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Biographical entry Etherington, Reginald Robert (Reg) (1905 - 2000)

28 January 1905
Faversham, Kent, United Kingdom
3 September 2000
Mildura, Victoria, Australia


Reg Etherington was a Mildura based optometrist who made significant contributions to the Mildura community, especially in relation to the arts, and to Australian Defence Science.


Born in 1905 in England, Reg Etherington's family migrated to Australia in 1912. Reg Etherington completed his secondary school education in Melbourne and completed his degree in optometry by correspondence while undertaking an apprenticeship in watchmaking and jewellery in Mildura. In 1929 Reg Etherington established his own Jewellery business.

Etherington's focus shifted during world war two and the cold war to the development of lenses for military use. In 1949 Etherington was contracted to make optical lenses for military use by the Department of Supply, established Etherington Optical Co in the process. Etherington Optical co was located in a Nissan hut behind a local Chinese restaurant. From 1961 onwards Etherington focused on community work and served on numerous boards and was even Mayor of Mildura from 1954 to 1956. He played a key role in the establishment in several galleries and artistic spaces and programs in regional Victoria. He formed and chaired the Victorian Regional Art Galleries Association, was involved in the establishment of the Mildura Arts Centre, Geelong Performing Arts Centre and Mildura Sculpturescapes. He was also active on a number of educational boards such as the Mildura High School Advisory Council and the Mildura and District Education Committee (MADEC).

Reg Etherington received an OBE in 1972 in recognition of service to the community and arts, and his contribution to the Old Mildura Homestead project is commemorated by a rose garden.


1924 - c. 1929
Career position - Apprentice, Mildura Watchmaker and Jeweller
c. 1924 - 1931
Education - Part-time, Fellow of the Victorian Optical Association
1929 - 1932
Career position - Owner, Jewellery Business, Mildura
Career Position - Mildura Infectious Diseases Hospital
c. 1942 - c. 1945
Career position - Minor Industries War Agricultural Committee
1949 - c. 1959
Career position - Contracted Optical Business, Etherington Optical co, Department of Supply, Commonwealth Government of Australia
c. 1953 - c. 1959
Career position - Owner, Etherington Optical co., Mildura
1954 - 1956
Career position - Mayor, Mildura Rural City Council, Victoria
1961 - 1967
Career Position - Mildura High School Advisory Council
1970s - c. 2000
Career Position - Established and chaired, Victorian Regional Art Galleries Association (RGAV) became the Public Galleries Association of Victoria (PGAV) in 1995
Award - Officer, Order of the British Empire (OBE), Britain
1972 - 1974
Career Position - Mildura and District Education Committee

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Elizabeth Daniels