Oskar Spate (1911- 2000) was born and educated in England where he completed a doctorate at the University of Cambridge in 1937 on the development of London. After the Second World War he combined lecturing in England with writing a regional geography of the Indian sub-continent.
In 1951 he took up the post of Foundation Professor of Geography in the Research School of Pacific Studies at The Australian National University, a position he held until 1967. From 1967 to 1972 he was Director of the Research School of Pacific Studies, ANU, and in 1972 moved to its Department of Pacific History.
Throughout his career, Oskar Spate published a wide diversity of papers and essays on such subjects as the geography of Europe, South Asia and Australia and the exploration of Australia and the Pacific. Upon his retirement in 1976, he devoted most of his energies to researching and writing his three-volume history The Pacific since Magellan.