Charles Darwin University

CDU eSpace
Institutional Repository

CDU Staff and Student only

Harry Christian Giese Collection

Document type: Archives
Citation counts: Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Attached Files (Some files may be inaccessible until you login with your CDU eSpace credentials)
Name Description MIMEType Size Downloads
Download this reading HCGiese_ItemList.pdf Published version application/pdf 794.88KB 667
Reading the attached file works best in Firefox, Chrome and IE 9 or later.

Collection number 15-036
Collection title Harry Christian Giese Collection
Date range (approx.) 1954-2000
Shelf meters (approx.) 1.3
Scope and contents Documents on Aboriginal affairs, education and arts, missions, speeches and reports and other material generated in the administration of the Northern Territory, including policy notes, speeches, reports and radio talks.

Physical description Manuscripts, photocopies, published and unpublished printed matter (books, journals, pamphlets, fliers), clippings, photographs, maps, etc.
Language English
Collection created by Giese family with Charles Darwin University
Biographical history Harry Christian Giese AM MBE (1913-2000) made a major contribution to health and education in the Northern Territory. He played a key role in the establishment of the Menzies School of Health Research, bringing together stakeholders, the NT government, the University of Sydney, the Menzies Foundation and the embryo Northern Territory University, to organise the now-thriving School meeting the challenges of living in tropical and arid regions, and improving the health of Indigenous Australians. Giese was a passionate Territorian, advocating and working towards self-government for the Northern Territory, and helping formulate policy and programs after it was won in 1978. He also became the Territory’s first Ombudsman.

A member of the Darwin community from 1954, he came to the Territory to build what became the largest department of the Northern Territory Administration, the Welfare Branch, and with fellow reformers help create the infrastructure of modern life from the ruins of World War II. He was the longest-serving member of the NT Legislative Council, from 1954-73.

Born in Greenbushes, Western Australia, Harry Giese was the descendant of a German family which arrived in Australia in the 1870s. Educated at the Universities of Western Australia and Melbourne, from 1944-47 he was Queensland’s first Director of Physical Education, after military service and a similar job in WA. He then worked in Canberra for the Public Service Board and in 1954 was appointed to the newly-created job of NT Director of Welfare. He served the Administration until 1973, in ‘arduous and controversial’ roles at the centre of Australian federal government policy.

This collection reflects his 50-year dedication to establishing and building Territory community organisations and working with fellow citizens to build groups ‘operated and managed by the community itself’.

Director of Welfare, Northern Territory Administration, 1954-73;
Founding Chairman, NT Committee and Member, National Executive, Menzies Foundation, 1979-85;
Member, Menzies School of Health Board, 1985-95, Deputy-Chairman, 1987-95 (see link below);
Legislative Council of the Northern Territory, 1954-73;
Special Advisor and Consultant to NT Chief Minister and NT Assembly, 1976-80;
Chairman, History Unit, 1980-82.

Foundation President and Life Member of community organizations including Royal Life Saving Society, Carpentaria Disability Services, Royal Institute of Public Administration, NT Rugby Union, Wanderers Football Club, NT Historical Society, Darwin Probus Club. 
Provenance Records arranged and donated by the Giese family.
Box list available? No
Item list available? Yes. Please open HCGiese_ItemList.pdf on this page
Conditions governing access Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers are advised that this collection may contain images or names of people who have since passed away
Access requires the permission of the donor. This can be arranged by contacting the Archivist on (08) 8946 7794 or at
Related material 1. Held by NT Archives Service: ref NTRS 226, TS 755 [oral history interviews incl. transcripts, April 1987-Sept 1991]
2. Held by NT Archives Service: ref NTRS 1043/P1; PAC 33 [Menzies School of Health Research: letters, minutes, draft legislation, objectives and planning, applications for positions and grants, and priorities for research]
3. Held by the Arafura Research Archive, CDU: 15-037 Nancy (Nan) Giese Collection
Location Arafura Research Archive. Please contact the Archivist on (08) 8946 7794 or at for more information
Institution Charles Darwin University, Darwin
Description for Link 15-037 Nancy (Nan) Giese Collection
Northern Territory Archives Service
Menzies Foundation obituary

© copyright

Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in CDU eSpace. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact

Version Filter Type
Access Statistics: 585 Abstract Views, 667 File Downloads  -  Detailed Statistics
Created: Mon, 08 Aug 2016, 12:42:38 CST by Mary Paton