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The Australian National University

80 new entries added to Australian Dictionary of Biography

What do Eddie Mabo, Sidney Nolan, Lang Hancock and Peter Allen have in common? They've all been added to the Australian Dictionary of Biography.

In its 50th anniversary year, the Australian Dictionary of Biography has added 80 new profiles of prominent Australians who left their mark on the nation.

Among the new entries are Torres Strait Islander leader Eddie Mabo, mining magnate Lang Hancock, artist Brett Whitley, singer Peter Allen, artist Sidney Nolan, actor Dame Judith Anderson, cricketer and journalist "Tiger" Bill O'Reilly and professor of German literature Brinley Newton-John, who was the father of singer Olivia Newton-John.

Also included is Australia's first flight attendant, Hazel Holyman from Tasmania.

General Editor of the dictionary Melanie Nolan said the new entries are all of people who died in 1992 but who left their mark on Australia.

"The Australian Dictionary of Biography captures significant and representative lives of Australians," said Professor Nolan, who is Professor of History and Director of the National Centre of Biography at The Australian National University (ANU).

"The Dictionary provides a gallery of all the possibilities of being Australian, past and present.

"It can inspire a new generation of Australians and provide evidence of Australian identity beyond simplistic representations."

Professor Nolan said the Dictionary of Biography also captures a representative cross-section of Australian culture and identities, and includes everyday people from occupations including shearers, drovers, barmaids and members of the armed services.

"It brings together, in many cases, ordinary people whom the nation put into extraordinary circumstances. Some of these people proved to be gallant and heroic during war often to have fairly undistinguished postwar careers," she said.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of the first volume of the Australian Dictionary of Biography in 1966 although work began on articles in 1959.

More than 4,500 authors have contributed to its 13,000 entries. The ADB remains freely available and attracts more than 60 million hits a year.

Among the new entries are:
ANU medical scientist Frederick Colin Courtice
Singer Peter Allen, artist Brett Whitley, cricket and journalist "Tiger" Bill O'Reilly, Professor Brinley Newton-John
Artist Sidney Nolan
Actress Judith Anderson, resources entrepreneur John Langdon Bonython
Mining magnate Lang Hancock
Australia's first air hostess Hazel Holyman
Torres Strait Islander community leader and land rights campaigner Edward 'Koiki' Mabo

Click here for the full list of entries.

Updated: 24 March 2016/ Responsible Officer:  Director, NCB / Page Contact:  Web Publisher