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Hedley Ralph Marston and Shirley Hope Allen
Papers 1932-1994

MSS 0080

Biographical Note

Hedley Marston (born at Bordertown on 26 August 1900) initially studied chemistry at the University of Adelaide but transferred to biochemistry under the influence of Professor T. Brailsford Roberston.  He was a demonstrator in Biochemistry and closely associated with Robertson in the department from 1919, and joined the Division of Animal Nutrition under Robertson soon after it was established in 1927.  He was acting Chief of the Division on a number of occasions under Robertson and his successor (Sir) Charles Martin and in 1945 was appointed Chief of the re-formed and expanded Division of Biochemistry and General Nutrition, developing it into a major center for research on the physiology, biochemistry and nutrition of ruminants.  His own major research was in the fields of ruminant energy metabolism and thermodynamics of food utilization.

Marston was elected Fellow of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (1938) and the Royal Society of London (1949) and was one of the founders and a Foundation Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (and its initial Treasurer).  He was admitted to the degree of D.Sc honoris causa by the Australian University in 1957 and the same degree at the University of Adelaide in 1959.  He died on 25 August 1965 after some years of ill-health.

Shirley Allen was a science student at the University of Adelaide and joined the staff of C.S.I.R.O. shortly before her graduation (B.Sc. 1943).  She worked closely with Marston (who was her first cousin as well as a colleague) and after his early death concentrated on preparing his experimental data on the effects of Vitamin B12 and cobalt deficiency for publication.

These papers were presented to the University by Miss Allen in December 2002.  At the same time she made a gift to the University of nine works of art and a collection of books on science and art, most of which had been acquired by Hedley Marston and bequeathed to her.  The art works (five paintings by Arthur Murch (1902-89), two by Frances Dodd, one by Robert Campbell, and an etching by Elioth Grüner) are now part of the University Works of Art collection, and some of the books have been added to the Library's collections, while others were given to the library of the Art Gallery (a list is available). Additional papers of Marston are held by the Basser Library of the Australian Academy of Science.

Additional papers related to Hedley Marston and his friendship with the artist Arthur Murch and his wife Ria were donated by Michelle and John Murch in July 2015. Some copyright restrictions apply.
Files re Marsten and David Rivett were transferred in 2020 from the Papers of David Ellyard compiled towards the writing of the biography of Mark Oliphant.

Contents Listing

Papers of Hedley Marston


1.  Correspondence with (mainly letters from) his wife Kathleen Nellie (Nella).
1958, 1960.  1 cm.

2.  Letters to Marston from A.C.D. (David) Rivett. 1932-33, 1941-57.  3 cm
[photocopies.  Includes group of letters June-August 1944 re naming of the Division, and typescript schedule of correspondence between ACDR and Marston 1941-58]
Also correspondence between Marsten and David Rivett 1937-48, and documents collected by Marsten when writing a memoir of David Rivett for the Royal Society (includes articles, typescript and ms notes, correspondence with Florey, Mark Oliphant, Lady Rivett and others, and photographs) Files transferred from Ellyard Papers

3.  Correspondence with W.S. Robinson, John Lee Pratt and others re assistance for and subsequent financial position of the recently established Australian Academy of Science. 1954-55.  2 cm.
[file includes negatives of plans of the Academy building, Marston's toast to 'Our Guests' at the meeting of the Academy building funding appeal (undated) and a  long letter from Marston to W.S. Robinson re Charles Rasp and notes on Archibald Watson at Göttingen]
see also Miscellaneous correspondence, 1955 letters.

4.  Official correspondence re overseas visits. 1948, 1950, 1953 and 1964. 2 cm.
[includes official letter of introduction from Prime Minister Chifley, with signature and seal]

5.  Letters to F.W.C. (Sir Frederick) White, C.S.I.R.O. Chairman.  1960 and 1963.

6.  Miscellaneous (non-official) correspondence.  1948-64. 1 cm.
[includes letter from Mark Oliphant 1949, personal letters to and from John Lee Pratt and W.S. Robinson 1955, and  report of the Radcliffe Infirmary on their investigations and treatment of Marston 1964]

7.  Christmas cards received c1951-60 (most 1958-59).  4 cm.

Papers, talks, broadcasts etc.

8.  Biographical notes, honours and lists of papers and addresses. 1958-65. 2 cm.
[File includes programmes of conferring of D.Sc by A.N.U 1957 and University of Adelaide 1959 (with Marston's address on that occasion and newspaper articles), citation as Mueller Medallist 1958, obituary notice 1965]

9.  Papers and notes re the Nutrition Laboratory/Division of Biochemistry and General Nutrition and its research. 1944 - 1965.  3 cm.

10.  Unpublished papers 1931 - 63.  5 cm.
[Including (in addition to papers on his research) more general talks to the Medical Sciences Club 1931 and 1944, memoir of T.B. Robertson 1932, radio broadcast c1945 on 'The immediate and future prospects of wool', notes prepared on return from England 1949 [on institutions visited], and a paper on The Royal Society and its Presidents 1963]

11.  'Comments on a paper by H.R. Marston discussing the take-up of radioiodine into the thyroids of grazing animals subsequent to atomic weapons tests' by L.J. Dwyer, J.H. Martin and E.W. Titterton, and Marston's 'Radioactive iodine in the thyroids of grazing animals…', with related correspondence, newspaper articles and sample 'radioactive catch' in a cigarette tin. 1958-59. 3 cm.

12.  Memoir and bibliography of David Rivett, with a list of (potential?) subscribers to the Rivett Memorial Appeal and photographs taken at Appeal launch? [guests include Sir Howard Florey and Professor Kerr Grant] and Marston's remarks at the first David Rivett Memorial lecture and reprint of Sir Howard Florey's lecture on that occasion]. 1961-63. 2 cm.

13. Memoirs [prepared posthumously from Marston's notes] of W.S. Robinson and Essengton Lewis. 1966.  1 cm.
[Essington Lewis file includes newspaper articles re William Dargie's portrait, 1953]

14.  Photographs of Hedley Marston.  1937 - c1961.  4 cm.
[mostly publicity and passport shots; also photograph and negatives of Sir Charles Martin and negatives of painting of Marston by Max Meldrum and of drawing and cast plaster head of Marston by Arthur Murch]

Papers of Shirley Allen

15.  Letters from Hedley Marston. 1939, 1946-64. 4 cm.

16.  Correspondence with A.C.D. (Sir David) Rivett. 1944-58. 1 cm.
[Includes copies of Rivett's paper 'An hour of stock-taking' given at conference of the Australian Association of Scientific Workers, Adelaide 13 May 1944.  Later correspondence is principally re Marston's progress in hospital]

17.  Correspondence with J.A.Bonnin (Director, IMVS) 1955, 1966-70.  2 cm.
[Information on blood samples for vitamin B12 deficiency work and anaemia cobalt deficiency]

18.  Correspondence with (Sir) Mark and Rose Oliphant. 1965-72.  4 cm.
[principally re memoir of Marston and deposit of his papers, the writing up of Martson's data and Marston's memoir of David Rivett]

19.  Correspondence with E. Lester Smith re publication of Marston's experimental data. 1967-70.  2 cm.
[From 1968 Allen's official responsibility was to prepare mss from the experimental data left by Marston.  Smith provided assistance, especially in the field of vitamin B12 deficiency]

20.  Correspondence with Glaxo [firm] 1967, 1971-72.  1 cm.
[Purity and supply of Hydroxocobalamin, and arrangements for delivery of a painting to E. Lester Smith as thanks for assistance in preparation of Marston's work]

21.  Miscellaneous correspondence. 1957 - 1994 and undated.  13 items.
[Includes two letters from Christine Rivett 1957-58, exchange with Sir Keith Hancock re the Leonardo Club 1968, letters from Bill Guy of the Advertiser 1977, letter from Ria Murch 1970 re selection of a painting [for gift to E. Lester Smith? - see Series 20] and drafts of letters by Allen 1992 and 1994]

22.  Catalogue of an exhibition of work by Arthur Murch at the Toorak Art Gallery, September 1968 (photocopy).

Additional papers from Michelle and John Murch

Papers re Hedley Marston

[Recollections of H.R. Marston compiled by Ria Murch at the request of Shirley Allen (research assistant to Hedley Marston, CSIRO) Typescript (8 p., photocopy) final draft, plus original typescript draft [18] p.

1966 correspondence between Sir Mark Oliphant and Arthur Murch re reminiscences about Marston, and heads of Marston and Oliphant sculpted by Murch (3 letters); letter from Oliphant to Mrs R. Murch 2/2/1967 regarding her memoir of Marston; Letter Ria Murch to Shirley Allen 1/4/1966 re sculpted heads of Marston and possibility of making a cast for Adelaide

Ria Murch correspondence with the National Library of Australia 2001 re papers of Marston. Includes list of Marston manuscript holding in the NLA, Ria Murch’s research notes and a photocopy of the pencil sketch of Marston by Murch

Reprint: ‘Hedley Ralph Marston 1900-1965’, from Biographical Memoirs of the Royal Society, v. 13 (November 1967)

Newspaper article ‘Our Atomic Cover-Up’ / Deborah Smith and Deborah Snow (National Times 4-10 May 1980) re Marston’s paper on the fallout of the 1956 Maralinga nuclear explosions

Photograph. Dr Hedley Marston with his wife Nell in Adelaide [date unknown]

Pencil portrait of Hedley Marston 1931 (photographic reproduction), with note on verso re the portrait ‘To Ria and Arthur.’

‘Home made’ Christmas card from Marston to Arthur Murch 20/12/1963, with ms notes on reverse

- 24/12/1960 Marston to Murch inquiring whereabouts of William Dobell and suggesting he may be able to visit Texas and paint the portrait Bob (Robert) Kleberg at King Ranch; also raised possible portrait of P. Phillips (ms, incomplete, 2 p.)
- Letter 14/10/1964 from Mark Oliphant in Hangchow to Marston describing his experiences during his visit to China as a member of a delegation from the Australian Academy of Science (ms, 3 p.)
- Letter Ria Murch to Marston 23/8/1965 (typescript photocopy, 1 p.)

Papers related to the Founder’s Page decoration of the Australian Academy of Science Charter Book by Arthur Murch

- Typed letter 30/1/1962 proposing Murch decorate the Founder’s page of the Australian Academy of Science Charter Book, in a manner similar to that of the Royal Society (4 leaves)
- Typed letter 12/2/1962 thanking Murch for accepting to undertake the decoration, with further details (3 p.)
- Typed letters 6/3/1962, 2/5/1962, 24/8/1962, 4/9/1962, 24/9/1962, 28/9/1962, 22/11/1962 re the decoration of the Foundation Fellows page. Letter 22/11/1962 describes the visit of Prince Philip, the establishment of a field research station, and a possible commission to paint Mark Oliphant’s(?) portrait
- Undated letter [September 1962?]– re payment of honorarium to Eileen Mayo for her work on the Founder’s page (ms, 2 p.)
- Undated letter, lacks first page, re decoration of Charter Book(ms, 2 leaves)
- Letter 15/4/1964 from the Royal Society House in London, describing his severe infection while staying with Howard Florey, his discovery of a Murch painting in the home of John Cockcroft, and future commissions for paintings (ms, 2 p.)

[Reprint from Records of the Australian Academy of Science, v. 1 no. 1] ‘Notes on the arms of the Academy’ by J. Deeble, including colour plate of the arms. With photographic reproduction of cartoon of arms of Queen Elizabeth II [by Murch?]

Newspaper article on ‘Origin of the Royal Society: great record in research’ / Hedley Marston (31/8/1963)

Draft sketches for the decoration of the Charter Book
- (colour printouts, 2 p.) Original retained by Michelle Murch. In Map Cabinet
- 3 draft sketches (sepia) and transparency. In Map Cabinet

Papers related to Arthur James Murch

Drawing of Sir Charles Martin by Arthur Murch, Adelaide 1933 (photographic copy). With an accompanying letter from Shirley Allen to Ria Murch 15/2/1984 identifying the drawing

10 photographs of Sir Mark Oliphant provided to Arthur Murch for the painting of Oliphant’s portrait
- Oliphant with koala; at desk at ANU?; as Governor of SA (from magazine); with Dr Elizabeth Bradford at her graduation 13 July 1962; 3 more at graduation ceremony; in physics laboratory?; 2 in office; wearing hat (from The Advertiser); of portrait on easel.
- Plus newspaper article ‘Mark Oliphant Governor’(Advertiser 10/11/1971)

Letter 12/10/1976 from Richard Henderson, Private Secretary to the Governor of SA, to Mr Cheeseman thanking him for information he provided about Arthur Murch.

Revised Cheryl Hoskin
June 2016

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