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Herbert Eric Dadswell (1903–1964)

The death of Doctor H. E. Dadswell on 19 December 1964, led to expressions of deep regret from his many friends and colleagues in the forest services and timber industry of Australia.

Dr. Dadswell was Chief of the Division of Forest Products of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. He gained world renown for his outstanding service in the field of wood technology. He accepted many responsibilities in science administration and in teaching. He carried out his responsibilities with distinction and dignity, and he was noted for his friendliness and kindness.

He had held a range of senior offices in the Royal Australian Chemical Institute, including those of Honorary General Secretary, President of the Victorian Branch and General President. He had been President of the Australian Pulp and Paper Technical Association, and President of the C.S.I.R.O. Officers’ Association. He gave freely of his time, his great ability and his physical energy.

Dr. Dadswell received his secondary education at Newington College, Sydney, and then was trained as a chemist at the University of Sydney. He joined the C.S.I.R. in 1926, and was sent to the United States of America to study wood technology at the Forests Products Laboratories at Madison, Wisconsin. While in the United States he married Miss Inez Williams, who survives him with their two sons.

On his return to Australia Dr. Dadswell spent part of his early service at the Australian Forestry School in Canberra where he worked with Mr. C. E. Carter on the identification of Australian timbers, for which he became so well known, and also on fundamental work on the chemistry of resistance of wood. He later developed the important Wood Technology Section of his Division. The fundamental scientific work on wood structure and taxonomy by his Section is well known throughout the world. He conducted a number of co-operative studies with Australian Forest Departments and always gave good service and objective advice.

During the Pacific war he went with Mr. C. T. White to New Guinea to assist in a school being run by the New Guinea Forests Unit under the command of Major Jim McAdam. The purpose was to assist Army engineers and Forest Unit personnel to recognise New Guinea species. Both scientists enjoyed their visit and were greatly appreciated by the Army personnel.

In 1955 Dr. Dadswell was seconded to the University of Washington, U.S.A., as Walker-Ames Professor of Forestry. He received a number of overseas invitations, some of which he was able to accept.

In the months before his death he had met a wide circle of friends, who, on reflection, realise that he had been quieter than usual but still cheerful and appreciative of human company.

The Australian Forest Services will mourn his passing, and extend sincere sympathy to his widow and family.

Original publication

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Citation details

'Dadswell, Herbert Eric (1903–1964)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 18 May 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


5 March, 1903
Newtown, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


19 December, 1964 (aged 61)
Ringwood, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

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