Browse Entries

Use Trove to find more resources by/about this Biographical entry

  • Trove

Biographical entry Dakin, William John (1883 - 1950)

23 April 1883
Toxeth Park, Lancashire, England
2 April 1950
Turramurra, New South Wales, Australia


William Dakin was a marine zoologist who, having been the inaugural Professor of Biology at the University of Western Australia for seven years, was for 20 years Professor of Zoology at the University of Sydney. At Sydney he provided for the first time specialised marine biology training for New South Wales students. A principal focus of Dakin's research was on osmotic relations of the body of fluids of aquatic animals. He instituted a series of studies of the plankton on the New South Wales coast. His major work on plankton was lost when the ship carrying the manuscript was sunk in WWII. Dakin's influence in the advancement of science was widely felt. Between 1934 and 1944 he was a popular and influential broadcaster for ABC radio where many of his broadcasts were about science. The establishment of the CSIRO fisheries laboratory at Cronulla owed much to his efforts. His most influential book, Australian seashores (1952) was reprinted 11 times and considered a classic work on Australian marine life. During WWII he was Technical Director of Camouflage for the Commonwealth Department of Home Affairs.



Education - BSc, University of Liverpool
Education - MSc, University of Liverpool
1908 - 1910
Career position - 1851 Exhibitioner in Zoology - Heligoland, Norway and Naples, Italy
Education - DSc, University of Liverpool
1911 - 1913
Career position - Lecturer in Zoology, University of Belfast
Life event - Migrated to Australia
1913 - 1915
Career position - President, Royal Society of Western Australia
1913 - 1920
Career position - Inaugural Professor of Biology, University of Western Australia
1920 - 1928
Career position - Professor of Zoology, University of Liverpool
1922 - 1924
Career position - President, Liverpool Biological Society
1924 - 1928
Career position - External Examiner in Zoology, University of London
1928 - 1948
Career position - Professor of Zoology, University of Sydney
Career position - President, Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales
Award - R. M. Johnston Memorial Medal, Royal Society of Tasmania
Career position - President, Linnean Society of New South Wales
Life event - Retired
1948 - 1950
Career position - Emeritus Professor, University of Sydney
Award - Mueller Medal, Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science

Related Awards

Related Corporate Bodies

Published resources

Book Sections

Journal Articles

  • Colefax, A. N., 'Obituary: Professor William John Dakin, DSc, FZS', Australian Journal of Science, 12 (6) (1950), 208-209. Details
  • Elias, Ann, 'The ocean in our blood: William Dakin's modern story for ABC radio', Journal of Australian Studies, 37 (4) (2013), 425-37. Details


McCarthy, G.J. and Helen Cohn