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Biographical entry Jennings, Joseph Newell (Joe) (1916 - 1984)

29 June 1916
Leeds, Yorkshire, United Kingdom
24 August 1984
Eucumbene, New South Wales, Australia


Joe Jennings was regarded as a world authority on karst geomorphology. An early interest in glacial geomorphology expanded on coming to Australia into periglacial studies, coastal geomorphology and the geomorphology of deserts. Jennings's interest in caving as a recreational activity became a preoccupation with the science of caves and karst. He was particularly influential in Australian cave science and exploration, notably in relation to the Eastern Highlands, the Nullarbor and the Kimberley region, and the sandstone karsts of northern Australia. Jennings edited the 7-volume An introduction to systematic geomorphology: his own contribution Karst (1971) is regarded as a standard authority. He published widely in the fields of zoology, climatology, and European exploration and land use in Australia.



Education - BA, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
1941 - 1945
Career position - Served with Royal Artillery
Education - MA, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
1946 - 1952
Career position - Lecturer in physical geography, University of Leicester, United Kingdom
1953 - 1966
Career position - Reader in Geomorphology, Department of Geography, Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University
1958 - 1960
Career position - President, Australian Speleological Association
Life event - Naturalised as an Australian citizen
1966 - 1977
Career position - Professorial Fellow in Geomorphology, Australian National University
Award - PhD, University of Cambridge
Career position - President of the Institute of Australian Geographers
Award - Victoria Medal, Royal Geographical Society, United Kingdom
Award - W. B. Clarke Medal, Royal Society of New South Wales
Life event - Retired
1977 - 1984
Career position - Honorary Visiting Fellow, Department of Biogeography and Geomorphology, Australian National University
Award - Honorary Life Member, National Speleological Society, U.S.A.

Related Awards

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Published resources

Book Sections

  • Jennings, J.. N., 'Thirty years of geomorpholgy downunder' in Aspects of Australian sandstone landscapes, Young, R. W. and Nanson, G.C., eds (Wollongong: Australian and New Zealand Geomorphology Group, 1983), pp. 1-13. Details
  • Spate, Andy, 'Jennings, Joseph Newell (1916-1984), Geomorphologist' in Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 17 (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2007), pp. 588-589. Details

Journal Articles

  • Anon, 'Joseph Newell Jennings, MA, PhD, 1916 - 1984', Geographical Journal, 151 (1) (1985), 151-2. Details
  • Bowler, J., 'Joseph Newell Jennings', Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie, Supplementband, 55 (1985), v-ix. Details
  • Spate, A. and Gillieson, D., 'Joe Jennings', Helictite, 22 (1984), 35-42. Details
  • Spate, O. H. K. and Spate, A. P., 'Obituary: Joseph Newell Jennings 1916-1984', Australian Geographical Studies, 23 (2) (1985), 325. Details


Helen Cohn