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22 June 1878 Sir John Cleland

 22 June 1878   Sir John Cleland

John Cleland was born in Norwood on 22 June 1878. He was educated at Prince Alfred College and studied medicine at Sydney University where he graduated in 1900. He worked overseas for a time until he was appointed to a three year term as Government Pathologist in Western Australia. From 1913-1918 he was principal microbiologist in the New South Wales Department of Health. He was the first incumbent of the Chair of Pathology at the University of Adelaide in 1920, a position he held until his retirement in 1948.

An eminent pathologist, zoologist, botanist and anthropologist, he wrote papers on many topics: from diseases in Aboriginals to fungi of South Australia. As chairman of the National Parks and Wildlife Reserves for 28 years he made many journeys into desert regions to conduct scientific research. He was also a member of the Fauna and Flora Board and the Aboriginal Protection Board, and president of the Royal Society. He was a member of the South Australian Field Naturalists Society for 79 years and was a naturalist of international repute.

Cleland retired from the Central Board of Health at the age of 90. He was instrumental in acquiring Old Government House at Belair for the National Park, and the establishment of the Para Wirra National Park. In 1963 he was awarded the John Lewis Gold Medal, and was knighted in 1964. A warm and generous man he unfortunately lost his sight through glaucoma in latter years. He died on 11 August 1971. Cleland Wild Life Park is named in his honour.

Bede Nairn, Geoffrey Serle (eds), Australian Dictionary of Biography, Vol 8, 1981.
The Advertiser, 3 November 1966, p. 3, 12 August 1971, p. 3.
Journal of Royal Geographic Society of Australia (SA), No 65, December 1964.

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