Agar, W. E. (Wilfred Eade) (1882-)

Also known as
Agar, W. E. (1882-)
Agar, W. E. (Wilfred Eade) (1882-1951)
Agar, Wilfred Eade, (OBE, CBE, FRS) (1882-1951)
Agar, Wilfred Eade (1882-)
Agar, Wilfred Eade (1882-1951)
Field of activity
Zoologist; Academics - Zoology
Libraries Australia
http://nla.gov.au/anbd.aut-an35001662
NLA Persistent Identifier
https://nla.gov.au/nla.party-458077

Biographies

Wilfred Eade Agar (1882-1951), zoologist, was born on 27 April 1882 at Wimbledon, England, seventh of nine children of Edward Larpent Agar and his wife Agnes, née Henty. His father was a solicitor...

View the full record at Australian Dictionary of Biography

Wilfred Agar was Professor of Zoology at the University of Melbourne from 1919-1948 where he introduced the disciplines of cytology and genetics. A graduate of King's College, Cambridge, he demonstrated in zoology in Glasgow and spent some time in Paraguay prior to coming to Australia.

Wilfred Agar obtained a Masters of Arts (zoology major) from Kings College, Cambridge. Upon completing his studies he had a brief stint in the Natural History section of the British Museum, then took up a demonstrating job with the Zoology Department of the University of Glasgow in 1904. This was the start of a distinguished career in teaching and research in genetics and cytology. His early work was on the embryology of the lungfishes Lepidosiren and Protopterus which led to a fellowship from King's Collage and funding from the Royal Society and the Balfour Fund, Cambridge for an exploration to the very inhospitable and inaccessible Gran Chaco in Paraguay.

In 1915 Agar's research was halted when he was enlisted to fight in World War I. He was made captain of the 5th Battalion and sent to Gallipoli (June 1915) and Egypt. While in Egypt (Alexandria) Agar become ill (enteric fever) and was sent back to England where he remained in army service until 1918. He migrated to Australia with his wife and children in 1919 to take up the Chair of Zoology at the University of Melbourne. This was a hectic role in the early days as Agar was the sole lecturer and main practical teacher. Agar eventually employed more staff to cover some of these duties so he could start up his research again. He was one of the first in Australia to discuss gene inheritance in cattle which lead to the introduction of applying genetic selection in animal breeding. During his 30 odd years at the University, Wilfred Agar rejected three offers to chair at British universities, he was a long-term council member, dean of the faculty of science twice, chair of the professorial board and councillor, then president, of the Royal Society of Victoria. During 1923-47 Agar and family lived in one of the original professors' houses, which he and his wife named 'Clyde'. His watercolour of Clyde' was used by the University of Melbourne Alumni and Development Unit for its 1997 Christmas card.

  • Education - Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Zoology completed at University of Cambridge, UK
  • Career position - Zoology Demonstrator at Glasgow University, Scotland
  • Education - Master of Arts (MA) in Zoology completed at the University of Cambridge, UK
  • Career position - Expedition to collect samples for cytology in Gran Chaco, Paraguay
  • Award - Fellow of King's College Cambridge, UK
  • Life event - Married Elizabeth MacDonald in Glasgow
  • Career position - Captain of the 5th Battalion with the Highland Light Infantry
  • Career position - Zoology Demonstrator at Glasgow University, Scotland
  • Education - Doctor of Science (DSc) received in Glasgow
  • Career position - Professor of Zoology at the University of Melbourne
  • Career position - text book published in London
  • Career position - President of the Royal Society of Victoria
  • Career position - Chairman of the Professorial Board of the University of Melbourne
  • Award - Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)
  • Career position - published in Melbourne
  • Award - Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE)

View the full record at Encyclopedia of Australian Science

Wilfred Eade Agar was born on 27 April 1882 at Wimbledon, England, seventh of nine children of Edward Larpent Agar and his wife Agnes, nee Henty. He was educated at Sedbergh School, Yorkshire, and in 1900 he entered King's College, Cambridge, to read zoology. He graduated B.A. in 1903 (M.A., 1907). At Cambridge Agar developed the ambition to research genetics. In 1904 he was appointed demonstrator in zoology at the University of Glasgow. His work on the embryology of the lungfish 'Lepidosiren' and 'Protopterus' led to a fellowship at King's College, Cambridge which he could fulfil with research in Glasgow. The cells of this fish, 'Lepidosiren', being unusually large, offered him the opportunity to study chromosomes and in 1907, Agar made an expedition to Gran Chaco, Paraguay, to collect material for cytological study. His meticulous study of spermatogenesis in 'Lepidosiren' provided critical confirmation that the chromosome mechanism could provide a physical basis for Mendel's laws. In 1908 Agar married Elizabeth MacDonald in Glasgow. After participating in the First World War, he and his young family travelled to Melbourne in 1919 where he accepted the chair of zoology at the University of Melbourne. His courses in the newer disciplines of cytology and genetics were pioneering in Australian universities. Agar was a member of the University of Melbourne Council, and twice dean of the faculty of science. As chairman of the Professorial Board in 1931-34 he guided the deliberations that preceded the appointment of a full-time vice-chancellor. He was a councillor of the Royal Society of Victoria for twenty years and president in 1927-28. His services to science and to the university were recognized by an O.B.E. in 1939 and a C.B.E. in 1948. Agar and his family lived on the university campus until his retirement in 1948 when they moved to Kew, Melbourne. He died on 14 July 1951 at Kew survived by his wife, two sons and three daughters. For a full biography see: Drummond, F. H., 'Agar, Wilfred Eade (1882-1951)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/agar-wilfred-eade-4975/text8259, accessed 15 June 2012.

View the full record at University of Melbourne

Wilfred Eade Agar was born on 27 April 1882 at Wimbledon, England, seventh of nine children of Edward Larpent Agar and his wife Agnes, nee Henty. He was educated at Sedbergh School, Yorkshire, and in 1900 he entered King's College, Cambridge, to read zoology. He graduated B.A. in 1903 (M.A., 1907). At Cambridge Agar developed the ambition to research genetics. In 1904 he was appointed demonstrator in zoology at the University of Glasgow. His work on the embryology of the lungfish 'Lepidosiren' and 'Protopterus' led to a fellowship at King's College, Cambridge which he could fulfil with research in Glasgow. The cells of this fish, 'Lepidosiren', being unusually large, offered him the opportunity to study chromosomes and in 1907, Agar made an expedition to Gran Chaco, Paraguay, to collect material for cytological study. His meticulous study of spermatogenesis in 'Lepidosiren' provided critical confirmation that the chromosome mechanism could provide a physical basis for Mendel's laws. In 1908 Agar married Elizabeth MacDonald in Glasgow. After participating in the First World War, he and his young family travelled to Melbourne in 1919 where he accepted the chair of zoology at the University of Melbourne. His courses in the newer disciplines of cytology and genetics were pioneering in Australian universities. Agar was a member of the University of Melbourne Council, and twice dean of the faculty of science. As chairman of the Professorial Board in 1931-34 he guided the deliberations that preceded the appointment of a full-time vice-chancellor. He was a councillor of the Royal Society of Victoria for twenty years and president in 1927-28. His services to science and to the university were recognized by an O.B.E. in 1939 and a C.B.E. in 1948. Agar and his family lived on the university campus until his retirement in 1948 when they moved to Kew, Melbourne. He died on 14 July 1951 at Kew survived by his wife, two sons and three daughters. For a full biography see: Drummond, F. H., 'Agar, Wilfred Eade (1882-1951)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/agar-wilfred-eade-4975/text8259, accessed 15 June 2012.

View the full record at University of Melbourne

Related people and organisations

Encyclopedia of Australian Science

University of Melbourne

Resources for W. E. Agar

Selected resources (9)

Encyclopedia of Australian Science

  1. Agar, Wilfred Eade
    Published: The University of Melbourne eScholarship Research Centre
    Series: Encyclopedia of Australian Science
  2. Obituary: Professor W. E. Agar
    Kerr, J. G.
    Published: 1951
    Series: Nature, 168
  3. Agar, Wilfred Eade (1882-1951), zoologist
    Drummond, F. H.
    Published: Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1979
    Series: Australian Dictionary of Biography, 7, 16-17
  4. Obituary: Wilfred Eade Agar
    Tiegs, O. W.
    Published: 1951
    Series: Australian Journal of Science, 14, 2, 49
  5. Agar, Wilfred Eade - Ms 1
    Published: Australian Academy of Science, 1994
    Series: Listing of Adolph Basser Library holdings
  6. Obituary: Dr. Georgina Sweet
    Agar, W. E.
    Published: 1946
    Series: Australian Journal of Science, 9, 1, 15
  7. Edwin Sherbon Hills, 1906-1986
    Hill, Dorothy
    Published: 1987
    Series: Historical Records of Australian Science, 7, 1, 79-95
  8. Exhibition Papers
    Published: Australian Science Archives Project, 1997
  9. Adolph Basser Library Manuscript Collection
    Smith, Ailie
    Published: eScholarship Research Centre, 2012

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  1. University of Melbourne (1853-)
    Educational institutions; Research organisations; University publication; University fund; University celebration; University administration;
    ... Agar, Wilfred Eade (1882 - 1951) ... provided for in legislation until 1933. The first such vice-chancellor was Raymond E. Priestley, who ...
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  2. Royal Society of Victoria (1859-)
    ... Agar, Wilfred Eade (1882 - 1951) ... Archbold, Neil Wilfred (1950 - 2005) ...
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  3. Australian Academy of Science (1954-)
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  1. [Portrait of Professor Wilfred Agar ...
    Australian Info ...
    [ Photograph : 1945 ]
    [Portrait of Professor Wilfred Agar] [Australian Information Service]
  2. Professor Agar on the rocks - geolo ...
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    [ Photograph : 1923 ]
    Professor Agar on the rocks - geology excursion to Black Rock, October 17th 1923 / Donald Thomson
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  1. Obituary.
    Healesville Guardian (Lilydale, Vic. : 1942 - 1954) Saturday 21 July 1951 p 3 Article
    ... - afessor Wilfred Eade - r professor of zoology at edAg. ,.e University from S190 to 1948, died in ... Melbourne So1turday. He was a formof n resitdent of West. HealesW er re professor Agar studied oedf t Ci l ... 502 words
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  2. UNIVERSITY NOTES Recognition for Research
    The Herald (Melbourne, Vic. : 1861 - 1954) Saturday 5 March 1921 p 20 Article Illustrated
    ... 'clock. Prof. W. E. AGAR. ... DBaVERSITY NOTES I ' . . - - ' , By "Student" j ' Recognition for Research .'Professor Wilfred Eado ... 1432 words
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  3. Officer of Order of Brit. Empire (Civil Div.) (O.B.E.) Mrs. MARY CATHERINE THOMSON of Melbourne.
    The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954) Monday 2 January 1939 p 9 Article
    ... EADE AGAR, of Melbourne University. Professor Agar, who is an M.A. (Cam bridge), D.Sc. (Glasgow and ... Officer of Order of Brit. Em. pire (Civil Div.) (O.B.E.) Mrs. MARY CATHERINE THOMSON . of Melbourne ... 562 words
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  1. A contribution to the theory of the living organism / by W. E. Agar
    Agar, W. E. (Wilfred Eade), 1882-1951
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  2. Cytology : with special reference to the metazoan nucelus / by W. E. Agar
    Agar, Wilfred Eade, 1882-
    [ Book : 1920 ]
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  3. A Zoological expedition to South America / by W. E. Agar
    Agar, W. E. (Wilfred Eade), 1882-1951
    [ Book : 1909 ]
    At Uni of Melb Library
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  4. Science and human welfare / by W.E. Agar
    Agar, W. E. (Wilfred Eade), 1882-1951
    [ Book : 1943 ]
    At 15 libraries
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  1. Government Gazette Appointments and Employment
    Commonwealth of Australia Gazette (National : 1901 - 1973) Friday 2 January 1948 [Issue No.1] p 773

    Government Gazette Appointments And Employment

    ... Keith .. 548 53 Abernethy, Dorothy May 351 11 f Abernethy, Royal John .. 693 1 Abigail, Wilfred Francis ... .. .. 445 14 Agars, Arthur .. .. 694 29 Agars, George Clarence .. 656 36 f Agate, Alfred Bertrand .. 328 71 ... 221489 words
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  2. IN THE COMMONWEALTH COURT OF CONCILIATION AND ARBITRATION.
    Commonwealth of Australia Gazette (National : 1901 - 1973) Thursday 21 April 1938 [Issue No.23] p 1351

    Government Gazette Proclamations And Legislation

    ... , L. H., Lynworth, Garah. Agar, J. E., Netherby, Walgett. Aitken, D. W., Roseneath, Mulwala. Albertson ... . Adams, C. W., Bunnor, Garah. Adams, D. C., Woodlands, Currabubula. Adams, E. J., Hillsboro, Yaven Creek ... 63987 words
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  3. National Memorial Ordinance 1928 DETERAMINATION OF NOMENCLATURE AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY NATIONAL MEMORIALS ORDINANCE 1928 DETERMINATION OF NOMENCLATURE
    Commonwealth of Australia Gazette. Periodic (National : 1977 - 2011) Wednesday 31 August 1988 p 1

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    ... Agar, O.B.E., (1882-1951) Ernest Kingston Braybrooke (1915-1972! Pitt Cobbett (1853-1919) Lesley Finlay ... (1823-1876) Charles Simeon Hare (1808-1882) Helen Mary Mayo, O.B.E., (1878-1967) Businessman and ... 4344 words
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  1. [Biographical cuttings on Wilfred Eade Agar, containing one or more cuttings from newspapers or journals]
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  2. Papers
    Agar, W. E. (Wilfred Eade), 1882-1951
    [ Unpublished : 1907-1948 ]
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  3. [Sex education lectures] lectures by Prof. J.A. Gunn; T.A. à Beckett; Dr. Roberta Donaldson, Prof. W.E. Agar, Dr. Gwynneth Buchanan
    Gunn, J. Alexander (John Alexander), 1896-
    [ Unpublished : 1942 ]
    At Uni of Melb Library
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