ANN MOYAL AM FRSN FAHA
1926-2019

It is with deep regret that the Academy informs you of the death of Dr Ann Moyal AM FRSN FAHA, who passed away on 21 July 2019 aged 93 years.

One of Australia’s most remarkable independent historians and biographers, Ann was a pioneer in the history of Australian science, technology and telecommunications. She was elected to the Academy as an Honorary Fellow in 1997. 

Ann Moyal was born Ann Hurley in Northbridge, NSW on 23 February 1926. She graduated from the University of Sydney in 1947 with a first-class honours degree in History before winning a scholarship to the Institute of Historical Research at the University of London in 1949. After a successful first year, Ann left to forge an early career as a research assistant, most notably to the eminent Lord Beaverbrook – Canadian-British newspaper publisher and influential figure in British media and politics. 

Upon her return to Australia in 1958, Ann worked with Sir Keith Hancock on launching The Australian Dictionary of Biography, where she became the founding Assistant Editor. From this point, Ann began to carve an independent career as the first professional historian of Australian science and technology. Examining many archives for the first time, she published A Guide to the Manuscript Records of Australian Science (1966). Following her time as science editor with the University of Chicago Press she published an influential critical paper on the Atomic Energy Commission (1975) and helped establish the science policy journal Prometheus (1983). 

Her two major works are her monumental official history of Telecom, Clear Across Australia: A History of Telecommunications (1984), and A Bright and Savage Land: Scientists in Colonial Australia (1986), both considered pioneering volumes in the field. These were followed by Women and the Telephone in Australia (1989), The Web of Science: The Scientific Correspondence of the Rev WB Clarke, Australia’s Pioneer Geologist (2003), Platypus (2001, 2010), Koala: A Historical Biography (2006) and Maverick Mathematician: The Life and Science of JE Moyal (2006). Her first autobiography, Breakfast with Beaverbrook: Memoirs of an Independent Woman, was published in 1995 to much acclaim. 

Throughout her career, Ann held teaching positions at the New South Wales Institute of Technology (now the University of Technology Sydney) and at Griffith University, where she was Director of the Science Policy Research Centre. She was awarded a Doctor of Letters from the Australian National University and a DLitt from the University of Sydney. She was Patron of the Australian Science History Club and founder of its predecessor, the Colonial Science Club. She was also the Founder and first President of the Independent Scholars Association of Australia from 1995-2000. Ann was awarded the AM in the Order of Australia in 1993 for her 'contribution to the history of Australian science and technology especially the writing of its history' and the Centenary Medal of Australia for her contribution to society and the humanities in the study of Australian science.

She was a deeply engaged Fellow of the Academy and a wonderful supporter of our events. She will be greatly missed by her friends and colleagues amongst the Fellowship and beyond. 

We extend our deepest sympathies to the Moyal family. 

Vale prepared by Liz Bradtke
Communications & Awards Coordinator