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Paradice, William Edward (1897–1927)

by G. P. Whitley and F. A. McNeill

Born at Sydney, New South Wales, February, 1897; died at Sydney, 3rd November, 1927.

Thursday, November 3rd, 1927, will always be remembered as a tragic day in the history of the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, for the unparalleled disaster, when the s.s. Tahiti struck and sank the ferry Greycliffe on the waters of Port Jackson, resulting in the death of one of its most prominent and capable members in the person of Surgeon Lieut.-Commander W. E. J. [William Edward John] Paradice. This enthusiastic naturalist, so suddenly removed from our midst when on the threshold of a brilliant naval and biological career, revealed himself to his intimates as a lovable character and steadfast friend. It was he who must be credited with the inauguration of our Marine Zoological Section, which is now firmly established largely as a result of his labours.

Dr. Paradice was born in Sydney in February, 1897, and educated at the Fort Street High School. He was a promising scholar and a good sportsman, and early evinced a love of natural history, being particularly interested in fishes. He was also an excellent rifle shot and, whilst in England with the Commonwealth Coronation Cadet Contingent in 1911, took part in contests at Bisley. After studying Medicine at the University of Sydney and graduating with the degrees M.B. and Ch.M. in 1920, Dr. Paradice entered the Royal Australian Navy as a Surgeon-Lieutenant on August 1st, 1921, and was attached to H.M.A.S. Geranium in 1923 and 1924, when, under Commander H. T. Bennett, D.S.O., R.N., she carried on survey work in Queensland and the Northern Territory There he was able to indulge his bent for natural history to the full, and made large collections of marine animals for the Australian Museum. He was instrumental in securing also a large fossil Ichthyosaurus from the Northern Territory.

Dr. Paradice was an active member of the Great Barrier Reef Investigation Committee, and wrote an important paper on the coral reefs of the Outer Barrier. In recognition of this scientific work, he was promoted to the rank of Surgeon Lieutenant-Commander on August 1st, 1926, being then Medical Officer in charge at Garden Island, Port Jackson, and of the Naval wing of the Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick. In association with Museum zoologists, he made a hydrographic survey of the mud-flats of Gunnamatta Bay, near Sydney, a rich collecting ground for marine invertebrates, and was elected an Honorary Correspondent of the Australian Museum. He was Honorary Secretary and later Vice-President of the Marine Zoological Section of the Royal Zoological Society, of which he was a Councillor. Just prior to his death, Dr. Paradice had been engaged in working out the life-histories of the commoner fishes of Port Jackson, and was President of the Microscopical Society of New South Wales. A bryozoan, Phylactella paradicei, has been named in his honour.*

His remains were interred with full Naval honours at South Head Cemetery, overlooking the harbour whose natural history he had studied so assiduously, and in whose placid waters he had met his most untimely fate.

Surgeon Lieut.-Commander Paradice has left a widow (daughter of the late Mr. Wm. Houston) and baby son to mourn his loss, whilst his many friends in naval and scientific circles will sadly miss his company and the quiet and sincere disposition which had endeared him to them all.

A sudden demise such as his, forcibly reminds us that we are only separated from extinction at times by a momentary hesitation or indecision, and makes us realise how paltry are our little hopes, fears, and differences of opinion.


Bibliography

Reports of three interesting case records. Med. Journ. Austr., 1923, ii., 616. Dealt with more fully in "Reports of Three Cases," infra, 1924.

Reports of Three Cases. (Inguinal Bubo Accompanied by Eosinophilia; Hypertrophy of Gums; Aspergillosis). Trans. Australas. Med. Congress (Brit. Med. Assoc.), 1st Session, Melbourne, 1923. Med. Journ. Austr. Suppl., April 12th, 1924, 224-226.

A Report on the Sir Edward Pellew Group, with Special Reference to Biology and Physical Features. (Parl. Comm. Australia Rept.) Govt. Printer, Melbourne, 1924. Fol., 1-20, of which 9-20 arc plates; 6 maps and 2 topographical sketches.

Injuries and Lesions caused by the bites of Animals and Insects. Med. Journ. Austr., 1924, ii., 650-652, figs. 1-2.

The Pinnacle—or Mushroom-shaped coral growth in connection with the Reefs of the Outer Barrier. Trans. Roy. Geogroph. Soc. Aust. (Queensland), i., July 13th, 1925, 52-60, pls. vi.-vii., 4 diagrams, 9 sections, and map.

Fish and other Marine Animals of Australia, of Special Interest. Health Inspect. Assoc. Austr. Quart. Rev., iv., 3, July, 1926, 43-48, pls. i.-ii.

Some Recent Natural History Observations. (A Note on the Oocurrence of Burrowing Crustacean Sphaeroma, quoyana, at Cockatoo Island, Sydney;


* Livingstoue, Records of the Australian Museum, xv., 1., 1926, p. 89, pl. vii. and figure 1.

Original publication

  • Australian Zoologist, vol 5, part 1, 1927, pp 124-25

Additional Resources

Citation details

G. P. Whitley and F. A. McNeill, 'Paradice, William Edward (1897–1927)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/paradice-william-edward-16080/text28017, accessed 13 August 2020.

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