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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

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William Dakin

c. 1943
Gervaise Purcell

gelatin silver photograph on paper (sheet: 16.6 cm x 11.7 cm, image: 16.4 cm x 11.4 cm)

William Dakin (1883-1950), zoologist, came to Perth in 1913 following his appointment as chair of biology at the University of Western Australia. He was president of the Western Australian chapter of the Royal Society from 1913 to 1915, and during the war years published texts such as The Elements of Animal Biology (1918). After a period back in England, he returned to Australia to take up the role of chair of zoology at the University of Sydney in 1929, subsequently publishing books on marine biology, zoology and history. A councillor of the Commonwealth Council for Scientific and Industrial Research from 1948, he was active in developing science syllabuses for schools and for a number of years presented the radio series ‘Science in the News’ for the ABC. In 1941, he became director of camouflage for the Ministry of Home Security and published Art of Camouflage. Stressing, against opposition from the military, the difference between Australian and English environments, Dakin was instrumental in the development of camouflage specific to Australian conditions. Besides his books he published more than sixty scientific papers before retiring at the end of 1948. He was made emeritus professor and awarded the Mueller medal in 1949. His major book, some thirty years in the making, was Australian Seashores, published posthumously in 1952.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Leigh Purcell 2012

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Gervaise Purcell (age 24 in 1943)

William Dakin (age 60 in 1943)

Subject professions

Science and technology

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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