Born in Balaklava, north of Adelaide, on 8 January 1930, he grew up on the family farm at Inveray in Grace Plains and was educated at Adelaide High School. At the University of Adelaide he took a degree in Physics and played football, cricket and hockey for the university. His first job was with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Sydney. In 1953 he and his newly married wife emigrated to Britain, where at the invitation of Bernard Lovell he was offered a post at Manchester University's Jodrell Bank Observatory. He became its Director in succession to Lovell in 1988.
During a long career of scientific research he became a leading figure in the field of radio astronomy and published many research papers. He was awarded a PhD in 1956, was President of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1987-89, a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1992 and received a CBE in 1995. He continued his research after his retirement in 1997, his last paper being published after his death.
He became a local preacher in the Australian Methodist at the age of 16 and continued to preach and speak on religion and science during his years in Manchester. He died of cancer on 8 November 2015.
Methodist Recorder, 19 February 2016
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