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Murphy, Hugh Joseph (1917–1995)

Hugh Murphy, who died in Canberra last week, was a prominent public servant for more than four decades, serving several Australian governments in Canberra and overseas.

He was born in Carlton, Melbourne, in 1917 and educated at St Patrick's College and the University of Melbourne before becoming a journalist on the then Melbourne Herald newspaper.

From there he joined the Department of News and Information and was seconded as press secretary to the colourful Labor MP Eddie Ward.

He undertook a number of overseas postings for the department, which became the Australian News and Information Bureau later. He served in the United States from 1944 to 1947, and Germany from 1955 to 1960, where he headed public relations for the Department of Immigration in a number of European countries. He was a powerful publicity force behind the founding of Australia's immigration program, which secured the future health of the Australian economy and resulted in the triumph of multiculturalism.

He was director of the ANIB office in London on two occasions, 1964-68 and 1972-74, organising, among other occasions, a gala charity concert given by Princess Anne to help the victims of Darwin's Cyclone Tracy.

Hugh scripted numerous films for TV and cinema and generally helped to boost the nation's image abroad.

He was passionately interested in all sport, being a lifelong supporter of the Carlton Football Club and an enthusiastic Canberra Raiders fan.

A warm, charming and humorous man, he was loved by his family and many friends. He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth, and daughter Judy and son Timothy. His funeral will be held today at Norwood crematorium after a requiem mass at St Augustine's church, Farrer, at 2pm.

Original publication

Citation details

'Murphy, Hugh Joseph (1917–1995)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/murphy-hugh-joseph-27651/text37065, accessed 27 October 2021.

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