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Donovan News 43

Spring 2012

Donovan & Associates continues work on recording the history of the Elphinstone group of companies, though this has been on hold during much of the year.

Meanwhile, Donovan & Associates has completed work on recording the story of pharmaceutical wholesaler Symbion, one of Australia’s three major pharmaceutical wholesalers. The company originally began as a division of pharmaceutical manufacturer and wholesaler FH Faulding & Co. Peter Donovan wrote a history of Faulding that was published to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the business in 1995. The recent project provided the opportunity to extend the story beyond 1995 and record the sale of Faulding to Mayne in 2001, and the subsequent sale of the several divisions and, finally, the establishment of Symbion as a separate company. The book was published in November 2012.

We have since begun work on recording the history of Shire Australia, another pharmaceutical company, but one that specialises in the provision of so-called ‘orphan drugs’ that are required by small numbers in the population.

Our history of National Pharmacies published in 1911 won a silver award from the Australian printing industry.

Donovan & Associates produced an updated report for Connellan Limited early in 2012. This report, The Connellan Airways Trust: Three decades on, recorded the Trust’s achievements during the years since publication of its first report in 1991, which D&A also produced.
Donovan & Associates has continued with oral history projects for the National Library with interviews of Grant Tambling, former member of the House of Representatives, Senator, and Administrator of Norfolk Island, and with Senator Jim McKiernan. We also interviewed Professor Tanya Monro, Professor of Physics at the University of Adelaide, for the State Library of South Australia, and have arranged to interview dual Melbourne Cup winning jockey, John Letts.

We assisted Lady Porter in recording her life story. June Porter has the distinction of having been lady-in-waiting to Lady Rutherford, wife of the governor of Bihar, India, in 1944 and 1945, while her husband Tom was aide-de-camp to Richard Casey, Governor of Bengal. This gave June Porter first-hand experience of the final days of the British Raj. Later she became Lady Mayoress of Adelaide when her husband Tom served as Lord Mayor from 1968 to 1971. We began with an extensive oral history program which has been preserved in the State Library of South Australia. We provided digital copies of Lady Porter’s diaries and letters home that facilitated their editing, identified relevant photographs and assisted Lady Porter in writing the text by researching various issues that required contextual information. Production of the book is to be undertaken by Wakefield Press and launched on the occasion of Lady Porter’s 95th birthday in March 2013.

Donovan & Associates revisited the war-time history of the Northern Territory when asked to research the history of the Howard Springs Hospital, construction of which began in late 1944, though was never completed. An account of the history was required by INPEX Operations Australia which is to provide accommodation for workers associated with the Ichthys LNG project. The accommodation facilities were proposed for part of the former hospital site.

Peter Donovan’s understanding of northern Australian history meant that he was admirably qualified to be the destination lecturer on the Royal Caribbean International liner Radiance of the Seas as it cruised between Sydney and Fremantle via northern Australia in October 2012. He was tasked with providing historical background on the route travelled by the ship and the destinations visited: the latter included Brisbane, Airlie Beach, Darwin, Port Hedland, Geraldton and Perth.

June and Peter Donovan visited Gallipoli in April to continue recording the last resting places of those soldiers from Kapunda who died while on active service in World War I. They also travelled to the nearby island of Gökḉeada—formerly Imbros—where the 1st Australian Field Bakery baked bread for the troops on Gallipoli. Our early work on Australia’s field bakery units was featured in Donovan News 32 of Spring 2003. Work on the history of the units has continued intermittently since then.

Peter Donovan’s book Storm had its local launch in Kapunda on 18 November 2012, with assistance from local author Astrid Cooper.

We have continued to provide occasional heritage advice to the City of Marion and have provided historical background for a planning study focused on the original Magill village. We also continued to provide a historian’s comment on particular records disposal schedules prepared by State Records concerning government agencies with which we have had experience.

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