Australian Dictionary of Biography

Since 1962 the Australian Dictionary of Biography has been prepared by its staff in the Research School of Social Sciences at The Australian National University. It provides concise, informative and fascinating descriptions of significant and representative men and women of this country, who contributed their vision and energies to a growing nation. Each entry is prepared by a leading scholar who provides their research voluntarily. Over 4,500 authors have contributed to its 13,500 entries over six decades. As such, it is the largest and longest-running project of national collaboration of social scientists in Australia. The subjects themselves come from all walks of life—from premiers, generals and bishops, through to artists, actors and authors, farmers, engineers and schoolteachers, to prostitutes, thieves and murderers—providing a cross-section of Australian society. Current revision projects are increasing the proportion of Indigenous, female, convict and working-class entries. This stunning cumulative, cooperative and collective work continues to be a valuable and popular reference tool in print and online, free to download.

As Professor the Hon Gareth Evans AC QC, former Chancellor, The Australian National University, stated, ‘The Australian Dictionary of Biography captures the life and times and culture of this country in an absolutely distinctive and irreplaceable way. It is the indispensable record of who we are, and of the characters who have made us what we are. I could not be prouder of the ANU’s continuing role as custodian of this crucial part of our national legacy.’

Please note: The following list of titles is sorted by publication date, with the most recent first.

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Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 19 »

1991–1995 (A–Z)

Edited by: Melanie Nolan
Publication date: March 2021
Volume 19 of the Australian Dictionary of Biography (ADB) contains concise biographies of individuals who died between 1991 and 1995. The first of two volumes for the 1990s, it presents a colourful montage of late twentieth-century Australian life, containing the biographies of significant and representative Australians. The volume is still in the shadow of World War II with servicemen and women who enlisted young appearing, but these influences are dimming and there are now increasing numbers of non-white, non-male, non-privileged and non-straight subjects. The 680 individuals recorded in volume 19 of the ADB include Wiradjuri midwife and Ngunnawal Elder Violet Bulger; Aboriginal rights activist, poet, playwright and artist Kevin Gilbert; and Torres Strait Islander community leader and land rights campaigner Eddie Mabo. HIV/AIDS child activists Tony Lovegrove and Eve Van Grafhorst have entries, as does conductor Stuart Challender, ‘the first Australian celebrity to go public’ about his HIV/AIDS condition in 1991. The arts are, as always, well-represented, including writers Frank Hardy, Mary Durack and Nene Gare, actors Frank Thring and Leonard Teale and arts patron Ian Potter. We are beginning to see the effects of the steep rise in postwar immigration flow through to the ADB. Artist Joseph Stanislaw Ostoja-Kotkowski was born in Poland. Pilar Moreno de Otaegui, co-founded the Spanish Club of Sydney. Chinese restaurateur and community leader Ming Poon (Dick) Low migrated to Victoria in 1953. Often we have a dearth of information about the domestic lives of our subjects; politician Olive Zakharov, however, bravely disclosed at the Victorian launch of the federal government’s campaign to Stop Violence Against Women in 1993 that she was a survivor of domestic violence in her second marriage. Take a dip into the many fascinating lives of the Australian Dictionary of Biography.
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