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People > Obituaries > Hugh Gilchrist. Career diplomat.....

18094: People > Obituaries

submitted by Athene Anderson, (nee, Gilchrist) on 30.10.2010

Hugh Gilchrist. Career diplomat.....

....intellectual, and the premier Greek-Australian historian of the 20th century.

08.08.1916 - 16.10.2010

Hugh Gilchrist. Career diplomat..... - Gilchrist Ambassador

Ambassador to Greece. Presenting his credentials


Hugh Gilchrist was born in Sydney on 8 August 1916. He was educated at Edgecliffe Preparatory School, Sicup Place School Kent, and Cranbrook School, Bellevue Hill. He received his tertiary education at Sydney University.

World War II saw him serving with the Australian Military Forces (1941-1943) and the Australian Imperial Forces (1943-1945), reaching the rank of Captain.

Hugh Gilchrist. Career diplomat..... - Epsilon Gilchrist Books montage_col LARGER

Photograph: 1941 Hugh Gilchrist as an Army officer, serving in New Guinea

He first joined the Department of External Affairs in 1945 and held a number of overseas postings with that Department, namely London and Berlin (1947-1948), Paris (1949-1950), Djakarta (1950-1952), and South Africa (1955-1959). He represented Australia as High Commissioner to Tanganyika (1962-1964) and Tanzania (1964-1966) and as Ambassador to Greece (1968-1972) and Spain (1976-1980).

He has been a delegate to the United Nations General Assembly (1963) and a Member of the United Nations Special Committee on the Balkans (1949-1950).

In Australia he has held the offices of Assistant Secretary of the Information and Cultural Relations Branch, Department of External Affairs (1966-1968) and of the Legal and Treaties Branch, Foreign Affairs (1972-1974) as well as First Assistant Secretary of the Consular and Legal Division of Foreign Affairs (1974-1976).

After retiring in 1981 he became a member of the Literature Board of the Australia Council until 1984. During his four years as the Greek Ambassador he became a passionate Philhellene. (Hence the name of his first born). With free time, he launched into research on the Greek presence in Australia. Amongst his first publications was a comprehensive article, "Australia's First Greeks" in the Canberra Historical Journal, 1977.

His reputation as the premier Greek-Australian historian of the 20th century followed the publication of Greeks and Australians. Volume 1. The Early Years. 1992, Volume 2. The Middle Years. 1997, and Volume 3. The Later Years. 2004. Reviews of these works included comments such as, “Hugh Gilchrist has virtually set the benchmark for study of major ethnic communities in Australian society and culture” and “Gilchrist has created a monumental and praiseworthy work of three volumes, which will be treasured not only by historians but also by the community at large, both in Australia and Greece.” It testimony to the quality of these works, that all three books have remained in print, since the date of publication. The debt that Greek-Australians owe to Hugh Gilchrist, for establishing an important role for them, in the Australian historical narrative, can never be repaid.

Hugh died on the 16th October, 2010. He is survived by his beloved wife Elizabeth, and children, Athene and Julian. A daughter, Yolanda pre-deceased him. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Zoe, Gabriel and Ariana.
A Memorial Reception will be held at the Hellenic Club, Matilda Street, Woden, ACT, on Monday (November 1, 2010), commencing at 4 p.m.

May his memory be eternal.


As mentioned above, "it testimony to the quality of these works, that all three volumes of Australians & Greeks, have remained in print, since the date of publication."

Hugh Gilchrist. Career diplomat..... - 1941 Hugh Gilchrist as an  Army officer, serving in New Guinea

Volumes I, II, & III are

Available from:
Angelo Notaras
Atom Industries
PO Box 513, Rozelle NSW 2039
AUSTRALIA
Fax +61 2 9810 6691

Email order, here

or,

Email order, here

Price: A$60 each incl GST and air post and packing to anywhere in the world.

To gain an insight into Hugh's motivation for writing Australians and Greeks

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