Percival Serle

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Percival Serle (1871-1951) taken c1949. Author of Dictionary of Australian Biography Percival Serle (1871-1951) c 1949.png
Percival Serle (1871-1951) taken c1949. Author of Dictionary of Australian Biography

Percival Serle (18 July 1871 – 16 December 1951) was an Australian biographer and bibliographer.

Australia Country in Oceania

Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 25 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide.

Bibliography academic study of books as physical, cultural objects

Bibliography, as a discipline, is traditionally the academic study of books as physical, cultural objects; in this sense, it is also known as bibliology. Carter and Barker (2010) describe bibliography as a twofold scholarly discipline—the organized listing of books and the systematic description of books as objects.


Early life

Serle was born to English parents in Elsternwick, Victoria and for many years worked in a life assurance office before in November 1910 becoming chief clerk and accountant at the University of Melbourne. He married artist Dora Beatrice Hake on 29 March 1910. They were to have three children. [1] One son, Alan Geoffrey Serle, was selected as 1947 Victorian Rhodes scholar. [2]

Elsternwick, Victoria Suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Elsternwick is an inner suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 9 km south-east of Melbourne's central business district. Its local government area is the City of Glen Eira. At the 2016 Census Elsternwick had a population of 10,349.

Victoria (Australia) State in Australia

Victoria is a state in south-eastern Australia. Victoria is Australia's smallest mainland state and its second-most populous state overall, making it the most densely populated state overall. Most of its population lives concentrated in the area surrounding Port Phillip Bay, which includes the metropolitan area of its state capital and largest city, Melbourne, Australia's second-largest city. Victoria is bordered by Bass Strait and Tasmania to the south, New South Wales to the north, the Tasman Sea, to the east, and South Australia to the west.

University of Melbourne Australian public university located in Melbourne, Victoria

The University of Melbourne is a public research university located in Melbourne, Australia. Founded in 1853, it is Australia's second oldest university and the oldest in Victoria. Melbourne's main campus is located in Parkville, an inner suburb north of the Melbourne central business district, with several other campuses located across Victoria.

Serle ran a second-hand bookshop during the depression; was guide-lecturer at the National Gallery of Victoria; curator of the Art Museum of the Gallery; and member of the council of the Victorian Artists Society. He was also president of the Australian Literature Society.

National Gallery of Victoria Art museum in Melbourne, Australia

The National Gallery of Victoria, popularly known as the NGV, is an art museum in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Founded in 1861, it is Australia's oldest, largest and most visited art museum.

Victorian Artists Society artists collective in Victoria, Australia

The Victorian Artists Society, which can trace its establishment to 1856 in Melbourne, promotes artistic education, art classes and gallery hire exhibition in Australia.

The Association for the Study of Australian Literature (ASAL) is an Australian organisation which promotes the creation and study of Australian literature and literary culture especially through the interaction of Australian writers with teachers and students. It administers several awards, holds a yearly conference, publishes a newsletter and journal, and has sponsored several publications.


Serle's publications included an edition, with notes, of A Song to David and Other Poems by the 18th-century English poet, Christopher Smart; A Bibliography of Australasian Poetry and Verse: Australia and New Zealand; An Australasian Anthology (with 'Furnley Maurice' and R. H. Croll); A selection of Poems by Furnley Maurice ; Dictionary of Australian Biography ; and A Primer of Collecting.

Christopher Smart English poet, hymnwriter

Christopher Smart, was an English poet.

The Dictionary of Australian Biography, published in 1949, is a reference work by Percival Serle containing information on notable people associated with Australian history. With approximately a thousand entries, the book took more than twenty years to complete. Published by Angus and Robertson, the dictionary was compiled as two volumes, Volume 1: A-K; and Volume 2: L-Z.

The Dictionary took more than twenty years to complete and contains more than one thousand biographies of prominent Australians or persons closely connected with Australia. Serle comments in the Preface that "I have endeavoured to make the book worthy of its subject. It would have been better could I have spent another five years on it, but at seventy-five years of age one realizes there is a time to make an end." He was awarded the Australian Literature Society Gold Medal for 1949 for this work. [3] [4]

Serle died in Hawthorn, Victoria, aged 80 on 16 December 1951.

Hawthorn, Victoria Suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Hawthorn is an inner suburb of Melbourne, Australia, 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) east of Melbourne's central business district situated in the City of Boroondara. At the 2016 Census, Hawthorn recorded a population of 23,511.


  2. "1947 Rhodes Scholar Has Fine Record". Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957). 17 December 1946. p. 2. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  3. News of the Day, The Age , 3 November 1949, p. 2. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  4. Nettie Palmer, Letters, The Age , 7 November 1949, p. 2. Retrieved 4 May 2018.

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