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Biographical entry Wark, Ian William (1899 - 1985)


8 May 1899
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
20 April 1985
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Industrial chemist and Science administrator


Ian Wark was Chief of the Division of Industrial Chemistry, CSIR/O 1939-1958, Director of the Chemical Research Laboratories 1958-1960, and a member of the Executive 1960-1965. He was chairman of the Commonwealth Advisory Committee on Advanced Education 1965-1971.


Born Melbourne, 8 May 1899. Died Melbourne, 20 April 1985. CBE 1964, CMG 1967, Kt 1969. Educated University of Melbourne (BSc 1919, MSc 1920, DSc 1924) and University College London (PhD 1923). Postdoctoral studies, University of California, Berkeley 1924; lecturer in chemistry, University of Sydney 1925; research chemist, The Electrolytic Zinc Company of Australasia Limited 1926-39; Chief, CSIR/CSIRO Division of Industrial Chemistry 1939-58; director, CSIRO Chemical Research Laboratories 1958-60; member of the Executive of CSIRO 1960-65; chairman, Commonwealth Advisory Committee on Advanced Education 1965-71; honorary consultant to CSIRO Minerals Research Laboratories / Institute of Energy and Earth Resources 1971- 85. Syme Prize, University of Melbourne 1933; Grimwade Prize, University of Melbourne 1933; H.G. Smith Medal, Australian Chemical Institute 1933; Fellow, Royal Australian Chemical Institute 1940; Fellow of ANZAAS 1946; Fellow, Australian Academy of Science 1954, Honorary Member, The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy 1960; Leighton Memorial Medal, Royal Australian Chemical Institute 1966; ANZAAS Medal 1973; Foundation Fellow, Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering 1976. General President, Royal Australian Chemical Institute 1958; Inaugural President, Colloid and Surface Chemistry Division, Royal Australian Chemical Institute 1978-81; member, South Australian Board of Advanced Education 1971-77. Commemorated by the Ian Wark Laboratories in the CSIRO complex at Clayton, the Ian Wark Theatre in the Australian Academy of Science, the Ian Wark Research Institute at the University of South Australia and the Ian William Wark Medal and Lecture of the Australian Academy of Science.

Related Corporate Bodies

Archival resources

Adolph Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science

  • Ian William Wark - Records, 1922 - 1985, MS 148; Adolph Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science. Details

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Corporate Records and Archives Strategies

  • Ian William Wark - Records, 1939 - 1965; Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Corporate Records and Archives Strategies. Details

Published resources

Encyclopedia of Australian Science Exhibitions


  • McCarthy, Gavan, The Papers of Sir Ian William Wark, 1899-1985, Australian Science Archives Project, Melbourne, 1987, 51 pp. Details
  • Rees, A.L.G., Science in Bondage: the Inaugural Ian William Wark Lecture, 30 November 1987, Australian Academy of Science, Canberra, 1987, 16 pp. Details

Book Sections

  • Willis, J. B., 'Wark, Sir Ian William (1899-1985), Chemist and Scientific Administrator', in Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 18, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 2012, pp. 558-9. Details

Journal Articles

Online Resources

See also

Digital resources

Ian William Wark


Rosanne Walker