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Elliston Campbell

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Elliston Fauna Campbell
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Born(1891-02-22)22 February 1891
Walcha, New South Wales
Baptised(1891-02-22)22 February 1891
Died28 December 1990(1990-12-28) (aged 99)
Faulconbridge, New South Wales28 December 1990(1990-12-28) (aged 99)
Other names
EducationNewington College
University of Sydney
Alma mater
OccupationElectrical engineer
Known for
Spouse(s)Phyliss Violet Campbell
(née Caspersz)
Parent(s)Althea (née Gissing) and
John Fauna Campbell

Elliston Fauna Campbell (22 February 1891 – 28 December 1990) was an Australian electrical engineer[1] and philanthropist who through a bequest funded the Adyar Library and Research Centre in Madras, India, and the Campbell Theosophical Research Library, an educational resource of the Theosophical Society in Sydney.[2]

Birth and education[edit]

Campbell was born in Walcha, New South Wales, the first of three children, to Althea Louise (née Gissing) and John Fauna Campbell. In 1881 his father, John Campbell, adopted the middle name Fauna for identification purposes.[3] Campbell's birth was followed by the arrival of siblings Roy Lancelot (1893) and Gladys (1894).[4] He attended Newington College (1902–1908) during the early years of the Headmastership of the Rev Dr Charles Prescott.[5] He sat for the Junior Examination (1907), Lower Matriculation (1908) and Senior Examination (1908). In that final year he was a Prefect and left at Christmas.[6] Upon leaving Newington, Campbell studied engineering at Sydney Technical College. He went up to the University of Sydney in 1912 having been awarded a Peter Nicol Russell scholarship for entrance to the Department of Engineering[7] and graduated B.E.(Mech & Elec) in 1915.[8]

World War I[edit]

Campbell enlisted with the First Australian Imperial Force in 1915[9] and from 1917 until 1919 was an Australian munitions worker in the United Kingdom.[1] His younger brother, Roy, served with the Royal Australian Army Medical Corps.[10]


In Sydney on 25 August 1920, Campbell married Phyllis Violet Caspersz (1894–1974),[11] the daughter of Justice Charles Peter Caspersz, of the Calcutta High Court.[1] As Phyllis V Campbell, she published numerous volumes of poetry.[12] She was also a composer who worked with modernist compositional techniques during the 1920s and she worked with many musicians from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.[13]


He worked as a Chartered Electrical Engineer with George Ellison Ltd, Bruce Peebles & Co. Ltd., and N Guthridge Ltd. From 1921 until 1943 he was a lecturer in electrical engineering at Sydney University and from 1944 until his retirement in 1951 he was a senior lecturer. He served as Chairman of the NSW Local Advisory Committee of the Institution of Electrical Engineers (London).[1]


Campbell became a Theosophist in Australia on 27 May 1914 and was inducted by Charles Webster Leadbeater. During the war, whilst he was in London, Campbell served as Honorary Secretary of the Birmingham Lodge of the Theosophical Society (1917). In 1929 and 1930, Campbell became a regular radio presenter on the Theosophical Station Ltd using the 2GB wavelength.[14] He was President of Blavatsky Lodge in Sydney (1932) and became a member of the National Executive Committee of the Australian Section being honoured as the first member to be made an Honorary Life Member in this Section. He was a lecturer for the Theosophical Society in Sydney and International Secretary of the Theosophical Order of Service. On his death in 1990, Campbell willed part of his estate to the Theosophical Society in Australia to promote the interests of the Adyar Library and Research Centre in India and for the distribution of its publications in Australia. The bequest was also used to establish a research library in Sydney, mirroring the aims, objectives and activities of the Adyar Library. This institution has been named the Campbell Theosophical Research Library in his honour.[2]

Later life[edit]

Campbell lived in retirement in Faulconbridge, New South Wales, and died there in his 100th year in 1990. His wife had predeceased him in 1974 and he was buried in the Emu Plains General Cemetery.[15]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Who's Who in Australia (The Herald and Weekly Times Limited, 1959) pp 153
  2. 2.0 2.1 Campbell Theosophical Research Library Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  3. Campbell, John Fauna (1853–1938), Australian Dictionary of Biography Retrieved 26 July 2013.
  4. Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  5. Newington College Register of Past Students 1863–1998 (Syd, 1999) pp 29
  6. The Newingtonian "Valete" (March 1909)
  7. "ENGINEERING SCHOLARSHIPS". The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954). NSW: National Library of Australia. 18 March 1912. p. 3. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  8. "Alumni Sidneienses". University of Sydney. Archived from the original on 25 July 2013. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  9. "Elliston Fauna Campbell – Discovering Anzacs". National Archives of Australia. Retrieved 10 October 2014.
  10. First World War Embarkation Roll – Roy Lancelot Campbell Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  11. NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  12. Auslit Phyllis V Campbell Retrieved 26 July 2013.
  13. A modernist in music Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  14. "THEOSOPHICAL STATION, LTD". The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954). NSW: National Library of Australia. 1 January 1930. p. 4. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  15. Inscription for Elliston Fauna Campbell Retrieved 25 July 2013.

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