The story of John Anderson Gilruth demonstrates an extraordinary example …

Comment on When NT was officially ‘a country for the White Man’ by Alex Nelson.

The story of John Anderson Gilruth demonstrates an extraordinary example of the phenomenon of “six degrees of separation” in the Northern Territory.
After Gilruth left the NT he worked as a consultant until, in 1929, he was appointed as the foundation chief of the Division of Animal Health in the newly constituted Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, which later became the CSIRO. It was the CSIR’s most important division in which Gilruth led research into livestock diseases of national importance.
Gilruth’s strong personality and leadership skills enabled productive co-operation with state research institutions and universities, and with pastoralists whose enterprises were the intended beneficiaries of the research effort.
In 1935 Gilruth retired, having created a highly successful research team across Australia and doing much to reduce mistrust and misunderstanding between scientists and graziers.
Gilruth was elected as the president of the Australian Veterinary Association in 1933, which later named its top award, the Gilruth Prize, in his honour.
This was mirrored to a remarkable degree when in 1946 the Federal Government appointed Colonel Lionel Rose as Chief Veterinary Officer of the Northern Territory and the foundation director of the Animal Industry Branch, headquartered in Alice Springs.
Rose proceeded to build up the AIB as an efficient and highly regarded research organisation throughout the NT; one of its first major projects was to initiate in Alice Springs the pleuropneumonia campaign which became the world’s first successful national animal disease eradication scheme (the original stockyards for disease testing still exist at AZRI).
Just like Gilruth, Colonel Rose also was possessed of a dominant personality and leadership skills, and with these abilities facilitated strong relationships with other research bodies – and one such body was the CSIRO for which he provided resources and assistance to enable its permanent establishment in Alice Springs in 1953 (I reside at the original CSIRO property in Alice Springs, the former home address of Dr Robert Winkworth who was the first CSIRO scientist permanently appointed to the Centre).
Also like Gilruth, Colonel Rose built up a highly successful and well regarded team of staff and researchers, of whom many came to be known throughout the NT as “Rosey’s men” – I believe my father is now the last surviving member of that exclusive group.
To top it off, it was in 1961 that Colonel Lionel Rose was honoured with the top award of the Australian Veterinary Association – the Gilruth Prize.
I was sorry to miss the official launch of Ted Egan’s book about Gilruth but am very much looking forward to obtaining a copy and reading it with interest.

Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

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Hmm, is it Tweedledum and Tweedledee, or Heckle and Jeckle? Cartoonists could have fun with this double act.


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The NT Governent-owned lease starts from the front of the main school building and extends through the rear of the campus, so it’s not as big an area as many probably assume.


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This utter debacle should mean that several heads will roll, from the Chief Minister down.
If this happened anywhere else in Australia, that is what would happen.
An absolutely disgraceful performance, and I predict it will get worse before this matter is terminated.


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While we navel-gaze at our own dire financial situation in the NT, a report just posted on the ABC News site states: “Since its recent peak in late-August, the local market has plummeted by about 12% — as investors grow increasingly concerned about an unresolved trade war, slowing global economic growth and the United States raising interest rates too quickly.
“Sentiment is as bad as I’ve seen it for a long, long time … the negativity is absolutely rife,” Chris Weston, head of research at Pepperstone, said.
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That “we are going down as well” is us – Australia as a whole.
If recession is now on the cards, I think we can forget about assistance for the NT. The money is just not going to be there.
In my article “The forgotten lesson” I stated near the conclusion “currently both national and world circumstances appear decidedly tentative at best. We’re likely to find ourselves overtaken by events well outside of our control.”
At present it appears those events are now starting to overtake us.


Alice has hottest day on record
@ Fiona Walsh (Posted January 2, 2019 at 3:12 pm): Thank you, Fiona, for your most informative post.
The closure of the CSIRO in Alice Springs is, I consider, one of the most short-sighted and regrettable decisions ever made as far as Central Australia is concerned but typical of the myopia that afflicts contemporary coast-oriented bureaucracy.
Maintaining the presence of the CSIRO in the Centre would surely have been as vital in these times of worsening climatic conditions and consequent impacts on the environment as it ever has been in the past.
However, the loss of the CSIRO in Alice Springs is symptomatic, and certainly symbolic, of the lack of concern and real regard for so much of the real Australia.


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