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John Short (1924–1982)

Dr John Short, Reader in Zoology, died suddenly at his home on 5 May.

His loss will be keenly felt by his colleagues in the Department of Zoology and by many past and present students, including those who remember him as Warden of Garran Hall.

Dr Short was born at Guildford in Western Australia in 1924 and studied at the University of Western Australia, graduating with First Class Honours in Zoology in 1946.

In 1948, he took up a CSIRO Postgraduate Studentship at Oxford, where he obtained his Doctorate in 1950 for studies on larval Hymenoptera, a field to which he was to continue making important contributions.

From Oxford, Dr. Short obtained a lectureship at the University of Hull, where he first met his wife Elizabeth, whom he married at Cambridge in 1952.

From Hull he moved to a lectureship in Agricultural Zoology at the University of Abderdeen where he continued his work on the classification of Hymenoptera and was awarded a DSc for a thesis on the classification of larval Ichneumonidae.

When Dr Short left Aberdeen to take up a position at the ANU he was Head of the Department of Entomology at that University.

In 1965, he became Warden of Garran Hall and associated with the Department of Zoology. On the retirement of Professor Smyth from the Department of Zoology, Dr Short became a full member of the Department, resigning his position of Warden 1974.

He was promoted from Senior Lecturer to Reader in the Department in 1979.

Dr Short wrote more than 30 papers on the Hymenoptera, of which perhaps his monographic work 'The final instar larvae of the Ichneumonidae', published in the Memoirs of the American Entomological Institute (1978), may be cited as his major work.

Through his numerous graduate students, Dr Short was involved in a wide range of entomological research, much of it in collaboration with other entomologists in CSIRO and the Research School of Biological Science. Many students will remember him best for his teaching.

A reserved and modest man, he nonetheless developed close and stimulating relationships with his students. He was interested in music and theatre, having acted in amateur productions.

He had strong associations with the Presbyterian Church and later the Uniting Church of St Columbia in Braddon.

His many friends in the University extend their deepest sympathy to his wife Elizabeth and their sons, Nicholas and Giles.

Original publication

Citation details

'Short, John (1924–1982)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 22 June 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


Guildford, Perth, Western Australia, Australia


5 May, 1982 (aged ~ 58)
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia

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.