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Research Guides


Commonwealth Government Records about South Australia


Prominent South Australians - A to E

Sir Geoffrey Malcolm Badger (1916–2002)

Geoffrey Badger was born in Port Augusta, South Australia, and began his career as a research chemist in London in 1941 before enlisting in the Royal Navy in 1943. He returned to Australia in 1949 to lecture in chemistry at the University of Adelaide, becoming a professor of organic chemistry in 1955. From 1964 to 1965 Badger worked at the CSIRO and later became Vice-chancellor of the University of Adelaide. He served as President of the Australian Academy of Science between 1974 and 1978. Badger was admitted to the Order of Australia in 1975 and awarded Knight Bachelor in 1979, for his service to science and education.

SELECTED ITEMS RELATING TO SIR GEOFFREY MALCOLM BADGER
Canberra
University of Adelaide GM Badger – includes two photographs of Mawson exhibition at the South Australian Museum, 1974 A7462, 286
Sydney
Guest of honour – Sir Geoffrey Badger, sound recording, 1980–96 C100, 80/5/995 M
Melbourne
World War II service record – Geoffrey Malcolm Badger, 1935–46 B4747, BADGER/GEOFFREY MALCOLM

Daisy May Bates (1859–1951)

Daisy Bates was born in Ireland and migrated to Australia in 1882. She initially went to Queensland, then later moved to New South Wales after a failed marriage to Harry 'Breaker' Morant in 1884. After some time in England Bates returned to Australia and dedicated her time to studying Aboriginal life and culture, particularly near the Nullarbor Plain in Ooldea, South Australia. She spent the following 40 years documenting Aboriginal culture and campaigning for Aboriginal welfare and rights.

SELECTED ITEMS RELATING TO DAISY MAY BATES
Canberra
Mrs Daisy M Bates – Aboriginal manuscripts, 1927–43 A659, 1942/1/173 PART 1
Mrs Daisy M Bates – Aboriginal manuscripts, 1927–43 A659, 1942/1/173 PART 2
Mrs Daisy M Bates – Aboriginal manuscripts, 1927–43 A659, 1942/1/173 PART 3
Mrs Daisy M Bates – Aboriginal manuscripts, 1927–43 A659, 1942/1/173 PART 4
Mrs Daisy M Bates – Aboriginal manuscripts, 1927–43 A659, 1942/1/173 PART 5
Photograph of Daisy Bates, 1973 A6180, 21/8/73/35
Sydney
Interview with Daisy Bates, sound recording, 1941 C102, NAT1A
Adelaide
Protection of Aborigines – includes letters by Daisy Bates, 1914–74 B300, 7037 PART 1
Protection of Aborigines – includes letters by Daisy Bates, 1914–74 B300, 7037 PART 2
Protection of Aborigines – includes letters by Daisy Bates, 1914–74 B300, 7037 PART 3
Protection of Aborigines – includes letters by Daisy Bates, 1914–74 B300, 7037 PART 4
Photograph of the Soak at Ooldea Station, home of Daisy Bates, 1920 B3115, 406

Sir John Langdon Bonython (1848–1939)

John Bonython was born in London and arrived in South Australia as a child with his family in 1854. In 1864 he became a reporter with the local Adelaide newspaper The Advertiser. In 1879 Bonython bought into the newspaper and by 1893 he was its sole owner. He was the editor of The Advertiser for 45 years and was knighted in 1898. An advocate for Federation, Bonython was elected to the House of Representatives in 1901. In 1908 and 1919, respectively, he was appointed Companion of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George and later Knight Commander of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George for his services to the Commonwealth. When he died he was one of the wealthiest men in Australia.

SELECTED ITEMS RELATING TO SIR JOHN LANGDON BONYTHON
Canberra
Honours – New Year, 1917–20 A2923, H21
Honours – birthday, 1918–22 A2923, H24
Honours granted Sir Langdon Bonython KCMB, 1918–20 A1606, 22/3/20
Goddard Archie Edward versus Bonython John Langdon, 1922 A10075, 1922/80
Photograph of British Empire Exhibition, King of Denmark and Sir Langdon Bonython, 1924 A8120, 14 PHOTO15A
Compulsory acquisition of land – Post Office Adelaide South Australia, claim of Sir John Langdon Bonython, surrender of easement, 1922–26 AP314/1, 2318

Hugh Reskymer 'Kym' Bonython (1920–2011)

Kym Bonython was born in Adelaide. His father was John Lavington Bonython and grandfather John Langdon Bonython, both newspapermen and politicians. Kym trained as a pilot in the Royal Australian Air Force and served in the Pacific during World War II. On his return, he followed a career in music, the arts and motor racing. He conducted a jazz show on ABC radio until 1975, ran several art galleries and maintained an impressive personal art collection (most of which was lost to the Ash Wednesday bushfires in 1983). Kym competed in motor races across Australia and is credited with being instrumental in Adelaide successfully attaining the Formula 1 Grand Prix race in 1985. Among the many honours and awards bestowed on him, in 1987 he was appointed Companion of the Order of Australia in recognition of service to the community.

SELECTED ITEMS RELATING TO HUGH RESKYMER 'KYM' BONYTHON
Canberra
World War II service file (RAAF) – Hugh Reskymer Bonython, 1939–48 A9300, BONYTHON H R
World War II service file (CMF) – Hugh Reskymer Bonython, 1939–48 B884, S308874
Photograph of Bonython family home Eurilla, after Ash Wednesday fires, 1983 A6135, K1/3/83/9
Photograph of Bonython family home Eurilla, after Ash Wednesday fires, 1983 A6135, K1/3/83/10
Sydney
Kym Bonython, 1953 SP368/1, 7/10/13
Personal papers of Prime Minister EG Whitlam including a personal letter from HR (Kym) Bonython (Bonython Galleries Pty Ltd), 1973 M503, 21171
Interview with Kym Bonython, World War II reminiscences, sound recording, 1947–87 C100, 86/7/443 M
ABC 50th anniversary – FM Jazz – interview with Kym Bonython, sound recording, 1978–87 C100, 82/10/1034.1 M

Esther Gwendolyn 'Stella' Bowen (1893–1947)

Stella Bowen was a portrait and war artist from South Australia. She was born in North Adelaide and trained with another notable South Australian artist, Margaret Preston. In 1914 Bowen left Australia for England, where she studied at the Westminster School of Art. She was appointed Australia's second-ever female war artist in 1944. Bowen worked in London until she died of cancer in 1947. The Australian War Memorial holds 46 of her works in its collection.

SELECTED ITEMS RELATING TO ESTHER GWENDOLYN 'STELLA' BOWEN
Melbourne
World War II service file – Esther Gwendolyn (Stella) Bowen, war artist, 1884–1970 B4717, BOWEN/STELLA
Australian War Memorial
Artists – Miss Stella Bowen, 1943–55 AWM315, 205/002/031 A and B
Proposal for exhibition in London and Paris of works of Captain Colahan, Stella Bowen and other artists working in Europe, 1942–46 AWM93, 50/8/4A

Sir Donald George 'Don' Bradman (1908–2001)

Image 28: Don Bradman in action, 1947

Image 28: Don Bradman in action, 1947
NAA: A1200, L46645
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Don Bradman is considered Australia's greatest-ever batsman. He was born in New South Wales yet made his first-class cricket debut at Adelaide Oval when he was 19 years old. He went on to play first-class cricket for 21 years, including the controversial 1932–33 Bodyline tour of the English cricket team in Australia. In 1934 Bradman and his family moved to Adelaide where he worked as a stockbroker and played cricket for South Australia. In 1940 he enlisted in the Australian Army, but after a number of brief postings was discharged as medically unfit in July 1941. Bradman resumed his playing career after the war, captaining Australia until his retirement in 1948.

In 1949 he was appointed Knight Bachelor for his services to the game. Bradman continued to fulfil roles in cricket administration, including more than 50 years as a committee member of the South Australian Cricket Association.

SELECTED ITEMS RELATING TO SIR DONALD GEORGE 'DON' BRADMAN
Canberra
Application for copyright – Evoy Davis – Don Bradman's Pictorial Test Record South Africa Australian Cricket, 1931 A1336, 21809
World War II service file – Donald George Bradman, 1939–48 B884, S1388
Photograph of Don Bradman, cricketer, 1945 A1200, L798
Photograph of the Prime Ministers' (Menzies) cricket match including Don Bradman, 1963 A1200, L43048
Sydney
Don Bradman speech upon being made a life member of the Yorkshire Cricket Club 18 September 1948, sound recording, 1930–48 C102, SPC9/SPC10
Our Don Bradman/Our Eleven, music used in Film Australia production, audio tape, 1946 C4767, 35

Captain Vivian Bullwinkel (1915–2000)

Vivian Bullwinkel was born in Kapunda, South Australia. She trained as a nurse and joined the Australian Army Nursing Service in 1941. She was the sole survivor of the Banka Island Massacre, after having been shot by the Japanese along with 21 fellow nurses. She was then held as a prisoner of war for three-and-a-half years. In 1947 she retired from the army and became Director of Nursing at the Fairfield Infectious Diseases Hospital in Victoria. Bullwinkel was awarded many honours, including a Member of the Order of the British Empire and an Officer of the Order of Australia.

SELECTED ITEMS RELATING TO CAPTAIN VIVIAN BULLWINKEL
Sydney
Radio talk – release of nurses and civilian internees Sumatra, including Sister Vivian Bullwinkel, 1945 SP300/3, 637
Interview – Vivian Bullwinkel, sound recording, 1970–88 C100, 85/10/486
Melbourne
World War II service file – Vivian Bullwinkel, 1941–97 B2458, F31029
Trial of war criminals – Tokyo – witnesses include Lieutenant Vivian Bullwinkel, 1946–47 MT885/1, W/3/5309
Australian War Memorial
Campaign in Malaya and Singapore – escape before and after capitulation and evacuation of civilians, including statement by Sister Vivian Bullwinkel, 1942–45 AWM54, 553/6/2

Dame Nancy Buttfield (1912–2005)

Born Nancy Eileen Holden, daughter of automotive industrialist Sir Edward Holden, Nancy Buttfield was the first woman to serve in the Australian Parliament as a representative of South Australia. Elected in 1955, she served nearly 17 years in Parliament, retiring in 1974. She was a fervent advocate of women's rights, and lobbied on issues such as equal pay for women and the abolition of the marriage bar against women in the public service. In 1972 Buttfield was awarded the Order of the British Empire.

SELECTED ITEMS RELATING TO DAME NANCY BUTTFIELD
Canberra
Resignation of Senator Nancy E Buttfield – appointment of Senator Gordon S Davidson, 1962 A11467, 11
Parliamentary question 532 – Senator Dame Nancy Buttfield, 6 November 1973 – migrant union boss control over national work force, 1973 A463, 1973/4491
Photograph of Senator Nancy Buttfield, 1959 A1200, L32973
Photograph of a party of seven Australian parliamentarians including Senator Nancy Buttfield and Mr HB Turner, 1965 A1501, A5707/1
Photograph of Senator Nancy Buttfield, 1961 A12111, 1/1961/30/15
Sydney
Personal papers of Prime Minister EG Whitlam – Buttfield, N – South Australia, 1973–75 M523, 2

Nancy Fotheringham Cato (1917–2000)

Writer and poet Nancy Norman (nee Cato) was born in Glen Osmond, South Australia. She graduated from the University of Adelaide in 1939 and worked as a cadet journalist with the Adelaide News from 1935 to 1941. Cato was one of the founding members of the Lyre-bird Writers group, as well as a member of the Jindyworobak Movement. One of her best-known books is All the Rivers Run. She was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for services to literature and the environment.

SELECTED ITEMS RELATING TO NANCY FOTHERINGHAM CATO
Canberra
Miss Nancy Cato – Commonwealth Literary Fund, 1953–70 A463, 1968/2714
ASIO file – Nancy Fotheringham Norman nee Cato, 1955–68 A6119, 2505
Photograph of Indian novelist Dr Bhabani Bhattacharya and his wife, with author Nancy Cato, listening to poets at a public reading, 1962 A1501, A2973/1
Ms Nancy Cato – Queensland – request grant for secretarial assistance, 1975 A4218, W/NGO 522

Sir John William Downer (1843–1915)

A lawyer and politician, John Downer was born in Adelaide. He became a Queen's Counsel in 1878, the same year he entered parliament, where he served until 1901 as member for Barossa. A supporter of federation, he was a member of the Federal Council of Australasia in 1889 and became a leading conservative spokesman at the Sydney Convention of 1891. At the Australasian Federal Convention of 1897 in Adelaide, Downer was a member of the constitutional and drafting committees. He was one of the six South Australian senators in the first Commonwealth parliament. He retired from the Senate in 1903 and continued his law practice. He also served as a member of the South Australian Legislative Council from 1905 until his death in 1915.

SELECTED ITEMS RELATING TO SIR JOHN WILLIAM DOWNER
Canberra
Roll of the National Australasian Convention, 1891 M115, 1
Photograph of Federal Convention, Adelaide, March 1897, 1903 A1200, L16929
Various letters to Sir John Downer from 1901–15, 1897–1967 M1002, 281
Letters on the death of Sir John Downer, 1915–56 M1002, 41

Sir Alexander Russell 'Alick' Downer (1910–81)

Son of Sir John William Downer and father to politican Alexander Downer, Alick Downer was born in North Adelaide and studied law at Oxford University. Returning to Adelaide in 1935 he was admitted to the South Australian Bar, but spent most of his time as a grazier in the Adelaide Hills. In 1940 he joined the army, serving in Singapore where he was taken as a prisoner of war in February 1942. He was held at Changi until the end of hostilities. In 1949 he was elected to the House of Representatives and held his seat until he retired in 1964. He was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1965. The Archives holds a personal papers collection deposited by Alick Downer.

SELECTED SERIES RELATING TO SIR ALEXANDER RUSSELL 'ALICK' DOWNER
Canberra
Recorded by: Sir Alexander Russell Downer (CP 261)
Russell family papers, 1955–71 M1000
Speeches, 1935–72 M1001
Downer family papers, 1915–80 M1002
High Commissioner files, 1964–72 M1003
Parliamentary files, 1937–63 M1004
Ministerial files, 1958–63 M1005
Newspaper cuttings, 1938–78 M1067
Downer family photographs and negatives, 1910– M1074
Downer family school reports, 1919–72 M999
SELECTED ITEMS RELATING TO SIR ALEXANDER RUSSELL 'ALICK' DOWNER
Canberra
Alexander Russell Downer – 'Songs of a Schoolboy' aged 15 and 16, 1915 M1002, 31
Alexander Russell Downer wedding – list of wedding presents, 1915 M1002, 222
Alexander Russell Downer – university essays, 1929–30 M1002, 42
World War II service file – Alexander Russell Downer, 1939–48 B883, SX10422
Letter to Alexander Downer regarding Drafting Committee, 1946–53 M1002, 279
Engagement of Alexander Downer, 1947 M1002, 48
Photograph of Sir Alexander Downer, KBE High Commissioner to London, 1958 A1200, L25799
Downer, Sir Alexander – personal archives, 1959–73 A750, 1971/700
The Honourable Sir Alexander Downer, KBE – personal file, 1964 M1002, 300
Sydney
Photograph of Sir Alexander Downer, 1957 C1748, PERSONALITIES/L25799

Donald Allan 'Don' Dunstan (1926–99)

Image 29: Prime Minister Gough Whitlam with South Australian Premier Don Dunstan at the Lodge, Canberra, 1973

Image 29: Prime Minister Gough Whitlam with South Australian Premier Don Dunstan at the Lodge, Canberra, 1973
NAA: A6180, 12/1/73/3
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Don Dunstan was born in Fiji and educated in Adelaide. He studied law at the University of Adelaide then entered politics at age 26. He was elected Premier of South Australia in 1970 and won a further three elections, remaining in office until 1979. Dunstan was a social reformist, bringing great change to South Australia after the conservative Playford era. During what has become known as the 'Dunstan Decade', his administration recognised Aboriginal land rights; decriminalised homosexuality; appointed the first female judge, and the first non-British and first Aboriginal governor; abolished the death penalty; and enacted a raft of other social reforms.

SELECTED ITEMS RELATING TO DONALD ALLAN 'DON' DUNSTAN
Canberra
Donald Allan Dunstan – miscellaneous papers, 1953–55 A6119, 2698
Letter from Don Dunstan to Gough Whitlam, regarding the Australian Assistance Plan, 1974 A3390, 177
Photograph of Mr Don Dunstan, the Premier of South Australia, with a dancer, 1967 A1861, 8315
Photograph of Don Dunstan at Saint Saens reading, Adelaide, 1974 A6135, K26/7/74/157
Photograph of Don Dunstan at Saint Saens reading, Adelaide, 1974 A6135, K26/7/74/159
Photograph of Don Dunstan at Saint Saens reading, Adelaide, 1974 A6135, K26/7/74/160
Sydney
Personal papers of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam – Don Dunstan, 1968–72 M2283, 13
Adelaide
Photograph of Norwood Post Office opening day ceremony, Mr Don Dunstan, MP, 1972 D5440, 8081

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Chapter 20
Prominent South Australians