A Biographical Dictionary of men and women
who brought colour to
life in Australia in the 20th Century
Ancher, Sydney
Anderson, Dame Judith
Antill, John
Archibald, J F
Annear, Harold Desbrowe
Asche, Oscar
Bailey, Bert
Baker, Snowy
(Reginald Leslie Baker)
Bancks, J C
Barton, Sir Edmund
Bates, Daisy
Beale, Octavius
Beaurepaire, Sir Frank
Bell, George
Birtles. Francis
Borovansky, Edouard
Boyd, Arthur
Boyd, Robin
Brabham, Jack
Bradman, Sir Donald
Cerutty, Percy
Charlton, Andrew 'Boy'
Chauvel, Charles
Childe, Gordon
Clapp, Sir Harold
Clunies, Ross Sir Ian
Cotton, Sidney
Cross, Stan
Crossley, Ada
Curtin, John
Darcy, Les
Davey, Jack
Dawson, Peter
Deakin, Alfred
Dennis, C J
Dobell, Sir William
Drysdale, Sir Russell
Dyer, Bob
Eccles, Sir John
Elliott, Herb
Finch, Peter
Fisk, Ernest
Flory, Lord
Flynn, John
Flynn, Errol
Franklin, Miles
Fraser, Dawn
Furphy, Joseph (Tom Collins)
Fysh, Sir Hudson
Gilmore, Dame Mary
Gleeson, James
Grainger, Percy
Greer, Germaine
Grounds, Sir Roy
Griffin, Walter Burley
Gye, Hal
Hall, Ken
Hallstrom, Sir Edward
Harkness, Don
Hargrave, Lawrence
Hawker, Harry George
Helpmann, Sir Robert
Herbert, Zavier
Heysen, Sir Hans
Hinkler, Bert
Holt, Bland
Hudson, Sir William
Hughes, Billy
Humphries, Barry
Hurley, Frank
Johnston, Geroge
Jones, Inigo
Joyce, Eileen
Joynton-Smith Sir James
Kellerman Annette
Keneally, Thomas
Kenny, Sister
Kingsford Smith, Sir Charles
Konrads, John & Ilsa
Lang, Jack
Lasseter. Lewis Harold Bell
Lawler, Ray
Lawson, Henry
Essington, Lewis
Lindrum, Walter
Lindsay, Sir Daryl
Lindsay, Sir Lionel
Lindsay, Norman
Lindsay, Percy
Lindsay, Ruby (Ruby Dyson)
Locke-Elliot Sumner
Longford, Raymond
Lower, Lennie
Lyall, Lottie
McGinness P J
McIntosh, Hugh Donald
McKay, Claude
McMahon, Gregan
Mannix, Daniel
Marshall, Alan
Mawson, Sir Douglas
Melba, Dame Nellie
Meldrum, Max
Menzies, Sir Robert
Monash, Sir John
Moncrieff, Gladys
Morrison, 'Chinese'
Myer, Sir Sidney
Namatjira, Albert
Nicholls, Syd
Nolan, Sidney
O'Keefe, Johnny
Oliphant, Sir Marcus
O'Malley, King
Opperman, Sir Hubert
Owen, Evelyn Ernest
Paterson, 'Banjo'
Phillips, Nat (Stiffy)
Prichard, Katharine Susannah
Rafferty, Chips
Rene, Roy (Mo)
Richardson, Henry Handel
Rivett. Sir David
Roberts, Tom
Robertson, Sir Macpherson
Rowlandson, Alfred Cecil
Steele, Rudd
Seidler, Harry
Slessor, Kenneth
Smith, Keith
Smith, Norman 'Wizard'
Smith, Ross
Cozens, Spencer
Spencer. Sir Walter Baldwin
Stewart, Nellie
Streeton, Sir Arthur
Sutherland, Dame Joan
Tarrant, Harley
Tauchert, Arthur
Taylor, George Augustine
Thring, Frank W
Trumper, Victor
Ulm, Charles
Wallace, Geroge
White, Patrick
Wilkins, Sir Hubert
Williamson, J C
Williams, Fred
Wilson, William Hardy
Wright, Judith


Sydney Ancher - Architect
Born Sydney 25 February 1904

In 1947, the councillors of Warringah Shire, Sydney, ordered Sydney Ancher 'in the public interest', to put a meaningless 60cm high parapet above a flat roof he had designed for a house at Curl Curl in their shire. Ancher's client appealed against this arbitrary direction in the Land and Valuation Court. The council's chief health and building inspector, described Ancher's design as 'more like a gun emplacement than a house' and mentioned proudly that in recent years the council had rejected some two dozen flat-roofed designs. But gun-emplacement or not, Mr Justice Sugerman upheld the appeal, declared in an historic judgement that the question was solely an aesthetic one and that the development of architecture must be impeded if a council closed 'its gates to the unfamiliar....'

Dame Judith Anderson - Actress
Born Adelaide 10 February 1898

Stage-struck from childhood, made her professional debut in 1915, playing Stephanie with Julius Knight in A Royal Divorce. At age 20 she sailed confidently for America. Success came in 1924 when she was acclaimed for her performance in Cobra and given the lead in David Belasco's Broadway production of The Dove.

John Antill - Composer
Born Sydney 8 April 1904

John Antill began to learn to play piano when he was about six. At 10 he joined the boys' choir of St Andrews Cathedral, Sydney and ultimately became choir leader and soloist. His father seeing no future for a musician in Australia encourage him at 16 to become an apprentice mechanical draftsman. Each day travelling to work by train he wrote most of his opera Endymion. On completion of his 5 year apprenticeship he enrolled at the New South Wales Conservatorium of music and studied violin. In 1932 he joined the chorus of J C Williamson Imperial Opera Company as a tenor so he could learn stagecraft, and toured Australia and New Zealand for almost two years, singing, playing bass clarinet, prompting and doing the backstage conducting. He became assistant musical director at the ABC and soon after began work on his ballet Corroboree. He was awarded the OBE in 1971 for services to music.

J F Archibald - Journalist
Born Kildare, Victoria 12 January 1856. Died Sydney 10 September 1919

On 31 January 1880 John Feltham (or as he preferred to be called, Jules Francois) Archibald founded The Bulletin with a fellow journalist, John Haynes. He edited the magazine until he sold it in 1914. He encouraged such authors as Henry Lawson and 'Banjo' Paterson, and black-and-white artists like Norman Lindsay and Will Dyson. He also founded The Lone Hand in 1907. From early 1919 until his death he was literary editor of Smith's Weekly.

Harold Desbrowe Annear - Architect
Born Bendigo, Victoria 1866. Died Melbourne 22 June 1933

A big, bluff, witty, untidy man with a protruding stomach and ill-fitting dentures, was born in Bendigo, Victoria and never left Australia. He ridiculed tradition, welcomed experiment, and wore a monacle, which in Australia at that time, showed his self-confident independence. He has been described as Australia's 'first functionalist architect'. He told his students that 'real architects have always been and must be inventors in mechanics, in form, in tone and colour'. In 1900 he built himself a novel house at Eaglemont, just out of Melbourne. It had no passages, a large living room with a sliding division, counter-balanced sliding windows that disappeared vertically into the cavity walls, and built-in wardrobes, dressing tables, buffet, bookshelves and cupboards - all features which adventurous architects were discovering more than half a century later. 'Simple buildings of true purpose' were Annear's goal, and he designed a number of them in and around Melbourne during the first two decades of the 20th century.

Oscar Asche - Actor and Playwright
Born Geelong, Victoria 26 January 1871. Died London 23 March 1936

John Stanger Heiss Oscar Asche wrote, produced and acted in the famous musical Chu Chin Chow which ran in London for a record time - from August 1916 to July 1921. He left Australia to study theatre in Europe and became known in England as a Shakespearean actor and producer, and his company toured Australia in 1909-10 and again in 1911-12. He brought Chu Chin Chow out in 1921, but after this tour and several theatrical failures he became insolvent. A flamboyent, temperamental man, Asche, during the London run of Chu Chin Chow used to fortify himself nightly with a dinner of 2 or 3 kg of steak and a bottle of whisky.

Bert Bailey - Actor and Producer
Born Auckland, New Zealand 11 June 1872. Died Sydney 30 March 1953
Snowy Baker - Champion all-round Sportsman
(Reginald Leslie Baker)
Born Sydney 8 February 1884. Died Hollywood USA 2 December 1953
J C Bancks - Cartoonist
Born Hornsby NSW 1880. Died Sydney 1 July 1952

James Bancks was the cartoonist who created Ginger Meggs. He worked for the Sydney Sunday Sun, and had been drawing the character for 31 years when he died in 1952.

Sir Edmund Barton - Politician and Lawyer
Born Sydney 18 January 1849. Died Medlow Bath, NSW 7 January 1920

On 31 December 1900, Edmund Barton, a Protectionist, became the first Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia. As a member of the NSW Legislative Assembly since 1970, he had been active in the campaign for Federation throughout the 1890's; leader of the Convention on Federation held in Adelaide in 1897; and chairman of the Constitutional Committee. Barton resigned as Prime Minister in September 1903 to take a seat on the Bench of the High Court. He was knighted in 1902.

Daisy Bates - Journalist & Humanitarian
Born Ballychrine. Co. Tipperary, Ireland 1861. Died Adelaide, 18 April 1951

Daisy Bates, whose maiden name was O'Dwyer Hunt, was a well-known wit and beauty in the salons of Dublin and London before she migrated to Australia in 1884, in the hope of curing a spot on her lung.

In New South Wales she married 'a man of the outback', John Bates, and bore him a son, but the marriage failed and in 1894 she returned to London, penniless. She managed to support herself by journalism, and in 1899, when reports of the ill-treatment of Aborigines reached England, The Times sent her on an assignment to investigate them.

This was the beginning of her dedicated work among aborigines. For two years she lived with an ancient tribe in the south-west of Western Australia and for a further two years, travelled with them. During World War I, she lived with the tribes near Fowler's Bay and from 1919 till 1935, she occupied a pitched tent at Ooldea, on the Nullarbor Plain, eating mainly native food. To passengers on the Trans-Continental train she was a familiar sight, an anachronistic figure in her Edwardian ankle-length skirts, high starched collar and voluminous fly-veil.

She believed that contact with Western civilisation was fatal to the Aborigines, that they needed their traditional environment. She looked after the very old, the very young, the very sick. Natives journeyed to her from long distances. She clothed them, nursed them and settled their disputes. A Western Australian tribe gave her the name of 'Kabbarli', the Grandmother. Her book, The Passing of the Aborigines, published in London in 1938 eared her an international reputation.

When she was more than 80 years of age she went back to live with tribal aborigines at Wynbring, 177 klms east of Ooldea but illness complled her to return to Adelaide where she died in 1951.

Octavius Beale - Piano Manufacturer and Philanthropist
Born Ireland 23 February 1850. Died Stroud NSW 16 December 1930

After forming a company to import sewing machines and pianos in 1879, in 1893 he established Australia's first piano factory in Sydney; it ceased production in 1975. In 1903 Beale was appointed one of 12 members of a Royal Commission into the decline of the birth rate in New South Wales (he had 12 children himself). He then asked to be appointed a one-man commission into drugs and patent medicines, and in 1907 he produced a huge two-volume critical report. His report was a horrifying record of the criminal unscrupulousness of manufacturers and advertisers and of the limitless gullibility of the public.


Sir Frank Beaurepaire - Swimmer and Businessman
Born Melbourne 13 May 1891. Died Melbourne 29 May 1956

George Bell - Painter
Born Melbourne 1 December 1878. Died Melbourne 23 October 1966

Frances Birtles - Overlander
Born Melbourne 7 November 1882. Dies Sydney 1 July 1941

Borovansky, Edouard - Ballet Dancer, Teacher and Director
Born Czechoslovakia 24 February 1902. Died Sydney 18 December 1959.

After touring Australia with Pavlova's company in 1926 and again in 1929, during a tour in 1938 with Colonel de Basil's Convent Garden Russian Ballet, he decided to stay in Australia. In 1939 he opened a ballet school in Melbourne; from it grew the Borovansky Ballet, whose dancers formed the nucleus of the Australian Ballet. He became an Australian citizen in 1944

Boyd, Arthur - Painter
Born Melbourne 24 July 1920. Died Melbourne 24 April 1999.
One of Australia's best known contemporary painters, Boyd first made his name with a fine series of paintings of the Wimmera district of Victoria. His paintings had also been shown in the early Contemporary Art Society exhibition in Melbourne during the late 1930's. He also had success in London. After a term as artist-in-residence at the Australian National University, he made his return to Australia permanent and settled near Goulburn in Southern New South Wales. He died at age 78 years. He will long be remembered as a humble, creative man who made a remarkable contribution to Australia.

Boyd, Robin - Architect and Writer

Brabham, Jack - Racing Car Driver

Bradman, Sir Donald - Sir Donald Bradman

Butler, Arthur - Aviator

Still Under Construction

Home Page.....Old Melbourne.....Melbourne Today.....Herbs.....Music.....As Time Goes By.....
Free Clip Art......Books.......Fun For Kids.....Humour.....Astrology.....The Great 'C'


This site belongs to Carol - Updated September 2000

Email me at