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Biographical entry Robinson, Frank Norman (1911 - 1997)

22 October 1911
1 December 1997
Sound recorder and Ornithologist


Frank Robinson worked in several areas of CSIRO Wildlife in both Canberra and Perth 1951-1971. His work in Canberra on recording sounds influenced the then CSIRO Chairman, Sir Frederick White (q.v.), who provided the necessary impetus for the compilation and preservation of the CSIRO Wildlife Sound Library.


Born England, 22 October 1911. Died 1 December 1997. Educated University of Cambridge (economics and languages). British American Tobacco Company, Singapore; war service during World War II in the Malayan Air Force, the Navy and three and a half years as a prisoner of war; recuperation in England; British American Tobacco Company, Singapore until 1949; came to Australia 1949; Bureau of Agricultural Economics, Canberra 1949-51; Technical Secretary, CSIRO Wildlife Survey Section 1951-60; set up CSIRO Division of Wildlife's first sound laboratory 1961-65 and worked with Harry Frith (q.v.) on recording Lyrebird songs used in the defence of territory and attracting a mate; Division of Wildlife, Perth 1965-71, using sound recording to establish a reliable census method for the Noisy Scrub-bird, a species that is renowned for its invisibility and was then on the verge of extinction, and also developing an acoustic method for protecting grapes from Silvereyes.

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See also

  • Robin, Libby, The Flight of the Emu: a Hundred Years of Australian Ornithology 1901-2001 (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2001), 492 pp. Details

Rosanne Walker