advocated that the remedy for the historic violation of Aboriginal peoples’ human rights was not bandaid measures and white man’s paternalistic intervention, but the assertion of pre-existing sovereignty, land rights, reparation, and discreet non-dictatorial assistance.
Gilbert spent the remaining years of his life developing a program for the recognition of Aboriginal sovereign independence, which he felt could only be achieved via recognition of First Nations unceded sovereignty. He chose the pen as his weapon:
The pen is mightier than the sword
but only when
it sows the seeds of thought
in minds of men
to kindle love and grow
through the burnt page
destroyed by huns and vandals in their rage (Gilbert 1994, 48).
This view was honed in the late 1970s and through the 1980s in the context of the ‘rule of the conflict of laws’ around land rights. In 1972 the Labor Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam, established the National Aboriginal Consultative Council, which was wound back to become the National Aboriginal Conference (NAC) as an advisory body to government. In 1979 Gilbert set up the National Aboriginal Government under canvas on the selected site for the new Parliament House and demanded a sovereign treaty under international law and a Bill of Aboriginal Rights.
The culmination of Gilbert’s decades of thinking around First Nations’ rights was the Treaty ’88 Committee, which he established and chaired. From 1985 he looked to the year of the bicentenary to articulate the inherent sovereign rights of Aboriginal Nations, self-publishing Aboriginal Sovereignty, Justice, the Law and Land (1987). Having studied the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (1969) he argued that, under international law, British sovereignty was ‘encumbered root title’. He sent his book to Aboriginal communities around Australia. In it, he stated that Captain Cook [q.v.1] had been ordered to take possession of the east coast of Australia with Indigenous consent, which Cook did not obtain. Instead, the land was taken by theft, unlawful occupation, genocide, rape, and massacre. No war was declared. No sovereignty was ceded. Hence, a sovereign treaty would affirm the legal right to possession and occupancy and protect the human, civil, and sovereign rights of the First Nations. As an internationally enforceable instrument it could hold domestic governments to account and be part of a new constitution for an independent Australia, freed from colonialism.
The importance of the Vienna Convention is that it defines treaties as agreements between sovereign equals as a means to promote friendly and cooperative relations among nations. For Gilbert, then, a treaty was about a just way forward. As he said: ‘with all domestic options exhausted, a Sovereign Treaty is our only peaceful way to justice. There can be no reconciliation without a Sovereign Treaty’ (Gilbert 1993, endpaper). A treaty would be a proper foundation for black/white relations based on justice and humanity.
Gilbert rejected Nugget Coombs’s Treaty Committee’s request for a domestic ‘Treaty of Commitment’ between Aboriginal people and the government ‘within Australia by Australians’, as well as the Federal Liberal government’s 1981 diluted offer to the NAC of a domestic ‘Makaratta’ (Yolngu word meaning ‘things are okay again after the fight’) even though Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser had initially agreed to discuss a treaty with the NAC in 1979. The Makaratta and the derailing of land rights demonstrated how governments had all the power, as Gilbert said: ‘We’ll always be rubbish men, men without straw, without sovereignty and power in our word or say upon the government’ (NLA MS 2584). After the Hawke Labor government not only reneged on its promise of national uniform land rights legislation, but also reneged on Prime Minister Bob Hawke’s promise at the Barunga Festival, in the Northern Territory, on 12 June 1988 to negotiate a treaty, and declared that sovereignty was not on the agenda, Gilbert issued a press release to the Federal government and governor-general. Presenting himself a sovereign envoy, he requested the withdrawal of foreign embassies from Aboriginal lands until Aboriginal sovereignty was recognised and protected by international law. This was not just about rights in land, it was the right to negotiate and the right to reparation and compensation.
In 1991 Gilbert drew attention to the 200 years of undeclared frontier wars and genocidal massacres by carrying a large white cross on a lone walk down Anzac Parade in front of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and claiming one of the alcoves for those ‘who have died in defense of our land’ (Scarlett 2014).
Gilbert was instrumental in permanently re-establishing the Aboriginal Embassy on its twentieth anniversary in 1992 and spent the last year of his life there, ensuring it remained the spearhead of resistance against the colonial power. On 28 November 1992 he married his long-time partner, Eleanor Mary Williams, an ecologist and photographer, in a civil ceremony in Canberra.
Throughout these years Gilbert’s creative outputs—books, artworks, and photographs—sustained him and his family spiritually and emotionally. He was the first Aboriginal printmaker and his art has been extensively exhibited nationally and internationally and is part of permanent collections at major Australian art institutions, including the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, and Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. He is also recognised as an iconic poet, playwright, author, and activist on concepts of Country, justice, the politics of First Nations’ identity, and Australian history. In 1978 Living Black won the National Book Council award. For the anthology Inside Black Australia (1988) he received the Human Rights Award for Literature in 1988, which he refused to accept from the governor-general due to the continuing violations of Aboriginal human rights. In 1992, he was awarded an esteemed Australian Artists Creative fellowship and was posthumously awarded the prestigious Kate Challis RAKA Award for his poetry, Black From The Edge (1994). The Blackside, People Are Legends and Other Poems (1990) has made him the first Aboriginal poet to be published in the French language with the bilingual anthology Le Versant Noir (2018).
Survived by his wife, and six children, Gilbert died of emphysema on 1 April 1993 in Canberra. A memorial was held at the Aboriginal Embassy. Fondly remembered as the ‘Land Rights Man’, ‘Treaty man’, and ‘Rain-maker’, and as an inspirational leader he has been likened to the Dalai Lama, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King (Headon 1993, 23). He recorded a source for his creative intelligence:
… inspired by the need to communicate with the wider community the possibility in this great land; to begin … to develop all people and encompass them in a code of spiritual being and national conduct, which not only reflects the very essence of life itself and the ultimate continuum for Being, but also will enable us, upon attainment, to project that magnanimity of spirit throughout the world (Inside Black Australia ).
His work on sovereignty and treaty is a key foundation of the contemporary First Nations Sovereignty Movement.
His final writing, dated February 1993, is:
If we want the Dream to come true we must BE true to the Dream but all this will only be meaningful if there are Dreamers who respond and make the Dream come true (Breath of Life 1996, title page).
Breath of Life: Moments in Transit Towards Aboriginal Sovereignty. Braddon, ACT: Canberra Contemporary Art Space, 1996; Gilbert family. Personal communications; Gilbert, Kevin. Aboriginal Sovereignty: Justice, the Law, and Land (includes draft treaty). Canberra: Burrambinga Books, 1993; Gilbert, Kevin. Black From the Edge. South Melbourne: Hyland House Publishing, 1994; Gilbert, Kevin. Interview by Hazel de Berg, 27 October 1971. Transcript. Hazel de Berg collection. National Library of Australia; Headon, David. ‘Modern-Day Warrior Who Wielded His Pen Like a Sword.’ Canberra Times, 18 April 1993, 23; Inside Black Australia: Aboriginal Photographers Exhibition. Canberra: Treaty ’88, ; McMillan, Pauline. ‘Kevin Gilbert and Living Black.’ Journal of Australian Studies 19, no. 45 (1995): 1–14; National Library of Australia. MS 2584, Papers of Kevin Gilbert, 1969–1979; Scarlett, Philippa. ‘Acknowledgement Sought: Kevin Gilbert, Aboriginal Australians and the War of Invasion.’ 24 April 2014. Accessed 5 November 2018. indigenoushistories.com/2014/04/23/acknowledgement-sought-kevin-gilbert-aboriginal-australians-and-the-war-of-invasion/ Copy held on ADB file; Williams, Eleanor. ‘Kevin Gilbert 1933–1992.’ 1998. The Koori History Website: Martyrs in the Struggle for Justice. Accessed 27 October 2015. www.kooriweb.org/foley/heroes/gilbert.html. Copy on ADB file.
GOLDBERG, SAMUEL LOUIS (SAM) (1926–1991), professor of English, was born on 19 November 1926 in Melbourne, son of English-born Isaac Myer Goldberg, tailor, and his wife Bella, née Silman. Educated at Faraday Street Public, Coburg High, and University High schools, Sam matriculated (1944) with exhibitions in English literature, English expression, and British history. At the University of Melbourne (BA, 1947) he excelled in history and English and was mentored by Ian Maxwell [q.v.15], whose department promoted an historical and scholarly approach to the study of literature and offered an eclectic survey of English writers. Goldberg’s 1947 article ‘The Conception of History in James Joyce’s Ulysses’ in the student journal, Present Opinion, marked the beginning of intensive work on Joyce, which culminated in his 1961 publication, The Classical Temper.
In 1948 Goldberg was invited by Maxwell to tutor and lecture on Joyce. Maxwell was already alert to the difficult personality that would compromise Goldberg’s reputation as an academic manager and a teacher, describing him as brilliant but distant and not popular with his students. In 1950 Goldberg left to study at Lincoln College, Oxford (BLitt, 1953). He had intended to write his thesis on Joyce but his topic was declined because someone else had very recently written on the novelist. Instead, he wrote on the Elizabethan historian, Sir John Hayward, and was supervised by the retired Merton professor of English David Nichol Smith. On 18 January 1951 at the parish church of St Peter in the East, Oxford, he married Muriel Winifred Hill, a teacher. They would divorce in 1959.
While Goldberg was at Oxford The Common Pursuit (1952), a collection of essays by the Cambridge critic F. R. Leavis, was published. Leavis’s evaluative critical practise, and the humanist moral seriousness which determined his aesthetic judgements, would define Goldberg as both a critic and a teacher of English. It was the structure of Leavis’s thinking rather than his conclusions that Goldberg believed could be usefully applied to the study of English in Australia. Returning to Australia in 1953 as lecturer in Renaissance literature at the University of Melbourne, he quickly established a reputation as Australia’s leading Leavisite critic. His younger colleagues Maggie O’Keefe and Thomas (Jock) Tomlinson, who would soon marry, contributed to the growing Leavisite approach of the Melbourne department. Further discussions with the young poet and senior tutor, Vincent Buckley [q.v.17], widened the critical questions Goldberg was asking of literature, from the moral to the metaphysical perspectives of literary criticism.
Goldberg was an exacting teacher who brought an uncompromising rigour to his discussions with students whom he was training to be a new breed of critic. Many former students from the 1950s went on to distinguished careers; others felt intimidated or overlooked. His interest in contemporary literature as a focus for the study of evaluative criticism motivated his revival (1957) of the University Literature Club. Collaboration with students led to his establishment (1958) of Melbourne Critical Review (later Critical Review), which he would edit until his death. By the early 1960s he was recognised as an expert on Joyce, and one of Australia’s influential literary critics. While the journal disseminated ‘Goldbergian’ criticism, as it came to be called, the publication of The Classical Temper established him as a leading authority on Joyce and one of Australia’s most significant critics.
On 1 November 1961 Goldberg married Judith Anne Young, a secondary school teacher of history and literature; they were to divorce in 1976. His appointment (1963) to the Challis chair of English literature at the University of Sydney finally delivered the influence over a curriculum that had long eluded him. It also heralded one of the most acrimonious and divisive episodes in the discipline’s history in Australia. The speed with which he introduced a Leavisite bias led even supporters to see him as ‘partisan, unwise and impatient’ (Wiltshire 1998, 41). His recruitment of the Tomlinsons from Melbourne, and of sympathetic British graduates and former students, alienated many staff members, particularly Gerry Wilkes who had been overlooked for the chair. In 1965 Wilkes gained faculty approval to offer an alternative English course that restored bibliographic scholarship and other Goldberg exclusions. This split the department, forcing staff and students to take sides. Goldberg’s decision to return to the University of Melbourne, taking the Tomlinsons with him, led to recriminations from younger Sydney recruits that he had abandoned them.
In 1966 he was appointed Robert Wallace [q.v.12] professor of English, and in 1969 was elected an inaugural member of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. Pioneering the study of modernism at Melbourne, Goldberg presided over a period of increased student enrolments. But by the mid-1970s the critical and cultural climate of the universities was turning against approaches seen as elitist and untheorised. An Essay on King Lear (1974) was published to mixed reviews which expressed unease with his ‘restricted standards of evaluative literary criticism’ (Huffman 1975, 242). In 1976 he resigned, becoming a senior fellow in Eugene Kamenka’s [q.v.] history of ideas unit at The Australian National University (ANU).
At ANU Goldberg established and co-edited with the historian F. B. Smith an interdisciplinary journal Australian Cultural History. He continued to work on literary criticism and took some graduate classes. Chris Wallace-Crabbe described him as ‘a deeply conservative man, stubborn and sometimes gruff’ (Wallace-Crabb 1991, 68). On 25 January 1978 in Canberra, he married Jane Adamson, a lecturer in literature at the ANU, who was a close collaborator in much of his work. Survived by her and two sons and a daughter of his second marriage, he died in Canberra on 11 December 1991 and was cremated. His posthumously published Agents and Lives: Moral Thinking in Literature (1993) was a reaffirmation of humanist criticism, and an investigation into its differences with some precepts of contemporary moral philosophy.
Freadman, Richard, ed. Literature, Criticism and the Universities: Interviews with Leonie Kramer, S. L. Goldberg & Howard Felperin. Perth: Centre for Studies in Australian Literature, University of Western Australia, 1983. Grant, Jane. ‘A Critical Mind: On Sam Goldberg.’ Meanjin 69, no. 1 (Autumn 2010): 43–52. Huffman, Clifford Chalmers. ‘An Essay on King Lear by S. L. Goldberg.’ Journal of English and Germanic Philology 74, no. 2 (April 1975): 241–2. Wallace-Crabbe, Chris. ‘Samuel Louis Goldberg 1926–1991.’ Proceedings (Australian Academy of the Humanities), 1991: 67–8. Wiltshire, John. ‘Fault Lines.’ Eureka Street 8, no. 10 (December 1998): 8–41.
GOLDNER, RICHARD (1908–1991), violist and inventor, was born on 23 June 1908 at Craiova, Romania, younger of two sons of Romanian-born parents of Jewish heritage, Avram Beer (Alfons) Goldner, delicatessen owner, and his wife Bertha, née Sachter. The family left Romania for Vienna in 1908. Richard began learning the violin at the age of four or five, and, impressed by a nine-year-old cellist, decided when twelve or thirteen to make a career in music. After high school, he enrolled in 1925 at Vienna Technical University to study architecture. He did not complete the course, and from 1927 to 1930 trained in music at the Neues Wiener Konservatorium. Learning from masters such as Karl Bronislaw Huberman and Simon Pullman, and now playing the viola, he was a member of Pullman’s Neues Wiener Konservatorium orchestra, and of other ensembles and orchestras, from the mid-1920s.
Following the Anschluss in March 1938 Pullman’s orchestra was disbanded. Goldner resolved to emigrate; it took a year to obtain entry to Australia. On 31 July 1938, in Vienna, he married Vienna-born Marianne Reiss. While waiting, and in hiding, he and fellow musicians continued to play together, their need for music outweighing the risk. The couple—together with his brother Gerard and his wife, Marianne’s sister Irma—fled Austria in February 1939. They arrived in Sydney in the Orama on 23 March. Unable to take up an offered position as principal violist with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra because he could not join the musicians’ union until he was naturalised, he and Gerard found employment making costume jewellery. Shortly after, the brothers founded their own women’s accessories business, Natty Novelties Pty Ltd.
Richard was a wiry, nervously energetic man who had shown a talent for innovation from his youth. His inventiveness, and the brothers’ business, became topics of interest in local newspapers and Cinesound newsreels. During World War II the Australian authorities sought his help in overcoming the deficiencies of the common zip fastener, especially its tendency to become clogged with foreign matter. He devised a fastener that was patented in Australia and abroad; it was put into production for the Australian war effort by the brothers’ new company, Triflex Pty Ltd, which took over a former Natty Novelties factory. Sold on a cost-plus basis to the Australian—and later to Allied—armed services, it was used in the British and French clothing industries after the war, until invention of the nylon zipper rendered it obsolete. The Goldner brothers were designated enemy aliens and were subject to travel restrictions until Richard was naturalised in June 1944.
That year Goldner learned of the death of his mentor, Pullman, at the Treblinka extermination camp in Poland. At his wife’s suggestion, in 1945 he used money made from his wartime inventions to found the chamber orchestra he had earlier dreamed of establishing in Australia with Pullman after the war. The seventeen-member orchestra, solely funded by Goldner, was initially called ‘Richard Goldner’s Sydney Musica Viva’, in honour of Hermann Scherchen, who had conducted an orchestra named Musica Viva in Vienna. The first concert was held at the Conservatorium of Music, Sydney, on 8 December 1945, despite a blackout that necessitated hiring a generator for internal lighting and using car headlights to illuminate the entrance to the conservatorium.
Producing ten concerts in 1946 and twenty in 1947, Goldner and his ensemble were invited to tour Melbourne, Adelaide, and New Zealand in 1948. Eventually consisting of five players, initially including Goldner as violist, Musica Viva was warmly welcomed by recent European refugees as well as locals who had a love of the works of central European composers. The ensemble’s extensive touring program took a toll on Goldner personally and financially. In 1951, the Musica Viva committee decided to cease operation until a new structure for the presentation of music could be designed. The enterprise was revived in 1953 with the assistance of Fred Turnovsky and Paul Morawetz. Restructured as a concert agency rather than a performing ensemble, the new Musica Viva Society of Australia was guided by Charles Berg [q.v.17] and Ken Tribe, with Goldner as music director. It was eventually the largest not-for-profit chamber music organisation in the world. Goldner continued as honorary music director until 1969, but never came to terms with having the project turned into something different from his original concept.
Goldner also had an extensive career as a teacher. He taught violin and viola privately from the early 1950s, and at the New South Wales State Conservatorium of Music (1960–65). In 1966, lacking teaching opportunities in Australia, he went to the United States of America, and in 1968 became professor of music at Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Following the death of his first wife in 1969, he married an Australian concert violinist, Charmian Gadd, on 22 December 1970 at the registrar general’s office, Sydney. Between 1977 and 1987, although largely retired, he taught privately and was for a time chair of the department of music at Western Washington University, Bellingham. He continued inventing, his most successful later device being a violin shoulder rest known as ‘Playonair’. Funds from sales were used to establish Musica Viva International at WWU. It ran for four years, presenting a variety of musical events from festivals to chamber music.
Described by Charmian as extraordinarily generous, Goldner rarely relaxed and had a reputation as a hard taskmaster. Any shortcomings in performance could become a source of distress, as happened during the ambitious touring program of the initial five Musica Viva players. Irina Morozova, violist in the Goldner String Quartet named in his honour, recalled his ‘passion for teaching’ which helped musicians around the world (Baker 2010, 87). Awarded the Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art, First Class, in 1970, he returned to Australia in 1987. Survived by his wife and the son from his first marriage, he died on 27 September 1991 at Balmain, Sydney, and was cremated. Besides the Goldner String Quartet, he is remembered by the Richard Goldner award, which is presented to the winner of a concerto competition held by Balmain Sinfonia.
Baker, Suzanne. Beethoven and the Zipper. Sydney: self-published, 2010; Goldner, Richard. Unpublished memoirs, copies held by Charmian Gadd, Peter Goldner, and Musica Viva; Goldner, Richard. Interview by Hazel de Berg, 7 November 1966. Transcript. Hazel de Berg collection. National Library of Australia; National Archives of Australia. A435, 1944/4/2075; O’Brien, Geraldine. ‘A Flying Zip Was Music to His Ears.’ Sydney Morning Herald, 22 March 1989, 18; Shmith, Michael. ‘Richard Goldner—the Musical Moses.’ In Musica Viva: The First Fifty Years, edited by Michael Shmith, 4–7. Pymble: Playbill, 1996.
GOLDSWORTHY, LEONARD VERDI (LEON) (1909–1994), naval officer and factory manager, was born on 19 January 1909 at Broken Hill, New South Wales, second son of South Australian–born parents Alfred Thomas Goldsworthy, miner, and his wife Eva Jane, née Riggs. Known widely as ‘Goldy’ or ‘Ficky’ (a derivative of ‘Mr Fixit’), Leon spent his early years in South Australia. After leaving Kapunda High School, in 1924 he became a junior apprentice in the physics workshop at the University of Adelaide. Over the next several years he took part-time courses in physics, chemistry, mathematics, electrical engineering, sheet metal work, and French polishing at the South Australian School of Mines and Industries. Quiet, short of stature, and of wiry build, he kept himself fit by wrestling and gymnastics. He moved to Western Australia in 1929 and obtained employment in an electrical business in Perth. On 4 November 1939 at St George’s Cathedral, he married Maud Edna Rutherford (d. 1959), a clerk.
Soon after the outbreak of World War II Goldsworthy applied to join the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) but was rejected for failing to meet the required physical standards. Undeterred, he reapplied through the Yachtsmen Scheme, and was appointed as a probationary sub-lieutenant, Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve, on 24 March 1941. In May he went to Britain for further training, and volunteered to become a rendering mines safe (RMS) officer. In August he joined the Admiralty Mine Disposal Section based in London. During his time there he rendered safe nineteen mines and qualified as a diver. In January 1943 he transferred to the Enemy Mining Section at HMS Vernon, the Royal Navy’s torpedo and mine countermeasures establishment at Portsmouth.
Goldsworthy’s pre-war technical training and capacity for patience served him well in his new role, and he displayed great skill in defusing explosives on land and underwater. His work often had to be completed in a bulky diving suit, with touch being the only sensory perception available, making defusing enemy mines highly dangerous work. On 13 August 1943 he defused a German mine in the waters off Sheerness, using a special diving suit that he and a colleague, Lieutenant John Mould [q.v.15], had helped develop. Mould went on to form and train Port Clearance Parties (‘P’ Parties) to clear liberated harbours in Europe. Goldsworthy volunteered to assist but was retained at Vernon for further underwater mine disposal duties. Later that year he defused two particularly tricky influence mines (mines that detonated by the influence of passing vessels), one of which had rested at a Southampton wharf for two years.
He was awarded the George Medal ‘… for gallantry and undaunted devotion to duty’ (London Gazette, April 1944, 1775). The same month, Goldsworthy disarmed an acoustic mine that had lain in the water off Milford Haven since 1941. At the beginning of this operation he came to the surface under the boat’s diving ladder, which pierced his helmet, flooding his diving suit. Extricated by the prompt action of his assistant, he resumed work with little delay. In August he was mentioned in despatches and in the following month was awarded the George Cross for ‘great gallantry and undaunted devotion to duty’ (London Gazette, September 1944, 4333).
Goldsworthy was involved in the selection and training of men for port clearance prior to the Normandy (D-Day) invasion in June 1944. He rendered safe the first type K mine in Cherbourg Harbour in 50 feet (15 m) of water while under enemy shell-fire, and three ground mines on the British assault area beaches. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for ‘for gallantry and distinguished services in the work of mine-clearance in the face of the enemy’ (London Gazette, 16 January 1945, 419). On 30 September 1944, he was promoted to acting lieutenant commander. After his work in France, he was sent to the Pacific as British Naval Liaison and Intelligence Officer attached to the US Navy’s Mobile Explosive Investigation Unit No 1, initially in the South West Pacific and subsequently, the Philippines. By war’s end he had become Australia’s most highly decorated naval officer of World War II.
Demobilised on 24 May 1946, Goldsworthy returned to Perth and resumed his employment with Rainbow Neon Light. He rose to factory manager before retiring in 1974. In 1953 he briefly returned to service to take part in Queen Elizabeth’s coronation celebrations in London, and then again in 1957 for a Special Examination Service Officers’ Course. On 13 December 1968 in Perth he married Georgette Roberta Johnston. He became vice-chairman (overseas) of the Victoria Cross and George Cross Association in 1991 and was patron of the Underwater Explorers Club of Western Australia.
Survived by his wife and the daughter of his first marriage, Goldsworthy died of heart disease on 7 August 1994 at South Perth and, following a naval funeral, was cremated and his ashes scattered at sea. The Australian War Memorial, Canberra, holds his portrait by Harold Abbott. A ward at Perth’s Hollywood Private Hospital is named in his honour, as is a road on Garden Island, where the RAN’s primary naval base on the west coast, HMAS Stirling, is located. In 1995 Australia Post released a stamp bearing his image as part of the ‘Australia Remembers’ series commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the end of World War II.
Jeffrey, Vic. ‘RAN Mourns Loss of Most Highly-Decorated Hero.’ Navy News, 26 August 1994, 3; London Gazette, 18 April 1944, No. 3674, 1775; London Gazette, 15 August 1944, no. 36654, 3767, 19 September 1944, no. 36707, 4333, 16 January 1945, no. 36895, 419; National Archives of Australia. A6769, GOLDSWORTHY, LEO VERDI; Wigmore, Lionel. They Dared Mightily. Canberra: Australian War Memorial, 1963.
GOMEZ, GREGORY (DOM) (1904–1995), Benedictine abbot, was born on 9 May 1904 at Villoruebo, Burgos, Spain, younger son of Marcos Gomez and his wife Claudia, née Cubillo. While a student at the local school, Gregory met Anselm Catalan [q.v.13], the abbot of the Benedictine Abbey Nullius of New Norcia, Western Australia, and volunteered to join the Benedictine mission. After secondary education at the monastery of El Pueyo, he entered the novitiate in 1919. He continued his education at the Abbey of Montserrat, where he made his simple profession of vows in 1920, and his superiors recognised his intellectual abilities.
Moving to Australia, in 1922 and 1923 Gomez continued his studies at New Norcia, and then attended (1924–28) St Patrick’s College, Manly, Sydney. On 18 August 1928 he was ordained by Archbishop Patrick Clune [q.v.13] at St Mary’s Cathedral, Perth. He obtained a doctorate in theology (1931) from the Pontifical College of Sant’Anselmo, Rome, and undertook two further years of study at the Benedictine abbey at Maria Laach, Germany. Returning to New Norcia, Dom Gregory taught (1933–50) the dogmatic theology courses at the monastery and performed weekend parish work in the Bindoon-Gingin district (1934–48). Between 1948 and 1951 he was master of clerics and, after Catalan’s retirement in 1950, acting superior. In September 1951 he was enthroned as abbot.
In addition to New Norcia, Gomez was responsible for nine parishes, and the mission at Kalumburu in the north Kimberley. His term as abbot was marked by an openness to new ideas and readiness to consult widely. After reviewing the accommodation used by Aboriginal employees, he obtained government financial support to relocate them into modern bungalows on the hillside overlooking the monastic town. Maintaining the system of institutional care developed by his predecessors, he obtained further grants to refurbish and extend boarding and classroom facilities for Aboriginal children at St Joseph’s Orphanage for girls and St Mary’s Orphanage for boys.
At the diocesan level, Gomez appointed a rural dean, Father James Cameron, who was also director of missions and inspector of Christian doctrine. The wheat and wool growing districts, as well as the mining industry, underwent a period of postwar prosperity, and Gomez encouraged parishes to construct churches, schools, and convent buildings in wheatbelt towns, including Bullfinch, Southern Cross, Wyalkatchem, and Miling. Intent on offering wider opportunities for lay people to be associated with the monastery and the writings of St Benedict, in 1958 he won the approval of Archbishop Prendiville [q.v.16] to establish an oblate chapter in Perth. He also encouraged members of the public to learn about New Norcia, its work with Aboriginal people, its role in education, and the liturgy.
Within the abbey Gomez provided monks with opportunities for further study and pastoral experience elsewhere in Australia and in Europe and the United States of America. He approved the transfer to overseas communities of those who sought a more traditional monastic routine than the one required by the diversified needs of New Norcia. Participating in four autumnal sessions (1962–65) of the Second Vatican Council, he implemented the new directions in missiology, education, and the liturgy, including the publication of English versions of traditional Latin hymns. More dramatically, he authorised the renovation of the pro-cathedral to meet the liturgical reforms, although he encountered resistance from some who had enjoyed the romanticism of earlier ecclesiastical ornamentation. An ambitious plan to build a modern abbey church and monastery from designs by the international architects Carlo Vannone and Pier Luigi Nervi did not proceed because of a lack of funds. During the 1960s he oversaw changes in the staffing of the secondary colleges at New Norcia and other centres, including at St Ildephonsus College, New Norcia, where the Benedictines replaced the Marist Brothers. In 1958 he welcomed the profession as an oblate nun of Veronica Willaway, a Yuat Nyungar woman whose forebears had met the founder of New Norcia, Rosendo Salvado [q.v.2], in 1846.
Having retired as abbot in 1971, Gomez resumed teaching divinity and lived quietly, ‘faithfully observing the … routines of the monastery’ (Benedictine Oblate 1995, 2). His successor, Bernard Rooney, recalled his light-heartedness of character in failure and disappointment, and that he never lost ‘a wink of sleep through worry’ (Benedictine Oblate 1995, 2). On 31 May 1995, returning to New Norcia from Perth, he died in a motor accident at Bindoon. He was interred in the cemetery at New Norcia after a requiem mass. In 2017 the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse reported that the Benedictine Community of New Norcia had paid a total of $869,000 compensation to settle sixty-five claims of child sexual abuse; many of these had occurred during Gomez’s tenure as abbot.
Archives of the Benedictine Community of New Norcia. Accessions Register. ‘Gomez, Gregory’; Bell, Susan. ‘Abbot Dies in Car Crash.’ West Australian, 26 June 1995, 7; Benedictine Oblate. ‘May He Rest in Peace.’ July 1995, 2–3; Australia. Royal Commission. Analysis of Claims of Child Sexual Abuse Made with Respect to Catholic Church Institutions in Australia. Sydney: The Commission, June 2017; Friends of New Norcia Newsletter. ‘Vale Abbot Gregory Gomez.’ no. 10 (July 1995): 1; Pendal, Phillip. Continuity in Change: The Journey of Catholic Education in Western Australia from 1843–2008. Inglewood, WA: Victor Publishing, 2008; Spillman, Ken. Hands to the Plough: The Shire of Victoria Plains since 1945. Calingiri, WA: Shire of Victoria Plains, 2005; West Australian. ‘Church History at New Norcia.’ 8 October 1951, 2.
GORDON, DOUGLAS (1911–1993), physician, medical administrator, and professor of social and preventive medicine, was born on 19 April 1911 at Maryborough, Queensland, only child of Queensland-born Aubrey Raymond Gordon, manager and later proprietor of a grazing freehold, and his Victorian-born wife Josephine Bernadette, née Foley. Douglas spent his early childhood on the family farm, Beaumont, at Tiaro, close to Gordon relatives.
The boy’s mother kept him out of the nearby Mount Bopple State School until age eight when she considered him old enough to travel there on horseback. In 1921 she enrolled him at St Joseph’s, a small boarding school at Corinda, Brisbane, run by the Sisters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. He spent three, largely unhappy, years there. At age twelve, experiencing a call to religious life, he entered St Mary’s Towers, Douglas Park, near Camden, New South Wales, a training centre of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart. He would always value the classical secondary education he received at the congregation’s school, particularly in languages and history. The realisation, after his novitiate year, that he was not suitable for the priesthood caused him emotional turmoil and he left the centre.
Encouraged by a family friend, Gordon studied medicine at the University of Melbourne in 1930. His mother suffered a severe, immobilising stroke during a visit to the city that year and died in 1932, but Gordon had by then returned to Tiaro. His father was also ailing and, because of the Depression, unable to continue paying his son’s university fees. Father and son kept the property going, diversifying into dairying and sugar-cane growing. Douglas also engaged in droving, contract fencing, and cane-cutting. After Aubrey’s death in 1935 he continued to run the property until 1938, when he decided to resume his studies at the new school of medicine at the University of Queensland (MB, BS, 1942).
As one of the oldest students, Gordon took leadership positions at St Leo’s College and in the Queensland Medical Students’ Association, presiding in 1940 and editing its magazine, Trephine. His course was shortened because of World War II. On 24 January 1942 at St Stephen’s Catholic Cathedral, Brisbane, he married Joan Alice Lutteral, a clerk, whom he had known at Maryborough. While completing a residency at Ipswich General Hospital (1942–43), he served part time in the Citizen Military Forces.
On 11 July 1943 Gordon was appointed as a flight lieutenant in the Medical Branch of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). In 1944 and 1945 he served with No. 14 Airfield Construction Squadron on Morotai and with No. 2 ACS at Balikpapan, Borneo. The diseases and conditions he managed included tropical ulcers, malaria, dysentery, scrub typhus, and schistosomiasis. Gordon regarded his war service as a major turning point in his life. He was impressed by the military’s extensive preventive-medicine practices, such as the supply of clean water, provision of sanitary latrines, and mosquito control, as well as its quick treatment and research into schistosomiasis. In addition, he valued working alongside engineers building airstrips in extreme conditions and pilots facing difficult flying conditions such as glare. He was acutely mindful of the psychological impact of war service.
Abandoning an intention to go into private general practice, Gordon joined the Queensland Department of Health and Home Affairs as health officer (industrial hygiene) in August 1946, following his demobilisation from the RAAF that month. Shortly afterwards his position was retitled director of industrial medicine. His duties required him to travel throughout Queensland, inspecting mines, factories, foundries, abattoirs, and farms for health hazards. Remedial measures, including new government regulations to reduce the incidence of lead poisoning, resulted from his investigations and advice. He developed a keen interest in the epidemiology of skin cancer.
In February 1957 Gordon assumed office as the foundation professor of social and preventive medicine at the University of Queensland. The position gave him the opportunity to introduce to medical students the wide perspective gained from his field experience, research, and historical knowledge. He arranged for them to visit factories and water treatment plants. Furthermore, he developed social medicine as a formal discipline, extending knowledge and skills in bio-statistics and epidemiology. His text book, Health, Sickness, and Society (1976), was widely used in Australia and elsewhere.
Gordon had been influential in establishing the first course in social work at the university (1956) and he advocated the introduction of a department of anthropology and sociology (1966). He regarded the integrated work of doctors, nurses, social workers, and therapists to be crucial in the management of patients and the alleviation of social problems. While continuing his teaching, he served as dean of medicine (1962–67), a part-time position involving him in every aspect of the faculty. He insisted on interviewing all new students. In 1958 he had founded the university’s student health service; the Douglas Gordon Health Centre would later be named (1987) in his honour to acknowledge his concern for the physical and psychological welfare of students.
From 1948 Gordon owned Coolooie Farm at Seventeen Mile Rocks in outer Brisbane. There he established a stud dairy herd and, with the assistance of a manager, supplied milk to the local market. He held office in the Friesian Cattle Club of Australia. The farm was the family home, providing a rural lifestyle close to the city. After his retirement from the university in April 1976, he sold the property and moved to Jindalee.
In retirement Gordon continued to serve (1969–79) on the North Brisbane Hospitals Board, maintained an active involvement in medical societies, contributed to journals, and engaged in public discourse. He was appointed AM in 1979. The university awarded him an honorary doctorate of medicine in 1986. He was a fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (1968) and the (Royal) Australian (Australasian) College of Medical Administrators (1978). His long interest in social and medical history from colonial times culminated in the publication of his Mad Dogs and Englishmen Went Out in the Queensland Sun (1990).
Gordon was tall and well-built, and retained the look of a countryman. He was widely respected for his integrity, humour, intolerance of hypocrisy, common-sense pragmatism, and perceptive observations on humanity. No longer claiming any religious belief, he came to value secular progress towards a more compassionate and gentle society. He died on 27 September 1993 at Auchenflower, Brisbane, and was cremated. His wife survived him, as did their two sons and one of their two daughters. The Public Health Association of Australia established the annual Douglas Gordon Oration in his honour.
Doherty, R. L., ed. A Medical School for Queensland. Spring Hill, Qld: Boolarong Publications, 1986; Fryer Library, University of Queensland. UQFL 360, Papers of Douglas Gordon, 1950–1993; Gordon Douglas. Short autobiography entitled Marginal Man. Unpublished manuscript. Gordon Papers. Private collection; Gordon Papers. Private collection; Hartshorn, Alma. ‘A Tribute to Professor Douglas Gordon.’ Newsletter (Australian Association of Social Workers, Queensland Branch). Unknown issue 1994, 18–19. Copy held on ADB file; National Archives of Australia. A9300, GORDON D; Patrick, Ross. A History of Health & Medicine in Queensland 1824–1960. St Lucia, Qld: University of Queensland Press, 1987; Pearn, John. ‘Professor Emeritus Douglas Gordon AM, MB BS, FRACP, FRAGCP, FRACMA, MD (Hon, Qld).’ Medical Journal of Australia 160 (7 March 1994): 299, Professor Emeritus Douglas Gordon, 1911–1993: A Faculty Tribute, 25 October 1993. Papers of Douglas Gordon, 1950–1993, UQFL 360, box 1. Fryer Library, University of Queensland.
GORE, MICHAEL GRAHAM (MIKE) (1941–1994), financier and resort developer, was born on 22 August 1941 in North Sydney, son of New South Wales–born Allan George Gore, turner, and his Victorian-born wife Ilma Mary, née Daniels. Mike’s father was later a storekeeper, and the family lived at Balmain. In 1956 Gore attended St Joseph’s College, Hunters Hill, but left the same year after completing his Intermediate certificate.
After a variety of jobs, Gore became a service station proprietor and motor mechanic at Greenacre. He was prominent as a motor-racing driver, and a vocal advocate for the interests of drivers over promoters. On 31 October 1964, at the Holy Family Church, East Granville, he married Lynette Mary Hemmy, a cashier. He moved to the Gold Coast in 1972 after meeting Jennifer Jean Parker, daughter of a prominent Queensland grazier, and started an all-night garage and a dealership in Japanese cars that was noted for its exuberant advertising. Having divorced his wife, he married Parker on 26 April 1977 in a civil ceremony at Broadbeach; this marriage too was to end in divorce. His media skills and extrovert personality made him a natural leader of the so-called ‘white-shoe brigade’, a contingent of politically conservative but sartorially flamboyant Gold Coast nouveaux riches, many from southern States, attracted to Queensland by the pro-development policies of the premier, (Sir) Joh Bjelke-Petersen.
Diversifying his business interests into importing and selling power boats and yachts, in 1982 Gore planned a boat-building venture with Hong Kong’s Cheoy Lee Shipyards. The proposed boatyard site, a mangrove swamp and haven for waterbirds, instead became Sanctuary Cove, Australia’s first gated community and master-planned resort, and Gore’s signature achievement. Conceived as an alternative to the high rise of Surfers Paradise, the project sought to attract an elite clientele. It was a 400-hectare integrated resort with a marina, golf course, recreation centre, shopping village, cinema, and luxury accommodation for both tourists and permanent residents.
Despite Gore’s and Bjelke-Petersen’s enthusiasm for private enterprise, the project received much assistance from the State government: a bridge linking the site to the Gold Coast; a $10.16 million loan underwritten by the government in controversial circumstances; an alleged $1 million subsidy for dredging the Coomera River near the site; and its own legislation, the Sanctuary Cove Resort Act 1985. Gore and the premier shrugged off allegations of cronyism, while Gore perhaps conceived and certainly promoted the ‘Joh for Canberra’ push, promising to raise $25 million for the campaign in the lead-up to the 1987 Federal election. In the event none of that money materialised and the Fitzgerald corruption inquiry brought about Bjelke-Petersen’s political demise later that year.
In January 1988 Gore launched Sanctuary Cove with a $16 million, five-day extravaganza styled ‘The Ultimate Event’, featuring matches with international golf and tennis champions, and concerts starring Frank Sinatra, Whitney Houston, and Peter Allen [q.v.], with Clive James as compere. Burdened by debt and tax liabilities, he moved immediately to sell his half-share of the resort for a reported $30 million. In 1989 the divorce settlement with his former wife forced the sale of his other properties, while development proposals, notably at Anuha in the Solomon Islands, failed to eventuate.
Gore married Karin Margaret Vernon, an American sports psychologist whom he had met at a San Diego health resort, at Ashfield, New South Wales, in 1990. Dogged by the Australian Taxation Office, he had been acquitted of charges of tax evasion in 1988. He nevertheless owed $25 million from three Australian court judgments against him, and moved to Vancouver, Canada, in 1992 for a financial exile that enabled him to avoid his debtors while seeking new business ventures. He died of a heart attack on 17 December 1994 at North Vancouver, survived by his wife, their twin daughters, three sons and one daughter from his first marriage, and one son from his second. Astute in neither politics nor commerce, he was nonetheless a big thinker, and his Sanctuary Cove helped lift the Gold Coast into the international tourism market at a time when its economy was flagging.
Bice, Kathryn. ‘Mike Gore Dies at His Canadian Home, Aged 53.’ Australian Financial Review, 19 December 1994, 31; Burchill, Geoff. Passion, Power and Prejudice. Brisbane: Booralong Press, 2005; Monaghan, David. ‘The Vision of Blood and Guts Mike Gore.’ Age, 10 October 1986, Good Weekend Magazine, 24–29; Strong, Geoff. ‘A Gold Coast Loud Mouth Goes Quietly.’ Sunday Age, 25 December 1994, 7; Sydney Morning Herald. ‘Sanctuary Cove Developer.’ 19 December 1994, 8; Wear, Rae. Johannes Bjelke-Petersen: The Lord’s Premier. St Lucia, Qld: University of Queensland Press, 2002.
GORRIE, ARTHUR DINGWALL (1922–1992), toastmaster, community worker, hobby-shop proprietor, and model-aircraft enthusiast, was born on 19 May 1922 at West End, Brisbane, only child of Queensland-born parents Arthur William (Dingwall) Gorrie, salesman, and his wife Elsie Muriel, née Gordon. Arthur senior started Gorrie Cycle and Sports Depot. He rode with the Valley Amateur Wheelers and also competed successfully in motorcycle trials. Young Arthur attended Milton State School and worked as a shop assistant before beginning full-time duty in the Citizen Military Forces on 22 April 1942; he transferred to the Australian Imperial Force in July 1943. For much of his service in World War II, he performed clerical duties in the troopship Duntroon, rising to staff sergeant. He developed his own photographs on board, contributed to the ship’s newsletters, and was a loader of a 4-inch (102 mm) gun.
Discharged on 25 September 1946, Gorrie resumed work as a shop assistant then, about 1950, took over his father’s business and transformed it into a hobby shop. His passion was building and flying model aircraft, and most of his stock catered for this increasingly popular pastime. He wrote about the activity for magazines; founded the Newtown Model Aeronautical Association; publicised the Model Aeronautical Association of Queensland (life member); took part in flying competitions; designed and built powered and glider models; and prospered while doing what he loved. His son Graham recalled chaotic scenes in the cluttered shop: people lighting cigarettes near cans of fuel, papers everywhere, and smoke and noise whenever Arthur demonstrated the operation of a motor for a customer ‘grimly gripping the vibrating aeroplane’ (Gorrie).
On 11 June 1949 at St Augustine’s Church of England, Hamilton, Gorrie had married Marjorie Grace Egan, a typist. The couple and their growing family lived above the shop at 604 Stanley Street, Woolloongabba, in somewhat primitive conditions until 1960 when they moved to St Lucia. They later divorced. A man who aimed to ‘do something with every day’ (Clayton 1989, 13), Gorrie raised funds for charities, including the Royal Children’s Hospital, Brisbane. In 1975 he became a toastmaster, later joking: ‘I’ve always been an ear basher’ (Clayton 1989, 13). He presided over the Australian Post-Tel Institute club, achieved the status of ‘Distinguished Toastmaster’, and in 1987 received a presidential citation award from Toastmasters International.
Public speaking became the focus of Gorrie’s community work. He set out to establish a toastmasters club in every Queensland prison, convinced that imparting the skills of ‘Speechcraft’ to inmates could aid their rehabilitation. Keith Hamburger, director-general of corrective services in Queensland (1988–97), observed that the manner in which Gorrie led meetings created an enjoyable environment in which prisoners gained confidence to speak in public. He arranged for Gorrie to travel at departmental expense to gaols throughout the State, and he came to admire him for his efforts to make the world a better and happier place.
Gorrie was stockily built and had a ready smile. His boyish enthusiasm and amiable nature won him many friends. In 1992 he was awarded the OAM for his community service. Survived by his daughter and three sons, he died of myocardial infarction on 21 June 1992 at Oxley and was cremated with Uniting Church forms. The Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre, Wacol, commemorates him.
Clayton, Pauline. ‘Seems Everyone is Toasting Arthur.’ Daily Sun (Brisbane), 11 July 1989, 13; Courier Mail (Brisbane). ‘Charity Man Dies at Home.’ 26 June 1992, 12; Gorrie, Graham. Personal communication; Hamburger, Keith. Personal communication; National Archives of Australia. B883, QX55301.
GOTTLIEB, KURT (1910–1995), engineer, draftsman, astronomer and Jewish community leader, was born on 5 October 1910 at Graz, Austria, son of Ernest Gottlieb, shopkeeper, and his wife Elsa, née Gans. He studied engineering at the University of Technology, Brno, Czechoslovakia (Czech Republic), graduating Dip Ing. To escape Nazi persecution of Jews he fled to Italy, where, in 1940, he boarded the Esquilino, one of the last ships to leave Genoa for Australia before Italy entered World War II in June.
Arriving in Sydney in April, Gottlieb found that his engineering qualifications were not recognised. While earning a living in any job he could get, he enrolled in a draftsman’s course. With World War II in progress there was a great need for engineers and physicists. In Canberra, Mount Stromlo Observatory had been converted into an optical munitions factory producing gun sights and other instruments for the war. Being short of technical staff, the observatory director, (Sir) Richard Woolley [q.v.18], approached the government to allow him to recruit technicians and engineers from European refugees who had arrived in Australia. Despite debate in official circles about their technical abilities, Gottlieb was among them and was assigned into his personal custody.
Having moved into bachelors’ quarters at Mount Stromlo, he worked as a mechanical engineer for the duration of the war. He was responsible for the design of more than eleven different optical instruments including several for the Army Inventions Directorate. On 23 September 1943, at the district registrar’s office, North Sydney, Gottlieb married Isley Turner, a clerk. Subsequently, they were the first couple to have a Jewish wedding in Canberra. He and his wife were founder members of the ACT Jewish Community, which he served in various capacities, including that of president (1962–64).
After the war Gottlieb remained at Mount Stromlo as a research engineer in charge of the workshops. Together with Clabon Allen [q.v.17], an astronomer, he designed an electron multiplier photometer with a slitless spectrograph and fitted it to the 30.4-inch (76cm) Reynolds telescope in August 1947. It was used to determine stellar photometric gradients and monochromatic magnitudes by photoelectric means. The program was a southern extension of the Royal Observatory’s relative gradient program. Gottlieb was responsible for taking the first photograph of the Russian satellite Sputnik on 8 October 1957 as it passed overhead. When shown by the director of Mount Stromlo Observatory, Bart Bok [q.v.17], to parliamentarians whom he was addressing about the implications of Sputnik, the image created a sensation. It also made the front page of the New York Times.
One of the major challenges for Gottlieb was the reconstruction of the 48-inch (122 cm) great Melbourne telescope that the observatory had acquired as scrap metal from the Melbourne Observatory when it closed in 1945. The refurbished telescope was used extensively by Mount Stromlo astronomers for over twenty years. It made headlines when it was used in the MACHO (Massive Astrophysical Compact Halo Object) project in the search for dark matter. In 1957 Gottlieb was appointed a research fellow at the research school of physical sciences, Australian National University. He remained at Mount Stromlo until his retirement in 1976.
Appreciative of classical music, especially opera, Gottlieb was friendly and had a disarming smile. Predeceased by his wife (d. 1984) and survived by a son and daughter, he died on 21 July 1995 at the Repatriation General Hospital, Concord, Sydney, and was buried in Woden cemetery, Canberra.
Bhathal, Ragbir, Ralph Sutherland and Harvey Butcher. Mount Stromlo Observatory: From Bush observatory to the Nobel Prize. Canberra: CSIRO Publishing, 2013; Doobov, Mervyn, and S.C. Gascoigne. Australian (Sydney). ‘Refugee Engineer Had Precision in His Sights’, 4 September 1995, 13; Frame, Tom, and Don Faulkner. Stromlo: An Australian Observatory. Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 2003; National Archives of Australia. SP11/5, Kurt Gottlieb.
GOWING, DENNIS (1930–1991), car dealer and restaurateur, was born Marshall Dennis Whyte on 3 November 1930 at St Pancras, London, son of Cecilia Marie Whyte, caterer’s counter hand. Orphaned at an early age, in 1935 he was adopted by Frederick Walter Gowing, hot-water fitter, and his wife Elizabeth, née Parsons. Dennis did not regularly attend school until he was about nine years old. During World War II he was evacuated from London and by the time the war ended, both of his adoptive parents had died. From 1946 to 1948 he served in the British Army.
Recalling later that he had eaten sardines on toast for Christmas in about 1943, Gowing observed ‘that was the day I decided to become very rich’ (Whitlock 1986, 24). In early 1949 he sailed from Liverpool to Melbourne aboard the Georgic. Settling in west Gippsland, Victoria, he was employed by the State Electricity Commission; as a barman at a Yallourn hotel; and, importantly, as a trainee used car salesman. He noticed that used car dealers lived in better houses than new car dealers, which made it easy to choose between the two.
By 1955 Gowing had adopted the persona of ‘Dennis the Menace’, sales manager of Reno Auto Sales at North Richmond, Melbourne. He married Elizabeth Chapple in August that year at Christ Church, South Yarra. In 1960 he started a used car business in partnership with Kevin Heffernan, who had operated a second-hand car lot at East Hawthorn. They combined their first names to create Kevin Dennis O.K. Motors Pty Ltd, but within a few months Gowing became the sole owner of the company. By 1963 he had married his second wife, Faye Kathrin Bate; the union did not last and they separated in the early 1970s.
Gowing chose prominent locations for his car yards, the most notable of which opened in 1963 on the corner of two busy roads in Richmond. He also had a flair for publicity. His classified newspaper advertisements were often full-page displays. In 1963 he sponsored and regularly appeared in a Saturday morning television show Kevin Dennis Auditions (later Kevin Dennis New Faces) on Channel 9, Melbourne. A youthful thirty-three-year-old, he had neatly cut curly hair and trademark black plastic spectacles. He also featured on other sponsored television programmes, including Tell the Truth and the Kevin Dennis Sports Parade. His by then familiar face was brashly used as an advertising logo in print media, television advertisements, and on car yard banners. At the peak of his business career, he boasted that he operated two new car and five used car outlets in metropolitan Melbourne.
In the rapidly suburbanising years after World War II Gowing recognised that cars, once an expensive luxury, were becoming a necessity. His businesses catered for those who were unable to afford a new car by offering to trade-in almost anything, and to provide low interest rates and a money-back guarantee. The firm’s selling practices attracted criticism. In 1973 it was reported to the State parliament that over a quarter of the complaints relating to car sales made that year were against Kevin Dennis businesses. Gowing was aware of the ‘sneering attitude’ of others towards him and ‘the used-car image’ (Age 1977, 3) and sought to protect his reputation. He cautioned his staff to lift their standard of ethics, even if it meant losing sales. In an advertisement signed ‘Kevin Dennis’, he quoted the chairman of the Consumer Affairs Council saying that ‘no other car dealer was as cooperative as the Kevin Dennis Group in dealing with complaints’. Gowing added that, when 14,000 cars were sold, ‘somebody had to be unhappy about something’ (Age 1973, 5). At about the same time he sold half his interest in the firm.
Retiring from car sales, Gowing moved into the restaurant and hotel business. He opened Jacksons (1976) in Toorak, Gowings (1984) in East Melbourne, and then Gowings Grace Darling hotel (1990), Collingwood. He had a passion for contemporary Australian art, buying all the paintings in an exhibition and paying record prices to secure paintings that he displayed at his restaurants and in his home. He also indulged in trial-car driving, for a time ran a horse stud, and was part-owner of the 1985 Melbourne Cup winner, What A Nuisance.
Excelling at sales, Gowing made his fortune selling cars, and later bought and sold paintings, racehorses, and property. An obituary recalled that he ‘liked making money, [and] he took pleasure in spending it and sharing the benefits of being rich’ (Erlich 1991, 20). He was courteous and good company but if the mood took him, could be bad-tempered. Survived by his three sons and a daughter, he died from cancer of the bladder on 3 December 1991 and was cremated. His estate was valued for probate at over $1.8 million. All of his children would follow him into the hospitality trade or the automobile industry.
Age (Melbourne). ‘No Other Car Dealer is as Co-operative.’ 23 November 1973, 5; ‘Gorton Ad had Kevin Dennis in Stitches.’ Age (Melbourne), 26 May 1977, 3; Beilby, Peter, ed. Australian TV: the First 25 Years. Melbourne: Nelson in association with Cinema Papers, 1981; Cave, Michael. ‘Cost of Life in the Fast Lane.’ Age (Melbourne), 23 December 1987, Tempo 3; Erlich, Rita. ‘Death of a Legendary Salesman.’ Age (Melbourne), 4 December 1991, 20; Gowing, Randolph. Personal communication; Public Records Office of Victoria. VPRS 8890/P0001 Central Correspondence Files, Unit 125, 8210K/2 Kevin Dennis (KD) Traders – MPRT; Whicker, Alan. Whicker’s World Down Under: Australia Through the Eyes and Lives of Resident Poms. London: Collins, 1988; Whitlock, Fiona. ‘Perfection Surrounds a Rags-to-Riches Achiever.’ Age (Melbourne), 24 June 1986, 24.
GRANT, ARTHUR STANLEY (1913–1991), air force officer and company director, was born on 21 June 1913 at Inverell, New South Wales, eldest of four children of Victorian-born Arthur Stanley Grant, vigneron, and his New South Wales–born wife Celia May, née Bell. Arthur junior attended the public school at Bukkulla (1920–27), before being enrolled at Fort Street Boys’ High School, Sydney. His family moved to Brisbane, while he remained in Sydney to finish his schooling.
After leaving school in 1931, Grant joined his family, and became a clerk with the pastoral company Goldsbrough [q.v.4] Mort & Co. Ltd. He qualified as an accountant and secretary (1934), and also attended (1935–37) classes in the faculty of commerce, University of Queensland, but did not take a degree. In 1936 Grant joined the militia, serving as a trooper in the 11th Light Horse Regiment. Three years later he obtained a private pilot’s licence.
Enlisting under the Empire Air Training Scheme, Grant entered the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) on 8 November 1940. He completed observer training at Bradfield Park, Sydney, before embarking for Canada on 22 February 1941 where he undertook air observer and navigation courses. Appointed temporary sergeant in July, he was commissioned as a pilot officer in August. He arrived in Britain in September, where he began further operational training and was promoted to flying officer shortly before being posted to No. 455 Squadron, RAAF, on 24 February 1942.
Over the next two months Grant navigated on mine-laying and bombing missions over France, the Dutch coast, and Germany, including a major bombing attack on Lubeck on 29 March. After spending two weeks with No 50. Squadron, Royal Air Force (RAF), in May he transferred to No. 420 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force. In July he joined No. 49 Squadron of the Pathfinder Force, where he became known by the nickname ‘The General’. On 17 October he navigated for the aircraft leading a formation of ninety-four Lancaster bombers in a daylight raid on the Schneider armament and locomotive works at Le Creusot, France. Despite the difficult low-level course laid down by flight planners, his navigation was so precise that the formation arrived over the target at the time ordered for the attack to begin. He received an immediate award of the Distinguished Service Order, the citation recording his ‘superb skill and determination’ (NAA A9300).
Five days later Grant was involved in a bombing raid on the Italian fleet at Genoa, Italy, where his astro-navigation skills were critical to guiding the attacking formation onto target and back to England. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. He completed his first tour of operations with thirty-one sorties on 21 December 1942 and the next month was posted to the bombing development unit as acting flight lieutenant, the rank to which he was promoted on 18 August 1943.
In January 1944 Grant joined No 139 (Jamaica) Squadron, a Mosquito unit of the Pathfinder Force, for a second operational tour. Appointed acting squadron leader on 8 March, eleven days later he took part in a mission against Berlin in which his aircraft was damaged, losing its navigational system. He continued with the mission, which was successfully completed. Then he navigated the aircraft back to England without the aid of a compass, for which he was awarded a Bar to his DFC. His citation reads, in part, ‘The outstanding courage and devotion to duty of this officer have, at all times, set a fine example to all his squadron’ (NAA A9300). Transferred to No. 156 Squadron, RAF, he completed his second operational tour of fifty missions in July and the next month embarked for return to Australia. After serving on the radar staff at RAAF Headquarters, Melbourne, he was demobilised on 5 October 1945. At the Presbyterian Church, St Kilda, on 22 November 1946 he married Roma Ida Seccull, a typist, who had been a corporal in the Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force (1942–46). The couple were to remain childless.
Grant resumed his career with Goldsbrough Mort, working in the firm’s head office, Melbourne, until it merged with an Adelaide-based pastoral company in 1962 to become Elder [q.v.4] Smith Goldsbrough Mort Ltd. He was a director (1964–66) of the Elder, Smith & Co. arm of the business in Adelaide but resigned to join Bagot’s Executor and Trustee Co. Ltd. Ill health compelled his retirement in 1972. Survived by his wife, he died in the Repatriation General Hospital, Daw Park, South Australia, on 7 September 1991 and was cremated.
Australian War Memorial. AWM65, 2393, PR00058 (private records); Bowman, Martin W. Last of the Lancasters. Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England: Pen & Sword Aviation, 2015; Flight. ‘Royal Air Force and Fleet Air Arm News and Announcements.’ 28 December 1944, 704; Herington, John. Air War Against Germany and Italy, 1939–1943, Australia in the War of 1939–1945. Vol. III of Series 3 (Air). Canberra: Australian War Memorial, 1954; Herington, John. Air Power Over Europe, 1944–45, Australia in the War of 1939–1945. Vol. IV of Series 3 (Air). Canberra: Australian War Memorial, 1963; National Archives of Australia. A9300, Grant A. S; Sydney Morning Herald. ’Australians at Lubeck.’ 11 April 1942, 11, ‘RAAF Awards DSO and Five DFCs.’ 26 October 1942, 7.
GRANT, CHARLES ROBERT (1911–1994), air force officer and stock and station agent, was born on 7 April 1911 at North Sydney, eldest of four children of Sydney-born David James Grant, wool clerk, and his Melbourne-born wife Nellie, née Browne. Gordon attended Dubbo High School where he gained the Intermediate certificate (1927) before working as a cadet engineer for the Dubbo Municipal Council. Later he became the overseer and bookkeeper at Keera station, between Bundarra and Bingara, and served part time in the Citizen Military Forces with the 24th Light Horse Regiment.
Standing 5 feet 7 inches (170 cm) tall and weighing 160 pounds (73 kg), Grant enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) on 16 September 1940 as air crew. He qualified as a pilot after training in New South Wales and Victoria. On 28 July 1941, at All Saints’ Church of England, Woollahra, Sydney, he married Joyce Eurimbla Longworth, a National Emergency Services ambulance driver. In the following month he travelled to Vancouver, Canada, for further training. Arriving in Britain in September, he learnt to fly Wellington bombers for night sorties over Nazi-occupied Europe. He was promoted to flight sergeant on 25 January 1942, and in May he joined Bomber Command’s No. 460 Squadron, RAAF, based at Breighton, Yorkshire. His first sortie was a raid on St Nazaire, France, on 19 May. In the following weeks he flew second pilot in the ‘thousand-bomber’ raids over Germany, bombing Cologne (30–31 May), Essen (1–2 June), and (for the first time as captain) Bremen (25–26 June). For his ‘consistent skill [and] determination’ on numerous operations, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal (1943) (NAA A9300).
Commissioned on 17 July, Grant flew operations over the Ruhr and the Rhineland. After converting briefly to Halifax bombers in August, No. 460 Squadron was re-equipped with Lancasters in October. During a mission over Essen, on 11 January 1943, Grant’s aircraft was holed by flak, the front gun turret rendered unserviceable and the undercarriage damaged. He was able to return the plane to Breighton, wryly commenting that the German anti-air defences ‘didn’t have a chance—we were going faster than the tracer’ (AWM, AWM64).
Two sorties short of his tour of thirty operations, Grant was selected to join the Royal Air Force’s Pathfinder Force, a new, special formation of elite airmen who flew ahead of the main bomber force to find and mark the aiming point with flares. Having agreed to an additional forty-five sorties, he learnt to fly the Mosquito light bomber before being posted to No. 109 Squadron, RAF, Marham, Norfolk, on 20 October. The squadron also carried out diversionary attacks on German targets to draw enemy night-fighters away from the heavy bombers. Grant’s first Pathfinder operation was on 11 November when his squadron bombed Düsseldorf, Germany, while the main bomber formation headed for Cannes, France. On the night of 18–19 November, his and nine other Mosquitos struck Essen while the main force carried out the first of sixteen raids on the German capital as part of the RAF’s costly Battle of Berlin. In January 1944, while returning to Marham, his Mosquito struck a tree at nearby Narborough, injuring him and his navigator.
Grant flew sixty-two sorties with No. 109 Squadron, including a raid on Argentan, France, during the Allied invasion of Normandy on 6 June 1944. Promoted to temporary flight lieutenant on 17 July, that day he flew his final sortie, which was to Caen, France. In September he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross as a ‘skilful and determined pilot who has always pressed home his attacks regardless of heavy enemy opposition’ in sorties on targets over north-west Germany (NAA A9300). With ninety operational flights to his credit, he had the good fortune of never having flown over Berlin’s formidable air defences. He returned to Australia in October and his RAAF appointment was terminated on 16 April 1945.
Returning to civilian life, from 1949 Grant worked as manager of Cubbaroo station, west of Wee Waa, New South Wales, then as a stock and station agent at Narrabri. In 1953 he was elected inaugural secretary of the Narrabri Diggers’ Race Club, established to raise funds for the Returned Services League of Australia. Grant was declared bankrupt in 1960 and, after the dissolution of his marriage in 1967, moved to Katherine, Northern Territory. In Darwin he married Antoinette Karen Althouse, a welfare officer, before retiring to Bargara, Queensland. There, survived by his wife and the daughter and two sons of his first marriage, he died on 26 October 1994 and was buried in Bundaberg general cemetery.
Australian War Memorial. AWM64, 321/1 Operations Record Book, No. 460 Squadron RAAF, AWM65, 4628 RAAF Biographical files; Firkins, Peter C. Strike and Return: 460 RAAF Heavy Bomber Squadron, RAF Bomber Command in the World War. Perth: Paterson Brokensha, 1964; Middlebrook, Martin. The Bomber Command War Diaries: An Operational Reference Book, 1939–1945. Leicester: Midland Publishing, 1996; National Archives of Australia. A9300, Grant Charles Robert Gordon; Nelson, Hank. Chased by the Sun: The Australians in Bomber Command in WWII. Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 2002; Pegram, Aaron. ‘There Will Be No Live VCs in 8 Group.’ Wartime 51 (2010): 18–23.
GREBER, NORMAN RAE (NORM) (1902–1993), nut grower, was born on 23 November 1902 at Rous, near Ballina, New South Wales, tenth of twelve surviving children of New South Wales–born parents Christian Greber, farmer, and his wife Mary Ellen, née Collins. Money was scarce and Norm’s schooling was limited, relegated to second place behind helping on the farm. Growing up close to one of the first small-scale macadamia orchards, he liked to savour the taste and texture of the local rough-shelled nuts (Macadamia tetraphylla, found in northern New South Wales). It was the start of a passion for the macadamia that would last all his long life.
At the age of fifteen, Greber left home and joined his brother Valentine, who was farming at Montville, Queensland. In 1919 they moved to Amamoor, near Gympie, in the Mary Valley. Some years later Norm bought 40 acres (16 ha) of virgin scrub, cleared it by hand, and planted bananas and pineapples. Earlier, he had worked with timber getters, and in the rainforest had seen the wild Macadamia integrifolia native to Queensland. This species would become the foundation of the world macadamia export industry that began in Hawai‘i in the 1940s based on trees imported from Australia in the nineteenth century.
In the 1920s Greber set out to develop the industry in the macadamia’s country of origin. He searched for and selected thin-shelled nuts from trees bearing a good crop and planted 500 seedlings on his farm, which he named Nutty Glen. By the end of the decade his orchard, large for its time, comprised 1,000 trees. On 19 December 1932 at the Albert Street Methodist Church, Brisbane, he married Kathleen Houston, a waitress; they would be childless.
Greber assessed each tree and tried to graft the better-performing seedlings. Conventional grafting techniques had been ineffective but, through his skills and powers of observation, he finally became the first Australian to graft macadamias for commercial production. His ‘simple side graft’ ‘proved the most versatile’ (Greber 1962, 47). The superior varieties he developed included ‘Own Choice’, ‘Greber Hybrid’, ‘NRG4’, and ‘NRG7’.
With no orchard machinery and only a horse to assist him in working the hilly country of Nutty Glen, Greber moved in 1951 to 33 acres (13.3 ha) of flatter land at Beerwah, about 50 miles (80.5 km) north of Brisbane, where he again grew fruit and nuts. He continued to experiment with all aspects of breeding productive Australian macadamia varieties, investigated methods of improving tree culture, and invented hand tools and basic mechanical equipment. The Colonial Sugar Refining Co. Ltd entered the industry in 1963, bought most of his land, and engaged him for the next eleven years to train its staff in growing and grafting.
Acknowledged as a founder of the Australian macadamia industry, Greber was a guiding force and mentor to producers at home and abroad. He corresponded with a large circle of friends and expounded his vision in articles written for industry journals. Woe betide anyone who underrated the macadamia and the importance of its Australian heritage. When the Australian Macadamia Society (AMS) was formed in 1974, he became its first patron; later, the society made him a life member. In 1981 the California Macadamia Society accorded him honorary life membership.
In 1993 Greber was awarded the OAM. He was a quiet, humble man, who valued the independence and freedom of life on the land. Music was an enduring pleasure: when young, he had played the cornet at country dances; at Beerwah, he was a trumpeter in a brass band. Predeceased by his wife, he died on 19 December 1993 at Caloundra and was cremated. The AMS established the Norman R. Greber trophy, awarded annually to a member judged to have made an outstanding contribution to the industry.
Burnett, Bob. ‘The Macadamia King: Norm Leads the Way.’ Sunshine Coast Daily, 7 August 1982, 9; News Bulletin (Australian Macadamia Society). ‘Obituary.’ January 1994, 3; Greber, N. R. ‘Macadamia Country.’ Yearbook (California Macadamia Society) (1963): 35–37, ‘The Macadamia in Australia.’ Yearbook (California Macadamia Society) (1962): 46–47; Greber, Norm. ‘Nuts to the Knockers.’ News Bulletin (Australian Macadamia Society), 7 March 1981, 11–12; Jones, Neil. ‘Ingenious Farmer with Eye for Ideas.’ Australian, 10 January 1994, 13; Mcconachie, Ian. ‘Norm Greber’s Life at Nutty Glen.’ News Bulletin (Australian Macadamia Society), December 2011, 18–19, ‘Norm Greber—the Man behind the Award.’ News Bulletin (Australian Macadamia Society), October 2011, 12; Yearbook (California Macadamia Society). ‘Norman R. Greber—Honorary Life Member.’ 27 (1981): 25–26.
GREEN, DOROTHY (1915–1991), poet, literary critic, academic, and peace activist, was born on 28 May 1915 at Sunderland, England, elder of two children of Andrew Auchterlounie, tramcar motorman, and his Australian-born wife Marguerita, née Best. Dorothy’s father died when she was five and her mother remarried. The family migrated to Australia in 1927.
Educated at North Sydney Girls’ High School, Auchterlounie was awarded a bursary to the University of Sydney (BA, 1938; MA, 1940), where she studied literature and edited Hermes, the university’s literary magazine. She contributed regularly to Southerly from its first issue. In 1940 she published Kaleidoscope, the first of three volumes of poetry. While at university Auchterlonie met her future husband, Henry Mackenzie Green [q.v.14], the literary historian and University of Sydney librarian. Although she hoped to become a professional mezzo-soprano, he set her on the path of teaching, reviewing, and promoting Australian literature.
After university, Auchterlounie taught at high schools, but in 1941 took a cadetship with the Daily Telegraph, before becoming a radio journalist with the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC). Transferred to Brisbane, she covered State and Federal rounds while helping transmit General Douglas MacArthur’s [q.v.15] communiqués to Canberra. She also began writing literary criticism for Meanjin. Having returned to Sydney, on 16 May 1944, at the district registrar’s office, Ashfield, she married Green. Thirty-four years her senior, he had divorced in order to marry her.
Barred from full-time employment once she married, Green continued with the ABC on a part-time basis. When her husband retired, she was her family’s main breadwinner. She returned to teaching, this time at the Presbyterian Girls’ School, Warwick, Queensland, where she became co-headmistress in 1957. She introduced many reforms at the school but encountered conflict with the board that, combined with her onerous workload, affected her health. Always petite—she sometimes purchased children’s shoes—she was extremely underweight by the time she was appointed in 1961 to the English department at Monash University, becoming its first female lecturer. Her husband’s death the following year was a major blow, triggering a nervous collapse that necessitated psychiatric treatment.
In 1964 Green moved to The Australian National University (ANU), working under Professor A. D. Hope [q.v.], but the new role brought frustrations. She thought both she and Australian literature were marginalised. Her second book of poetry, The Dolphin, appeared in 1967 and a year later she edited Australian Poetry. That same year she travelled to Italy and met Martin Boyd [q.v.13]; she worked on his biography but was beaten to publication by Brenda Niall. She published Ulysses Bound: Henry Handel Richardson and her Fiction in 1973. It was the first serious full-length study of a female Australian writer, for which Green received the Foundation for Australian Literary Studies’ Colin Roderick award and the Fellowship of Australian Writers’ Barbara Ramsden [q.v.16] award.
Resigning from the ANU in 1972, the following year Green was awarded a pension by the literature board of the Australian Council for the Arts. However, cuts to arts funding forced her to return to academia when she lectured at the Faculty of Military Studies, University of New South Wales, Royal Military College, Duntroon (1977–80). It was the happiest period of her working life. For much of the 1980s, she sat on the board of the Age Monthly Review.
Green’s third book of poetry, Something to Someone, appeared in 1983. She continued writing throughout the decade: her literary legacy includes The Music of Love: Critical Essays on Literature and Love (1984); the revised edition of her husband’s History of Australian Literature: Pure and Applied (1984/5); the anthology Descent of Spirit: The Writings of E. L. Grant Watson (1990); a volume of collected essays, Writer: Reader: Critic (1991); as well as more than 200 reviews and articles. For Green, literature encompassed ‘any piece of work made of words which gives me pleasure as well as information’ (Green 1991, 5). She thought literature was to be enjoyed because it fully engaged the mind. It was ‘humanity thinking aloud—communicating its experience of all that is, holding a great continuous discussion throughout the ages and across the world’ (Green 1991, 16).
An Anglican, Green served in the 1980s on the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs and on the Australian Council of Churches. Her religious beliefs underpinned her political activities in the second half of her life. She became patron of the Australian Association of Armed Neutrality and in 1984 helped form the Canberra branch of the Nuclear Disarmament Party. With a colleague, David Headon, she established Writers Against Nuclear Arms in 1986. Next year she travelled to the Soviet Union to take part in an international peace forum and in 1989 helped form Writers for an Ecologically Sustainable Population.
Green was awarded the OAM in 1984 and appointed AO in 1988. She was a life member (1978) of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature, and she received an emeritus fellowship (1984) from the Literature Board of the Australia Council. The University of New South Wales awarded her an honorary doctorate of letters (1987).
Reserved and intense, Green was happiest in the company of a book, but enjoyed deep and loyal friendships. She was romantic, slightly prim, and deeply compassionate. Anger at injustice drove much of her most insightful writing. She knew the worth of her own work and her own intellect, finding it infuriating when either was undervalued. Sharp-witted, she could be sharp-tongued, particularly as she aged and suffered from the pain of crippling arthritis.
Green made a profound contribution to Australian literature as a poet, literary critic, and educator. At a time when the ‘cultural cringe’ marginalised Australian writers, her literary criticism supported many whom she believed were undervalued, including Henry Handel Richardson [q.v.11], Patrick White [q.v.18], Martin Boyd [q.v.13], and the English-born writer E. L. Grant Watson. A gifted teacher, she fostered a love of Australian literature in several generations of students, yet battled to see Australian literature recognised as a legitimate field of study in the universities in which she worked. Survived by her son and daughter, she died on 21 February 1991 in Canberra and was cremated.
Auchterlonie, Dorothy. Interview by Hazel de Berg, 31 March 1967. Transcript. Hazel de Berg collection. National Library of Australia; Dowse, Sara. ‘In the Nature of a Prophet.’ Australian Society, February 1990, 19–21; Green, Dorothy. Writer: Reader: Critic. Leichhardt: Primavera Press, 1991; Papers of Dorothy Green. National Library of Australia; Headon, David. ‘Love and Thunder.’ Overland, no. 123 (1991), 78–80; McDonald, Willa. Warrior for Peace: Dorothy Auchterlonie Green. Melbourne: Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2009.
GREENWOOD, IRENE ADELAIDE (1898–1992), feminist, peace activist, and broadcaster, was born on 9 December 1898 at Albany, Western Australia, eldest of five children of Victorian-born Henry Driver, storeman, and his South Australian–born wife Mary Ann, née Hicken. Later in life Irene would state that her birth coincided with the year that Western Australian women were enfranchised. Her mother had been a notable figure in the early Western Australian women’s movement through her involvement in the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, the Women’s Service Guilds of Western Australia, and the Australian Federation of Women Voters; her feminist activism was a significant influence on her daughter. Having attended Albany State School (1905–12) and Perth Modern School (1913–17), Irene studied arts at the University of Western Australia (1917–18) but did not graduate.
Working as a secretary for the Department of Agriculture (1918–20), Driver met her husband, Albert Ernest Greenwood (d. 1964), an accountant. They married at the Anglican Church of the Annunciation, Broome, on 18 June 1920. The couple then lived in Broome, where Albert was employed as a legal clerk, until 1925. Observing the plight of some local Aboriginal women, Irene made use of her husband’s position to try to help them sue for maintenance from the white Australian men who had fathered their children; she was unsuccessful.
After the family returned to Perth, Greenwood became active in the local women’s movement, following her mother into the Women’s Service Guilds and developing an extensive network, which included the feminist leader and Guilds’ co-founder Bessie Rischbieth [q.v.11]. In 1931 she moved with her husband to Sydney and joined the United Associations (later the United Associations of Women), becoming a council member (1932–34), honorary secretary (1935), and vice-president (1934–35). Working closely with Linda Littlejohm [q.v.10] and Jessie Street [q.v.16] in the debating team and on the broadcasting committee, she gave radio talks in support of the organisation’s aims. She later credited this experience as formative for her feminist activism and her broadcasting career.
In 1936, having moved back to Perth, Greenwood began a series of weekly talks on the Australian Broadcasting Commission radio network entitled ‘Women in the International News’ which she continued periodically for twelve years. They were well received by women in Western Australia, particularly those in remote areas. She also gave international short-wave broadcasts (1940–41) aimed at building domestic support in the United States of America for the Allied effort before that country entered World War II. Despite this contribution to the war effort, she was a committed peace activist and sympathised with internationalist left-wing politics. A member of the Communist Party of Australia from 1942, she was periodically under surveillance by the security services; she later allowed her membership to lapse. Although she was sometimes asked to censor material in her ABC radio talks owing to their pro–Soviet Union messages, she became adept at navigating editorial policy while still promoting her agenda.
From 1948 until 1954 Greenwood hosted her own women’s session, ‘Woman to Woman’, on the commercial 6AM radio network in Perth, which provided her with greater control over programming and considerably expanded her audience. Following her retirement from broadcasting in 1954 she continued to be involved in feminism and peace activism. She became president of the Australian Federation of Women Voters, State president (1966–69) of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), and edited the monthly journal Peace and Freedom for ten years. Through these roles she was involved in the WILPF’s campaigning for nuclear and general disarmament, and was scathing of Australia’s continued export of uranium to countries with the potential to build nuclear weapons. As an Australian delegate, she attended the 1965 golden jubilee conference of the WILPF in The Hague, Netherlands. An active participant in the protest movement against conscription and Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War, she wrote letters to newspapers, addressed meetings and rallies, and marched in street demonstrations. Her feminism bridged conservative and progressive organisations; when asked why she was involved with the Women’s Service Guilds, she is said to have replied ‘I know they are conservative, but they would be so much worse without me’ (Giles 1999, 62).
In 1974 Prime Minister Gough Whitlam appointed Greenwood to the National Council for International Women’s Year 1975. She was appointed AO in 1975, and received a Queen Elizabeth II silver jubilee medal (1977) and a United Nations Association of Australia Silver Peace Medal (1982). She was made a life member of the State branch of the Fellowship of Australian Writers (1975), a life vice-president of the Women’s Service Guilds of Western Australia, and a life vice-president of the Western Australian branch of WILPF. In 1981 Murdoch University conferred on her an honorary doctorate.
Greenwood described her appearance as ‘blue-eyed, high colour, typical north-European’, and placed special value on her red hair, which she believed indicated a ‘fiery and impulsive’ temperament, prone to ‘acting out of the ordinary’ (1992, 108–9). She had a ‘cultured and friendly voice’ (MUL QU 305.42 MUR), the result of elocution training from the speech therapist Lionel Logue [q.v.15] early in her career, which endeared her to her radio audience and gave a respectable veneer to her often controversial left-wing broadcasts.
Survived by her daughter, Greenwood died on 14 April 1992 at Claremont, Perth, after a stroke in 1989 had left her disabled and in nursing home care; she was cremated at Karrakatta cemetery. She left to Murdoch University an extensive collection of papers that provide a rare and comprehensive insight into the Western Australian women’s and peace movements, as well as her role as a pioneer of women’s broadcasting. The Western Australian Coastal Shipping Commission (Stateships) named its vessel Irene Greenwood in her honour in 1984.
Giles, Patricia. ‘Irene Greenwood: A Hero of the Feminist Movement (Keynote Address).’ Papers in Labour History. No. 21 (1999): 56–69; Greenwood, Irene. ‘Chronicle of Change.’ In As a Woman: Writing Women’s Lives, edited by Jocelyn A. Scutt, 107–20. Melbourne: Artemis Publishing, 1992; Greenwood, Irene. Interview by Hazel de Berg, 9 March 1976. Transcript. National Library of Australia; Murdoch University Library. QU 305.42 MUR. Irene Greenwood Collection; Murray, Kaye. Voice for Peace: The Spirit of Social Activist Irene Greenwood (1898–1992). Perth: Kaye Murray Productions, 2005; National Archives of Australia. A6119/2750; National Library of Australia. Papers of Irene Greenwood 1912–1981; Richardson, John Andrew. ‘The Limits of Authorship: The Radio Broadcasts of Irene Greenwood, 1936–1954.’ Honours thesis, Murdoch University, 1988; West Australian. ‘Honour for Feminist (81).’ 24 March 1981, 5.
Catherine Horne Fisher
GRIFFIN, VAUGHAN MURRAY (1903–1992), artist, was born on 11 November 1903 at Malvern, Melbourne, only child of Victorian-born parents Vaughan Gale Griffin, civil servant, and his wife Ethel Maude Mary, née Brazier. Murray was educated at Adwalton Preparatory School for Boys, Malvern, then at Scotch College (1916–19), where he demonstrated ‘a precocious talent for drawing’ (Hetherington 1962, 18). His parents, wishing to nurture his flair, allowed him to leave school at fifteen to enrol at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) schools (1919–23) where, under the exacting tutelage of Bernard Hall [q.v.9], he won prizes in life drawing and landscape painting.
To support his studies, Griffin worked as a commercial artist and won commissions to design stained glass windows and art deco stone panels. In 1926 and 1927 he held solo exhibitions of his paintings at the New Gallery, Elizabeth Street. During this period he befriended the American architect Walter Burley Griffin, with whom he shared an adherence to the anthroposophical doctrines of the Austrian-born philosopher Rudolf Steiner. The architect had earlier designed a house for Griffin’s parents in the suburb of Heidelberg, which later became the artist’s family home. On 23 July 1932 at St John’s Church of England, Heidelberg, Griffin married New Zealand–born Norrie Hinemoa Grist, whom he had met at art school.
In the 1930s Griffin gained a reputation as ‘one of Melbourne’s most innovative modernist printmakers’ (Bunbury 2001, n.p.). Influenced by the Austrian artist Norbertine Bresslern-Roth, he utilised intricate multi-block linocut techniques to produce highly coloured images reminiscent of Japanese prints. His subjects included landscapes, animals, flowers, and figurative works, but he became especially known for his images of birds. A solo exhibition at the Sedon Gallery in 1934 prompted the artist (Sir) Arthur Streeton [q.v.12] to describe Griffin’s prints as ‘masterpieces of colour and form’, and to remark that Griffin ‘stands in a high place of his own making’ (Streeton 1934, 7). He won the George Crouch prize in 1935 for a landscape oil painting and the F. E. Richardson prize in 1939 for a colour print. Battered by the economic impact of the Depression, he took a position as an art teacher (1936–37) at Scotch College, before becoming instructor in drawing and decorative design (1937–41) at the (Royal) Melbourne Technical College.
Following the outbreak of World War II in 1939, Griffin was appointed as an official war artist on 9 October 1941 and attached to Australian Imperial Force headquarters, Malaya, in November. He was present when his countrymen were in action against the Japanese at Gemas and Muar in January 1942 and took part in the withdrawal to Singapore. After the Japanese captured the island on 15 February 1942 he became a prisoner of war. Artworks from the Malayan campaign that he had packed ready for transport to Australia were lost. Using whatever materials he could acquire and avoiding the scrutiny of his guards, he chronicled the quotidian activities of the Changi prisoner-of-war camp in forty paintings and more than 150 drawings and sketches, recording ‘men sweating, men toiling, men cursing and men suffering’ (Hall 1978, n.p.). He also ran art classes for his fellow prisoners. After the Japanese surrender in September 1945, he accompanied an official party to determine the fate of other prisoners of war before being repatriated in October and employed in the Military History Section, Melbourne. His Changi images, exhibited at the NGV in October 1946 prior to a national tour, won praise for creating ‘great beauty out of scenes of death and horror’ (Turnbull 1946, 7). Others found them overly gruesome, including the head of the section, J. L. Treloar [q.v.12], who had blocked their publication in July.
From August 1946 Griffin earned a living as the master at the NGV school of drawing, before resuming in 1954 at the Royal Melbourne Technical College (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology from 1960). He was a dedicated and sympathetic teacher, inculcating in his students traditional drawing skills and knowledge of art history. The time he could devote to his own art practice was necessarily limited but he continued to exhibit his work and won the print section of the Art Gallery of South Australia’s Maude Vizard-Wholohan prize in 1957. Promoted to senior lecturer in 1959, he retired from RMIT in November 1968.
Griffin preferred to work alone and eschewed the limelight. A man of ‘extraordinary good looks’ (Bunbury 2001, n.p.), he had a whimsical sense of humour and a restless energy. After the Warrnambool Art Gallery hosted a retrospective exhibition in 1978, he continued to paint for more than a decade, striving for ‘that one last picture in my mind of those angels’, though he felt himself to be ‘too ruddy old’ (Austen 1989, 5). His work increasingly expressed his interest in the spiritual world, notably his commitment to anthroposophy. He described his ‘Journey’ series of oil paintings and colour prints, exhibited at the University of Melbourne’s Gryphon Gallery in 1989, as ‘primarily a recognition of a deeper world, a spiritual world which I think people at heart believe in, but are a bit frightened of’ (Austen 1989, 5). He regarded the series as ‘his spiritual purpose and artistic apex’ (Bunbury 2001, n.p.).
Predeceased by his wife (d. 1980) and survived by their two sons, Griffin died on 29 January 1992 at West Heidelberg and was buried in Templestowe cemetery. A memoir of his wartime experiences was published later that year. Posthumous exhibitions were held at the Castlemaine Art Gallery (2001) and the Australian War Memorial, Canberra (2017). His works are held in many national and State collections, notably the AWM and the NGV, and in regional galleries including those of Ballarat, Castlemaine, Geelong, and Warrnambool. Among his commissioned works were murals at the National Museum of Victoria (1952) and at Mac.Robertson Girls’ High School, South Melbourne (1954), and a portrait of (Sir) Edward (Weary) Dunlop [q.v.] (1956).
Austen, Gayle. ‘Artist Contemplates His Portraits of Everyman.’ Age (Melbourne), 22 February 1989, 5; Bunbury, Alisa. ‘The Graphic Journey: Murray Griffin Linocuts.’ MA thesis, University of Melbourne, 1998, Murray Griffin: The Journey: A Retrospective, 1922–1980. Castlemaine, Vic.: Castlemaine Art Gallery and Historical Museum. 2001; Griffin, Murray. Changi. Sydney: Edmund & Alexander, 1992; Griffin, Vaughan Murray. Interview by Barbara Blackman, 22–27 May 1986. National Library of Australia; Griffin, Vaughan Murray. Interview by James Gleeson, 2 November 1979. Transcript. National Gallery of Australia; Hall, Doug. Murray Griffin Retrospective Exhibition. Warrnambool, Vic.: Warrnambool Regional Art Gallery, 1978; Hetherington, John. ‘Murray Griffin: Changi Helped to Shape His Life.’ Age (Melbourne), 17 November 1962, 18; National Archives of Australia. B883, VX64361, B4717, GRIFFIN/VAUGHAN MURRAY; Streeton, Arthur. ‘Interesting Art Shows: Three Will Open Today.’ Argus (Melbourne), 2 October 1934, 7; Turnbull, Clive. ‘Outstanding Record of War by POW Artist.’ Herald (Melbourne), 23 October 1946, 7.
GROLLO, LUIGI ARTURO (1909–1994), builder, was born on 9 August 1909 at Cusignana, a village near Arcade, Treviso, Italy, youngest of seven children of Giovanni Grollo, farmer, and his wife Giovanna, née Zanatta. During his childhood, Treviso was a World War I battleground. Civilian relatives were killed and for more than a year the Grollo family was forced to evacuate its home to the town of Postioma. The decisive Piave River battle (1918), which precipitated the defeat of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was fought a short distance from Cusignana. Despite the Italian victory, living conditions after the war remained poor. Luigi left school at eleven to work on his father’s farm. In 1924 he spent six months in a labouring job, dyke building near the Austrian border.
At the age of eighteen Grollo followed an older brother to Australia, arriving in Melbourne on 24 July 1928 aboard the Principe d’Udine. He spent the next ten years seeking employment in country Victoria, southern New South Wales, and South Australia. He found a variety of jobs in the bush, digging irrigation canals, quarrying, timber felling, farm labouring, fruit picking, road building, tobacco farming, and mining. As work was difficult to find and of short duration, he often lived in a tent and cooked over an open fire. His workmates were usually other itinerant Italian immigrants. He later recalled: ‘Sometimes we had to steal chickens, or scrounge food at the Victoria Markets, but we survived’ (Pascoe 1988, 76).
By 1938 Grollo had settled in Carlton, Melbourne, where he found employment as a plasterer with a cement flooring company. He was 5 feet 10 inches (178 cm) tall with a strong build, brown hair, and brown eyes. On 7 June 1941 he married twenty-year-old Emma Girardi, a factory hand, at Sacred Heart Church, Carlton. Born at Cusignana, Emma had arrived in Australia with her mother in 1937; her uncle had travelled to Australia with Luigi in 1928. Carlton was the centre of Italian community life in Melbourne and offered relative comfort after bush life, with shops, businesses, and social activities serving the significant number of Italian residents. The Grollos lived at 622 Swanston Street and had two sons, Bruno (b. 1942) and Rino (b. 1947). Luigi was naturalised on 3 November 1947.
Grollo flourished in the prosperous years after World War II. In 1948, while employed as a plasterer during the week, he established his own business subcontracting as a concreter on the weekends. Emma kept the books and managed the finances. Luigi soon established a reputation for efficiency and reliability, and by 1952 the business had grown sufficiently for him to cease his paid employment and begin hiring workers. In 1954 the family moved to Thornbury. When Bruno joined the company in 1958, Grollo had thirty-five men, divided into teams, constructing mainly concrete paths and fireplace foundations. By 1963 the workforce had expanded to 128, and Rino joined the company in 1965.
In the early 1960s Bruno had encouraged his father to expand into larger projects. While the original firm, L. Grollo & Co. Pty Ltd, continued doing paving and house slabs, the Grollos created two more private companies: Conpor Pty Ltd, for projects such as swimming pools, sewerage projects, and the Mount Buller storage dam; and Grollo Building and Engineering Pty Ltd, to focus on big contracts. Construction of the Reserve Bank building in Collins Street nearly bankrupted the family, but by the end of the decade the Grollos were regularly engaged as sub-contractors to major companies, constructing the concrete cores for new buildings.
By this time the modus operandi of the Grollo enterprise and its relations with its employees were firmly established. The family company was built on a network of relatives and friends from Treviso and previous work companions of other backgrounds, many of whom felt and received great loyalty and remained with the company for decades. Luigi Grollo’s approach to industrial relations resulted in maximum productivity and timely completion; it was based on job security, prompt and over-award payments, generous allowances and incentives, rapid resolution of industrial disputes, and friendly dealings with trade unions. He had a reputation for being firm but fair and he identified with his employees. These core values of the Grollo business would endure until the 1980s.
After suffering a heart attack in 1968, Grollo decided to leave the business in the care of his sons, who increasingly sought part-ownership of the buildings they constructed, creating a substantial property portfolio. In 1969 Luigi visited one of his brothers in Argentina then returned to Italy. In his retirement he travelled extensively but maintained a keen interest in new Grollo projects such as the Rialto Towers (1982–86), encouraging his sons to take the financial risks associated with large undertakings. His final years were devoted to family, travel, his garden, hobby farming, and winemaking. Predeceased by his wife (d. 1986) and survived by his sons, Grollo died at East Melbourne on 27 December 1994. After a funeral at Holy Spirit Church, Thornbury, he was buried in Preston cemetery. At the time of his death, the Grollo companies were reported to be worth more than $350 million.
Grollo, Diana Ruzzene. Cooper’s Creek Gippsland: The Trevisani. Thornbury, Vic.: Mure, 2004; National Archives of Australia. A435, 1947/4/2969, A714, 71/22279, B6531, Naturalised/1946–1947/Italian/Grollo Luigi; Neales, Sue. ‘Grollo: Tenacious to End.’ Age (Melbourne), 30 December 1994, 2; Pascoe, Robert. The Recollections of Luigi Grollo. Northland, Vic.: Grollo Australia, 1988, We Work with Grollo. Northland, Vic.: Grollo Australia, 1992; Randazzo, Nino. ‘Empire Builder Thrived on Hard Graft.’ Australian, 13 January 1995, 17.
Ilma Martinuzzi O’Brien
GUISE, Sir JOHN (1914–1991), politician and governor-general of Papua New Guinea (PNG), was born on 29 August 1914 at Gedulalara, near Dogura, Milne Bay, Papua, son of Edward Guise, mission worker, and his wife Grace Samoa. Both his parents were of mixed European and Papuan descent. Reginald Edward Guise, his paternal grandfather, had been an English soldier and adventurer whose family had acquired a baronetcy at Gloucestershire in 1661. John received four years of education at a local Church of England mission school before joining the workforce, aged fourteen, as a labourer. His first job was with Burns, [q.v.7] Philp [q.v.11] & Co. Ltd, Pacific traders, at Samarai. An outstanding cricketer, he enjoyed demonstrating his superiority to his European bosses: ‘during working hours … I had to be a servant, on the field of sport I showed them I was their master’ (Guise quoted in Nelson 1991).
On 26 December 1938 Guise married Mary Miller at Dogura. After Japan entered World War II, in early 1942 he was drafted into the Papua (later Australian New Guinea) Administrative Unit (ANGAU). Initially serving in the labour corps, he later became a signals clerk for ANGAU, rising to the rank of sergeant. Even-handed, non-racist military experiences politicised his thinking. After the war he joined the police force as a sergeant. He visited Australia for the first time in 1948. Promoted to sergeant major, the highest rank available for non-Europeans, he returned to Australia in 1953 as senior non-commissioned officer in the Royal Papua and New Guinea Constabulary en route to England for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. A devout Anglican, he represented the Territory of Papua and New Guinea at the Church of England Synod in Sydney four times from 1955. In 1957 he joined the Department of Native Affairs in Port Moresby and began taking an active part in local politics. As president (1958) of Port Moresby’s Mixed Race Association he called on people of mixed descent to see themselves as ‘natives’ (Nelson 1991) rather than Australians.
Following the death of his wife in 1944, in 1947 Guise had married Unuba Aukai, who was born at Lalaura. Through her he strengthened his association with the south Papuan coast. In 1961, in the first election in which Papua New Guineans were able to stand for the Legislative Council, he was elected as the member for East Papua. The following year he represented the Territory at the South Pacific Commission conference in Pago Pago, American Samoa, and was special adviser with the Australian delegation to the United Nations General Assembly in New York. In the first elections for the House of Assembly in 1964, he was elected to represent Milne Bay and was later selected as the leader of elected members of the House. The most experienced indigenous member of the Assembly, he spoke six languages in a House in which three languages (English, Tok Pisin, and Hiri Motu) were official. In 1964 he startled Canberra when he called for a Select Committee on Constitutional Development and became its chairman (1965–66). He probed in vain the possibility of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea becoming a seventh State of Australia, yet he was also the first to recommend cementing national unity with a new name, crest, flag, and anthem for the Territory.
Elected as the representative for Alotau Open in the Territory’s second general election in 1968, Guise beat two European candidates to become the first indigenous Speaker of the House. He added his own style to the position, wearing both the traditional white wig of Westminster and a cloak of tapa cloth (beaten bark) fringed with bird of paradise feathers and a kina (pearl-shell) decoration worn by ‘big men’. Outspoken in his support for greater access to education and the need for a university in Papua New Guinea, he received an honorary doctorate of laws from the newly established University of Papua New Guinea in 1970.
Guise was an early member of the pro self-government Pangu Pati. However, in what has been viewed as his shifting strategy to become chief minister, he contested the 1972 election as an independent. Few local contestants understood that party solidarity was healthy for the Westminster style of government imposed by Canberra. A former administrator of the Territory, Sir Leslie Johnson, opined that Australians had ‘discouraged the development of political parties [that] might challenge the authority of the Administration’ (1983, 264), and that ‘Papuan New Guineans had been thoroughly brain washed to accept their inferior status as the natural order of things’ (1983, 264).
Returned as the member for Alotau Open in 1972, Guise stepped down as Speaker and was made deputy leader and minister for the interior, later agriculture, under Michael Somare, chief minister and leader of the Pangu Pati, in a coalition administration. With Australia pressing for early decolonisation, Somare and Guise worked in the background of the Constitutional Planning Committee (1972–75) chaired by John Momis. Ignoring earlier draft reports, in June 1974 Somare and Guise submitted a minority report (White Paper) on the proposed constitution. Seemingly under pressure from outsiders, they had somewhat enfeebled its humanitarian liberal intentions. Momis viewed it as a betrayal of trust by the government.
In 1972 Guise had been appointed CBE. Under Somare’s wise and cunning patronage, he was elevated to KBE and made GCMG in 1975; however, he preferred his ‘Dr’ title to ‘Sir’. He was appointed the country’s first governor-general that year. Marking the end of sixty-nine years of Australian rule, the Australian flag was lowered for the last time on 16 September. Guise, commenting on the peaceful transition, emphasised: ‘We are lowering it, not tearing it down’ (Papua New Guinea Post-Courier 16 September 1975, 4). When PNG’s own national flag rose with its bird of paradise and Southern Cross stars, he proudly announced his country’s independence. Meanwhile a mighty Mekeo sorcerer, who supported the Papuan separatist cause, had been making rain to wash out the Independence ceremony. Heavy rain arrived late and failed to ruin the legal formality.
Guise had strong views on the role of a governor-general; it was ‘to be guardian of the Constitution and the rights of the people … I won’t be a replica of the Australian Governor-General or a rubber stamp’ (Jackson 1975, 4). In Government House he set aside a room for betel nut chewing. His door open to all, he would squat on the floor with his guests, bare-chested and dignified. ‘By turns effusive, choleric and sanctimonious’ (Griffin, Nelson, and Firth 1979, 161), he refused to stay out of politics and fell into an unseemly dispute with the deputy prime minister, Sir Albert Maori Kiki [q.v.], in 1976. Kiki demanded his resignation. Guise, who planned to resign anyway, did so in 1977 to contest a House of Assembly seat in the next election. Returning to parliament as the independent member for Milne Bay in July, he sought to form a ruling coalition but was unable to gain the numbers. His bid to become prime minister unsuccessful, he saw out his term as deputy leader of the Opposition, retiring from politics in 1982.
Upright and clean shaven, Guise favoured a small moustache and wore dark-rimmed spectacles. In retirement he served on the council of the University of Papua New Guinea, chaired the Papua New Guinea Copra Marketing Board and wrote a column for the weekly Times of Papua New Guinea. Predeceased by four of his nine children and survived by his wife, he died at his home in Port Moresby on 7 February 1991. Following a state funeral, his body and famous spectacles were flown to Lalaura for burial. He was described as the ‘cunning lone wolf of Papua New Guinean politics’ (Moore 2000, 283) and ‘elder statesman and father of inspiration to many leaders’ (Canberra Times 1991, 2). His public life mirrored the vicissitudes of his country’s decolonisation, at times ‘embodying PNG’s uncertain future’ (Denoon 2018). The Sir John Guise Sports Precinct in Port Moresby honours his memory.
Argus (Melbourne). ‘The Coloured Gentleman.’ 7 October 1955, 7; Australian External Territories. ‘John Guise.’ 8, no. 4 (1968): 15–16; Canberra Times. ‘Statesman Sir John Guise Dies.’ 8 February 1991, 2; Denoon, Donald. Personal communication, 15 August 2018. Copy held on ADB file; Griffin, James, Hank Nelson, and Stewart Firth. Papua New Guinea: A Political History. Richmond, Vic.: Heinemann Educational Australia, 1979; Jackson, Peter. ‘I Won’t Be a Rubber Stamp.’ Papua New Guinea Post-Courier. 30 July 1975, 4; Johnson, L. W. Colonial Sunset: Australia and Papua New Guinea 1970–74. St Lucia, Qld: University of Queensland Press, 1983; Moore, Clive. ‘John Guise.’ In The Pacific Islands: An Encyclopedia, edited by Brij V. Lal and Kate Fortune, 282–83. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2000; Nelson, Hank. ‘John Guise.’ Unpublished draft obituary, 1991. Copy held on ADB file; Papua New Guinea Post-Courier. ‘Lowering, Not Tearing Down.’ 16 September 1975, 4; Smales, Angus. ‘Father-Figure of PNG Politics.’ Papua New Guinea Post-Courier, 30 July 1975, 5; Somare, Michael. Sana: An Autobiography of Michael Somare. Port Moresby: Niugini Press, 1975.
Helga M. Griffin