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Robert Barr Smith had a genius for business. He was also a generous philanthropist, though his modesty dictated that much of the funding was dispensed anonymously.
Historical Thing | By History SA | North Terrace | 1980s
1986 marked the 150th anniversary of the colonisation of South Australia.
Artist Samuel Thomas Gill produced a lively visual record of early South Australia.
Working with this vivacious geographer, historian and educationist was said to be ‘like hanging on the tail of a comet’.
Sir Charles Todd was a leader in the fields of meteorology, astronomy and communications, and is best remembered for masterminding the construction of the Overland Telegraph Line.
An irascible yet open-minded engineer, industrialist and ideas man, Sir Claude Gibb was responsible for the design of the Centurion tank.
Sir Douglas Mawson became famous as an Antarctic explorer, but the geology of South Australia was his life’s work.
Known as ‘Bill’, Sir Edward Hayward was a businessman, patron of the arts and the originator of the Adelaide Christmas pageant.
Motor car manufacturer and industrialist Sir Edward Holden gave his name to a car, albeit posthumously.
Sir Edward Stirling was (among other things) a surgeon, scientist, educationist, curator, lecturer and parliamentarian; in short, a Renaissance Man.
Sir Edwin Thomas Smith was a brewer, parliamentarian and, thanks to his philanthropy, Adelaide’s favourite millionaire.
A wealthy businessman and quiet philanthropist, Sir George Brookman was a conservative who was described as ‘hard but fair’ by one of his descendants.
By turns architect, engineer, surveyor and parliamentarian, Sir George Kingston was also Speaker of the House of Assembly for almost two decades.
Sir Hans Heysen was a masterly artist, the immortaliser of the gum tree on canvas, and a dedicated conservationist.
A businessman, banker and parliamentarian, Henry Ayers was astute, hard-headed and politically adroit.
Sir Henry Newland gained an international reputation as a pioneer plastic surgeon.
A pioneering neurosurgeon, Cairns worked extensively in the field of head injuries and was one of the first to promote the use of crash helmets for motor cyclists.
Pathologist, naturalist and ardent conservationist, Professor Cleland, as he preferred to be known, contributed across many fields.
Despite going blind, pastoralist and philanthropist Sir John Melrose continued to work with stock and managed properties.
Businessman and soldier Sir Kenneth Wills was Controller of the Allied Intelligence Bureau during the Second World War.
Sir Langdon Bonython was a progressive liberal whose long life encompassed being a parliamentarian, newspaper proprietor and philanthropist.
At the end of his long life, newspaperman Sir Lloyd Dumas described himself as simply ‘the luckiest man in the world’.
Best known as a governor of South Australia, Sir Mark Oliphant was also a pioneering nuclear physicist who became an outspoken anti-nuclear campaigner.
Sir Mellis Napier was a Chief Justice of South Australia, and arguably a reactionary one.
An influential conservative politician and a supporter of Federation, Sir Richard Baker was the first President of the Senate.
Sir Robert Chapman was an engineer with a gift for recognising the fundamentals of any problem.
His versatility as actor, dancer, producer and choreographer, coupled with flamboyance and wit, made Sir Robert Helpmann a household name.
Land titles reformer Sir Robert Richard Torrens reformed, amended and even radicalised the land trade system.
Sir Roland Jacobs was a shrewd businessman, but also a warm and generous philanthropist with no interest in personal wealth.
Davenport was a liberal-minded and literate parliamentarian and a promoter of industry, especially in the fields of horticulture and viniculture.
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