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Corporate entry Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) (1949 - )

Commonwealth of Australia

19 May 1949
Industrial or scientific research, Analytical Services and Advisory or regulatory body
Alternative Names
  • CSIRO (Acronym)
  • CSIRO Head Office (Also known as)
Reference No
CA 641
Legal Status
Agency of the Commonwealth of Australia


The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) can trace its history back to 1916, when it began work as the Advisory Council of Science and Industry. It has operated under its current name since 1949. CSIRO carries out research in primary, secondary and tertiary industries as well as other areas such as environment, conservation and human nutrition. There have been several major restructures during the history of CSIRO, in 1978, 1986 and in 1994-1995.


 1916 - 1920 Advisory Council of Science and Industry
       1920 - 1926 Commonwealth Institute of Science and Industry
             1926 - 1949 Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)
                   1949 - Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)

Controlled Corporate Bodies

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Related Cultural Artefacts

Related People

Archival resources

Adolph Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science

  • Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation - Records, 1916 - 1918, MS 038; Adolph Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science. Details

The University of Melbourne Archives

  • Department of Otolaryngology - Bionic Ear Records, 1949 - 2000, 2004.0043 at U77/46-55; The University of Melbourne Archives. Details

Published resources

Encyclopedia of Australian Science Exhibitions


  • Bastian, J. M.; McBean, D. McG.; Smith, M. B., 50 Years of Food Research (Melbourne: CSIRO, 1979). Details
  • Beale, Bob, Engineering a Legacy: Memories of the Journey of CSIRO Chemical Engineering (Clayton: CSIRO Minerals, 2005), 124 pp. Details
  • Bear, I. J.; Beigler, T; Scott, T. R., Alumina to zirconia: the history of CSIRO Division of Mineral Chemistry (Clayton, Victoria: CSIRO Minerals, 2001), 426 pp. Details
  • Butcher, Barry, Of Vets, Viruses and Vaccines: the Story of CSIRO's Animal Health Research Laboratory, Parkville (Melbourne: CSIRO Publishing, 2000), 336 pp. Details
  • Collis, Brad, Fields of Discovery: Australia's CSIRO (Crows Nest, New South Wales: Allen & Unwin, 2002), 520 pp. Details
  • Currie, George; Graham, John, The Origins of CSIRO: Science and the Commonwealth Government, 1901-1926 (Melbourne: CSIRO, 1966), 203 pp. Details
  • Deane, John, 1939-1984: a Picture History of CSIRO Radiophysics (Melbourne: CSIRO, 1985), 69 pp. Details
  • Garratt, John, Angus, David and Holper, Paul, Winds of Change: Fifty Years of Achievements in the CSIRO Division of Atmospheric Research 1946-1996 (Melbourne: CSIRO Publishing, 1998), 136 (148) pp. Details
  • Main, George, et al., Of Beauty Rich and Rare: Fifty Years of CSIRO Wildlife and Ecology (Canberra: CSIRO Division of Wildlife and Ecology with Surrey Beatty, 1999), 93 pp. Details
  • McKay, Andrew, Surprise and Enterprise: Fifty Years of Science for Australia (Melbourne: CSIRO, 1976), 48 pp. Details
  • Rivett, D.E., Ward, C.W., Beikin, L.M., Ramshaw, J.A. and Wiltshire, J.F.K., The Lennox Legacy: the History of the CSIRO Laboratory at 343 Royal Parade, Parkville (Melbourne: CSIRO Publishing, 1996), 384 pp. Details

Book Sections

Edited Books

  • Davis, William E., Recher, Harry E., Boles, Walter E. and Jackson, Jerome A. eds, Contributions to the History of Australasian Ornithology (Cambridge (Mass.) : Nuttall Ornithological Club, 2008), 481 pp. Details
  • Mawson, Vivienne, Tranter, David J. and Pearce, Alan F. eds, CSIRO at Sea: 50 Years of Marine Science (Hobart: CSIRO Marine Laboratories, 1988), 216 pp. Details
  • Saunders, Denis, Spratt, David and Van Wensveen, Monica eds, Perspectives on Wildlife Research: Celebrating 50 Years of CSIRO Wildlife and Ecology (Chipping Norton: Surrey Beatty & Sons in Association with CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, 2002), 144 pp. Details

Journal Articles

  • 'Robert V. Dunkle; University of California to CSIRO', Australian Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating, 20 (7) (1966), 48-49. Details
  • 'M. V. Tracey, Chief, Division of Food Research [CSIRO]', Australian Journal of Dairy Technology, 26 (3) (1971), 70. Details
  • Austin, R. H., 'History of CSIRO Division of Fisheries and Oceanography', Australian and Marine Science Bulletin, 74 (1981), 8-10. Details
  • Bergersen, F. J., 'Research on Biological Nitrogen Fixation in CSIRO Plant Industry, 1952-1998', Historical Records of Australian Science, 13 (3) (2001), 255-300. Also available at Details
  • Day, M.F.C. et al., 'The Biological Collections in CSIRO: a National Heritage', Historical Records of Australian Science, 15 (1) (2004), 1-19. Also available at Details
  • Gentilli, J., 'A History of Meteorological and Climatological Studies in Australia', University Studies in History, 5 (1967), 54-88. Details
  • Lefroy, Ted and Porfirio, Luciana L., 'Changing fortunes: a brief history of CSIRO funding from Treasury and external sources, 1926 to 2015', Historical Records of Australian Science, 28 (1) (2017), 12-7. Details
  • Price, J. R.; Lamberton, J. A. and Culvenor, C. C. J., 'The Australian Phytochemical Survey: Historical Aspects of the CSIRO Search for New Drugs in Australian Plants', Historical Records of Australian Science, 9 (4) (1993), 335-356. Also available at Details
  • Schedvin, Boris, 'The Culture of CSIRO', Australian Cultural History, 2 (1982), 76-89. Details
  • Spurling, T., 'Historical Origins of CSIRO Molecular Science', Chemistry in Australia, 64 (9) (1997), 12-15. Details
  • Upstill, Garrett, 'Promoting Australian industry: CSIRO 1949-79', Historical Records of Australian Science, 30 (2) (2019), 1-11. Also available at Details
  • Wark, I. W., 'The CSIRO Division of Industrial Chemistry, 1940-1952', Records of the Australian Academy of Science, 4 (2) (1979), 7-41. Also available at Details
  • White, Frederick, 'CSIR to CSIRO - the events of 1948-1949', Public Administration, 34 (4) (1975), 281-93. Details
  • Willis, J. B., 'The CSIRO Division of Chemical Physics, 1944-1986', Historical Records of Australian Science, 7 (2) (1988), 153-178. Also available at Details
  • Willis, J. B., 'Spectroscopic Research in the CSIRO Division of Chemical Physics, 1944-1986', Historical Records of Australian Science, 8 (3) (1991), 151-182. Also available at Details


  • Basinski, J. J.; Wood, I. M.; Hacker, J. B., The Northern Challenge: a History of CSIRO Crop Research in Northern Australia (Brisbane: CSIRO Division of Tropical Crops and Pastures, 1985). Details


Online Resources

See also

Ailie Smith