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Biographical entry Higgins, Huntly Gordon (1917 - 2011)

8 January 1917
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
16 December 2011
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Paper physicist


Huntly Higgins was a paper physicist who undertook groundbreaking studies of thermo- and chemithermomechanical pulping to give higher quality mechanical pulp fibres. In his early work for the R.A.A.F. Meteorological Office he worked on frontal development that had application in predicting thunderstorms and on katabatic winds in relation to prediction of tropical cyclones. On joining CSIRO his focus turned to identified factors affecting strength and stability of Australian woods, and adhesives used in plywood manufacture. On being appointed in 1953 as head of the new paper physics section Higgins worked on the properties of lignin, the mechanisms of fibre bonding, and the improvement of the quality of wood pulps. His knowledge of fibre separation assisted divisional work on the replacement of asbestos by cellulose fibres. With the formation of the CSIRO Division of Chemical Technology Higgins was initially in charge of the renewable resources program, and from 1979 was Chief of the Division. His expertise in forest resources led to involvement in aid programs in developing countries including India, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia Guyana.



Education - BSc, University of Western Australia
1941 - 1945
Career position - Flight Lieutenant, R.A.A.F. Meteorological Office
1945 - 1971
Career position - Research Scientist, CSIRO Division of Forest Products
Award - Hon. DSc, University of Melbourne
1966 - 2011
Career position - Fellow, Royal Australian Chemical Institute
1967 - 1968
Career position - President, Australasian Pulp And Paper Industry Technical Association (Appita)
1969 - 1971
Career position - Chairman, Technical Division, Appita
1970 - 1972
Career position - President, International Association of Scientific Papermakers
1973 - 1979
Career position - Assistant Chief, CSIRO Division of Chemical Technology
Career position - Fellow, Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
Award - L. R. Benjamin Medal, Appita
1979 - 1982
Career position - Chief, CSIRO Division of Chemical Technology
1979 - 2011
Career position - Fellow, International Academy of Wood Sciences
1982 - 2003
Career position - Honorary Fellow, CSIRO Division of Forestry and Forest Products
Award - Hon. Life Member, Appita
1990 - 2011
Career position - Senior Associate, University of Melbourne

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Published resources

Journal Articles

  • Michell, Tony and Wallis, Adrian, 'Members Obituary: Huntly Higgins: Authority on Paper Science', Chemistry in Australia, 79 (Dec.) (2012), 17. Details
  • Mitchell, Tony and Wallis, Adrian, 'Huntly Gordon Higgins 1917 - 2011', Appita Journal, 165 (2) (2012), 112. Details

Newspaper Articles

  • Hewertson, Warren, 'Key role with forest resources', The Age (2011), 35. Details

Helen Cohn