Australian Dictionary of Biography Volume 19: 1991–1995 (A–Z)
TAYLOR, PAUL FRANCIS (1957–1992), art critic, curator, and editor, was born on 10 September 1957 in Melbourne, youngest of three children of Victorian-born parents Leslie Francis Taylor, valuer, and his wife Patricia Dorothy, née Cantlon. Paul’s father died when he was ten. His mother subsequently married Charles Edward Bartels, a teacher at Xavier College, which Paul and his three brothers attended. At school he exhibited a talent for writing and a characteristic sharp tongue. He was already demonstrating, too, a love of flamboyance, as a striking conspicuous figure cycling about local streets in a silver lamé jacket.
At Monash University (BA Hons, 1979) Taylor majored in art history and contributed to the student newspaper Lot’s Wife. The publication of his 1979 interview with the visiting New York art critic Clement Greenberg in Art and Australia (1980) revealed his early confidence and ambition. In 1979 he began tutoring at the Tasmanian School of Art in Hobart. The next year he curated an exhibition of Tasmanian sculpture and three-dimensional art. He returned to Melbourne in 1981 where, assisted by an Australia Council grant, he founded the journal Art & Text.
In a career lasting little more than a decade, Taylor’s energy, and his responsiveness to the post-structuralism of the French literary theorist Roland Barthes and other French thinkers who questioned the idea that a work of art has a single meaning intended by its creator, helped shape the discourse of Australian art in the 1980s. A key exponent of this cultural shift was Art & Text, described as ‘one of Australia’s most influential and provocative art journals’ (Age 1992, 14). Based at the Prahran College of Advanced Education, he edited the journal until 1984, when most of the work was handed over to the cultural critic and theorist Paul Foss.
Whether demonstrating his early preference for Italian knits or his later taste in cowboy shirts, Taylor continued to dress for effect. He held celebrated parties in his art deco apartment in South Yarra, drove a red sports car, and ‘could muscle people with the greatest degree of charm’ (Hughes and Croggon 2013, 206). He was difficult to ignore. As a critic he was described as a ‘combative intellectual’ whose tone ranged ‘from candid to fierce’ (Hughes and Croggon 2013, xiv).
In 1982 Taylor initiated and curated the landmark exhibition Popism at the National Gallery of Victoria. It focused on fourteen artists—including Imants Tillers, Jenny Watson, Howard Arkley, and Juan Davila—whose work represented a new fixation on post-structuralist theory in Australian art. In his words, here was ‘an art which is endlessly copying and which offends the modernist canon of authenticity’ (1982, 2). It was characterised by Taylor (taking his cue from Barthes) as art of the ‘second degree’ (1984, 158–67). This exhibition was followed in 1983 by Tall Poppies at the University of Melbourne art gallery, comprising one work each by five artists. Many of the artists in these two exhibitions had contributed to, or were the subject of, articles appearing in Art & Text.
During 1984 Taylor edited and published Anything Goes: Art in Australia 1970–1980, an anthology of recent Australian art criticism that contextualised the significance of this movement. In the same year he moved to New York where he worked as a freelance journalist and critic for Vanity Fair, as well as contributing to Interview, Flash Art, Village Voice, and the New York Times. He now focused on the work of the American artists Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman, and David Salle. In 1986 he was a curator of Australia’s exhibition at the Venice Biennale. Two years later he staged the exhibition Impresario: Malcolm McLaren and the British New Wave for the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York.
Early in 1992 Taylor was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, the outcome of a human immunodeficiency viral infection acquired four years earlier. Having returned to Melbourne, he died on 17 September in the Royal Melbourne Hospital and was cremated. His American companion, David E. Johnson, and his mother, stepfather, and two brothers survived him. In October memorial services were held at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, and the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne.
Foss, Paul, Rob McKenzie, Ross Chambers, Rex Butler, and Simon Rees, eds. The &-Files: Art & Text 1981–2002. Brisbane: Institute of Modern Art, c. 2009; Haese, Richard. Permanent Revolution: Mike Brown and the Australian Avant-Garde 1953–1997. Carlton, Vic.: Miegunyah Press, 2011; Hughes, Helen, and Nicholas Croggon, eds. Impresario: Paul Taylor, The Melbourne Years, 1981–1984. Caulfield East, Vic.: Surpllus and Monash University Museum of Art, 2013; Olds, Andrew. ‘Man on the Make.’ Bulletin, 25 October 1988, 139–41; Age (Melbourne). ‘Founder of “Art & Text” Dies.’ 21 September 1992, 14; Martin, Adrian, Vivienne Shark Le Witt, Gregory Taylor, Thomas Sokolowski, Leo Castelli, Richard Prince, Carol Squires, and Allan Schwartzman. ‘Paul Taylor: 1957–1992.’ Art & Text 44 (January 1993): 12–17; Taylor, Paul. After Andy: SoHo in the Eighties. Melbourne: Schwartz City, 1995; Taylor, Paul. Anything Goes: Art in Australia, 1970–1980. South Yarra, Vic.: Art & Text, 1984; Taylor, Paul. Popism. Melbourne: National Gallery of Victoria, 1982.
TEALE, LEONARD GEORGE (1922–1994), actor, was born on 26 September 1922 at Milton, Brisbane, younger son of Queensland-born parents Herman Albert Thielé, chemist, and his wife Maude Henrietta, née Rasmussen. Inspired by his father’s love of amateur theatre, Len dreamed of becoming an actor, and first performed as an eight-year-old in a school production of Kidnapped. With his brother Neville, he spent hours practising at home, often by reading the poems of Henry Lawson [q.v.10]. He attended Milton State School and gained a State scholarship to Brisbane Grammar School (1934–38), where he performed in school plays, rowed bow in the first crew, and was in the school athletics team. The family’s financial losses in the Depression caused him to leave school to find employment. At seventeen he auditioned for Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) radio in Brisbane. Offered a job as an announcer, he combined the role with employment as a junior clerk at the Brisbane City Council’s Electricity Supply Department, acting with local repertory groups in his spare time. He later trained in commercial radio with 2LM Lismore, New South Wales.
In World War II Thiele served first in the Citizen Military Forces (April–October 1942) as a signalman at Tamworth. Enlisting in the Royal Australian Air Force on 10 October 1942, he trained as a pilot and was commissioned in September 1943. Between December 1944 and June 1945 he flew Wellington bombers with No. 458 Squadron, RAAF, from bases at Foggia, Italy, and Gibraltar; the unit carried out maritime patrols. He was promoted to flight lieutenant in September 1945. His appointment terminated in Australia on 16 January 1946. On 7 February the same year he married Kathleen Marie Houghton, a secretary, at St Thomas’s Church of England, North Sydney; the couple later divorced.
Having moved to Sydney, Thiele’s resonant and mellifluous baritone voice enabled him to secure roles in radio drama and on the stage. Throughout the late 1940s and 1950s he featured in many radio dramas, including Bonnington’s Bunkhouse Show (1952–54), Book Club of the Air (1953), and The Guiding Light (1959), for Grace Gibson [q.v.17] Radio Productions and other commercial producers. For the ABC Children’s Hour, he was the Argonaut ‘Chris’, and played the title role in The Muddle-Headed Wombat. His stage roles included Orsino in the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust Company’s production of Twelfth Night (1956). Between 1949 and 1954 he enjoyed success in Superman on radio 2GB, appearing in all 1,040 fifteen-minute episodes. Children throughout Australia followed every episode as he played Superman and Clark Kent for ‘thirty shillings per episode’ (Teale 1985). His polished voice-over skills were also in demand for documentaries, including The Hungry Miles (1955), The Bones of Building (1956), and Four’s a Crowd (1957). He appeared in several motion pictures, notably Smiley (1956), Smiley Gets a Gun (1958), and The Sundowners (1960). A lover of Australian folk poetry and song since his youth, he skilfully recited the works of ‘A. B. ‘Banjo’ Paterson’ [q.v.11], Henry Lawson, and others, in numerous recordings, recitals, and television appearances.
On 29 March 1958 Thiele married Patricia Katharine Murtagh, an actress, at the Registrar General’s Office, Sydney; this marriage too would end in divorce. He changed his name to ‘Teale’ in April 1962 having previously used it as a stage name. As radio drama faded and television evolved, he appeared in television movies and plays for commercial stations and the ABC, including The Outcasts (1961) and The Hungry Ones (1963), series such as Consider Your Verdict (1961–63), and in variety shows, such as the Mobil-Limb Show (1961–64).
During the 1960s the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation regarded Teale as a communist sympathiser solely because of his association with suspected front organisations, such as the Australian Culture Defence Movement, and for his activities as a member of the Actors’ and Announcers’ Equity Association of Australia. An advocate for Australian employment and content in radio and television, and an opponent of cheap imported programs, he believed that it was ‘to the detriment of the country when you do not have your own culture represented in the media’ (Teale 1994).
The role of the tough, uncompromising, and solemn senior detective David Mackay in the police drama Homicide became Teale’s greatest success, the show, produced by Hector Crawford [q.v.], finding a large audience in Australia and overseas. Teale made his debut as Mackay in August 1965 and, appearing in 357 episodes, became the longest-serving cast member. He later called it a ‘landmark’ (Teale 1985) in Australian television, as it proved that a popular and influential Australian product could be made. After leaving Homicide in 1972 he played Captain John Woolcot in the ABC mini-series Seven Little Australians, and then (1974–75) the headmaster, Charles Ogilvey, in the Reg Grundy Organisation’s Class of ‘74. In 1974 he won a Logie award as best Australian actor for his role in Homicide.
Teale had married Elizabeth Suzanne Harris, a well-known actress, in Melbourne on 18 December 1968; the couple had met on the set of Consider Your Verdict. In his later years he concentrated on charity work, performing in clubs, and reciting and recording Australian poetry and literature. He toured the country with one-man shows, such as his tribute to Henry Lawson, While the Billy Boils (1977–80); The Quiet Achievers (1984–85); and The Men Who Made Australia (1988). Drawing on his favourite poetry, and on real-life accounts of unlikely heroes achieving their goals, he encouraged Australians to be proud of their culture. He was appointed AO in 1992. The next year, dismayed by the state of Australian politics, society, and an economy he described as a ‘disaster’ (Canberra Times 1993, 5), he unsuccessfully sought election to the Senate on an independent ticket with the businessman Colin Ward; both had been involved in the informal economic thinktank New Australia Group. Exploiting his high profile to assist relief efforts for poverty-stricken countries overseas, in 1979 he had helped raise over $10 million for the Kampuchean Relief Appeal, an organisation he chaired. He accompanied Australia’s first airlift of relief supplies to Kampuchea, and called on the Federal government to make donations to organisations operating outside Australia tax deductible. As a keen conservationist, he was a trustee of the State National Parks and Wildlife Foundation.
The theatre director John Krummel described Teale as a ‘uniquely Australian performer in an era of Anglomania’, and his performances as imbued with ‘a gentle humour, an unassailable inner strength and great dignity’ (Cochrane 1994, 5). A man of strong principles, he was a ‘vigorous force in the industry he loved’ (Day 1994, 3). He died on 14 May 1994 at Royal North Shore Hospital after collapsing during a morning walk near his home. Survived by his wife, a daughter from his first marriage, and three daughters from his second, he was cremated. An estimated 1,200 mourners attended a memorial service at St Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney.
Australian. ‘Teale Takes Centre Stage.’ 26 January 1992, 14; Canberra Times. ‘Actor Leonard Teale to Enter Federal Politics.’ 16 January 1993, 5; Cochrane, Peter. ‘Honouring the Voice of a Wide Brown Land.’ Sydney Morning Herald, 21 May 1994, 5; Day, Selina. ‘Teale a Man of Many Parts, On and Off the Screen.’ Canberra Times, 15 May 1994, 3; Keneally, Margaret. ‘Leonard Teale’s Last Message Says it All.’ Mercury, 21 May 1994, 33; National Archives of Australia. A6119, Teale, LEONARD GEORGE; A9300, B884, THIELE, LEONARD GEORGE; Teale, Leonard. Interview by Robyn Malloy, February 1985. Transcript. National Film and Sound Archive, 767168; Teale, Leonard. Interview by Kel Richards, 1985. Transcript. National Film and Sound Archive, 312467; Teale, Leonard. Interview by Don Storey, October 1994. Transcript. Copy held on ADB file; Tennison, Patrick. ‘It all Started with the School Play.’, TV Times (Melbourne), 3 December, 1969, 6–7; Westwood, Matthew. ‘Lawson’s Lines a Moving Tribute to Teale.’ Australian (Sydney), 21–22 May 1994, 5.
TEEDE, NEVILLE HAMLIN (1924–1992), actor and university lecturer, was born on 10 January 1924 at Bunbury, Western Australia, second surviving son of Western Australian–born parents Douglas Vernon Teede, barber, and his wife Agnes Christine, née Delfs. Neville attended Bunbury Central School from 1930 to 1936, and Bunbury High School from 1937 to 1941.
Having served briefly with the 29th Garrison Battalion, Citizen Military Forces, Teede enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force on 18 November 1942. He trained as a navigator in Australia and England, and in August 1944 joined No. 462 Squadron. Reported missing when his Halifax heavy bomber was shot down near Dortmund, Germany, on 8 March 1945, he was taken prisoner but rescued later in the month by American forces. On 14 April he was promoted to temporary warrant officer. Returning to Australia in July, he was discharged on 20 December.
Under the Commonwealth Reconstruction Training Scheme, Teede studied English at the University of Western Australia (BA Hons, 1950) and gained a licentiate diploma (1948) in speech from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London. President of the University Dramatic Society in 1948 and 1951, he participated in fifteen student productions, including Silver Cord, performed at the inaugural Intervarsity Drama Festival held in Melbourne in 1946. At the Western Australian Drama Festival in 1949, he was named best principal actor for his role in Love for Love. As editor of the St George’s College student magazine, The Dragon, in 1947, he had supported the wider movement for an Australian national theatre.
Following brief appointments as temporary tutor in English (1949–51) at the University of Western Australia, Teede undertook professional training at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, England. He joined the Old Vic Theatre Company in 1953, playing supporting roles in its London productions and its 1954 tour of Europe. He met his life partner, Canadian-born interior designer Keir Matheson, at this time. Over the next two years he performed with professional repertory companies across England, including Theatre Centre, and worked with the British Broadcasting Corporation. In 1956, at the invitation of the director of the Elizabethan Theatre Trust, Hugh Hunt [q.v.], he returned to Australia to play in Ned Kelly and The Rainmaker.
Back in Perth, Teede performed major roles under contract with the National Theatre Company at the Playhouse Theatre (1956–59). Reappointed tutor in English at the University of Western Australia in 1957, he was promoted to permanent senior tutor in 1962 and lecturer in 1968. The terms of his employment enabled him to combine academic duties with regular appearances as a professional actor. He retired from the university in 1985.
Teede had studied music and singing with Alice Mallon-Muir in Perth (1961–62). The following year he was a co-founder of Bankside Theatre Productions, a professional-amateur group based at the University of Western Australia’s Old Dolphin Theatre. In 1964 he starred in the National Theatre Company’s production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? He appeared regularly with the Hole in the Wall Theatre Company, and had major successes in Long Day’s Journey Into Night (1977) and A Man of Many Parts (1980). He gave his farewell performance in The Cherry Orchard at the Playhouse Theatre in 1990.
Well-built and of above average height, Teede often appeared larger than life, the result of his theatrical carriage and voice as an actor and singer. He was equally at home playing a≈Restoration fop or an Australian larrikin. His performances imparted an infectious energy and camaraderie. An examiner for the Australian Music Examinations Board in speech and drama, Teede was also a significant exhibitor and judge of poodles; his book of light verse, Whose Dog Are You?, was published in 1982. In 1989 he recorded sound cassettes to accompany four books by Cliff Moon on animals in the wild. He and Matheson liked to entertain, gathering friends and colleagues around their dining table. Survived by Matheson, Teede died of cancer on 10 November 1992 in Perth and was cremated.
Canberra Times. ‘A Formidable Talent.’ 8 March 1967, 23; Daily News (Perth, WA). ‘Bunbury Student to Seek Fame on English Stage.’ 12 July 1949, 4; National Archives of Australia. AWM65, 4992; A705, 166/39/507; A9301, 436224; South Western Times (Bunbury, WA). ‘Two Bunbury Lads Figure in Grim Exploits of Australian Air-Crew Shot Down in Germany.’ 3 May 1945, ; University of Western Australia Archives. Neville Hamlin Teede. Staff File P789 cons. 116; Teede, Neville Hamlin (436224 W/O) Student File M10096738 cons. 510.
TERRY, PAUL (1948–1993), financial advisor and entrepreneur, was born on 31 May 1948 at Margaret River, Western Australia, fifth son of Western Australian–born parents Lennox Margrave Terry, farmer, and his wife Frances Mary, née Giles. His great-grandparents, Alfred [q.v.3] and Ellen Bussell, had built a house in the region in the 1850s. Lennox purchased the derelict home, known as Ellensbrook, and 934 acres (378 ha) of farming land in 1950. He suffered from ill-health and, four years later, having been declared bankrupt, was forced to sell the property; however, the family continued to live there until 1964. Paul left school at fifteen to help support his family. He joined the Bank of New South Wales and was working as a bank officer and studying at the Bankers Institute of Australia when, in July 1967, he volunteered for national service ahead of the normal call-up. Enlisting on 4 October, he was commissioned (April 1968) in the Australian Army Service Corps and posted to the 88th Transport Platoon, Sydney. He served at training facilities in Victoria and New South Wales and his service ended on 3 October 1969.
Newly married, Terry moved to Sydney in about 1970 with his wife Joan, née Thompson. He worked as a salesman for Mutual Life and Citizens’ Assurance Co. Ltd and later started his own investment consultant business, the Paul Terry Corporation Pty Ltd. Many of his early clients were friends from his army days. A pioneer in the field of financial planning, he advised the young as well as the old, and the poor as well as the rich. By the late 1980s, the business, now called Monitor Money, had 250 staff and was operating in Australia, New Zealand, and Hong Kong, as the advisor to approximately 20,000 small and large investors. Some months before the stock market crash in October 1987, which he predicted, Terry sold Monitor Money for a reported sum of more than $50 million and moved to Albany, Western Australia.
On a clifftop at Nanarup, 26 kilometres from Albany, Terry built a 300-square-metre family home. His largesse soon transformed the town. He purchased the dilapidated Esplanade Hotel at Middleton Beach and erected a five-star boutique hotel, also named the Esplanade, and a purpose-built gallery. Appropriately named ‘Extravaganza’, the gallery housed his large collection of vintage cars, Australian art and sculpture, textiles, and ceramics. Sales from the gallery benefited a charitable trust, the Genevieve Foundation, named after Terry’s 1904 Darracq car that was valued at over $25 million. He also maintained a number of business interests, including beef breeding and the development of polymer-modified concrete for wall panels and building facades.
Soon after moving to Albany Terry and his wife donated land and a building for the establishment of a community-owned hospice. Opened in 1990, the Albany Community Hospice was the dream of their friend, Father Hugh Galloway. Not a seeker of publicity, Terry—a person of average height and slim build—was foremost a quiet family man. He did not smoke, drank only moderately, watched what he ate, and refused to discuss his wealth. His sense of humour was whimsical, his nature was genial but reserved, and he was compassionate in his dealings with others. An experienced pilot of small fixed-wing aircraft, he had an ambition to fly helicopters. During his first solo flight on 7 July 1993, in Hawai‘i, the helicopter crashed and he was killed instantly. His wife and their three daughters and one son survived him.
Brown, James. ‘The Paul Terry Story: Insurance Salesman to Multi-Millionaire.’ Business Directions, no. 36 (June 1992): 38–39; Cranley, Travis. ‘Tributes Flow for Crash Millionaire.’ West Australian, 10 June 1993, 3; Davidson, Ian. ‘Hiding Its Light Under a Bushel.’ West Australian, 8 October 1983, 1; Malan, Andre. ‘One in a Million.’ West Australian, 30 November 1991, Big Weekend 1; National Archives of Australia. PT870/1, 5017992-3.
THIESS, Sir LESLIE CHARLES (LES) (1909–1992), construction and mining industries entrepreneur, was born on 8 April 1909 at Drayton, near Toowoomba, Queensland, son of locally born parents Heinrich (Henry) Thiess, carpenter and farmer, and his wife Mary Paulina, née Rutsch. The eighth of eleven children and sixth of nine brothers, and with one surviving sister, Leslie experienced the traditional upbringing of a rural German family, inculcating the values of thrift and hard work. He gained a childhood reputation as independent and restless, and as a leader among his siblings.
Four of Thiess’s elder brothers became itinerant farm workers. In 1921 Henry sold his dairy herd and bought a tractor, a mobile chaff-cutter, and a corn-thresher, to enable his sons to increase their earnings through contract work. This early lesson in the economic advantage of labour-saving machinery undoubtedly helped shape Les’s business career. Leaving Drayton State School, he joined his brothers in their travels to farms around the Darling Downs. His first independent job, at the age of eighteen, was a small contract with the Main Roads Commission. On 14 December 1929 at St Paul’s United Evangelical Lutheran Church, Toowoomba, he married Christina Mary ‘Tib’ Erbacher (d. 1985). Soon afterwards he persuaded his father to buy a tractor and scoop, so that he could obtain earthmoving work.
Thiess secured his first sizeable road-building contract in partnership with Henry Horn in 1933, and brought in four of his brothers: Cecil, Bert, Stan, and Pat. They spent the Depression years in roadside family camps, working on small road-making and earthmoving projects in southern Queensland. In the mid-1930s Les purchased a Caterpillar D4 tractor and converted it into his first bulldozer. When Horn retired in 1939 the firm became Thiess Bros. It was to be incorporated as a proprietary company in 1946 and would eventually grow into a group of thirty or more interlocked enterprises.
In World War II Thiess won a succession of military engineering contracts, including an airfield at Kingaroy, and excavations in Brisbane for the Commonwealth government’s future munitions factory at Rocklea and military hospital at Greenslopes. Thiess Bros established its base in Brisbane. When Japan entered the war Thiess successfully resisted a move by (Sir) John Kemp [q.v.15], the deputy director-general of allied works, Queensland, to requisition his plant and redeploy his staff, arguing that his business could be more efficiently utilised intact. The firm carried out military construction projects for the Allied Works Council and the United States Army, beginning with the upgrading of the Eagle Farm aerodrome, which brought access to imported American machinery and unlimited fuel. Concurrently, the business expanded into open-cut coal mining, first at Blair Athol, then in New South Wales at Muswellbrook. The brothers formed Thiess Holdings Pty Ltd in 1950 and floated the public company Thiess Holdings Ltd in 1958, with Leslie as managing director.
After the war Thiess had joined (Sir) Manuel Hornibrook [q.v.14] and others in forming Milne Bay Traders Ltd, which imported and recycled machinery and scrap metal from former American bases throughout the Pacific. He also bought two surplus Avro Anson trainers, the beginning of a private aircraft fleet. The Thiess group ploughed grassland at Peak Downs for the Queensland-British Food Corporation, enlarged its coal-mining operations in Queensland and New South Wales, built drive-in theatres, pioneered canal developments on the Gold Coast, and added a pastoral division. Completing ever-larger projects, Thiess companies were associated with many of the biggest civil engineering contracts in Australia in the postwar decades—for railways, suburban subdivisions, highways, bridges, aviation infrastructure, and power stations. Dams became a specialty: after completing the Bostock reservoir at Ballan in Victoria, Thiess Bros built many more, including (in New South Wales) the Tooma, Geehi, Talbingo, and Murray 2 dams—and associated tunnels—for the Snowy Mountains Authority. Among their overseas constructions was the Sembawang dry-dock in Singapore.
Thiess played a key part in developing new open-cut coal mines at Moura and Kianga in Queensland’s Bowen Basin. In 1963 he formed the multinational consortium Thiess Peabody Mitsui Coal Pty Ltd, which commenced the export of Queensland coal to Japan. Mainly because of losses on their Snowy Mountains work, the Thiesses were in financial difficulty in the early 1960s. The sale of nearly half their share of Thiess Peabody Mitsui to the Peabody Coal Co. and a loan from that company eased the crisis. In 1964 the Queensland government decided to build a railway to transport coal from Moura to the port of Gladstone—originally the consortium’s responsibility—in exchange for higher royalties and rental charges. The government’s decision doubly assisted Thiess Bros: the consortium was relieved of the railway’s capital cost and Thiess won the construction contracts. Leslie’s commercial links with Japan had led to an agreement with Toyota Motor Sales Co. Ltd to market their products in Australia from 1959. Thiess Toyota Ltd became a new arm of his group, dominating Australian sales of Japanese commercial vehicles, particularly the popular Toyota Landcruiser.
In the aftermath of Cyclone Tracy’s devastation of Darwin in December 1974, next month the Whitlam Federal government appointed Thiess as chairman of the Darwin Reconstruction Commission. Controversy quickly arose over the question of Thiess Bros’ tendering for contracts. Thiess found it intolerable that his firm might be denied work as a result of a perceived conflict of interest on his part, and he resigned in March. In the 1970s he appeared to be winding down his business involvement. He relinquished office as managing director of Thiess Toyota in 1976, and as chairman of Thiess Bros in 1978. His career seemed to be over when CSR Ltd succeeded in a hostile takeover, gaining a majority of shares in Thiess Holdings in 1979. Although Leslie remained on the board, the other former directors retired. He was not finished as an entrepreneur, however. His family company, Drayton Investments Pty Ltd, joined with Westfield Ltd and Hochtief AG to buy back the construction division of Thiess Holdings from CSR.
At the age of seventy-two Thiess formed with BP Australia Ltd and Westfield Ltd a consortium which, in 1981, beat thirty-one other tenderers to develop a new central Queensland coalfield, Winchester South. Opponents of the Queensland government questioned the propriety of the tender process as the Thiess group’s proposal was not the most financially advantageous to the State. A Labor politician, R. J. Gibbs, alleged in State parliament that Jack Woods, the director-general of mines, had holidayed at Thiess’s beach house shortly before the tenders were considered. In another business combination, the Thiess Watkins Group, Thiess won the licence for a casino in Townsville, and his tenders were accepted for a number of government constructions, including prisons and the project management of the ‘Expo ’88’ site in Brisbane.
There was a hint of personal scandal in 1982 when a Labor front-bencher, Kevin Hooper [q.v.17], linked Thiess’s name in parliament with a paternity case brought by a Qantas hostess. His name arose again in Tony Fitzgerald’s (1987–89) commission of inquiry into corruption. Among his findings, Fitzgerald determined that Thiess had made dubious gifts to a government minister, Russell Hinze [q.v.], taking the form of unsecured loans from Thiess subsidiary companies. Much worse followed in August 1989, when the journalist Jana Wendt broke a story on Channel 9’s A Current Affair alleging that Thiess had bribed Premier (Sir) Joh Bjelke-Petersen, an old friend and business acquaintance, to gain the controversial Winchester South project, the Expo ’88 deal, and other contracts.
Unwisely, Thiess sued Channel 9, Wendt, and a former Thiess Watkins employee, Ron Woodham, for defamation. The court case from January to April 1991 aired his business and political dealings over many years. A pantheon of leading Australians, Gough Whitlam among them, gave him character references. The jury found that he had been defamed, and awarded him a pyrrhic $55,050 in damages, but concluded that thirteen out of twenty-one claims in the Channel 9 story were true. Not only had Thiess bribed Bjelke-Petersen with gifts—including an aircraft hangar and equipment repairs—worth nearly $1 million to secure government contracts, but he had also defrauded a Japanese business partner, Kumagai Gumi, and other shareholders in his companies.
With that judgment Thiess ‘lost the good name he had built over a lifetime of achievement’ (Walker 1991, 5). He insisted he had done nothing corrupt, believing that his gifts had been within the norms of rural business mateship from an earlier era. Even more unwisely, he appealed to the Full Court, which in 1992 dismissed his appeal and awarded most of the costs against him. In poor health, he withdrew completely from public life.
Thiess’s entrepreneurship had brought him enormous wealth and influence. He built his empire on a personal combination of business acumen, energy, austerity, self-sufficiency, and family solidarity, qualities evident from his teenage years. He gained many clients through his reputation for economy and reliability: consistently undercutting his competitors’ prices but finishing projects on time. All his business activities were underpinned by his capacity for grasping the potential of new technologies, which kept his companies at the forefront of the civil engineering, construction, and mining industries for fifty years. By the time his business affairs came under scrutiny in 1981, it is evident that he had established a pattern of regularly obtaining Queensland government contracts through his closeness to politicians and officials, and sometimes by means of inducements.
Thiess did not seek publicity and generally lived an unpretentious personal life, devoted to his enterprises and his close-knit family. Appointed CBE in 1968, he had been knighted in 1971 for services to the coal industry and for philanthropy, although he had no conspicuous record of charitable activities. He usually travelled by private aircraft, assisting him to keep in touch with the many major business and political figures he knew throughout Australia and Japan. That country conferred on him the Order of the Sacred Treasure in 1971. He was awarded (1980) the (Sir) John Allison [q.v.13] memorial trophy for his contribution to developing Australia’s exports. A journalist called him ‘the Uncrowned King of Queensland’ (Syvret 1990, 43).
Survived by his three daughters and two sons, Sir Leslie died on 25 November 1992 in Brisbane and, following a private Anglican service, was buried in Mount Gravatt cemetery. In 1999 the Queensland University of Technology posthumously honoured him with its distinguished constructor award and membership of its Construction Hall of Fame. The Heifer Creek (Thiess Memorial) Rest Area, near Gatton, Queensland, commemorating him and his family, was dedicated in 2006. Obituaries had highlighted his rise from modest beginnings, and portrayed him as a great contributor to Australia’s development brought down by moral misjudgement. One quoted a business colleague’s earlier comment, ‘finally all his thoughts come down to the matter of profits’ (Robson 1992, 40).
Boyden, Louise. ‘Courtroom Nemesis of a Corporate Giant.’ Australian Financial Review, 6 May 1991, 12; Canberra Times. ‘Labor Party Demands Disclosure of Winchester Tenders.’ 21 March 1981, 19; Cullinan, Rob. ‘Joh Bribe Ruling Upheld: Thiess Legal Costs Could be $2 Million.’ Courier Mail, 3 April 1992, 1; Montagnana-Wallace, Neil, ed. Building a Nation: The Thiess Story. Preston, Melbourne: Bounce Books, 2014; Priest, Joan. The Thiess Story. Ascot, Brisbane: Boolarong Publications, 1981; Queensland. Inquiry. Report of a Commission of Inquiry Pursuant to Orders in Council dated 26 May 1987, 24 June 1987, 25 August 1988, 29 June 1989. Brisbane: Commission of Inquiry into Possible Illegal Activities and Associated Police Misconduct, 1989; Queensland. Parliamentary Debates, 30 March 1965, 3012–16; 1 April 1981, 680; 21 September 1982, 1046; Robson, Frank. ‘Yesterday’s Man.’ Sydney Morning Herald, 5 December 1992, 40; Syvret, Paul. ‘Sir Leslie an Earth Mover and Shaker.’ Sydney Morning Herald, 2 June 1990, 43; Turner, Megan. ‘Thiess Bribed Joh: Jury.’ Courier Mail, 27 April 1991, 1; Walker, Jamie. ‘Sir Leslie Pays Price for “Victory”.’ Australian, 27–28 April 1991, 5; Voisey, Mark. ‘Thiess: A Matter of Winners and Losers.’ Courier Mail, 4 May 1991, 31.
THOMAS, WILFRID COAD (1904–1991), broadcaster, radio producer, actor, singer, and company director, was born on 2 May 1904 in London, the only son of Arthur Wilfrid Thomas, a Welsh journeyman carpenter, and his wife Winifred Annie, née Coad. That year the Thomas family migrated to Sydney. Wilfrid was educated at Summer Hill Public and Petersham High schools. He left at fourteen and took a series of clerical jobs, working for United Artists and Shell Oil Co. of Australia Ltd. Possessing a good bass baritone voice, Thomas enjoyed opera and performed in amateur concerts, his first professional appearance being in Handel’s Messiah at the Sydney Town Hall in 1922. In the following year he joined radio station 2FC where he acted, sang, and read news bulletins. His encounter with the microphone was ‘a case of love at first sight’.(Thomas 1958, 24). Radio fees allowed him to study singing at the New South Wales State Conservatorium of Music.
When Thomas was twenty-one Dame Nellie Melba [q.v.10] overheard him rehearsing and invited him to tour Australia with her as a supporting artist, but the tour was cancelled when she became ill. Nevertheless, this invitation gave him the confidence to embark on a musical career. As a member of the Westminster Glee Singers, he toured Australia, Asia, and Africa (1930–32). When the tour finished in London, he sang with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). He appeared at a number of venues including the Royal Albert Hall and the London Palladium, and with artists such as Noel Coward, Geraldo, Jack Hylton, Ivor Novello, and Carroll Gibbons. On 3 May 1933 at the register office, Paddington, London, he married Margaret Edwards, a dancer who performed under the name Margo Lineart. The marriage did not last.
In 1938 Thomas joined the International Broadcasting Co. and was sent to Canada and the United States of America to write and produce shows. In New York, the Australian Broadcasting Commission’s director of music, William James, offered Thomas a position in Australia as an ABC celebrity artist. Returning to Sydney in 1940, he compèred Out of the Bag, starring Dick Bentley [q.v.] and Joy Nicholls, sometimes broadcasting from army camps. In March 1941 he hosted the After Dinner Show. Later renamed The Wilfrid Thomas Show, it featured music, travel, documentary, and interviews with celebrities from many parts of the world. His famous sign-off line, ‘This is Wilfrid Thomas thanking you for having me at your place’, was initially considered vulgar by the ABC.
The ABC appointed Thomas its first federal director of light entertainment (1943–44), a position ‘accentuated by the introduction of the Forces Programme’ (Inglis 2006, 112). Working with the American forces in the South-West Pacific, he presented artists such as Jack Benny, Bob Hope, Joe E. Brown, Larry Adler, John Wayne, and the Artie Shaw band. He took part in experimental television programs, made gramophone records, composed songs, and wrote the lyrics for ‘Rose, Rose I Love You’. Based on a popular Chinese song, it was recorded by Frankie Laine and later featured in the 1971 movie The Last Picture Show.
From 1950 Thomas lived in London and worked freelance, mainly for the BBC. He made regular visits to Australia. He was chairman (1977) of the Guild of Travel Writers; president, Independent Film Group (1945–50); patron, League Against Cruel Sports; committee member, National Society for Handicapped Children; member, Royal Institute of International Affairs; ethics counsellor for Actors Equity; chief savage (1946) of the Savage Club (Sydney) and life member, Australian Musical Association.
The Wilfrid Thomas Show had been recorded in London from 1950. It was broadcast in Australia and elsewhere until 28 December 1980, becoming one of the longest running radio programs in the world. Its final episode was ‘poignant, for after nearly forty years the master of the radio magazine still had vitality and polish, and gave old listeners the feeling that both he and they were immortal’ (Inglis 2006, 424).
An advocate of racial tolerance, Thomas had been sent to Europe by the ABC in the early 1950s to describe the plight of displaced persons. He was a great admirer of the British documentary maker John Grierson, and believed strongly in the role of mass media to promote international understanding. He had ‘the appearance of a mischievous leprechaun’ (Doherty 1952, 12), and his use of radio was imaginative and innovative. Thomas’s interviews with European refugees helped prepare Australians for the government’s great postwar immigration program. In 1976 he was appointed AO for distinguished service to the media, and in 1982 he was created a Knight of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic for service to Italian refugees. On 9 January 1978 at the register office, Westminster, London, Thomas married Bettina Ronda Dickson, an actress with whom he had lived for many years. Survived by her, he died childless, in St Charles Hospital, Kensington, on 16 August 1991. A portrait of him by J. Mendoza is held by the National Library of Australia.
Doherty, Frank. ‘Wilfred Thomas Comes Into Our Homes.’ Sydney Morning Herald, 13 September 1952, 12; Inglis, Kenneth, S. This is the ABC. Melbourne: Schwartz Publishing Pty Ltd, 2006; National Library of Australia. MS 7562, Papers of Wilfrid Thomas; Sydney Morning Herald. ‘Mr Wilfrid Thomas in Sydney’, 21 February 1940, 8; ‘Australians Returning’, 24 February 1940, 12; ‘Savage Club Elects Officers’, 15 April 1946, 5; ‘A.B.C. Award’, 27 July 1962, 3; ‘139 receive Order of Australia’, 21 January 1976, 1; ‘Column 8’, 11 January 1982, 1; ‘Wilfrid Thomas, 87, dies in London’, 17 August 1991, 11; The ABC Weekly. ‘Now Noted Radio Entertainer Wilfred [sic] Thomas Returns’, 2 March 1940, 22; The ABC Weekly. ‘This in the man who entertains you’, 18 September 1943, 3, ‘Wilfrid Thomas Reviews Australia’s Radio Set-Up’, 2 February 1946, 11, ‘Wilfrid Thomas Offers … An Oriental Travelogue’, 27 July 1946, 6, ‘Who IS This Man Thomas?’ 5 May 1951, 4, ‘Wilfrid Thomas’, 26 November 1958, 8; Thomas, Wilfrid. Living on Air: Some Memories of Wilfrid Thomas. London: Frederick Muller, 1958.
THOMPSON, CHARLES COLIN (1906–1994) and Elizabeth Mary (May) Thompson (1910–1972), agricultural show riders and campdraft competitors, were husband and wife. Colin was born on 29 May 1906 at Killarney, Queensland, fourth child of New South Wales–born parents Francis Charles Thompson, station manager, and his wife Ellen Josephine, née Kennedy. Raised on his parents’ property near Tenterfield, New South Wales, he finished secondary school after a year at Scots College, Warwick (1920–21). He had already become an excellent rider, winning his first campdrafting event at the age of twelve.
In 1918, after his brother Frank was killed on active service in Palestine, Thompson inherited an outfit of horses, including a number of brood mares trained for stock work and campdrafting. On leaving school he worked as a horse-breaker and stockman on properties in northern New South Wales, particularly Cheviot Hills. He also worked briefly as a bullock-driver, carting timber to the head of the Clarence River, and as a butcher. Throughout these years he contested riding competitions and rodeos in southern Queensland and northern New South Wales. He began competing at the Warwick Rodeo and Bushman’s Carnival in 1930 and, in January 1932, was only marginally short of the Australian record when he won the broad-water jump at the Killarney Show on X-ray. At the Warwick rodeo he recorded wins in two events in 1937: throwing and tying, and wild cow milking. In World War II he served part time (1942–44) in the 7th Battalion, Volunteer Defence Corps.
Thompson moved to Inverai, near Jandowae, Queensland, after marrying Elizabeth Mary Wood on 9 October 1934 at the Inverai Public Hall. May was born on 18 November 1910 at Toowoomba, Queensland, daughter of Victorian-born parents Francis Wood, farmer, and his wife Elizabeth, née Sawyer. Francis had been a leading showjumper and exhibitor in southern Queensland, and May began to compete as a child, winning her first campdraft event at the Brisbane Exhibition (later the Royal National Show, known as the ‘Ekka’) as a ‘petite and dainty’ (Warwick Daily News 1952, 2) seven-year-old. From 1920 to 1926 she was defeated only once in the girl rider event, when she came second.
The Thompsons (May continuing to compete under her maiden name), with Francis Wood, were formidable competitors who dominated show-ring jumping and campdrafting events along the Queensland–New South Wales border. In 1935, at the Ekka, May won the first, second, and third prizes in the ladies’ hunt, the sash for best equestrian, and narrowly missed winning the inaugural ladies’ campdraft. She had success at the Warwick rodeo; she was crowned best all-round female competitor (1931, 1936, and 1937), and she won the ladies’ campdraft (1930, 1946–47, 1950, and 1952–54). In 1955 and 1956, and again from 1958 to 1960, she was awarded the prestigious May Scott memorial trophy for the most successful lady rider; in 1958, she also won the Risdon Draft Cup. Throughout this time she won numerous events on the southern Queensland show circuit, and despite the difficulties of transportation, was a regular competitor with her husband at the Royal Easter Show in Sydney. In 1947 and 1948 she had back-to-back wins in the Palace Hunt on Hero, and, with two others, shared the Interstate Challenge Cup with her husband in 1949.
Colin was the most successful hunt rider at the Sydney Royal Easter Show in 1948. Having declined an invitation to compete in the Olympic Games at Helsinki, in 1953, 1955, and 1956 he won the coveted Gold Cup at the Warwick rodeo on Chance. The year 1953 was particularly successful for the Thompsons: they were crowned top campdrafters at Warwick and, together with two of their children, won champion rider events at the Ekka. In 1956 they purchased Kingston, a property near Dulacca, Queensland, where they bred Braford cattle, and became accredited instructors in the pony club movement. Horses continued to play a major role in their lives; in 1958 and 1959 Colin gave demonstrations of campdrafting to visiting members of the British royal family. He also formed part of the mounted guard of honour during Princess Alexandra’s visit to Toowoomba in the latter year.
May died of lung cancer on 7 July 1972 in Brisbane and was buried in Miles cemetery. Colin continued breeding cattle at Kingston, from where he regularly travelled to judge campdrafting and show-ring events. Survived by two sons and a daughter, he died on 8 March 1994 at Miles, and was buried alongside his wife.
50 Years of Rodeo: A Pictorial History of the Warwick Rodeo. Warwick, Qld: Warwick and District Tourist Association, 1979; Chittick, A. J. High, Wide and Handsome: A Pictorial History of Australian Show-Ring Jumping 1900–1950. Moss Vale, NSW: A. J. Chittick, 1989; Goodall, A. V. ‘Thompsons Top Campdrafters.’ Queensland Country Life, 29 October 1953, 5; Neville, Claudette. ‘Colin Thompson and Chance.’ In The Warwick Gold Cup: Campdrafting’s Memories and Magic Moments, edited by Bev Cheers. Glen Innes, Qld: GE Books, 2002, 53; Warwick Daily News. ‘Famous Warwick Rodeo.’ 18 September 1952, 2; White, Karen. Personal communication.
THORNTON, GEOFFREY (1925–1992), air force officer and horticulturalist, was born on 13 January 1925 at Mildura, Victoria, second youngest of seven children of Robert Sturgess Thornton, fruit grower, and his wife Agnes Olive, née Watmuff. Educated at Dareton, Curlwaa, and Wentworth Central Public schools, New South Wales, Geoffrey gained his Intermediate certificate. On leaving school he worked as a fruit grower, sometimes on the family owned fruit plots in the Mildura area. Known as ‘Blue’ because of his red hair, he stood almost 6 feet (183 cm) tall, had a lean, athletic build, and excelled at several sports, including tennis, cricket, and football. Later he also became a skilled snooker and billiards player. With the outbreak of World War II, three of his elder brothers enlisted in the armed forces and his father joined the Volunteer Defence Corps.
Enrolling in the Air Training Corps in March 1942, Thornton soon applied for aircrew and enlisted in the Citizen Air Force on 18 June 1943. During the next two years he attended various training units and schools in Australia but did not serve overseas. Promoted to warrant officer on 4 December 1945, he was considered an exceptional pilot and potential officer material.
Choosing to stay with the air force after the war’s end, in March 1947 Thornton joined the British Commonwealth Occupation Force in Japan and was posted to No. 77 Squadron. He transferred to the Permanent Air Force on 17 June 1949. Following the outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950, his squadron was despatched to the Korean peninsula and was soon in the thick of action. Between July 1950 and December 1951 Thornton flew almost 200 sorties in both Mustangs and Meteors. Known as a particularly keen, determined, and aggressive pilot, he pressed home attacks on ground targets at dangerously low levels. His commanding officer assessed his leadership in the air ‘as difficult to surpass’. Awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal (1951), Air Force Medal (1951), and United States of America’s Air Medal (1951), he was also mentioned in despatches. In November 1950 he had been appointed to a four-year short service commission as a flying officer. Twelve months later he was promoted to acting flight lieutenant.
Returning to Australia in early 1952, Thornton married Irene Barbara London at Raymond Terrace, New South Wales. His next posting was to No. 76 Squadron stationed in Malta, where he served from July 1952. In April 1953 he was court martialled and severely reprimanded for striking an airman. Although he was promoted to substantive flight lieutenant with effect from November 1953, his commission was unlikely to be extended. He decided to take up a block of land in his home district under New South Wales’s War Service Land Settlement Act. Resigning on 1 June 1954, he transferred to the Royal Australian Air Force Reserve the next day.
At Coomealla, Thornton produced dried fruits and grew citrus until 1973 when he sold the property. With his first marriage dissolved, in 1961 at Mildura he had married Margaret Rose Stone (d. 1971), a nurse. Survived by the son of his second marriage, he died on 27 July 1992 and is buried in Nichols Point Cemetery, Mildura.
Hurst, Doug. The Forgotten Few. Crows Nest: Allen & Unwin, 2008; Mildura and District Genealogical Society. Information supplied to author; National Archives of Australia. A12372, Thornton Geoffrey.
THRING, FRANCIS WILLIAM (FRANK) (1926–1994), actor, was born on 11 May 1926 at Armadale, Victoria, only child of New South Wales–born Francis William Thring [q.v.12], film and theatre entrepreneur, and his locally born second wife Olive, née Kreitmayer. As a boy Frank junior appeared briefly in two features—Diggers (1931) and The Sentimental Bloke (1932)—by his father’s company, Efftee Film Productions. His brilliant career was assumed, by his mother at least, from that point.
The Thrings were conspicuously rich, and young Frank travelled to Glamorgan Preparatory School for Boys (1933–38) and Melbourne Church of England Grammar School (MCEGS) (1939–41) in the family’s chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce. He loathed MCEGS, and left at fifteen having failed to gain his Intermediate certificate; he later studied for it at Taylor’s Coaching College but was again unsuccessful. After his father’s death in July 1936, Frank accompanied his socialite mother on the Melbourne cocktail circuit. His was a very peculiar childhood, and explains something of his sense of himself as an outsider, and, perhaps, his hostility to Olive in later life.
Thring enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force with effect from 5 March 1945 but was discharged on medical grounds six weeks later. It was rumoured that his mother had argued for his release because of a hammer toe on his left foot. His early acting had been in radio drama on 3XY, the station that his father had acquired for Efftee. He quickly moved into amateur theatre, where his larger-than-life presence won him big roles and a reputation for precocious talent. After touring professionally with visiting British companies, he established (1951) the Arrow Theatre in Middle Park. At the Arrow he directed, designed, and starred in more than twenty plays, all lavishly supported by his doting mother.
In 1954 Thring took his production of Salome to London, where his performance as Herod won some notices that were almost as good as he claimed. A year later he returned to England after being cast as Saturninus in the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre Company’s staging of Titus Andronicus. Joan Edith Grace Cunliffe, a telephonist whom he had met at 3XY, accompanied him. He was now established as an imposing stage villain, and he brought his distinctive line in sybaritic viciousness to the screen in a series of Hollywood film spectaculars: The Vikings (1958), Ben-Hur (1959), King of Kings (1961), and El Cid (1961). Tyrants in togas became his stock in trade.
Thring’s early acting style was an anachronism. The roles he played as a young man were those normally associated with grand old men of British theatre. A distinctive drawling delivery, a vaguely lascivious lisp, and a penchant for the extended pause meant that the actor’s personality rarely disappeared within the character. On 21 November 1955 he and Joan married at the Stratford-upon-Avon parish church; Sir Laurence (Baron) Olivier gave the bride away and Vivien Leigh was matron of honour. Their marriage was dissolved in 1957 on grounds of non-consummation. Thring told typically outrageous stories about the circumstances, though Joan was adamant that it was a marriage for love. Certainly the humiliating details of his divorce lay behind his retreat from London, as well as the self-mocking myths he devised to conceal them. In 1961 he returned to Melbourne. He resumed residence at Rylands, the family mansion, and became a familiar figure on the Melbourne professional stage, especially with the Union Theatre Repertory Company (later Melbourne Theatre Company). Over thirty years he played in thirty-five of their productions, as well as touring occasionally with more commercial projects.
From the late 1960s Thring’s flamboyant and acerbic persona won him a celebrity beyond the stage. He was a regular anarchic presence on television variety shows, and made several self-parodic advertisements. Although he flaunted his homosexuality, he was regarded affectionately by the apparently insular and conservative community in which he lived; his anointment as ‘King’ of the 1982 Moomba Festival confirmed his popularity. He dominated public situations as much by his imposing physique and distinctive appearance—the shaved head, all-black outfit, and profusion of baubles—as by his witheringly sardonic humour. His large and gregarious presence, however, concealed an intensely private man. He had a number of relationships with young men, but none lasted long. His essential solitariness, fed by his addiction to alcohol and other sedatives, made him an increasingly reclusive figure.
As Thring’s health and memory deteriorated, his roles were increasingly scene-stealing cameos, or small roles in low-budget Australian films. These included Alvin Rides Again (1974), Mad Dog Morgan (1976), and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985). His finances depleted, he later moved to a cottage in Fitzroy. He died in the Epworth Hospital, Richmond, on 29 December 1994, from cancer of the oesophagus, the same disease that had killed his father. It was the last twist in an ironic plot based on Thring’s ambivalent attitudes to his theatrical inheritance. He was cremated and his ashes scattered off the coast of Queenscliff. A tribute was held at the Victorian Arts Centre in March 1995. His estate endowed the Frank Thring scholarship at the National Institute of Dramatic Art, Sydney.
Adams, Phillip. ‘Frankly Sssspeaking.’ Weekend Australian, 21–22 January 1995, Weekend Review 2; Burchall, Greg. ‘Farewell to Thring—a Memorable Scene-Stealer.’ Age (Melbourne), 6 March 1995, 7; Fitzpatrick, Peter. The Two Frank Thrings. Melbourne: Monash University Publishing, 2012; National Archives of Australia. A9301, 159658; Plant, Simon. ‘Frankly, the Legend Lives.’ Herald Sun, 4 March 1995, 29; Roccheccioli, Roland. ‘Actor with a Presence Bigger than Ben-Hur.’ Australian, 2 January 1995, 12; Sumner, John. Recollections at Play: A Life in Australian Theatre. Carlton, Vic.: Melbourne University Press, 1993; Thring, Frank, and Roland Roccheccioli. The Actor Who Laughed. Melbourne: Hutchinson of Australia, 1985.
TIMBS, MAURICE CARMEL (1917–1994), public servant, was born on 14 July 1917 at Glen Innes, New South Wales, eleventh of twelve surviving children of Patrick Joseph Timbs, grazier, and his wife Catherine, née McCormack, both New South Wales born. Maurice was educated locally at St Joseph’s Convent, before winning a bursary (1931) to De La Salle College, Armidale. In 1936 he began a career in the Commonwealth Public Service, being appointed as a clerk with the Department of Trade and Customs. Awarded an exhibition that year, he studied at the University of Sydney (BEc, 1940).
On 9 July 1940 Timbs enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force. Allocated to the Royal Australian Artillery, he served in the Middle East (1940–42) with the 2/6th Field Regiment and in Australia with the 11th Field Regiment (1942–43), 57th Anti-Aircraft Regiment (1944–45), and 2/1st Medium Regiment (1945). In February 1943 he was commissioned as a lieutenant, a report on him as a trainee officer having noted his pleasant personality and capacity for hard work. On 24 April that year at the chapel of the 119th Australian General Hospital at Adelaide River, Northern Territory, he married Lieutenant Heather Joan Woodhead, Australian Army Nursing Service. He transferred to the Reserve of Officers on 9 November 1945. Moving to South Australia, he resumed work at the departments of Treasury and of Trade and Customs. By 1949 he had relocated to Canberra and was employed as a finance officer in Treasury.
Three years later Timbs joined the Prime Minister’s Department as a deputy assistant secretary. During 1954 and 1955 he was posted to the United Kingdom, first attached to the Joint Services Staff College and then on exchange to the British Cabinet Office. Back in Australia, he was promoted to assistant secretary in 1955 and four years later was appointed first assistant secretary. In these roles he became involved in work on Australia’s nuclear program. In 1957 he was called on to evaluate the implications of Britain’s detonation of a thermonuclear device in the Pacific at Christmas Island. He also represented the department on the committee which drafted the Australian Defence Principles on Disarmament in 1960, where he emphasised that any measures adopted would need to take account of the People’s Republic of China. The potential nuclear threat China posed to Australia would remain one of his main concerns.
In 1960 Timbs joined the Australian Atomic Energy Commission based in Sydney; he worked as its general manager (1963–64) before becoming its executive member (1964–73). He contributed to international discussions following China’s detonation of a nuclear device in 1964. Aware that some in the government wanted to retain the possibility of developing nuclear weapons, he ensured that the AAEC avoid any comment that would limit Australia’s emerging nuclear program. He also took part in the delicate discussions designed to separate a safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (which would preclude the option to make nuclear weapons) from the Federal government’s desire to proceed with a steam-generated heavy water reactor (which would potentially deliver fissile material for both civil and military purposes). Although he helped to prepare contractual and financial documents for the tenders for the reactor, he was unable to convince the AAEC to select his preferred American Westinghouse Electric International Company bid.
Timbs’s involvement in nuclear policy ceased after Labor’s electoral victory in December 1972. On winning power Gough Whitlam appointed him secretary to the Department of Services and Property. Timbs, Whitlam stressed, was well qualified to carry out the services function, noting that he held several voluntary roles including as a director of the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust and the Australian Opera (deputy chairman, 1974–80). The department was abolished following the dismissal of the Whitlam government and Timbs became the Australian member of the British (1976–85) and Christmas Island (1976–84) phosphate commissions. In 1981 he was appointed AO.
Forthright, keenly observant, and at times iron-fisted (NLA MS9673), Timbs prided himself on his management and administrative skills. Until the late 1980s he served as a director of several companies and charitable organisations, including the Royal New South Wales Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (life governor, 1978). In August 1994 his wife died after a prolonged illness. Survived by his son, he died on 6 December that year at Darling Point and was buried in the Church of England cemetery, Waverley.
Alder, Keith. Australia’s Uranium Opportunities. Sydney: Pauline Alder, 1996; Australian. ‘Civil Servant Excelled in Varied Roles.’ 22 December 1994, 13; Leah, Christine M. Australia and the Bomb. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014; National Archives of Australia. B883, NX56969; National Library of Australia. MS9673, Papers of Ann Moyal, 1870–2010; Reynolds, Wayne, and David Lee, eds. Australia and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty 1945–1974. Canberra: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 2013.
TINDALE, NORMAN BARNETT (1900–1993), anthropologist, archaeologist, entomologist, and linguist, was born on 12 October 1900 in Perth, eldest of four sons of English-born James Hepburn Tindale, Salvation Army officer, and his South Australian–born wife, Mary Jane, née Kingston. In 1907 the family travelled to Tokyo, Japan, where James took up a position as an accountant with the Salvation Army mission. Norman attended the Tokyo School for Foreign Children, spending his free time with the children of Japanese neighbours, speaking street Japanese, and exploring the surrounding countryside where he developed his lifelong interest in entomology and natural history.
The Tindales returned to Perth in 1915 and relocated to Adelaide two years later. Aware of a possible entomology vacancy at the Public Library, Museum and Art Gallery of South Australia, and set on a career as an entomologist, Tindale took up a position as a library cadet in 1917. A few months later he lost the sight of his right eye in an acetylene gas explosion while assisting his father with limelight photographic work. The accident dulled none of his enthusiasm or ambition; in 1919 he secured a position as assistant to museum entomologist Arthur M. Lea. That year he enrolled part time at the University of Adelaide (BSc, 1932) where his lecturers included the geologist Sir Douglas Mawson [q.v.10]. He studied geography under (Sir) Archibald Grenfell Price [q.v.16] and was influenced by the work of Alfred Russell Wallace [q.v.8], the British naturalist, and by the Adelaide naturalist and ecologist, (Sir) J. B. Cleland [q.v.8]. It was axiomatic that he would adopt a strongly ecological approach to his field observation and collecting, reinforced by his contact with Aboriginal people for whom the distribution and habits of plant and animal species were crucial data.
In 1921 Tindale took leave from the museum to undertake an eighteen-month entomological collecting trip for the Church Missionary Society to Roper River and Groote Eylandt in the Gulf of Carpentaria. Before leaving he consulted with Sir Walter Baldwin Spencer [q.v.12], taking his advice to keep a field journal with a daily record, even if the following day’s events invalidated a previous entry. Tindale would later say that he set out to Groote Eylandt as an entomologist and returned as an anthropologist. His comprehensive collection of well-documented natural history and ethnographic objects was the first in a long series gathered in partnership with Aboriginal people before cultural change wrought by colonisation. During the expedition a Ngandi man, Maroadunei, had introduced Tindale to the concept of bounded tribal territories, ‘beyond which it was dangerous to move without adequate recognition’ (Tindale 1974, 3). This insight provided the germ of his commitment to producing a continental map of Aboriginal territories, challenging the conventional view of shiftless nomadism.
Returning to Adelaide and the museum, Tindale became a member of an informal group of scientists and medical men whose interest in Aboriginal Australia had been encouraged by Sir Edward Stirling [q.v.6] and by Frederic Wood Jones [q.v.9], who laid the groundwork for the Board for Anthropological Research. Tindale joined the board’s annual August expeditions to remote Central Australian localities, commencing in 1925. His role was essentially that of a social anthropologist with a material culture brief. He became proficient at film and sound recording, creating interlinear textual records of Aboriginal mythology and documenting artefacts and their use. Driven by a sense of urgency, the board’s rapid survey approach soon attracted criticism from A. P. Elkin [q.v.14], professor of anthropology at the University of Sydney, and members of his department. Tindale and his colleagues were conscious of the marked difference between their short-term, data-oriented team approach and that of the ‘Sydney school’, which favoured long-term immersive studies. Gathering sufficient data to describe, as scientifically as possible, continental variation in Aboriginal culture and traits was Tindale’s primary objective. His methodology was to work in partnership with key informants, creating verifiable records in diverse media, from maps, audio, and film recordings to sketches and field-notes, placing his observations onto a record that could be used by later researchers, including Aboriginal people. This salvage ethnography did not preclude more focused studies, such as investigations into initiation practices, Western Desert art and mythology, or a detailed description of a coastal and riverine society on South Australia’s Lower Murray and Coorong. The last was undertaken in the 1930s with Tindale’s friend and informant, the Tanganekald man Clarence Long Milerum [q.v.10].
On 27 December 1924, at the Salvation Army Hall, Unley, Tindale had married Dorothy May Gibson, a shop assistant. They would have two children. During late 1926 Tindale travelled to Princess Charlotte Bay on Queensland’s Cape York Peninsula with museum zoologist Herbert Hale. They collected natural history specimens, bartered for more than 600 well-documented artefacts with Aboriginal groups of the region, and made film, photographic, and manuscript records. In 1929, with Hale, he excavated a 5,000-year-old Aboriginal rock shelter at Devon Downs on the Murray River, presciently collecting carbon samples before the Carbon-14 dating technique was developed, and thus pioneering systematic archaeology in Australia.
Tindale received a Carnegie fellowship in 1936 to study international museum collections of Aboriginal material culture and methods of storage, conservation, and display. His conversations with Earnest A. Hooton, Harvard University’s leading physical anthropologist, led to an important collaboration between Harvard and Adelaide universities: a year-long expedition during 1938 and 1939 to examine the demographic history of the Aboriginal population since European arrival. Tindale’s collaborator, the geneticist Joseph Birdsell [q.v.], became a lifelong friend. Their expedition through the missions and settlements of Aboriginal Australia, undertaken with their wives as support staff and fellow researchers, resulted in detailed genealogical and photographic records of around 3,000 individuals, supplemented by a similar number during their subsequent joint expedition during 1952–53. These data subsequently became the foundation of the South Australian Museum’s Aboriginal Family History project, digitally repatriated to Indigenous communities and individuals across Australia. Hair samples obtained during these expeditions have formed the basis of DNA research in collaboration with communities, helping to confirm the longevity and original distribution of Aboriginal populations and reinforcing their abiding and ancient connections to country.
Early in World War II, Tindale was rejected for military service because of the loss of sight in his right eye. After Japan entered the war in December 1941, he informed the authorities of his rare facility in Japanese. On 23 February 1942 he enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force and the following month was commissioned and posted to the Directorate of Military Intelligence in Melbourne. He was soon leading a team that translated, decoded, and analysed manufacturers’ information plates retrieved from crashed or abandoned Japanese military aircraft, enabling the Allied bombing campaign to attack precise industrial targets.
In July 1942 Tindale’s operation was incorporated as the Air Industry Section within the Directorate of Intelligence at Allied Air Forces Headquarters in Brisbane. He was promoted to acting squadron leader in December 1943. As AIRIND’s strategic importance grew, it was transferred to the Military Intelligence Service in Washington in mid-1944 and expanded under Tindale’s direction. As an acting wing commander he took part in the United States Strategic Bombing Survey of Japan between August 1945 and May 1946, reporting on the campaign’s effectiveness against Japan’s aircraft industry. He visited the bombed remains of his family’s former Tokyo home. The United States of America sought the Australian government’s approval to appoint him to its Legion of Merit for his outstanding contribution to the war effort; the request was refused as his service had been non-operational. He was demobilised in Australia on 13 August 1946.
In 1940 Tindale had published his first continental map of Aboriginal territories, based on historical sources and his own fieldwork. Following his return to civilian life and the South Australian Museum, he began working on a more comprehensive map and accompanying gazetteer, eventually publishing it in 1974. His data ranged from original manuscript sources from explorers and missionaries to his own field observations and the direct contributions by Aboriginal men (in particular) who mapped out their ancestral countries and mythological trajectories with brown paper and crayon supplied by Tindale during his Central Australian expeditions. Tindale’s map has generated its own controversies, partly through misunderstanding of its stated purpose—to represent Aboriginal countries at the moment of first contact, rather than at a later phase—and partly because of Tindale’s decision to apply the singular term ‘tribe’ to language groups that were often heterogeneous in nature.
Tindale’s appetite for fieldwork was unabated. He and Birdsell recommenced their Australia-wide field investigations among Aboriginal mission and settlement communities in 1952, funded mainly by the University of California. During the 1950s and 1960s he undertook fieldwork at Yuendumu (1951), Lake Eyre (1955), Haasts Bluff (1956, 1957), South Australia’s north-west (1957, 1966), Mornington and Bentinck Islands (1960), the Simpson Desert (1962–63), Gulf of Carpentaria (1963), Rawlinson Range (1963), and other Western Australian localities (1966, 1968). Each expedition’s results were meticulously documented in his journals and cross-referenced to related media.
An impressive polymath, Tindale followed numerous overlapping research paths beyond anthropology, ethnology, archaeology, and cartography. In entomology, his first love, he studied the Hepialidae ghost moths, the grub of which figured prominently in some Aboriginal people’s diets. As a geologist he specialised in the study of Pleistocene shorelines and types and sources of stone tools. In linguistics he joined a small committee at the University of Adelaide under the professor of classics, J. A. FitzHerbert, applying a modified form of the Geographic I script to his record of 150 parallel Aboriginal vocabularies from across Australia, several recorded from the last language speakers. He published more than sixty scholarly papers on natural history and more than 130 papers on anthropology and archaeology.
A tall, energetic man with blue eyes and a ‘boyish sense of humour’ (Jones 1995, 168), Tindale was known to friends and colleagues as ‘Tinny’. He spent more than seven years of his professional career in the field and, following his retirement from the South Australian Museum in 1965, he continued his fieldwork in Western Australia with the American anthropologist and folklorist John Greenway. Moving to the United States in 1965, Tindale took up a teaching position at the University of Colorado, organised by Greenway, who also gathered testimonials for the university’s 1967 award to Tindale of an honorary doctorate in science. In 1980 he would receive an honorary doctorate in anthropology from The Australian National University. He had been awarded the Royal Society of South Australia’s Verco [q.v.12] medal in 1956 and the Australian Natural History Society’s medallion in 1968, followed by the Royal Geographical Society of Australasia’s John Lewis [q.v.10] medal in 1980.
Dorothy Tindale died in 1969 and, on 1 August 1970, at Santa Clara, California, Norman married Muriel Nevin, whom he had met in Hawai‘i during 1936. Palo Alto became their home for the next twenty-three years. Following the 1974 publication of his Aboriginal Tribes of Australia and accompanying map, Tindale continued to undertake research and publish, drawing upon his own voluminous manuscript data and contributing particularly to the rising field of place name research in Australia. He lived long enough to see his research data actively used by descendants of his Aboriginal informants, both for their family histories and to support land claims and native title cases. Critiques and occasional errors aside, Tindale’s empirical data has formed a durable substrate for the reinvigoration of Indigenous cultures across much of Aboriginal Australia. Survived by his wife and the son and daughter of his first marriage, he died on 19 November 1993 at Palo Alto, having received unofficial notification of his appointment as AO. He bequeathed his large collection of expedition journals, papers, sound and film recordings, drawings, slides, correspondence, maps, photographs, genealogies, and vocabularies to the South Australian Museum, where, in 2013, the Norman Barnett Tindale Collection was inscribed onto the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization Australian Memory of the World register.
Jones, Philip. ‘Norman B. Tindale.’ Records of the South Australian Museum 28, no. 2 (December 1995): 159–76; National Archives of Australia. A9300, TINDALE, N. B; South Australian Museum Archives. AA 338, N. B. Tindale; Tindale, Norman B. Interview by P. G. Jones. Tapes and notes in author’s possession; Tindale, Norman B. Aboriginal Tribes of Australia: Their Terrain, Environmental Controls, Distribution, Limits, and Proper Names. Berkeley, USA: University of California Press, 1974; Walter, Karen. ‘The Proper Breadth of Interest: Norman B. Tindale: The Development of a Fieldworker in Aboriginal Australia 1900–1936.’ MA thesis, Australian National University, Canberra, 1988.
TOBIN, ALPHONSUS VINCENT (PHONSE) (1905–1993), funeral director and football administrator, was born on 23 August 1905 in Melbourne, third of six surviving children of Irish-born Thomas Tobin, labourer, and his Victorian-born second wife Alice, née O’Dowd. Phonse’s twin brother, Bernard, died two days later. His father struggled financially and the family moved frequently. For a brief period they lived at an undertaker’s premises where Thomas worked as an assistant while Alice sewed casket linings, cleaned, and attended to customers.
A ‘chronic truant’ in his youth (Tobin 2016), Phonse was sent to St Augustine’s Orphanage, Geelong, for sixteen months in August 1916 in an attempt to correct his aversion to schooling. He finished his education at St Monica’s Christian Brothers’ School, Essendon, making the prize list for his class (1918). Following his compulsory training and working as a storeman, he spent two years in the Permanent Military Forces (1925–26), serving with the Royal Australian Garrison Artillery at Queenscliff. He was discharged at his own request and joined Melbourne’s Metropolitan Fire Brigade. A fast runner, he competed professionally for ten years in footraces, winning events in Melbourne and country Victoria (Benalla, 1928; St Arnaud, 1930). On 14 September 1935 at Holy Rosary Church, Kensington, he married Veronica Mary Crough, a typist.
In February 1934 Tobin and three of his brothers—Leo, Thomas, and Kevin—had established A. V. Tobin funeral directors. They scraped together £50 each to rent premises, purchase stock and equipment, and buy a second-hand hearse. The firm commenced trading in North Melbourne and was incorporated two years later. For a time Phonse was the only brother fully engaged in the venture. Leo joined the company in 1937, Tom and Kevin followed in 1939. All played key roles in the business and contributed to its growth and development.
Active in amateur theatricals, Phonse had a flair for showmanship. At local pubs on Friday nights, his storytelling abilities and congenial attitude served him in good stead with the Catholic working-class community in which the business flourished. His involvement in greyhound and horse racing also provided a ready forum for his networking skills. He became the best known of the brothers. In the late 1930s he joined the committee of the North Melbourne Football Club and was made a life member in 1946. President from 1954 to 1957, he was the driving force behind the club’s adoption of the Kangaroo as the mascot, moving away from the sobriquet ‘shinboners’.
A distressing episode for Tobin had begun in March 1940. Following a club excursion aboard the PS Weeroona, he claimed that he was incorrectly identified by police as the cause of a disturbance. He was found guilty of behaving in an offensive manner, using indecent language, and resisting a policeman, and fined £3 for each offence. Seeking to clear his name and counter the adverse publicity, he brought charges of perjury against three officers. All were acquitted. The policemen then successfully served Tobin with a writ seeking damages for malicious prosecution. Unable to pay the £2,359 damages awarded against him, he was declared bankrupt in January 1942. He would not be formally discharged until March 1971.
Tobin was forced by the laws of bankruptcy to stand down as director of the company. He sold his shares to his brother Kevin, but remained an employee of the firm. By 1944 the name of the company changed to Tobin Bros Pty Ltd. Business continued to increase and by the late 1960s it conducted more than 2,000 funerals annually. Sons of each of the founding brothers also joined the firm. Phonse retired in 1975. Having resumed as a director of the company, he remained in that role until 1985. Following his personal edict of always being active, he secured several small roles in television dramas for roles in television dramas for Crawford [q.v.] Productions Ltd, and was an energetic member of the Rotary Club of North Melbourne.
Predeceased by his wife in April 1993, Tobin died at St Vincent’s Hospital, Fitzroy, on 28 July that year and was buried in Melbourne general cemetery. The couple were survived by their daughter and three sons. Tobin Brothers would remain one of the most recognised, respected funeral companies in Victoria. In 2018 the company employed over 200 people and operated from twenty-five locations. As the business writer Alan Kohler observed, theirs was ‘a family business that got more concentrated as time went on, not more diverse, as most do’ (2012).
Dowling, Gerard. The North Story: The History of the North Melbourne Football Club. Sydney: Playright Publishing Pty Ltd, 1997; Herald Sun (Melbourne). ‘Footy and Funerals.’ 30 July 1993, 79; Kohler, Alan. ‘Four Brothers and a Funeral.’ Business Spectator, 22 November 2012. Accessed 13 April 2017. www.theaustralian.com.au/business/business-spectator/four-brothers-and-a-funeral/news-story/0f59938fae6e59be713cf38292cad6b8. Copy held on ADB file; National Archives of Australia. B160, 3/42; O’Callaghan, Mary-Louise. ‘Staying Alive is a Matter of Interest Says the Man Who Has Buried 12,000.’ Age (Melbourne), 23 December 1981, 3; Shine, Denise Tobin. The Undertakers’ Mother. Melbourne: Killaghy Publishing, 2012; Tobin, Des. Interview by the author, Tobin Brothers Office, Malvern, Victoria, 6 September 2016; Tobin, Des. Tobin Brothers: The Story of a Family Business. [North Melbourne: Tobin Brothers], 1987.
TOEPLITZ, JERZY BONAWENTURA (1909–1995), film-maker, critic, and educator, was born on 24 November 1909 at Kharkov (Kharkiv), Russian Empire (Ukraine), one of four children of Jewish parents Teodor Toeplitz and his wife Halina, née Odrzywolska. The family moved to Warsaw in 1910, where Teodor, a social activist and town planner, was a member of the Warsaw city council (1919). Jerzy studied law at the University of Warsaw (LLM, 1933) but never practised. In 1930 he co-founded the Society for the Promotion of Film Art, an avant-garde group that used cinema to express political viewpoints. During the 1930s he co-directed a number of leftist films, including The Loves of a Dictator (1935) and The Beloved Vagabond (1936), and he also wrote film reviews. He married Izabella Gornicka in 1943. Neither expected to survive World War II.
The Polish film industry was nationalised in 1945 establishing Film Polski as the sole body producing and distributing films. Toeplitz worked as head of the scriptwriting office. Later, as founding professor (1948–68) and rector (1949–52, 1957–68) of the Lodz Film School, he played a crucial role in developing the curriculum that inspired film-makers such as Roman Polanski and Jerzy Skolimowski. His work at the school laid the foundation for Poland’s internationally successful film industry and the ‘intellectual renaissance’ (Dannatt 1995) of the country, but his time as rector was not without incident. He was temporarily removed from his position for being ‘politically incorrect’ (Jones and Walton 1995, 16) in 1952 and, following his support for student protests in 1968, he was dismissed. At the time, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency suggested that he was purged because he was Jewish. From 1968 to 1972 he was director of the film section at the Institute of Art in the state-sponsored Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw.
Toeplitz served as president of the International Federation of Film Archives (1946–72) and on numerous international film juries including the first and second Moscow International Film Festivals (1959, 1961) and Cannes Film Festival (1958, 1968). In 1970 he was approached by representatives of the Australian Interim Council for a National Film and Television Training School, Barry Jones and Phillip Adams, who were undertaking an international search for a founding director of the planned school. Toeplitz had spent 1967 as a visiting professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). The chairman of UCLA’s department of theatre arts, Colin Young, strongly recommended Toeplitz to Adams and Jones, describing him as ‘the single most experienced film school administrator in the world’ (NAA A1838). Toeplitz visited Australia for three weeks at the end of 1970 as a consultant. In his view, film and television were ‘instruments of enlightenment’ designed to aid in ‘cultural development’; his report stressed that only the most ‘skilled, cultivated and intelligent’ (NAA A5908) people were suited to the task of creative film-making.
Returning to Australia in 1973, Toeplitz was appointed the first director of the Sydney-based National Film and Television Training School (later the Australian Film Television and Radio School [AFTRS]). The author of an authoritative multi-volume history of world cinema, he published Hollywood and After: The Changing Face of American Cinema in 1973. His combination of intellectual rigour and practical proficiency inspired his students to re-energise the Australian film industry, fulfilling the aims of the government in starting a national, university-level film, television, and radio training institution. Among the first students admitted after a rigorous selection process were Gillian Armstrong, Phillip Noyce, Chris Noonan, and Jane Campion. Their subsequent success strengthened Australian culture against the proliferation of imported content. Toeplitz retired in 1979 and returned to Poland. The Australian Film Institute (later Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts) honoured him with its Raymond Longford [q.v.10] award for lifetime achievement in 1979. He was appointed AO in 1985 and received an honorary doctorate from the Lodz Film School in 1993.
Quiet in temperament, methodical, patient, and tolerant, Toeplitz was not given to strong expressions of feeling, and his sense of humour was ‘preserved for friends and for rare, eccentric moments of debate’ (NAA A1838). Survived by his wife and three daughters, he died on 24 July 1995 in Warsaw. The AFTRS library is named in his honour.
Dannatt, Adrian. ‘Jerzy Toeplitz.’ Independent (London), 1 August 1995; Haltof, Marek. Historical Dictionary of Polish Cinema. London: Lahman Rowman & Littlefield, 2015; Jones, Barry, and Storry Walton. ‘Educator Steered a Course of Excellence.’ Australian, 29 August 1995, 16; National Archives of Australia. A1838, 553/3/89/1 Part 1, A463, 1970/3079, A5908, 156.
TONKIN, JOHN TRESIZE (1902–1995), teacher and premier, was born on 2 February 1902 at Boulder, Western Australia, eldest of three surviving children of Victorian-born John Trezise Tonkin, engine driver, and his South Australian–born wife Julia, née Carrigan. In young John’s childhood, the family moved to Victoria, on to South Australia, and back to Western Australia, where they lived at Gwalia before returning to Boulder. He was brought up in the Methodist faith of his father, although his mother was Catholic; his father was a strong unionist and a supporter of the Australian Labor Party (ALP), and John became interested in politics from an early age. A studious boy, he attended Boulder City Central School (dux 1916) and Eastern Goldfields High School.
Tonkin left school at fifteen and worked briefly as an office boy at Kalgoorlie Electric Power Co. Ltd, before becoming a monitor (1918–19) at Brown Hill State School and then a teacher-on-supply at Edjudina. In 1921 he entered Claremont Teachers College, gaining a teaching certificate the next year, and then taught at a succession of schools, many of them single-teacher establishments, in the south-west of the State. On 29 December 1926 he married Rosalie Maud Cleghorn, also born at Boulder, at St Mary’s Church of England, West Perth. The couple moved to the metropolitan area when he gained positions, first at North Perth (1930), then at North Fremantle (1930–33) schools. During this period he studied by correspondence and qualified as an accountant.
In 1923 Tonkin had joined the ALP, starting a branch at Forest Grove. He contested the south-west State seats of Sussex (1927) and Murray-Wellington (1930); although unsuccessful, he was building a profile within the party. At the 1933 election he narrowly won endorsement to contest the marginal seat of North-East Fremantle, and went on to win, defeating his boss, the education minister, Hubert Parker [q.v.11]. The ALP gained seven Legislative Assembly seats at the poll to form government under the leadership of Philip Collier [q.v.8].
With Frank Wise [q.v.18] and Albert (Bert) Hawke [q.v.17], Tonkin was one of three future Labor premiers to be elected in 1933. All three had new ideas and showed leadership potential, becoming known as the ‘three musketeers’ (Tonkin 1976). Wise was elected to a ministerial vacancy in 1935, and Hawke in 1936, following the re-election of the Collier government. Tonkin had to wait more than a decade, partly because of his lack of either religious or union connections. He could also irritate his colleagues by speaking on a vast range of issues and by his tendency to lecture. At times he was truculent, cocky, and a bit of a loner. While he spoke often in parliament and chaired select committees, his only real advancement was to become secretary of the State Parliamentary Labor Party (1939–43) after the death of May Holman [q.v.9].
Concentrating on his electorate after nearly losing his seat in the 1936 poll, Tonkin developed his parliamentary skills, and adapted his style to be less of a ‘bull at a gate’ (Tonkin 1976). At the 1939 election, he was returned with an increased majority, as was the ALP government of John Willcock [q.v.12]. On 30 August 1940, having been granted leave by parliament to serve in World War II, Tonkin enlisted in the Citizen Military Forces (CMF). He trained as a signaller and served part time with local units, the 25th Light Horse (Machine-Gun) Regiment and, from May 1941, the 11th Battalion. The battalion was mobilised in December, but Tonkin spent most of the time on leave without pay.
During the 1930s Tonkin had developed a close working relationship with the Federal member for Fremantle, John Curtin [q.v.13], each assisting the other in their respective election campaigns. Tonkin utilised this relationship to bring home to Curtin, as prime minister, the increasing concern of Western Australians and the State government that the region was poorly defended. With the connivance of his superior officer, he travelled to Melbourne to meet Curtin and acquaint him with the situation. He believed that, as a result of his representations, the Commonwealth gave greater attention to the defence of the western seaboard. On 30 January 1942 he was discharged from the CMF as a sergeant. In late 1942 and early 1943 he supported Curtin in his successful endeavour to change ALP policy and require conscripts in the CMF to serve outside Australia and its territories, in a prescribed sector of the South-West Pacific.
After Labor’s fourth consecutive State election victory in 1943, Tonkin was elevated to the ministry with the portfolios of education and social services. He had contemplated a transfer to Federal politics, but he resisted standing for Fremantle after Curtin’s death in 1945. With the elevation of Wise to the premiership at the end of July the same year, Tonkin continued in his existing portfolios, with additional responsibility for agriculture. He viewed his achievements in education as consolidating one-teacher establishments into larger regional schools, with complementary bus services; upgrading school buildings; reducing class sizes; and improving teacher training. At the same time, he rejected calls from the Opposition to introduce a system to segregate Aboriginal from white children, having observed from his teaching experience that Aboriginal children ‘learned just as well as the white children, and behaved just as well, in some cases even better’ (Tonkin 1976).
Following the loss of government at the 1947 election, Tonkin adapted well to opposition, using parliament effectively to question the Liberal Party and Country and Democratic League coalition government of (Sir) Ross McLarty [q.v.15]. After losing again in 1950, Wise became administrator of the Northern Territory, and in July the next year Hawke was elected parliamentary leader with Tonkin as his deputy. Reinvigorated, the ALP went on to win the 1953 election narrowly.
As deputy leader and then deputy premier, Tonkin was invited to nominate his own portfolio and he chose the ‘big spending department’ of works and water supply because it presented ‘the greatest opportunity … where one can achieve most’ (Tonkin 1976). He was also persuaded to take the education portfolio for the first fifteen months of the new government. The government supported a strong public sector, including State trading enterprises in banking, insurance, transport, and shipping. Although it increased its majority at the 1956 election, its legislative program was frustrated by a hostile Upper House. It encountered stiff resistance over measures such as the anti-profiteering Unfair Trading and Profit Control Act 1958, which energised the Opposition. Nevertheless, Tonkin proved to be a committed industrial development advocate for the government and, in 1958, led a trade and investment mission to the United States of America and Great Britain.
With the defeat of the Hawke government at the 1959 election, Tonkin resumed his role as deputy leader of the Opposition. The new government, led by (Sir) David Brand [q.v.13], immediately established a royal commission on betting that was seen to target Tonkin, an avid racegoer and strident opponent of credit betting, who offered to resign if any impropriety was found. The report of the commission made no findings against him. Labor came within one seat of overturning the coalition government in 1962, but lost ground at the 1965 poll. Hawke retired at the end of 1966 and Tonkin assumed the leadership in January the next year. Tackling the government on a range of issues, he attracted unlikely support from the mining entrepreneurs Lang Hancock [q.v.] and Peter Wright [q.v.18], who had a bitter falling out with the minister for industrial development, (Sir) Charles Court.
The issue that brought Tonkin to national prominence was State aid to non-government schools. Many in the ALP, including the Federal deputy leader Gough Whitlam, believed that as long as the party opposed State aid it would never be elected to government. Tonkin argued that in Western Australia funding to independent and particularly Catholic schools had increased choice and reduced the pressure on the government system. He contended that the ALP should retain existing grants to non-government schools and extend them throughout the Commonwealth. Tonkin was instrumental in overturning the party’s opposition to State aid at the 1966 ALP National Conference.
At the 1968 State election the ALP reduced the coalition majority but remained in opposition. In January the next year Tonkin’s wife Rosalie died of cancer, and he seriously considered retirement. With the slogan ‘It’s Time for a Change’, he nevertheless led his party to victory at the 1971 election by a single seat. On 12 June the same year he married Winifred Joan West, a divorcee and honorary secretary of the State branch of the Royal Commonwealth Society, at Wesley Church, Perth.
Holding a precarious majority and facing a hostile Upper House, the Tonkin government had continual problems passing legislation; over its term twenty-one bills were to be rejected by the Legislative Council. Within eight months his government faced a by-election after the death of the Speaker, Merv Toms, but it retained the seat with a reduced majority. Tonkin suffered a decline in popular support, and a group of younger members both in caucus and the party manoeuvred to engineer generational change in the leadership. But Tonkin was in no hurry to agree, particularly if it meant handing over to his deputy, Herb Graham [q.v.17], who had ambitions to become leader but was regarded by Tonkin as impetuous.
Against this background of a narrow majority and declining public support, the Tonkin government was able to achieve some notable reforms. For public sector employees, it enacted provisions for four weeks of annual leave, equal pay for equal work, and workers’ compensation. In 1971 it appointed the first parliamentary ombudsman in Australia and established a consumer protection bureau. The next year it created an independent Environmental Protection Authority and substantially increased the area of national parks and reserves. Tonkin instigated a free school textbook scheme, introduced free pensioner travel on public transport, and extended the criminal injury compensation scheme. The State’s first Aboriginal cultural heritage legislation was also passed in 1972, and the Community Welfare Act 1972 provided for a new agency to take over the functions of the former departments for native welfare and child welfare. After the election of the Whitlam government in December 1972, greater access to specific purpose Commonwealth grants increased funding for primary and secondary education, public housing, transport, and urban renewal.
Aspiring to stability, predictability, and moderate reformism, Tonkin sought to emulate the style of the previous ALP governments of Collier, Wise, and Hawke. Although his support for State aid and social conservatism sometimes pitted him against the long-serving State secretary of the ALP, Joe Chamberlain [q.v.17], he still had a radical streak. As premier he led moratorium marches against the Vietnam War through Perth streets, and he was vocal in his opposition to racism in sport. Having lost his wife, a daughter, his father, and his father-in-law to cancer, he championed radical alternative therapies, including the Tronado machine, which utilised microwave transmissions to treat cancerous tissues, against the advice of medical authorities. Similarly, against widespread scientific opinion, he never supported fluoridation of the State’s water supply.
In 1973 a crisis engulfed the government when Graham, tired of waiting for the top job, resigned from parliament. Labor scraped home in a previously safe seat in the resulting Balcatta by-election. The close result led Court, the leader of the Opposition, to call for the Upper House to block supply to force an early election. While the State governor, Sir Douglas Kendrew, seemed prepared to support Court by dismissing Tonkin and inviting Court to form a government (Bolton 2014, 448), the plan did not proceed when the Upper House refused to countenance it.
Campaigning under the slogan ‘Trust Tonkin’ in the March 1974 election, the ALP emphasised the premier’s reputation for personal integrity, stability, and trustworthy leadership. The Liberals campaigned against the policies of the Federal ALP, arguing that the State was subject to undue Commonwealth interference. The growing unpopularity of the Whitlam government in Western Australia contributed to Tonkin’s eventual defeat. The ALP primary vote declined marginally, the two-party preferred vote giving the party just under 50 per cent across the State. Labor lost four seats, sufficient for Court to form government.
Tonkin continued as Opposition leader for another two years, retiring in 1976 after deciding not to recontest his seat at the 1977 poll. He had served forty-three years, ten months and eleven days and as late as 2020 remained the longest-serving Western Australian parliamentarian. In 1977 he was appointed AC. He had started his parliamentary career criticising what he saw as the staid and ageing leadership of the parliamentary Labor party. By the end of his career he was seen by some of his colleagues to be that staid and ageing leadership. While he was increasingly out of step with his party on social issues (such as abortion and homosexual law reform) and was seen to be not as vigorous on issues such as electoral reform as he might be, he remained a revered figure in the party, the State ALP celebrating the centenary of its foundation on the occasion of his eighty-ninth birthday in 1991.
Known widely as ‘Honest John’ and ‘Supertonk’, Tonkin was celebrated for his integrity, his dedication to hard work, and his commitment to fighting for the underdog and, in some cases, for famously lost causes. A confident speaker with a ‘dry sense of humour’, he was ‘as much at home on the back of a truck … as he was orating to the Legislative Assembly’ (Cowdell 1995, 57). His home phone number remained publicly listed, even when he was premier. In retirement he lived contentedly at East Fremantle and then South Perth, and was renowned for his magnificent rose garden and a willingness to give gardening tips. He died on 20 October 1995 at South Perth and, having been honoured with a state funeral, was cremated; his wife, and the son and daughter from his first marriage survived him. His contribution to Western Australia was recognised by the naming of a major eastern suburbs highway for him in 1980, the John Tonkin Water Centre (1980), and a senior State college at Mandurah (2011). A reserve at East Fremantle also bears his name.
Black, David, ed. The Western Australian Parliamentary Handbook. 23rd ed. Perth: Parliament of Western Australia, 2014; Black, David, and Geoffrey Bolton. Biographical Register of Members of the Parliament of Western Australia. Vol. 2. Perth: Parliament of Western Australia, 2010; Bolton, Geoffrey. Paul Hasluck: A Life. Crawley, WA: UWA Publishing, 2014; Chamberlain, F. E. ‘Joe.’ My Life and Times. North Beach, WA: Harold Chamberlain, 1998; Cowdell, John. ‘Labor of Love for Former Premier.’ Australian, 25 October 1995, 57; Graham, Duncan. ‘A Conspicuously Decent Man: A Biography of Australia’s Longest Serving Politician and Former Premier of Western Australia.’ Unpublished manuscript, 1977. State Library of Western Australia; Kennedy, Peter. Tales from Boom Town: Western Australian Premiers from Brand to McGowan. Crawley, WA: UWA Publishing, 2019; National Archives of Australia. B884, W1890, TONKIN, JOHN TREGISE (sic); Oliver, Bobbie. Unity Is Strength: A History of the Australian Labor Party and the Trades and Labor Council in Western Australia, 1899–1999. Perth: API Network, 2003; Personal knowledge of ADB subject; Poprzeczny, Joe. ‘Tonkin Declined Honors.’ Sunday Times (Perth), 22 October 1995, 2; Reid, G. S. ed. The Western Australian Elections—1974. Nedlands, WA: Politics Department, University of Western Australia, 1976; Tonkin, John. Interview by Phillip Pendal, 1972–73. Transcript. State Library of Western Australia; Tonkin, John Trezise. Interview by Duncan Graham, 1976. Transcript. State Library of Western Australia; West Australian. ‘An Era Ends as Tonkin Dies.’ 21 October 1995, 7.
TOOGOOD, LOUISA (1903–1993), charity worker, was born on 23 March 1903 in London and named Gladys Freda, daughter of Dora Taylor, actress. Of her early life, she revealed only that she had been sent to convent and boarding schools. She joined the Community of the Sacred Passion, an Anglican order of nuns, at age nineteen or twenty and worked in London and the Tanganyika Territory (Tanzania). When she made her life profession on 11 August 1930, she used the surname of Toogood. By a deed poll in 1942 she renounced the surname of Taylor. Later she adopted Louisa as her given name, although she continued also to be known as Gladys Freda.
In October 1935 Toogood left her religious community. By her own account, she then carried out church work and acted as lady warden of Elfinsward Conference and Retreat House, Haywards Heath, in the Diocese of Chichester; and in World War II served in the Women’s Royal Naval Service as a petty officer responsible for interviewing naval recruits and giving them psychological tests. Between 1944 and 1946 she superintended the catering department of the Merchant Taylors’ School, Northwood. She was reported to have owned a leather goods business before migrating to Australia in 1954. Having toured the country for two years, she settled in Brisbane, where she practised a form of counselling she called mental therapy. She worshipped at St John’s Anglican Cathedral.
Believing that Jesus had called her to help Brisbane’s homeless people, in October 1970 Toogood began driving her 1954 Morris Minor around city streets early each morning, offering coffee and snacks to needy men and women who had slept rough. Volunteers from the cathedral congregation and, later, other parishes and denominations joined her. Businesses and individuals donated money and food. Before dawn every day, at her Gregory Terrace flat, helpers prepared coffee and sandwiches, which she and an assistant distributed at regular stopping points; she dispensed coffee from a makeshift shelf attached to the door of the car and the assistant handed out food.
Toogood was a formidable organiser and manager of the charity that she named the St John’s Cathedral (Ecumenical, from 1972) Coffee Brigade. She recruited a workforce of some 150 volunteers, ten rostered daily; procured a van to replace the ageing Morris; and found more suitable premises—ultimately, a dedicated building at Spring Hill. As she broadened her support among the Catholic and other Protestant denominations, she removed the words St John’s Cathedral from the title of the organisation which became the Ecumenical Coffee Brigade (for some years, Ecumenical Coffee Brigade—Sober Outreach). In 1977, to qualify for government funding, she reluctantly ceded control to an interfaith committee and assumed the role of life president of the flourishing organisation she had created.
Becoming close to the afflicted people she served, Toogood transported them to hospital when they were ill or injured, encouraged the alcoholics among them to stop drinking, visited them in gaol, rejoiced when they were rehabilitated, and grieved when they died. They loved her and called her ‘Mum’. She recalled incidents on her rounds that she thought edifying or humorous and related them in her account of her work, Ecumenical Coffee Brigade (1988).
Toogood was short and somewhat stout. She had a good singing voice. A long-time helper and friend found her ‘dogmatic, dictatorial and quite infuriating at times’ but also ‘compassionate, challenging, discerning and a good judge of human nature’(Hamlyn-Harris 1989, 1, 9). In 1974 she was appointed MBE and more honours followed, including the medal of merit of Lions Clubs International (1979) and a Paul Harris fellowship of Rotary International (1984). She never married and in old age moved to the Sinnamon Retirement Village, Jindalee, and later to the Bethesda Caring Centre, Corinda, where she died on 24 January 1993. Following a requiem Mass at the Anglican Catholic Church of the Resurrection, Nundah, she was buried in St Matthew’s Anglican Church cemetery, Grovely.
Hamlyn-Harris, Muriel. ‘An Unforgettable Character—Louisa Toogood.’ Scribblers Papers 1911–2004. State Library of Queensland, 1989; National Archives of Australia. J25, 78/4143; Toogood, Louisa. Ecumenical Coffee Brigade. Bowen Hills, Qld: Boolarong Publications, 1988.
TÖRK, ISTVAN (1939–1992), professor of anatomy, was born on 14 February 1939 in Budapest, son of Zoltan Törk, financial director and planner of a large agricultural estate, and his wife Irene Teresia, née Jakabffy. Entering the Budapest (Semmelweis) University of Medicine in 1957, Istvan was awarded the degree of doctor of medicine ‘Summa cum Laude’ (Azmitia 1993, 149) in 1963. While an undergraduate he taught anatomy as a demonstrator and worked as a research student in the department of morphology within the institute of experimental medicine established by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. By the time he graduated, he had published nine research articles. From 1963 to 1969 he lectured in anatomy at the university. On 27 March 1957 in Budapest he had married Hungarian-born Emoke Zsuzsanna Koritsánszky, a dentist.
Hungary was then a satellite state of the Soviet Union and travel to non-communist countries was restricted. In 1969 Törk accepted the position of senior lecturer in anatomy at the University of Zambia, Lusaka, that country being an acceptable destination because the Soviet Union supported its socialist government. Appointed professor of anatomy in 1971, he focused his energies on administration and teaching, and thus had little opportunity to carry out research. His well-developed teaching skills and the commitment he shared with his preclinical and clinical colleagues ensured that their graduates were the equal of their contemporaries elsewhere in the world.
In 1976 Törk was appointed senior lecturer in anatomy at the University of New South Wales. He became an Australian citizen in 1979. Promoted to associate professor in 1984, he was appointed head of the department of anatomy in 1988, and became professor on 1 January 1991. From the outset he impressed his colleagues with his capacity, rare in Australia, to teach virtually everything in the curriculum. Thorough training in Hungary had made him expert in histology, embryology, gross anatomy, and neuroanatomy. His students appreciated his dedication and hard work. Among his doctoral students were Kathleen Mulligan and Glenda Halliday, both of whom went on to pursue notable careers.
Before he arrived in Australia, Törk had published on the blood supply of the thymus and on the comparative anatomy of the circumventricular organs in a range of different vertebrates. In Sydney he broadened his neuroanatomy interests in collaboration with a number of experienced researchers. He worked with Jonathon Stone on the visual system of the cat and with Richard Bandler on the anatomy of aggressive behaviour. By the early 1980s he was concentrating on the monoamine systems in the brainstem, because of their importance in motor control and in normal and abnormal behaviour. This work led to research on the serotonin raphe nuclei, and the subsequent publications are those for which Törk is best known. He was one of the first to map all of the serotonin nuclei properly, using histochemical methods.
Törk’s close friend and colleague George Paxinos, who had an international reputation as a maker of the most commonly used laboratory brain atlas, realised the potential value of a detailed atlas of the developing rat brain, but did not have expertise in embryology. It was therefore natural that the two would form a partnership for the project. The resulting Atlas of the Developing Rat Brain (1991) was a landmark publication in the field, and was still widely used two decades later.
In 1990 Törk had developed a brain tumour. He later recalled noticing the first signs of the illness. While working in his office early one morning, he thought he could smell coffee brewing, and looked around to see who was responsible. Finding that he was alone, he understood immediately that he was experiencing an olfactory hallucination, and that it was likely to have been caused by a temporal lobe tumour. He went to hospital the same day and the diagnosis was confirmed. Despite surgery, the very aggressive glioma could not be contained. He continued working and that year had fourteen scientific journal articles and three books either published or in press.
Törk was respected for the remarkable range of his skills in anatomy teaching, and for his significant research contributions, but most of all he was known for his kindness and generosity to his colleagues and students. He was in many ways an old-style academic in the European tradition, with a love of precision and a level of formality in his dealings with students, but his warmth and willingness to help always shone through. Having retired two months earlier, he died on 21 November 1992 in the Sacred Heart Hospice, Darlinghurst, and was cremated. His wife and their son and daughter survived him. The University of New South Wales and the Australasian Neuroscience Society established prizes for students in his name.
Azmitia, Efrain C. ‘Istvan Törk 1939–1992.’ Journal of Comparative Neurology, no. 333 (1993): 149–50; Paxinis, G., Istvan Törk, Laurence H. Teccot, and Karen Valentino. Atlas of the Developing Rat Brain. San Diego: Academic Press, 1991; Personal knowledge of ADB subject; Sydney Morning Herald. ‘World Expert on Brain Anatomy: Istvan Tork 1939–1992.’ 27 November 1992, 15; Törk, Istvan. Curriculum vitae. Unpublished manuscript, 1987. Copy held on ADB file.
TREEN, FRANCIS JOSEPH (FRANK) (1930–1993), jockey and chiro-manipulative therapist, was born on 3 March 1930 at Greenmount, Western Australia, second child of locally born Lucy May Treen, née Fitzpatrick, and her Victorian-born husband Lewis Fitzwilliam Treen, butcher. Frank’s parents separated when he was two, and in the depths of the Depression his mother took the two children to Albany, where her family lived and where she became a cook in a local hotel. It was a hard life and the young Treen never forgot what poverty was like.
Treen came from horse-racing families: his father had been a jockey, his uncle Harry a steeplechase rider, and members of his maternal family were racehorse owners and trainers at Albany. His mother gave him a pony when he was a boy but she required more persuasion before she would let him be a jockey. He left Albany for the stables of the Perth trainer Ted McAuliffe when he was fourteen and had his first metropolitan ride in 1946, with his initial win four races later. That season he won another sixteen to become the State’s leading apprentice, a feat he repeated for the next two seasons. His first Perth Cup win was in 1949 on Gurkha.
A natural lightweight and excellent horseman, Treen possessed a cool, unflustered disposition and a distinctive riding style, crouching low in the saddle. Before each race he researched the characteristics of his mounts and studied his race day rivals. In 1951, when he won every major race at the Perth summer carnival, the press hailed him Perth’s ‘glamour jockey’ (Sunday Times 1951, 1). But he disavowed celebrity. Quiet, modest and reserved, he was happiest at home with his family, on a racehorse, or shooting and fishing for fun.
Devoted to his mother, Treen dedicated his early career to making sure she would never want for anything. In 1951 he persuaded her to move to Perth, where he lived with her and her second husband, until he married Joan Ilma Howard, a dressmaker, at Albany on 11 May 1953 and moved to a new home near the Belmont Park racecourse. They were later to divorce. His success extended beyond Western Australia with many wins in Melbourne and elsewhere; they included an Australia Cup, a Brisbane Cup, Moonee Valley Cup, Epsom Handicap, and Hobart Cup. In 1958 he moved to Melbourne with his family for three years, and became prominent in the city’s jockey ranks. He never rode a Melbourne Cup winner; his best finish was third in 1958 on Red Pine.
Most of Treen’s 2,000 wins were in Perth, including eight Perth jockey’s premierships, five Perth Cups and other major races such as the Karrakatta Plate, the Western Australian Derby, and the Railway Stakes. His best day was at Ascot racecourse in 1967 when, from seven rides, he rode six winners and a second. By the mid-1970s, acclaimed and well off, he decided to ride only for friends in the industry, on horses he thought could win. He retired in 1983.
When Treen was twenty-five, he had begun to study equine physiology to better understand racehorses, and chiropractic as insurance against the ever-present risk of injury ending his career. After a serious fall at Flemington in 1958, he sought out Kristé Martinovich [q.v.15], the chiro-manipulative ‘miracle man’, to fix his battered body. Subsequently, Treen decided to learn Martinovich’s techniques, spending hours with him until he felt confident to practise his skills on humans and horses. Among his many clients were the cricketer Dennis Lillee and the golfer Norman Von Nida; he also treated many racehorses, including the champion pacer Mt Eden. All were treated without charge. After he retired from riding he continued this work, but now for an income. He did well. People remarked on his soft and deft hands. Horses reportedly submitted to his attentions with relief and pleasure.
At the height of his career, Treen became president of the Western Australian Jockey’s Association, and after retirement created the Frank Treen medal, an annual award for Perth’s leading apprentice jockey. Shaped by his early experience of poverty, he was a generous benefactor, supporting, among others, battling jockeys and boys from the Bindoon orphanage. He was an inaugural inductee into the WA Hall of Sporting Champions in 1986, and the WA Racing Hall of Fame in 2007.
Having trained for weeks beforehand, Treen won an exhibition race for veteran jockeys in May 1993. He died suddenly at Maida Vale, Perth, on 9 September 1993, survived by his second wife Ronnie, and a son and a daughter of his first marriage. Sir Ernest Lee Steere [q.v.10], chairman of the Western Australian Turf Club, described him as the ‘perfect rider’, while the trainer Albert Jordan claimed he was no ordinary champion jockey: ‘he was a genius’ (Austin 1993, 6).
Austin, Peter. ’A Master Moves On.’ West Australian, 10 September 1993, 6; Manning, Ernie. ‘The Legend Behind the Medal.’ Racing Ahead WA. Osborne Park, WA: Racing & Wagering Western Australia, November 2013, 4–8; Sunday Times (Perth). ‘Treen Carried to Scales After Winning on an Outsider: Collapse at Belmont.’ 23 December 1951, 5; Tomlinson, Jenny. Born Winners, Born Losers: A History of Thoroughbred Breeding and Racing in Western Australia since 1833. Perth: Reeve Books, 1990; Treen, Francis William. Personal communication.
TRENDALL, ARTHUR DALE (1909–1995), classicist, art historian, and university administrator, was born on 28 March 1909 at Glenmore, Auckland, New Zealand, only child of Arthur Dale Trendall and his wife Iza Whaley, née Uttley-Todd, both English-born teachers. From 1916 to 1925 Dale was educated at King’s College, Auckland (dux, 1924, 1925). Having won an entrance scholarship, he proceeded to the University of Otago, then part of the University of New Zealand (BA, 1929; MA Hons, 1930), where he excelled in Latin. With a postgraduate scholarship, he moved in 1931 to Trinity College, Cambridge, and obtained (1933) a starred first in the classical tripos (part II), with distinction in archaeology. To begin this research, he moved to Italy as a Rome scholar (1934–35), and as the librarian of the British School at Rome (1936–38). During these years he learned to speak Italian fluently.
Under the influence of J. D. (Sir John) Beazley, an authority on Athenian figured pottery of the Classical period, Trendall devoted himself to the study of the red-figured vases produced in South Italy and Sicily during the fifth and fourth centuries BCE. The scenes on these vases provided crucial contemporary evidence for many aspects of Greek and native culture, but the vases were scattered in museums and private collections throughout the world. Using stylistic analysis, he set out to distinguish regional styles, to identify individual painters, and to develop a detailed chronology. His remarkable achievement was due to a sensitivity to style, a phenomenal memory, constant hard work, and frequent travel. The first of his major publications dealt with the vases of ancient Poseidonia: Paestan Pottery: A Study of the Red-figured Vases of Paestum (1936). That year the work earned him a doctorate of literature from the University of New Zealand, and fellowship of Trinity College, Cambridge.
During a visit to his parents in New Zealand in 1939, Trendall accepted the chair of Greek at the University of Sydney. In 1940, anticipating Japan’s entry in World War II, he joined a group of academics who, with the support of military intelligence officers, practised breaking Japanese consular codes in their spare time. Seconded to the military in a civilian capacity, from 1942 to 1944 he headed the Diplomatic (or ‘D’) Special Intelligence Section, located in Melbourne. The section decrypted Japanese diplomatic and naval messages, and he devised a simple cypher, Trencode, suitable for use in the field. Despite the difficulties of research during wartime, he published The Shellal Mosaic and Other Classical Antiquities in the Australian War Memorial, Canberra (1942), and, as principal author, a handbook to the university’s Nicholson [q.v.2] Museum (1945). He was particularly concerned with the rejuvenation and enlargement of the museum (honorary curator, 1939–54) and influenced the development of collections of classical antiquities across Australasia, especially at the National Gallery of Victoria (honorary consultant, 1956–92). From 1948 he also held the position of inaugural professor of archaeology at the university. He was dean of the faculty of arts (1947–50), chairman of the professorial board (1949–50 and 1952–54), and acting vice-chancellor (1953).
In early 1954 Trendall left Sydney to become the first master of University House at The Australian National University, Canberra. Charged with creating an enriching collegiate environment, he took a flexible approach to house rules observing that ‘we do not penalise peoples’ morals, only their discretion’ (West 1980, 30). In addition he assumed many other responsibilities: as deputy vice-chancellor (1958–64); member of the Australian Universities Commission (1959–70) and the National Capital Planning Committee (1958–67); and a foundation fellow and inaugural chairman of the Australian Humanities Research Council (later Australian Academy of the Humanities). His influence on higher education was considerable, in part through his personal acquaintance with Prime Minister (Sir) Robert Menzies [q.v.15]. At the same time his scholarly activity continued: he wrote, in elegant Italian prose, a two-volume catalogue of the South Italian vases in the Vatican Museums, Vasi antichi dipinti del Vaticano. Vasi italioti ed etruschi a figure rosse (1953, 1955); and a two-volume work, The Red-figured Vases of Lucania, Campania, and Sicily (1967; with supplements: 1970, 1973, 1983), which remains the fundamental study of these styles.
After his retirement in 1969, Trendall moved to Melbourne where he remained for the next twenty-six years as resident fellow of the newly established La Trobe University. His flat in Menzies College (designed by Robin Boyd [q.v.13]) became a cultural oasis for many young students. He was finally able to devote himself more fully to scholarship. His most significant work was a magisterial two-volume study, written in collaboration with Alexander Cambitoglou, titled The Red-figured Vases of Apulia (1978, 1982; with supplements: 1983, 1991–92). He also condensed a lifetime’s research into the general handbook Red Figure Vases of South Italy and Sicily (1989).
Trendall had a charm of manner and a lively wit, and his ‘conversation shimmered with his delight in his work and in the world around him’ (Boardman 1995). Among many honours, he was appointed commendatore of the Order of St Gregory the Great by the Vatican (1956), and cavaliere (1961) and commendatore (1965) of the Order of Merit by the Italian government. In 1968 he was elected an ordinary fellow of the British Academy (Kenyon medal, 1983), and was awarded a doctorate of letters by the University of Cambridge. He had been appointed CMG in 1960 and AC in 1976. He was of medium build, quick in his movements, with thinning, silvery hair in later life. On 13 November 1995 he died at Prahran, Melbourne, after a short illness and was cremated; he had never married. His remarkable photographic archive and library were bequeathed to La Trobe University as the basis of a research centre established in his name.
Boardman, John. ‘Obituary: Professor A. D. Trendall.’ Independent (London), 25 November 1995. Accessed 18 October 2018. www.independent.co.uk/voices/obituary-professor-a-d-trendall-1583587.html. Copy held on ADB file; Green, J. R. ‘Arthur Dale Trendall: A Memoir.’ In Australians in Italy: Contemporary Lives and Impressions, edited by Bill Kent, Ros Pesman, and Cynthia Troup, 5.1–5.5. Clayton, Vic.: Monash University ePress, 2008; Handley, E. W., David Ridgway, Dyfri Williams, and J. R. Green. ‘A Celebration of the Life of Dale Trendall.’ Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies 41 (1996): 1–30; McPhee, Ian. ‘A. D. Trendall 1909‒1995: A Memoir.’ Proceedings of the British Academy 97 (1998), 501–17. Reprinted in Myth, Drama, and Style in South Italian Vase-Painting: Selected Papers by A. D. Trendall, edited by Ian McPhee, xi–xxiv. Uppsala: Åströms förlag, 2016; Merrillees, R. S. Professor A. D. Trendall and His Band of Classical Cryptographers. Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Working Paper no. 355. Canberra: the Centre, Australian National University, 2001; Metzger, Henri. ‘Arthur Dale Trendall (1909–1995).’ Revue Archéologique 2 (1996): 411–13; National Archives of Australia. A6923, 37/401/425; Personal knowledge of ADB subject; Trendall Research Centre, La Trobe University. Papers of A. D. Trendall; Turner, Michael. ‘A. D. Trendall and the Nicholson Museum.’ In Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum: The Nicholson Museum, the University of Sydney, edited by Michael Turner and Alexander Cambitoglou, 7–11. Sydney: Nicholson Museum, 2014; West, Francis. University House: A Portrait of an Institution. Canberra: Australian National University, 1980.
TRUSCOTT, JOHN EDWARD (1936–1993), designer, festival director, and cultural activist, was born on 23 February 1936 at Ormond, Melbourne, only son of Victorian-born parents, Roy Andrew Truscott, surgical instrument travelling salesman, and his wife Margaret, née Cotter. John recalled being a dreamer. He acquired skills in fitting and turning, and carpentry while studying at Caulfield Technical School.
At the age of sixteen, having moved out of home and already determined to work in theatre, Truscott submitted a folio of drawings to Gertrude Johnson [q.v.14], director of the Melbourne-based Australian National Theatre Movement. She referred him to the director William Carr, who put him to work backstage and saw to it that he gained acting experience. In 1954 Truscott was credited with designing costumes and sets for the National’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Among the plays he both designed for and appeared in was Ibsen’s The Lady from the Sea (1956). In 1957 he was appointed resident stage designer at the Melbourne Little (later St Martin’s) Theatre Company. According to the company director Irene Mitchell, he showed ‘an exceptional talent’ (1969), creating settings and costumes for approximately 100 productions.
Eager to promote Truscott’s career, Mitchell recommended him to the theatre entrepreneur Garnet H. Carroll [q.v.13], a part-owner of Melbourne’s Princess Theatre. Truscott was engaged to work on West Side Story (1960), The Most Happy Fella (1961), and The King and I (1962). The latter production was to be a turning point in his career. A substantial budget allowed him the opportunity to display his confident sense of theatrical style and meticulous command of detail, particularly in exotic costumes. Influenced by the success of the King and I, John McCallum of J. C. Williamson [q.v.6] Theatres Ltd broke with the practice of reproducing Broadway’s staging by asking Truscott to design Camelot. After the musical opened in late 1963, reviewers commended the sets and costumes as being ‘so extravagant’ that they were ‘an entertainment in themselves’ (O’Neill 1964, 101).
It seemed the appropriate moment for Truscott to try his luck in London’s West End, encouraged by Mitchell who organised a testimonial fund to pay his fare; J. C. Williamson also contributed £1,000. Fortuitously (Sir) Robert Helpmann [q.v.17] had been engaged to direct the London production of Camelot at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, and he invited Truscott to repeat his success. This led to the Hollywood film executive Jack L. Warner commissioning him to design for the film version starring Vanessa Redgrave, Richard Harris, and Franco Nero. Truscott moved to Los Angeles in 1965 and spent more than a year at the studios of Warner Bros working with the director Joshua Logan. Camelot was a massive production, with 120 seamstresses making the costumes, the cost of which alone was estimated at US$2,250,000. In 1968 he was rewarded for his labours with Oscars for costume design and art direction. Logan then invited Truscott to devise the sets and wardrobe for Paint Your Wagon, which he was making for Paramount Pictures. Although commercially more successful, the film was not as happy or satisfying an experience for Truscott as Camelot.
Remaining in Los Angeles until 1980, Truscott enjoyed the city’s ambience, with its ‘attitude of largesse, support, positive unbridled enthusiasm, [and] charm, be it false or real’ (Aiton c. 1990). But large-scale work seemed to dry up, a development he attributed partly to changing technology, which reduced the need for his kind of hands-on design. He briefly came back to Melbourne to create the sets and costumes for the Victoria State Opera’s production of Mozart’s Idomeneo in 1978 and Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers in 1979. The next year he returned to design the interiors of the Victorian Arts Centre, the project’s building committee having been dissatisfied with the architect Sir Roy Grounds’s [q.v.17] proposals. George Fairfax, general manager of the centre and a former director for the Little Theatre, knew Truscott well and was confident that his designs would convey an appropriate sense of theatrical occasion. Throwing himself wholeheartedly into the work for some four years, Truscott considered the result to be subtle, yet glamorous. He was appointed AO in 1985.
In 1987 Truscott was selected as the artistic director of Brisbane’s Expo ’88. Again he did not spare himself, so much so that by the time the exposition closed in October he was exhausted, taking three months to recover. In late 1988 he became director of Spoleto Melbourne—Festival of the Three Worlds. He transformed it into the Melbourne International Festival of the Arts, increasing Australian content and taking it onto the streets with a significant free outdoor component. Already an identity in the city, he assumed the role of a cultural spokesman over the three festivals he directed (1989–91). In 1992 he became artist-in-residence at the Arts Centre, a position created for him.
Throughout his career Truscott was passionate and demanding in his pursuit of high-quality design. While he once confessed that he was ‘not the happiest of people to work with’ (Croggon 1990, 111), he was loved and respected by those close to him. Vanessa Redgrave would recall him as ‘a fine, fine artist’ and ‘a kind thoughtful human being’ (1993). For most of his professional life he was supported and assisted by his partner Graham Bennett, who, lacking a permanent resident’s ‘green card’, had worked unpaid on the film Camelot. He had a background as an art schoolteacher and had also designed the curtain of the Arts Centre’s State Theatre. Five weeks after a heart valve replacement Truscott collapsed and died of an aortic aneurysm on 5 September 1993 in the Alfred Hospital, Melbourne. Buried in Emerald cemetery, he was survived by Graham, his mother, and his younger sister. Soon after, the John Truscott Design Foundation Inc. was established to continue his work promoting and encouraging excellence in design.
Aiton, Doug. ‘Conversations: The Ringmaster.’ Sunday Age newspaper cutting, Scrapbook, c. 1990. John Truscott Collection, 1997.088.406. Australian Performing Arts Collection, Melbourne; Croggon, Alison. ‘Melbourne International Festival: Cultural Heart Starter for Victoria.’ Bulletin, 18 September 1990, 110–11; Fairfax, Viki. A Place across the River: They Aspired to Create the Victorian Arts Centre. South Yarra, Vic.: Macmillan, 2002; Mitchell, Irene. Letter of reference, 1969. John Truscott Collection, 1997.088.496. Australian Performing Arts Collection, Melbourne; Natrass, Sue. ‘Eulogy, St John’s Anglican Church Toorak, Wednesday 8 September 1993.’ In A Tribute to John Truscott. Melbourne: Victorian Arts Centre Trust, c. 1993; O’Neill, Josephine. ‘Giving Historic Camelot a Site.’ Sydney Morning Herald, 18 October 1964, 101; Personal knowledge of ADB subject; Redgrave, Vanessa. Fax addressed to John Truscott, 7 October 1993. John Truscott Collection, 1997.088.454. Australian Performing Arts Collection, Melbourne; Van Straten, Frank. ‘John Truscott AO, 1936–1993.’ Live Performance Australia, Hall of Fame, 2007. Accessed 31 March 2018. liveperformance.com.au/halloffame/johntruscott1.html. Copy held on ADB file; Van Straten, Frank. National Treasure: The Story of Gertrude Johnson and the National Theatre. South Melbourne: Victoria Press, 1994.
TUBMAN, KENNETH VERNON (KEN) (1915–1993), motor sport competitor and pharmacist, was born on 31 December 1915 at Mudgee, New South Wales, son of New South Wales–born parents Harold Vernon Tubman, school teacher, and his wife Olive May, née Lysaught. Part of Ken’s primary schooling was undertaken at Deniliquin, where he passed the entrance examination for Fort Street Boys’ High School in Sydney, which he attended from 1928 to 1932. He then studied pharmacy at the University of Sydney (1935–36), in his first year winning prizes for botany and chemistry. In March 1939 he became a member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia. He worked as a relieving pharmacist, including for a time at Kurri Kurri, before moving to Maitland. On 23 March 1940 he married Ruth May Atkinson at St Mary’s Church of England, West Maitland. In World War II he served (1942–45) in the 20th Battalion, Volunteer Defence Corps, rising to corporal in 1944.
Encouraged by rising prosperity and wider patterns of car ownership, motor racing’s popularity in Australia increased dramatically after the war. Tubman embraced the sport enthusiastically. He raced a supercharged MG K3 Magnette, without conspicuous success, at various circuits around Australia including Mount Panorama and Mount Druitt in New South Wales, Fisherman’s Bend in Victoria, Leyburn in Queensland, and Nuriootpa in South Australia, as well as competing in the 1951 Lady Wigram Trophy at Wigram, Christchurch, in New Zealand. He also became a regular competitor in motoring trials, his initial outing being in the first postwar Castrol Trophy trial in a 1939 Buick.
Trial driving—later known as rallying—with its attendant attractions of adventure and thrills, became Tubman’s forte. The high point of his motor sport career came with winning the first Redex Round Australia Reliability Trial in 1953. Driving a privately entered Peugeot 203 and with John Marshall as navigator, he secured victory after skilfully negotiating a ‘horror section’ (Burden 1953, 450) near Marulan in New South Wales that was included to break the dead heat of the leading cars. The public profile of the trial, the most popular motoring event of the era, made Tubman a national sporting celebrity. The victory established the French marque in Australia and the grateful Australian distributor gave Tubman and Marshall a car each.
Known as ‘Tubbie’, the nickname matching his silhouette, Tubman was quiet and self-effacing, a foil to the extroverted persona of his fellow rally driver ‘Gelignite’ Jack Murray [q.v.18], who—with Bill Murray—won the Redex trial the following year. Tubman continued to compete in national and international rallies. Major success eluded him until the 1974 World Cup rally, which, with Jim Reddiex and Andre Welinski, he won, driving a Citroën over a circuitous course between London and Munich. In 1977 he surveyed the route across Australia for that year’s London to Sydney rally; he was the rally director for the event. By then regarded as the senior statesman of Australian rallying, he was noted for sportsmanlike behaviour, including stopping to assist fellow competitors, sometimes at the expense of winning.
Between motoring commitments Tubman operated Tubman’s Pharmacy in High Street, Maitland, from 1952 to 1983. He was a genial and competent pharmacist on whom many relied for medical advice. After divorcing his first wife, he married Nellie Myfanwy McLeod, née Evans, a business manageress, on 19 March 1955 in a Congregational service at Maitland. The couple enjoyed overseas travel and in 1984 he was welcomed at a private meeting and lunch in Paris with Roland Peugeot, company chairman, who gratefully acknowledged Tubman’s role in establishing Peugeot’s sales successes in Australia. In 1988 a bypass of the city of Maitland was named in his honour.
On retirement Tubman had continued to work as a relieving pharmacist in the Hunter Valley and Newcastle area. Residing in a retirement village at Shoal Bay for the last seven years of his life, he worked in a pharmacy there one day a week where friends and customers from his Maitland years would often call in. He was visiting his stepson’s pharmacy at Rutherford when he fell ill. Rushed to the nearby West Maitland Medical Centre he suffered an aneurism and died on 22 April 1993. His wife and two stepsons survived him. A funeral service was held at St Mary’s Anglican Church, Maitland; he was cremated. The Peugeot concessionaires in Australia wrote in condolence that ‘Ken put us on the map when maps of Australia barely existed … Au revoir Mate’ (Hal Moloney collection). He was inducted into the Australian Rally Hall of Fame in 2013.
Burden, Peter. ‘Tubman—Redex Champ.’ Wheels 1, no. 6 (November 1953): 450–51, 504–7; Davis, Pedr. Wheels across Australia: Motoring from the 1890s to the 1980s. Hurstville, NSW: Marque, 1987; Hal Moloney collection. Private collection; Pritchard, Geoff. ‘Ken Tubman—Pharmacist and Gentleman.’ Australian Pharmacist 12, no. 6 (July 1993): 391, 402; Tuckey, Bill, and Thomas B. Floyd. From Redex to Repco. Ultimo, NSW: Gregory’s, 1979.
TULLY, PETER CRAIG (1947–1992), jeweller, costume designer, and gay community activist, was born on 17 December 1947 at Carlton, Melbourne, son of Sydney-born Alfred Henry Tutungi, who ran a fish-and-chip shop by day and worked as a dental technician at night, and his Melbourne-born wife Elva Merla, née Foza. The family anglicised its Arabic name to Tully and moved to Lorne when Peter was about five. Having attended local primary and high schools, at age seventeen he returned to Melbourne, where he found employment as a window dresser and prop-maker for Cann’s Pty Ltd and Public Benefit Shoes. In 1968 and 1969 he lived in a gay group-household at Carlton with Murray Kelly, Clarence Chai, and Paul Craft. He began making highly original party costumes from materials he found in second-hand stores.
From 1970 to 1972 Tully travelled, with his friends Fran Moore and Linda Jackson, and independently, to the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Turkey, Ethiopia, Egypt, Sudan, Somalia, and Kenya. For most of 1971 he taught English in Paris while also visiting Spain, the Netherlands, and Britain. Back in Melbourne, he made jewellery influenced by the colour, texture, scale, and form of the items of adornment of the tribal cultures he had encountered. In 1974 he attended a part-time jewellery course at Melbourne State College, where he was able to experiment with plastics and other non-traditional materials. One year earlier he had met the artist David McDiarmid [q.v.], who was briefly his lover, and who became a lifelong collaborator and artistic and political influence. The two toured South-East Asia during 1974 and 1975 and, on return to Australia, moved to Sydney.
Next year Tully began a certificate course in jewellery design at Randwick Technical College but did not complete it. In 1976 and 1977 he held his first avant-garde jewellery exhibitions, Passion for Plastics (Aces Art Shop, Sydney, and Craft’s Paraphernalia Gallery, Melbourne) and Living Plastics (Hogarth Galleries, Sydney). His jewellery quickly achieved collectible status among women and men enamoured of his use of bold colour and non-precious materials, and his eclectic visual references—including gay iconography and Australiana motifs.
Supported by a travel study grant from the crafts board of the Australia Council, Tully lived in New York from 1979 to 1980. There he found new materials that provided him with the colour range, textures, and reflective surfaces he had always dreamed of for his work. The cultural ambience of the city’s gay scene influenced his subsequent art work and gay community leadership. In 1980 the Australian National Gallery commissioned him to create for its collection the dance club outfit ‘Ceremonial Coat for the Grand Diva of Paradise Garage’. This and other work by Tully were included in the exhibition Art Clothes at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (1980–81). The intersection of fashion and art explored in this exhibition was reflected in his adoption, from 1980, of the term ‘Urban Tribalwear’ for his work.
As the inaugural artistic director (1982–86) of the Sydney Gay (and Lesbian) Mardi Gras, Tully made a significant contribution to Australian gay cultural expression and Sydney’s urban night life. His daring conceptual development, and mentorship of the volunteer artists at the festival’s arts workshop, fostered a unique style of witty and ironic giant street puppets, parade floats, and costumed performing groups.
In 1982 Tully designed the sets and costumes for the Sydney Dance Company’s work Hate, choreographed by Graeme Murphy. By the mid-1980s he was recognised as an accessible and provocative artist with a growing number of group, solo, and international exhibitions. His 1984 exhibition, Primitive Futures, at the Roslyn Oxley Gallery, Sydney, was typical of the audacious aesthetics and humour he brought to his hybrid creative practice, which was simultaneously jewellery, sculpture, installation, and gay political statement. His camp wit animated his 1990 solo exhibition, Treasures of the Last Future (Barry Stern Gallery, Sydney).
Tully’s fashion output was recognised in exhibitions such as Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson: Flamingo Park and Bush Couture (1985) at the Australian National Gallery. A Tully Australiana-themed necklace was featured on an Australian postage stamp in 1988. His iconic ‘New Age Business Suit’ appeared in Australian Fashion: The Contemporary Art (1989–90), held at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, and in Tokyo and Seoul. Collaborating with Ron Smith, he applied his skills in the design and fabrication of large-scale popular visual structures to the floats and costumes for ‘Expo ’88’ in Brisbane, where he also ran workshops for other designers of the parade. He conceived installations for the travelling Australian Bicentenary Exhibition, again with Smith.
A retrospective exhibition, Peter Tully: Urban Tribalwear and Beyond, was mounted at the Australian National Gallery in 1991. Next year he was inducted into the Mardi Gras Hall of Fame. He was an advocate for artists’ copyright and moral rights, and an active member (1986–92) of the National Association for the Visual Arts. His last exhibition was the June 1992 presentation of Australian artists at the Société de la Propriété Artistique et des Dessins et Modèles gallery, Paris. He died of AIDS-related conditions on 10 August 1992 in Paris and was cremated. His work is represented in the National Gallery of Australia, State and regional galleries, and private collections.
Carberry, Graham. A History of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. Parkville, Vic.: Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives Inc., 1995; Dobney, Chris. ‘Peter Tully.’ OutRage, no. 48 (May 1987): 27; Gibson, Merlene. Personal communication; Leser, David. ‘Farewell to an Arty Party Boy.’ QH Magazine (Sydney), Summer 1992/93, 99–103; Melville, Sue, and Julie Rollinson. Australian Art and Artists. Marrickville, NSW: Science Press, 1996; Peter Tully: Urban Tribalwear and Beyond. Text by John McPhee with assistance from Susan McCormack. Canberra: Australian National Gallery, 1991. Exhibition catalogue; Sydney Morning Herald. ‘Maker of the Mardi Gras.’ 12 August 1992, 8; Ward, Anna. ‘Peter Tully 1947–1992.’ Art Monthly Australia, no. 53 (September 1992): 20.
TURNER, ALEXANDER FREDERICK (TONY) (1907–1993), poet, playwright, and theatre and radio producer, was born on 7 August 1907 in London, younger son of English-born Frederick Charles Abbott Turner, tailor’s clerk, and his Maltese-born wife Grace Ann, née Bradbury. His parents separated when he was five and, in 1913, his father took him and his brother to live in Quebec, Canada. In 1919 Frederick migrated to Western Australia with his older son, while Alexander (known to his friends as Tony), having gained a scholarship to Christ’s Hospital School, Horsham, continued his education in England (1919–24). He later described his childhood as ‘rather sombre … generally hungry and almost entirely loveless’ (Turner 1977). Recognising an aptitude for creative writing, a schoolmaster encouraged him to contribute essays and poetry to school literary magazines which, Turner recalled, gave him a ‘sense of richness and wellbeing’ (Turner 1977) that had previously been absent from his life.
With no family remaining in England, Turner moved to Western Australia in 1925. He briefly worked as a science teaching assistant at Guildford Grammar School before becoming a clerk at the Bank of New South Wales, St George’s Terrace, Perth, which gave him a regular income as well as allowing him time to write. He began submitting poems to the Western Mail newspaper, receiving advice and encouragement from its editor, Ivor Birtwistle [q.v.13]. After three years in Perth he was transferred by the bank to the regional centre of Geraldton, where he participated in local music and theatre groups, producing plays, musical pieces, and operettas. He then had successive three-year stints in the country towns of Meekatharra, Pingelly, and Carnamah. Throughout this period he continued his dramatic and literary activities. Taking up the editorship of a regional theatre magazine, Music and the Drama, he also wrote reviews under the noms de plume ‘John Shapcott’ and ‘James Archer’.
While in Geraldton, Turner met Beryl Mary Youard Pond, a trained singer, and they worked on productions together. They married at St Oswald’s Church of England, Meekatharra, on 1 April 1933. He became aware of radio as a medium for the creative arts during his posting at Meekatharra. To convey the full range of human emotion, he began writing plays for broadcast in which he sought to exploit the power of the voice and the use of sound to create images in the listener’s mind. Western Australia was often the setting, presenting his local audience with works that had an immediacy for them that they could not find in the usual broadcast diet of theatrical classics. Encouraged by the author and the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) producer Leslie Rees, Turner was productive during the 1930s. Many of his plays won prizes, for both theatre (The Black Cloak, 1932; Not the Six Hundred, 1933; The Centurion and One Hundred Guineas, 1935; The Old Allegiance, 1936; Royal Mail, 1939) and radio productions (All Stations, 1936; Hester Siding, 1937). He came to be widely considered one of Australia’s chief writers in radio in the 1930s. Hester Siding has been described as the ‘first Australian play which is generally regarded as radio literature’ (Thompson 1966, 94).
Mobilised in the Citizen Military Forces on 2 June 1942 for full-time duty in World War II, Turner was posted to 6th Brigade headquarters at Geraldton. He transferred to the Australian Imperial Force in December and was commissioned in March 1943 as a lieutenant in what became the Australian Army Education Service. Having spent considerable periods in hospital himself, in December he was appointed as education officer of the 109th Convalescent Depot, Northam (later Fremantle), a position he held until he was placed on the Retired List on 15 May 1946. His output at this time reflected his wartime preoccupations and experiences. He also experimented with verse plays, one of the first playwrights in Australia to do so. For example, the autobiographical Australian Stages (1944) described the journey of a soldier travelling from Geraldton to Perth to enlist. It is noteworthy for the way he structured the verse as an ‘ingenious onomatopoeic device’ (Thompson 1966, 96) to replicate the rhythm of the train.
In 1946 Turner left the bank and joined the ABC in Perth as producer of drama, where he continued to blend voice, words, and music to take full advantage of the power of radio as a sound medium, often recording the plays before a live audience. His standing as a significant radio playwright went beyond Australia; Hester Siding was sold to the New Zealand Broadcasting Service, and Coat of Arms (1937) to the South African Broadcasting Corporation.
Retiring in 1972, Turner continued to produce radio plays on contract for the ABC. Described as a ‘great tall thin bloke; mad about music’ (Lane 1994, 112), he pursued his interests in gardening, bookbinding, and making and collecting toy soldiers. Survived by his wife and their son and daughter, he died on 12 April 1993 at Claremont, and was cremated. He had taken an active part in reviving theatre in regional Western Australia in the interwar years, but it was in radio that he made his reputation as a creative innovator of national stature.
Canberra Times. ‘Australian Radio Plays: Success of A.B.C. Playwrights Abroad.’ 14 August 1939, 2; Hasluck, Paul. Foreword to Hester Siding and Other Plays and Verse, by Alexander Turner, 1–2. Perth: Patersons Printing Press Ltd, 1937; Lane, Richard. The Golden Age of Australian Radio Drama 1923–1960: A History through Biography. Carlton South, Vic.: Melbourne University Press, 1994; National Archives of Australia. B883, WX36274; Pybus, Rodney. ‘Radio Drama: The Australian Experience.’ In Radio Drama, edited by Peter Lewis, 244–59. London: Longman, 1981; State Library of Western Australia. MN2176, Papers of Alexander Frederick Turner; Thompson, John. ‘Broadcasting and Australian Literature.’ In Literary Australia, edited by Clement Semmler and Derek Whitelock, 89–116. Melbourne: F. W. Cheshire, 1966; Turner, Alexander. Interview by Chris Jeffrey, 1977. State Library of Western Australia; Turner, Alexander. Royal Mail and Other Plays. Perth: Patersons Printing Press Ltd, 1944.
TURNER, HELEN ALMA (1908–1995), animal geneticist and statistician, was born on 15 May 1908 at Lindfield, Sydney, eldest of three children of New South Wales–born parents Alphonse Joseph Newton Turner, public servant, and his wife Jessie, née Bowmaker. Helen’s mother was one of the University of Sydney’s early women graduates, being awarded a BA (1901) in philosophy and French, and winning the university medal in French. Educated at Bowral Public and Parramatta High schools to Leaving certificate standard, Helen excelled in mathematics. Unaware that science offered women career possibilities other than teaching, she undertook an architecture degree at the University of Sydney (BArch Hons, 1930).
Messrs Kent and Massie, Architects, employed her for twelve months at the peak of the Depression, but did not then offer her a professional position. Newton Turner, as she was known, stayed on doing office work, while learning shorthand and typing at the Metropolitan Business College. After working at the Board of Optometrical Registration as a clerk, in August 1931, in a move she later regarded as the most fortunate in her career, she gained employment as secretary to (Sir) Ian Clunies Ross [q.v.13] at the Sydney-based F. D. McMaster [q.v.10] Animal Health Laboratory, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). Clunies Ross was fostering a major expansion of fundamental genetics research in Australia.
Newton Turner became interested in the comparatively new discipline of statistical analysis applied to agricultural experiments, and she furthered her knowledge by enrolling in evening classes in statistics at the University of Sydney. In 1938 Clunies Ross, recognising her potential, arranged for her to study quantitative genetics with the founder of agricultural statistics and pioneer of the ‘application of statistical procedures to the design of scientific experiments’ (Encyclopaedia Britannica n.d.) (Sir) Ronald Fisher, at the Galton Laboratory, University College, London. She also worked part time with Frank Yates, head of statistics at Rothamsted Agricultural Experimental Station, Hertfordshire.
In September 1939 Newton Turner left Britain and spent ten weeks in the United States of America visiting sheep research laboratories. Returning to the McMaster Laboratory, she was appointed technical officer and consulting statistician. In 1940, with the marine biologist Isobel Bennett, she helped form the University Women’s Land Army. After Japan entered the war Newton Turner worked as a statistician in the Department of Home Security, Canberra, and from early 1943 with Clunies Ross who was director of scientific personnel at the Manpower Directorate. In 1944 she was employed part time at the McMaster Laboratory and when the war ended returned to a full-time position as consulting statistician, Division of Animal Health and Production, CSIR (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation from 1949).
This was the beginning of Newton Turner’s long and productive career in wool research that included merino sheep breeding experiments at Cunnamulla, Queensland, and Armidale and Deniliquin, New South Wales. In 1951 she aroused the interest of wool growers when she published a statistical analysis showing that genetic inheritance accounted for over 30 per cent of variation in fleece weight. This finding challenged graziers’ thinking about how to select sheep for breeding. Experimental and statistical work on twinning in sheep produced spectacular increases in reproduction rates. Newton Turner went overseas for a year in 1954. Visiting India, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, France, Spain, and Portugal, she studied sheep-breeding methods and visited animal-breeding laboratories.
In 1956 Newton Turner was appointed senior principal research scientist and invited to lead a group in the Division of Animal Health and Production where she was responsible for all sheep-breeding research. She also initiated work on the heritability of different characteristics of wool, including wool weight, crimp number, fibre diameter, staple length, and follicle density. For these data assessments she introduced rigorous objective measuring procedures in contrast to the traditional subjective methods of judging characteristics by eye. Stud breeders and wool classers were slow to adopt these new quantitative methods but they eventually adapted as yields markedly improved and wool began to be sold by measurement.
Described as ‘tall, vivacious, and bright-eyed’ (Sun 1939, 14), Newton Turner travelled extensively in Australia where she gave seminars, talked to breeders, and became well known in country areas, lecturing and broadcasting on the Australian Broadcasting Commission’s Country Hour. She published over 100 scientific papers and her 1969 textbook, Quantitative Genetics in Sheep Breeding, co-authored with Sydney Young, became an international standard reference. From the 1950s to the late 1980s she led delegations overseas and was involved in a wide range of breeding programs globally. She visited countries in Africa, South America, Europe, Asia, and the Pacific. In 1970 she was awarded a DSc by the University of Sydney for her thesis, ‘Quantitative Genetics in Sheep Breeding (1937–69)’.
Newton Turner retired in 1973 and in the following year became the first woman to receive the Farrer [q.v.8] Memorial Trust’s medal. A foundation fellow (1975) of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences, she was appointed OBE in 1976 and AO in 1987. In retirement she continued her involvement in wool research, sometimes attending conferences. Although having little time for personal pursuits, she expressed interest in cooking and photography. Unmarried, she died on 26 November 1995 at Chatswood, Sydney, and was cremated. A humble woman who deprecated her own achievements, she was recognised worldwide as an outstanding experimental scientist and theoretician. Her memory is perpetuated by the Helen Newton Turner Medal, established in 1993 by the Association for the Advancement of Animal Breeding and Genetics. Her account of her travels, And Yonder Lies, was published posthumously.
Allen, Nessy. ‘The Contributions of Two Australian Women Scientists to Its Wool Industry.’ Prometheus 9, no. 1 (1991): 81–92; Allen, Nessy. ‘Helen Newton Turner and the Wool Industry.’ Journal of Australian Studies 33 (1992): 56–62; Allen, Nessy. ‘Scientist Found the Golden Fleece.’ Australian, 5 December 1995, 19; Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation Archives. Helen Newton Turner—Records 1950–1988; Encyclopaedia Britannica. ‘Sir Ronald Aylmer Fisher.’ Accessed 15 August 2019. www.britannica.com/biography/Ronald-Aylmer-Fisher. Copy held on ADB file; Moyal, Ann, ed. Portraits in Science. Canberra: National Library of Australia, 1994; National Library of Australia. MS 3987, Helen Newton Turner Records, 1953–1973; Newton Turner, Helen. And Yonder Lies: Travel Memoirs of a Remarkable Scientist. Roseville, NSW: Loma Newton Priddle, 1996; Sun (Sydney). ‘This Girl Likes Figures.’ 24 December 1939, 14.
TURNER, JOHN STEWART (1908–1991), botanist, educator, and conservationist, was born on 9 September 1908 at Middlesbrough, England, third child of Thomas Stewart Turner, admiralty ordnance inspector, and his wife Ellen, née Spice. John’s enduring love of plants and landscapes began during family and school rambles. Educated at Sheffield Central Secondary School, he won a scholarship to Selwyn College, Cambridge (BA, 1930), where he gained first-class honours in botany. With a succession of scholarships and grants, he undertook plant physiological research (MA, 1934; PhD, 1935). A demonstrator then senior demonstrator in the Cambridge Botany School, he participated in British Ecological Society expeditions and organised Cambridge ecology expeditions.
In 1938 Turner succeeded Alfred Ewart [q.v.8] as professor of botany and plant physiology at the University of Melbourne, adding up-to-date physiological and ecological expertise to a department whose trickle of research was predominantly in plant pathology. His interests and influence extended beyond the department. During his first summer, he organised the McCoy Society’s ecology expedition, discussed his physiological research at the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science (ANZAAS) meeting, witnessed the Black Friday bushfires, and joined the Royal Society of Victoria’s council (president, 1951–52). On 27 December 1939 at Christ Church, South Yarra, he married with Anglican rites Kathleen Maud Jones, a Cambridge graduand in botany.
During World War II the botany department focused on penicillin-producing moulds and other war-related projects. But Turner also organised plant respiration and photosynthesis research, initiated Maisie Fawcett’s ecological investigation of fire-exacerbated soil erosion in the forested Hume catchment, and helped to design a new science degree in forestry. He also ensured the study of biology in schools, which he described as an essential part of education for life, and presided over the new Science Teachers’ Association of Victoria.
As a founding member (1945) and chairman (1952–73) of the Maud Gibson Trust, Turner secured funding for essential projects for Melbourne’s (Royal) Botanic Gardens and National Herbarium of Victoria, including James Willis’s [q.v.] comprehensive A Handbook to Plants in Victoria (1962 and 1972), the herbarium’s journal, Muelleria, and the gardens’ annexe for Australian plants at Cranbourne.
After the war, Turner developed and diversified his plant biochemical research. A foundation member (1958) and president (1962) of the Australian Society of Plant Physiologists, he formed a branch of the plant physiology unit which (Sir) Rutherford (Bob) Robertson had established at the University of Sydney in collaboration with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). Turner also established a CSIRO-supported brown coal pollen research unit.
Turner organised useful ecological projects, including water catchment forest research for the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works, and, as the Kiewa hydro-electric scheme was being constructed, annual vegetation surveys of Fawcett’s exclosures on the long-grazed Bogong High Plains for Victoria’s Soil Conservation Board and State Electricity Commission. Elected a fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (AAS) in 1956, he contributed to AAS committees and reports that were influential in restricting grazing in high mountain catchments and limiting Snowy Mountains hydro-electric engineering works.
To facilitate ecological research, Turner established a University of Melbourne field laboratory at Wilson’s Promontory in 1960. On field trips he was known for ‘his camaraderie, Gilbert and Sullivan doggerel and sense of fun’ (Ashton and Ducker 1993, 284), which contributed to a loyal and cohesive department.
Turner publicised conservation widely, supporting national, state, and local conservation groups. A foundation member (1952) of the Victorian National Parks Association (VNPA), he edited and updated Judith Frankenberg’s Nature Conservation in Victoria: A Survey, which was published by the VNPA in 1971 in time for its use by the Victorian government’s new Land Conservation Council (LCC). He was foundation chairman (1960) of the landscape preservation council of the National Trust of Australia (Victoria), a foundation member (1965–73) of the Australian Conservation Foundation, and a foundation member (1971–78) of the LCC.
In the 1960s conservation issues and university duties increasingly displaced Turner’s own research. He chaired the Melbourne University Press board of management and the university grounds committee. He was also chairman (1965–74) of the AAS committee on biological education, supervising the development of the textbook Biological Science: The Web of Life (1967) and related material which revolutionised secondary school biology across Australia.
In December 1973 Turner retired from a department hugely enriched and expanded during his thirty-five-year tenure. For his services to botany, he was appointed OBE in the New Year. As professor emeritus he devoted more time to the LCC and, especially after his 1982 move to Castlemaine, to his long-practised art. His scraperboard landscapes illustrated various publications. In 1987 he received an honorary doctorate of laws from the University of Melbourne.
Survived by his wife and two children, Turner died on 9 May 1991 at Heidelberg, Melbourne, and was cremated. The Turner lecture theatre and John S. Turner postgraduate scholarship at the University of Melbourne, and the Turner review series in the Australian Journal of Botany, commemorate an intellectual whose curiosity and concerns, wit and passion embraced the science and beauty of plants and landscapes, their conservation, and our education about them.
Ashton, David H., and Sophie C. Ducker. ‘John Stewart Turner 1908–1991.’ Historical Records of Australian Science 9 (1993): 279–290; Clifford, H. Trevor, ed. Cambridge—Castlemaine: A Tribute to John Stewart Turner on the Occasion of his 80th Birthday. St Lucia: Department of Botany, University of Queensland, 1988; Gillbank, Linden. From System Garden to Scientific Research: The University of Melbourne’s School of Botany under its First Two Professors (1906–1973). Parkville, Vic.: School of Botany, University of Melbourne, 2010; Pascoe, Gwen. ‘John Stewart Turner—Communicating Conservation.’ In Melbourne University Portraits: They Called it “The Shop”, 83–90. Parkville, Vic.: History Department, University of Melbourne, 1996; Weste, Gretna. ‘Obituary: Professor John Turner.’ Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria 104 (1992): 99–100.
TUXWORTH, HILDA ELSIE (BIDDY) (1908–1994), nurse, community worker, and historian, was born on 25 June 1908 at Woy Woy, New South Wales, seventh of nine children of locally born parents Herbert Henry Phegan, estate agent, and his wife Elizabeth Ellen, née Walsh. Known to friends and family as ‘Biddy’, she was educated at Bondi Domestic Science School, then worked as a governess, and trained as a nursing sister at the Wollongong General Hospital. On 18 May 1935 she married Lindsay (Lins) John Tuxworth, an engineer, with Catholic rites at the Church of Our Lady of Dolours, Chatswood. They lived first at Newcastle, then in the Mandated Territory of New Guinea where Lins worked in the goldfields, and later at Wollongong. Lins served in the Citizen Military Forces in World War II.
The Tuxworths moved to Tennant Creek, Northern Territory, in 1951, where Lins was an engineer with Eldorado Tennant Creek Ltd, later transferring to Peko (Tennant Creek) Gold Mines NL. Biddy worked as a nursing sister. Her principal contribution to Tennant Creek was as its first historian. Starting her local history work in 1965, she interviewed numerous old residents and, with her friend Marjorie Fullwood, collected or copied significant documents and photographs. These were ultimately deposited in the University of Queensland’s Fryer Library, the Tuxworth-Fullwood Archives in Tennant Creek, and the Northern Territory Library in Darwin. Her oral history interviews were lodged with the Northern Territory Archives Service.
In 1966 Tuxworth published Tennant Creek: Yesterday and Today, which was substantially expanded and reprinted in 1978. Although a later historian, Dean Ashenden, described the book as ‘amiably formless’ (2010, 52.5), it includes much well-researched information. Helen Springs Station, a short history of a Barkly Tableland pastoral lease, appeared in 1992. She also wrote biographical entries for the Northern Territory Dictionary of Biography and magazine articles about Tennant Creek history.
Tuxworth helped found Tennant Creek’s National Trust branch in April 1974 and served for many years as its chairman or vice-chairman. She was a councillor (1976–83) of the National Trust of Australia (Northern Territory) and an honorary life member from 1980. During 1978 she was instrumental in saving the former outpatients’ department of Tennant Creek Hospital from demolition. Later known as Tuxworth-Fullwood House, from 1980 it was the National Trust’s Tennant Creek headquarters, and also housed a museum and the Tuxworth-Fullwood Archives.
Active in other local organisations, including the Country Women’s Association, St John Ambulance Association, and the Tennant Creek District Association, Tuxworth was appointed MBE in January 1969 for her community work. She also taught ballet, played bridge, and did paintings of local wildflowers. Following Lins’s death in February 1981, she remained in Tennant Creek until 1993, when she moved to Perth to be closer to her sons. Affectionately known as Tennant Creek’s ‘duchess’ or ‘first lady’, her friend the Northern Territory politician Maggie Hickey remembered her as never afraid to raise issues, as possessing a ‘stately commanding presence and a penetrating mind’, and as a ‘formidable’ person who ‘got things done’ (NT LA 1994, 11 079). The archivist Matthew Platt noted her ‘wide-ranging research, writing and public interests’ (1989, 15). Survived by her three sons, she died on 19 January 1994 at Wilson, Perth, and was cremated. A Catholic memorial service was held at Tennant Creek’s Church of Christ the King, and a memorial plaque erected near the grave of her husband. Her second son, Ian, served as chief minister (1984–86) of the Northern Territory.
Ashenden, Dean. ‘Telling Tennant’s Story.’ History Australia 7, no. 3 (December 2010): 52.1–52.12; Carment, David. ‘Tuxworth, Hilda Elsie.’ In Northern Territory Dictionary of Biography, edited by David Carment, Christine Edward, Barbara James, Robyn Maynard, Alan Powell, and Helen J. Wilson, 595–96. Revised edition. Darwin: Charles Darwin University Press, 2008; Northern Territory. Legislative Assembly. Parliamentary Record, 22 February 1994, 11 079; Personal knowledge of ADB subject; Platt, Matthew. Guide to the Tuxworth-Fullwood Archives. Tennant Creek, NT: National Trust, 1989; Tuxworth, Hilda. Sound recording, 16 November 1982. Northern Territory Library; Tuxworth-Fullwood Archives, National Trust, Tennant Creek. Papers. Hilda Tuxworth.
TYRRELL, Sir MURRAY LOUIS (1913–1994), public servant, was born on 1 December 1913 at Kilmore, Victoria, third of five children of Thomas Michael Tyrrell (d. 1928), postmaster, and his wife Florence Evelyn, née Kepert, both Victorian born. Murray was educated at schools at Orbost and, after his father transferred to Cheltenham, at Mordialloc and Melbourne Boys’ high schools. He joined the Commonwealth Public Service in 1929. Initially appointed as a telegraph messenger, he served in several sections of the Postmaster-General’s (PMG) Department over the next ten years. On 6 May 1939 he married Ellen St Clair Greig, a clerk, at St John’s Church, East Malvern.
During World War II Tyrrell held a series of posts in ministerial offices. In mid-1939 he reluctantly relocated to Canberra to serve as assistant private secretary to the minister for air and civil aviation, J. V. Fairbairn [q.v.8]. In August 1940 a last-minute rearrangement of passengers on a flight from Melbourne to Canberra saw him catch a train instead. The plane crashed on approach to the airport killing all on board, including Fairbairn and several other senior officials. Tyrrell informed Prime Minister (Sir) Robert Menzies [q.v.15] of the loss, and helped to identify the bodies of those who perished. At the inquest he strongly denied the suggestion that Fairbairn was at the controls instead of the assigned pilot.
In the aftermath, Tyrrell was appointed private secretary to the new minister for air and then, back in Melbourne, to the minister for munitions and for supply and development (from October 1940). He later served as personal assistant to the secretary of the Department of Munitions (1942). In 1943 he returned to Canberra having been selected as private secretary to J. B. Chifley [q.v.13], then Commonwealth treasurer and minister for postwar reconstruction. He continued in this role when Chifley became prime minister and treasurer in 1945. Two years later he was appointed official secretary to the governor-general Sir William McKell [q.v.18], a position that he would hold under six vice-regal representatives. Until mid-1953 he was also comptroller of Government House with responsibility for supervising household staff and security.
Tyrrell claimed that he had long aspired to the job of official secretary after noticing the position on a chart of the Australian government at the PMG department. His duties included overseeing the budget of Government House; liaising with government departments, Buckingham Palace, and the press; coordinating the public appearances of the governor-general; and dealing with correspondence. He also assisted during royal tours by Queen Elizabeth II (1954, 1963, 1970) and the Queen Mother (1958, 1966), as well as several visits by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. From May to August 1962 he was attached to the royal household at Buckingham Palace. During this period he assisted Prince Philip’s efforts to encourage the establishment of an Australian branch of the World Wildlife Fund. To this end, Tyrrell communicated with the zoologist and conservationist Francis Ratcliffe [q.v.16], who would be instrumental in the formation of the Australian Conservation Foundation.
Despite standing ‘6ft 3in [190.5 cm] in his socks’, Tyrrell remained ‘in the governor-general’s shadow’ (Spratt 1962, 70) at official functions. He endeavoured to maintain good working relationships with all the incumbents. Increasingly burdened by anxiety, he was on leave for much of 1973 and retired on medical grounds in February the next year. He had been appointed CVO in 1954 and KCVO in 1968; both awards were in the Queen’s personal gift. He was also appointed CBE in 1959.
Settling in Queanbeyan, Sir Murray was an alderman of the city council from 1974 to 1980. He was a coordinator during the 1976 flood, collapsing with exhaustion after working solidly for thirty-six hours. For many years he was also active in the Australian Capital Territory division of the National Heart Foundation of Australia and was elected its president in 1977. That year he was named Australian of the Year, and in 1980 he was made a commander of the Order of St John of Jerusalem. Predeceased by his wife and survived by a son and two daughters, he died on 13 July 1994 in Canberra, and was buried in the Queanbeyan lawn cemetery.
Coulthard-Clark, C. D., ed. Gables, Ghosts, and Governors-General: The Historic House at Yarralumla, Canberra. Sydney: Allen & Unwin with the Canberra & District Historical Society, 1988; Coulthard-Clark, Chris. ‘Right-Hand Man to Six Heads of State.’ Australian, 21 July 1994, 15; Davidson, Gay. ‘Bicycle Boy’s Dream Ends.’ Canberra Times, 17 July 1973, 3–4; Fetherston, Jerry. ‘The Colourful Memories of Sir Murray Tyrrell.’ Woman’s Day, 22 April 1985, 18–19; National Archives of Australia. A1209, 1968/9010, A9841, TYRRELL, M, M1767, 7; Spratt, Elwyn. ‘Fifteen Years in the Governor-General’s Shadow: The Man in the Dark Striped Pants.’ Sun-Herald, 6 May 1962, 70; Tyrrell, Murray. Interview by Mel Pratt, 27 May–26 June 1974. Transcript. Mel Pratt collection. National Library of Australia.
David I. Smith
TYTHERLEIGH, EDWIN HAROLD (TED) (1905–1995), leader of the building society movement, was born on 19 August 1905 at Five Dock, New South Wales, fourth child of English-born Thomas Tytherleigh, fitter, and his New South Wales–born wife Lilian Emma, née Kipping. Ted attended Five Dock Public School, gaining a qualifying certificate. Stricken by influenza during the post–World War I epidemic, he was no longer able to do metalwork and could not pursue his desire to work as a marine engineer. After working in retailing, he briefly opened his own store in Five Dock using finance from his father. He then became a commercial traveller selling manchester goods and later chinaware. On 17 October 1927 at the Holy Trinity Church of England, Dubbo, he married Constance Amy Pearl Ezzy; they would be divorced in 1952.
The onset of the Depression and the introduction by the Scullin [q.v.11] Labor government of restrictions on imports led Tytherleigh to look for more secure employment. By April 1931 he operated a ham and beef shop in the Sydney suburb of Epping. On the proceeds of the business, from 1931 he purchased land to build and sell houses and opened another store at nearby Eastwood.
Tytherleigh became interested in developing his community and helping young people, particularly through home ownership. He disliked banks and believed that through building societies, with their principles of self-help and cooperation, Australians could gain independence by owning their own home. He was critical of initiatives, such as the New South Wales Housing Commission, which he believed could stifle enterprise and encourage renting, where tenants had no stake and interest in the property. At a time when the State government gave the building societies a guarantee to raise funds and encourage home building, in 1937 he helped form the Northern Districts Home-Building Co-operative Society Ltd. He became founding chairman of the Northern Districts Permanent Co-operative Building & Investment Society Ltd in 1939. In World War II he served part time (1942–43) in Sydney with the Volunteer Defence Corps.
In 1962 Tytherleigh persuaded his fellow directors to change the name of the Northern Districts Permanent to the United Permanent Co-operative Building & Investment Society Ltd and to expand its geographical base across the State. The United Permanent merged with the Parramatta Permanent Building Society Ltd in 1969. From 1971 to 1978 he was chairman of the amalgamated organisation, which became the United Permanent Building Society Ltd, presiding over its biggest expansion. The National Mutual Royal Bank acquired United Permanent in 1987, which was indicative of the decline in building societies following the deregulation of financial institutions.
Tytherleigh served as president of both the State (1947–64) and Australian (1956–64) peak bodies of building societies. He was also president of the International Union of Building Societies and Savings Associations from 1968 to 1971. Believing that active leadership was important for the vitality of the building society movement, he lobbied both State and Federal governments to provide funds and support to the building societies and actively promoted their spread throughout Australia. He emphasised the value of publicity for the movement. Appointed MBE in 1960 and CMG in 1972, he won the Florence Taylor award of merit in 1963.
On 20 June 1956 Tytherleigh had married English-born Lily Emily Morres, shop manageress, at St John’s Church of England, Darlinghurst. Selling his store and property concerns, in 1960 he purchased a Sutton Forest grazing property. In 1972, suffering poor health, he sold it and returned to Sydney. Survived by his wife, and two daughters and one son from his first marriage, he died on 4 February 1995 at Wahroonga, and was cremated.
Hill, M. R. ‘Housing Finance Institutions.’ In Studies in the Australian Capital Market, edited by R. R. Hirst and R. H. Wallace, 98–129. Melbourne: F. W. Cheshire, 1964; Lyons, Mark. ‘Ted Tytherleigh.’ In Australian Financiers: Biographical Essays, edited by R. T. Appleyard and C. B. Schedvin, 388–400. South Melbourne: Macmillan, 1988; Narromine News and Trangie Advocate. ‘Public Gossip.’ 24 April 1931, 5; Withycombe, Susan Mary W. A Home of Our Own: Half a Century of Co-Operative Housing 1937–1987. New South Wales: Co-operative Housing Societies Association of New South Wales, 1987.