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Australian Dictionary of Biography Volume 19: 1991–1995 (A–Z)


QUARRELL, LOIS GERTRUDE (1914–1991), journalist and sports administrator, was born on 19 November 1914 at Corryton, South Australia, second of five children of South Australian–born parents Alfred James Quarrell, glass artist, and his wife Lottie May, née Overington. Educated at Adelaide Technical High School, Lois played hockey and cricket, and captained the senior basketball team. In 1932 she became a typist in the commercial department of Adelaide’s Advertiser. She took up swimming and lifesaving, and began writing a weekly column on the latter. Given the chance of a cadetship, she created a women’s sports page—‘Women in Sport, by Lois Quarrell’—which first appeared in May 1936.

Besides reporting results, Quarrell strove to educate the public about the value of sports for girls and women. She urged all to participate and contradicted men who claimed strenuous sports robbed women of their femininity and were injurious to their health. She advocated ‘rational attire’, particularly the shortening of skirts for many sports, and calmed anxieties about female athletes in shorts. She never ceased praising the achievements of local champions so that the public, instead of being ‘mildly amused and tolerant’ of their efforts, would be ‘impressed by the high standard of play’ (Daly 1994, 25).

Quarrell was also active in sports administration. While serving as the playing coach of the Westbourne Park hockey team, she formed the South Australian Women’s Amateur Swimming Association in 1938 and was its secretary for eleven years. In 1940 she became the first woman appointed to the National Fitness Council of South Australia, persuading it to establish facilities for new women’s sports, including softball, and to open additional children’s playgrounds. In 1941 she encouraged the formation of a South Australian Women’s Amateur Athletics Association. She was a selector for, and the manager of, touring State swimming and basketball teams, until she moved into hockey administration in 1947.

During World War II, Quarrell undertook the extra tasks of general reporting and the reviewing of films and stage shows. She wrote columns answering readers’ queries about air-raid precautions. When men’s sporting contests resumed in 1945, she continued to report on them until male journalists returned from war service. Management valued her skill in writing: throughout her career she was ‘punctilious and prompt’, and the accuracy of her reports ‘was never queried or questioned’ (Scales 2013). From 1946 until 1949 she conducted a session on women’s sport every Saturday morning on the Advertiser’s radio station, 5AD.

Quarrell had joined the Girl Guides in 1925. Inaugural captain (1932–43) of the 1st Westbourne Park Company, she became divisional secretary and later a district commissioner. During the war she headed the signalling division of the State division of the Guides’ National Emergency Squad. Always given to intense self-scrutiny, she joined Moral Re-Armament and resigned from the Advertiser in June 1949 to undertake voluntary work for that movement in Melbourne and New Zealand.

Resuming her position as the Advertiser’s ‘Women’s Sports Editress’ in 1953, Quarrell encouraged women to resist pressures for them to give up sport after marrying and becoming mothers. A member of the Parkside Bowling Club, she became skipper of the Adelaide No. 2 side and took Thursday mornings off to play golf. She helped May Mills [q.v.18] form the South Australian Women’s Amateur Sports Council, which secured a lease in 1953 for the Women’s Memorial Playing Fields at St Marys.

On 17 March 1960 at Hamilton Park Methodist Church, Quarrell married John Nicholas Hendry, a brush maker and president of the Blind Workers’ Association. She continued to use her maiden name except in Moral Re-Armament and church circles. In 1966 she founded the South Australian division of the Sportswomen’s Association of Australia, serving as its chairman and securing sponsorships to fund premises, prizes, and trophies. In 1970 she resigned from the Advertiser’s full-time staff to become a casual reporter, confining her journalism to women’s and men’s golf, croquet, and lawn bowls. Retiring in 1977, she became active in the (Pentecostal) Christian Revival Crusade congregation in Brighton. Predeceased by her husband, she died in Royal Adelaide Hospital on 19 June 1991 and was cremated. She had done much to improve the general health and self-esteem of South Australia’s women.

Advertiser (Adelaide). ‘Lois Quarrell Leaving Adelaide.’ 20 May 1949, 9; ‘After a Lifetime Lois Sees Light Down the Tunnel.’ 1 August 1986, 17; ‘Lifted the Profile of Women’s Sport.’ 22 June 1991, 30; Advertiser PI (Adelaide). ‘Signs Off, But Will Return.’ March–April 1970, 3; Daly, John A. Feminae Ludens: Women’s Competitive Sport in South Australia, 1936–1956. Adelaide: J. A. Daly, 1994; Girl Guides South Australia Archives, Norwood; Howell, P.A. ‘Lois Quarrell: a notable mid-20th-century journalist and her impact’. JHSSA, No. 42, 2014, 29–42; Scales, John. Personal communication, 29 May 2013; State Library of South Australia. PRG 1016. Quarrell, Lois (1915–91).

P. A. Howell

QUIST, ADRIAN KARL (1913–1991), tennis player, business executive, and sporting commentator, was born on 23 January 1913 in North Adelaide, eldest of five children of New South Wales–born Karl Hugo Quist, importer and sports store proprietor, and his South Australian–born wife Carmen Lurline, née Wright. Adrian’s grandfather Christian Ludwig Qwist had migrated from Denmark to the Victorian goldfields in 1853, and became a leading goldsmith and silversmith in Sydney. His sons Christian Ludwig and Karl Hugo were prominent sportsmen—Christian a sculler, Karl a cricketer. Adrian was educated at Glenelg Public School and Pulteney Grammar School, where he excelled at cricket and was captain of the school’s tennis team. In 1928 he became a clerk with North British and Mercantile Insurance Co. Ltd.

Encouraged to concentrate on tennis by a visiting family friend—the English cricketer E. H. Patsy Hendren—Quist had local success as a junior and was chosen for Linton Cup teams from 1930 to 1933. He won the Australian junior doubles title in 1930 (with Don Turnbull) and 1932 (with Len Schwartz), and the 1933 junior singles championship, assuring his selection for the Davis Cup team when Harry Hopman [q.v.17] became unavailable. Quist was a member of the team from 1933 to 1939, the year Australia first won the cup in its own right, and was playing captain in 1948. His Davis Cup record—winning 23 of 33 singles matches and 19 of 22 doubles—stood for many years. He won Australian doubles titles with Turnbull (1936, 1937) and then with John Bromwich (1938–40, 1946–50). In 1936, 1940, and 1948 he was Australian singles champion. Overseas victories included the 1935 French and Wimbledon doubles with Jack Crawford [q.v.]; United States (1939) and Wimbledon (1950) doubles with Bromwich; and 1960 French and United States doubles with Frenchman Jean Borotra.

In 1937 Quist had been appointed a director of Dunlop Sports Pty Ltd and moved to Melbourne. The company transferred him to Sydney in June 1940 as manager of its New South Wales division. Having served voluntarily in the Citizen Military Forces for two years from March 1939, he was mobilised for full-time duty on 24 March 1942. Asthma had prevented him from enlisting in the Australian Imperial Force. In August he was commissioned as a lieutenant and thereafter he was employed as an amenities officer in units in Western Australia and New South Wales. He transferred to the Reserve of Officers on 18 October 1945. While in the army he had played only exhibition tennis around Australia.

On 12 September 1941 Quist had married English-born Sylvia Josephine Muriel, daughter of Albert and Erna Keighley [q.v.14], at St Mark’s Church of England, Darling Point. They were divorced in 1950. Short, suave, dark-haired and lithe, Quist had great natural sporting ability. He regarded his volley and overhead game as his strengths, utilised so well in doubles. He and Bromwich were among the first combinations to use the serve and volley technique that was well suited to grass and defined the modern game. Impressed by the less restrictive clothing worn overseas, he was an early convert to wearing shorts despite official criticism at home. He was responsible for introducing to Australia the herringbone-soled Volley sandshoe, based on a yachting shoe he and Bromwich wore in the United States of America in 1939. Manufactured by Dunlop, it became a bestseller.

Between 1963 and 1967 Quist was general manager of Dunlop’s sports goods division and held directorships of other subsidiaries taken over by the company under Eric Dunshea [q.v.14], including Universal Textiles (Australia) Ltd, Anthony Squires Holdings Ltd, Swedex Pty Ltd, and Frank O’Neill Industries Pty Ltd. He continued to play a role in tennis as a commentator and broadcaster. With a voice described as having ‘a soft, confidential tone’ (Underwood 2010), he provided insightful observations during Australian Broadcasting Commission radio broadcasts of the Davis Cup. When professional tennis started to take over international competition he supported Jack Kramer in his quest to provide players more control over sponsors and national and State associations. Quist thought that a player’s natural talent and drive made a champion and that coaches and managers claimed too much credit. He saw that the tie-break system, invented by his friend Jimmy Van Alen, allowed competitors to play to an older age but criticised professionals for lack of commitment to the Davis Cup. He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame (1984) and Australian Tennis Hall of Fame posthumously (1998).

From the 1950s Quist had lived at Point Piper, travelled overseas frequently, and maintained friendships with Jaroslav Drobny and Gottfried von Cramm. Later in life Quist regularly wintered in Hawai‘i. He died on 17 November 1991 in hospital at Darlinghurst, survived by his daughter and son, and was cremated. Over two decades before and after World War II he had enjoyed a remarkable international career, the highlight being probably the 1939 Davis Cup tie when, with the United States two matches up, his unexpected five-set victory over Bobby Riggs enabled Australia to go on and win.

Huxley, John. ‘Passing Shots from a Wimbledon Warhorse.’ Sydney Morning Herald, 15 June 1991, 38; Quist, Adrian. Interview by Neil Bennetts, 3 January 1980. Transcript. National Library of Australia; Quist, Adrian. Tennis: The Greats: 1920–1960. Compiled by Jack Egan. Sydney: William Collins and ABC Enterprises, 1984; Underwood, Roger. ‘Boxing Day Heroes.’ Quadrant Online, 26 December 2010, Copy held on ADB file; Sydney Morning Herald. ‘Gentleman Champion Who Wore Shorts.’ 19 November 1991, 4.

Kerry Regan

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