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Working for the Dole: Commonwealth Relief during the Great Depression


Appendix 3: Commonwealth economic advisers

This appendix lists some of the Australian economic advisers and senior public servants whose activities immediately before and during the Great Depression are mentioned in records held by the National Archives of Australia. Further information on many of these individuals can be found in the Australian Dictionary of Biography. In cases where an individual's name is followed by the acronym 'CP' (Commonwealth Person) and a number, the National Archives of Australia holds personal records of that individual. These records may be accessed through RecordSearch.

BRIGDEN, J B
Economist to the Overseas Transport Association in 1929. Member of secretariat committee which produced a report of 3 September 1931 for the Premiers' Conference about employment and production. Among his publications are: The Australian Tariff: An Economic Enquiry (1929), Escape to Prosperity (1930) and Credit: A description and critical account of what it is, what is proposed, what has been done and what might be done in Australia (1932).

BROWN, H C
Permanent Head of the Department of the Interior [I] from 12 April 1932 to 22 November 1935.

CARRODUS, J A
Permanent Head of the Department of the Interior [I] from 25 November 1935 to 26 April 1936.

CLEMENS, Sir William
Permanent Head of the Department of Home Affairs [II], 10 to 31 December 1928.

COPLAND, D B
Dean of the Faculty of Commerce at the University of Melbourne. An influential spokesman who represented the views of academic economists on public affairs. His publications include What Have the Banks Done? (1931).

DALEY, C S (CP 8)
Secretary of the Federal Capital Commission from 1924 to 1930. Civic Administrator of the Federal Capital Territory Branch, Department of Home Affairs from 1930 to 1932, and Assistant Secretary of Department of the Interior from 1932 to 1952.

DEANE, P E (CP 78)
Secretary and Permanent Head of the Prime Minister's Department from 11 February 1921 to 31 December 1928. Secretary of the Department of External Affairs [II] from 1921 to 1928. Secretary and Permanent Head of the Department of Home Affairs [II] from 1 January 1929 to 12 April 1932.

DYASON, E C
A prominent Melbourne stockbroker and active member of the Economic Society of Australia and New Zealand. In 1930 he was an early proponent of an 'inflationary' fiduciary note issue.

GARRAN, Sir Robert
Secretary of the Attorney-General's Department from 1 January 1901 to 9 February 1932.

GEPP, H W
Retained by the Commonwealth Government as a consultant on development, he was a member of the secretariat committee on employment and production reporting to the Premiers' Conference of September 1931.

GIBLIN, L F
Appointed Ritchie Professor of Economics at the University of Melbourne in 1929, he was a long-standing and close friend of Prime Minister Lyons, and an influential adviser to the Lyons Federal Ministry. In 1951 he published The Growth of a Central Bank.

GIBSON, Sir Robert
Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Commonwealth Bank from 1926 until his death in 1934. He was impatient of expert advice and possessed a narrowly orthodox conviction about what constituted 'sound finance', which dominated the Commonwealth Bank Board. At a time when the Federal Treasury was little more than the accounting arm of the Government, he exerted a major influence on the policy decisions of the Commonwealth Government.

GOURGAND, P A
Permanent Head of the Department of Public Works and Railways from 11 June 1929 to 12 April 1932.

GUNN, J
Former Commissioner of the Development and Migration Commission and Director of the Development Branch of the Prime Minister's Department from August 1931 to August 1935. Chairman of the secretariat committee reporting to the Premiers' Conference in September 1931.

HYTTEN, T
Professor of Economics at the University of Tasmania. Member of the secretariat committee on employment and production reporting to the Premiers' Conference in September 1931.

IRVINE, R F
Formerly Professor of Economics at Sydney University and a Director of the Primary Producers' Bank. He became an economic adviser to the Commonwealth Treasurer, E G Theodore, in the second half of 1930. During the hearings that led in January 1931 to the Commonwealth Arbitration Court's decision to reduce the basic wage, he proposed that an initial measure to re-absorb the unemployed would be to create credit by means of a carefully controlled expansion of the note issue. He published The Midas Delusion in 1933.

KNOWLES, Sir George
Secretary of the Attorney-General's Department from 10 February 1932 to 8 May 1946.

McLAREN, Sir John G (CP 174)
Secretary of the Department of Home and Territories from 1921 to 1928. Secretary of the Prime Minister's Department and the Department of External Affairs from 1 January 1929 to 2 March 1933. He was Chairman of the Commonwealth Advisory Committee on Employment in 1932 and Official Secretary in London to the Commonwealth from 1933 to 1936. He represented Australia at the International Labour Conference in Geneva in 1933–34.

MELVILLE, L G
Professor of Economics at the University of Adelaide, he established the research department at the Commonwealth Bank. His orthodox views on financial policy have been likened to dogmatism. A lecture that he delivered in Adelaide in 1934 was entitled 'Gold Standard or Goods Standard'.

SHANN, E O G
Professor of History and Economics at the University of Western Australia who became the first economist at the Bank of New South Wales. The holder of strictly orthodox views about financial policy, he was one of three economists selected in January 1931 to advise the Loan Council on the deflationary measures required to bring stability to the Australian economy. He published a number of works in association with D B Copland, including The Battle of the Plans (1931), The Crisis in Australian Finance,1929–31(1931) and The Australian Price Structure, 1932 (1933). Secretary to the Department of Defence [III] from 15 July 1927 to 16 November 1937.

STARLING, J H (CP 28)
Assistant Secretary (Territories) in the Prime Minister's Department from May 1929 to 2 February 1933. Secretary of the Prime Minister's Department and the Department of External Affairs [II] from 2 February 1933 to 10 November 1935.

WALTERS, H L
Permanent Head of the Department of Public Works and Railways from 12 April 1926 to 7 March 1929.


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