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Hector Gilchrist Kinloch (1927–1993)

from Canberra Times

Hector Kinlock, by Geoff Pryor, 1993

Hector Kinlock, by Geoff Pryor, 1993

Canberra Times, 7 August 1993, p 4

Hector Kinloch, historian, campaigner and amateur politician — a man who survived a term in the first ACT Legislative Assembly without ever once losing public affection or compromising a well-earned reputation for decency — died yesterday at Calvary Hospital after a long battle with cancer.

Dr Kinloch was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in December, 1927. His parents had been migrants from Britain to North America, after an earlier unsuccessful venture on a soldier settler's block at Coolgardie in Western Australia. His parents later returned, in the early years of the Depression, to Britain.

After a number of family disasters, Hector was placed with Dr Barnardo's homes, first in Belfast, Northern Ireland; subsequently in Stepney, London; and finally in Suffolk. He later lived in foster homes in Sussex, where his mother was a "Queen's Nurse".

In 1945 he won an Exhibition in History to Christ's College, Cambridge, graduating in 1949 with First Class Honours in both parts of the History Tripos. While at Cambridge he was an active member of the Cambridge University Athletic Club, running for Cambridge in relay races against Oxford for three years.

After a three-year spell in the US Army, he went to Yale, where he taught from 1955 to 1960, and took an MA and a PhD in History. His specialist area was eighteenth century history, especially of England and her North American colonics. His doctoral thesis was on "Anglican Clergy in Connecticut, 1701-1785".

From 1960 to 1964, he was a senior lecturer in history at the University of Adelaide, then, for three years, he was Visiting Fulbright Professor of US History at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur.

A first marriage in 1955 to Anne Russell ended in separation in 1964 and divorce in 1966. There were no children.

He returned to Australia to the Australian National University where he remained until 1988. During his long period of service at the ANU Dr Kinloch was Dean of Students from 1981-4, and played that same role intermittently until his retirement.

In 1960 Dr Kinloch first became involved with radio and television programs, mainly with the ABC. He continued as a political commentator for the ABC from 1960 to 1989. Dr Kinloch's keenest hobby was films; and he was a film reviewer both on radio, television and for various journals and papers for many years.

Hector Kinloch became a Quaker (Society of Friends) from the early 1970s and was actively involved with St Mark's Institute of Theology as an adjunct member of the faculty and as a member of the Council.

In February, 1992 he became for about three months the first Warden of what was originally Gowrie and subsequently Fenner Hall, a new residential hall in the ANU.

One of his strongest social concerns from about 1975 was gambling. He was one of the co-founders of NAGS, the National Association for Gambling Studies, and among other things, became a vigorous critic and campaigner against plans for a casino for Canberra. This led to an an invitation from the Residents Rally to stand with it in the first ACT Assembly elections. He was the 17th of the 17 to be elected.

 The Rally, with the help of Dr Kinloch's vote, played a role in making three governments, and unmaking two of them, over that term, and was itself involved in one of the governments.

But Dr Kinloch was always somewhat aloof from the hurly-burly and deal-making.

His principles and passions, and essential decency, were well recognised, as was his courtesy and tolerancc.

Dr Kinloch is survived by his second wife Lucy, and three children, Robert, Elizabeth and Eleanor.

The funeral is to be held on Saturday August 14 at the Haydon-Allen Tank Building, ANU, at a time to be confirmed.

Original publication

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Citation details

'Kinloch, Hector Gilchrist (1927–1993)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 18 June 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Hector Kinlock, by Geoff Pryor, 1993

Hector Kinlock, by Geoff Pryor, 1993

Canberra Times, 7 August 1993, p 4

Life Summary [details]


14 December, 1927
Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America


6 August, 1993 (aged 65)
Bruce, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia

Cause of Death

non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

Key Organisations
Political Activism