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Biographical entry Leighton, Arthur Edgar (1873 - 1961)


17 June 1873
Christchurch, Surrey, England
6 November 1961
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Chemical engineer and Administrator


Arthur Edgar Leighton came to Victoria in 1909 to be designer and manager of the Commonwealth government cordite factory, Maribyrnong. From 1921 to 1938 he was controller-general of munitions supply and was responsible for instituting the Defence Research Laboratories. He is commemorated by the Leighton Medal, the premier award of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute. Leighton was educated in England at Birkbeck Literary and Scientific Institution (later Birkbeck College, University of London).



1909 - 1915
Career position - Sub-Manager of the Cordite Factory (Department of Military Supply) in Aravankadu, India
1909 - 1915
Career position - Designer and Manager of the Commonwealth Government cordite factory in Maribyrnong, Victoria
1915 - 1918
Career position - Technical Adviser of Explosive Supply for the British Ministry of Munitions
1916 - 1919
Career position - General Manager of an arsenal planned for Australia
1919 - 1921
Career position - Chairman of the Board of Management of the Commonwealth Government factories
1921 - 1939
Career position - Controller-General of munitions supply
Award - Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG)
Career position - President of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute

Archival resources

Private hands (Leighton, A.)

  • Arthur Edgar Leighton - Records, 1873 - 1961; Private hands (Leighton, A.). Details

Published resources

Encyclopedia of Australian Science Exhibitions

Book Sections

  • Weickhardt, L. W., 'Leighton, Arthur Edgar (1873-1961), Chemical Engineer and Administrator', in Bede Nairn and Geoffrey Serle (eds), Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 10, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1986, pp. 69-70. Also available at Details

Journal Articles

  • Leighton, A.E., 'A History of the Australian Chemical Institute, 1914-1932', The Royal Australian Chemical Institute Proceedings, vol. 21, 1954, pp. 127-134; 145-154; 167-184. Details

Online Resources

See also

McCarthy, G.J.