Morven Dall

Morven Dall

         Morven Dall 1920-1980


Morven Dall was born at Toowoomba on 10 October 1920.


Morven started school at Norman Park, Brisbane, continued at Ipswich and finally completed primary school at Yeronga.

Morven Dall in boy scout uniform

Morven Dall in his new boy scout uniform




He did very well at school and the school had hopes of him winning the Scholarship Lilley Medal. He continued at the State Commercial High School at George Street, City and gained top results for a commercial Junior.



Morven, Billy and Flora sitting on steps

Morven, Billy and Flora


In 1936 Morven started work as an office boy in Drug Houses of Australia, where conditions were very harsh since the effects of the Depression were much in evidence.


Fortunately, his Junior Pass gained him a place in the State Government Lands Department. The Public Service offered jobs to the top 30 in Queensland and they were much coveted then because of their security and good pay.


Flora and Morven Dall

Flora with her son Morven

He started an Accountancy Diploma at the Central Technical College, completed it and commenced a Commerce Degree (all part-time evening). Morven did not matriculate to the University via a Senior Pass. His formal school career ended with the Junior examination, but his Accountancy Diploma counted towards matriculation and he probably had to pass one or more core Senior subjects in order to be admitted as a student in Commerce.


On 28 November 1941, Morven was called up with other University students for 70 days compulsory military training in ‘U’ Company of the 15th Infantry Battalion at Chermside. However, shortly afterwards the Pacific War started and at the end of the training period, Morven was one of the students who were ‘converted’ to Full Time Duty with the militia and he spent the rest of the war in the Army, most of it with the 15th Battalion


The Battalion moved to Townsville in April-May 1942 and in the latter month, Morven was classified as RangeFinder TGIII (Trade Group 3). In January the Battalion went to Milne Bay, then to the Salamaua campaign and later to Lae. Whilst in Lae he was hospitalised with dengue for a fortnight. Then in June 1944, it was back to Brisbane with the Battalion for a spell, before moving on to Bougainville in November 1944. During that stay in Brisbane, Morven was hospitalised for a fortnight with malaria BT.


In March 1945, he was detached from the 15th Battalion to the 42 Landing Craft Company and was with that unit when the war ended in August 1945. Some months later, he was transferred to 16 Infantry Battalion and went for a short period to Rabaul. He then received a special priority return to Australia to resume his studies and arrived back in Brisbane on the “Duntroon” on 13 January 1946.


Morven was discharged from the army on 22 January 1946 and started his studies at Queensland University on a full time basis under the Commonwealth Reconstruction Training Scheme (CRTS). He was one of 14 Commerce students who graduated on 9 May 1947, two of the others being fellow ‘U’ Company men, Gordon McLellan and Bill Park. Morven did not return to the Lands Department and joined the Commonwealth Price Fixation Department (prices of essential commodities had been fixed during the war and these controls continued for some time after the war). The department was disbanded about 1949 and Morven then joined the Department of External Affairs. He went to Papua, was in Treasury for a period, but mostly in Agriculture where he gained considerable experience in tropical agriculture economics.


In 1952, he married Ola Macpherson, a veterinary officer in Papua. They left Papua about 1961, by this time with two children, Lachlan (born 1955) and Linden (born 1958). Morven transferred to the Department of Primary Industry and after a period in Canberra, applied for an overseas posting. In 1963, he was given a position in Australia House in London which lasted for four years. His job was advising prospective emigrants about the prospects in farming in Australia. They returned to Canberra in early 1967 and bought a house with a granny flat at the back, Ola having persuaded Morven’s parents to sell up and move to Canberra. Morven remained in Canberra as a senior officer in the Department of Primary Industry, where his knowledge of tropical agricultural economics was put to good use. On 20 June 1980, he died suddenly due to a massive cerebral haemorrhage. This was a big shock, as there are lots of genes for longevity on both sides of the family. He was planning to retire at the end of the year. He is buried in Gungalin Cemetery, Canberra.


Lachlan was killed in a motorcycle accident in 1984 at 29 years of age. Ola died in 1989 after a long period of ill health. Both are buried in Gungalin Cemetery beside Morven. Linden married William Trewartha. They live in Adelaide and have two sons, Steven and Daniel.


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