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Mauldon, Frank Richard Edward (1891–1961)

by Margaret Steven

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 15, (MUP), 2000

Frank Richard Edward Mauldon (1891-1961), economist, was born on 17 December 1891 at Woollahra, Sydney, son of native-born parents James Mauldon, clerk, and his wife Eliza, née Merryweather. Educated at Petersham Superior Public and Sydney Boys' High schools, Frank joined the New South Wales Registrar-General's Department as a cadet draftsman in December 1908. After matriculating in 1910, he studied part time at the University of Sydney (B.A., 1916; B.Ec., 1920; M.Ec., 1925). In November 1916 he sailed for Britain as a Young Men's Christian Association representative with the Australian Imperial Force. By June 1917 he was on the Western Front. There he was appointed Y.M.C.A. officer to the 7th Brigade. He was wounded at Sailly-le-Sec, France, in June 1918. After the Armistice, he took charge of the Australian Y.M.C.A.'s historical records and attended the London School of Economics and Political Science. He returned to Australia in February 1920 as honorary captain, A.I.F.

In 1921 Mauldon was appointed the University of Sydney's resident tutor for the Hunter River district. Based at Newcastle, he gave numerous lectures and organized the activities of the local branch of the Workers' Educational Association of New South Wales. His master's thesis, published as A Study in Social Economics: The Hunter River Valley (Melbourne, 1927), was 'the first integrated' analysis of the region's resources and of its social and industrial structure. At the Methodist Church, Muswellbrook, on 6 January 1926 he married Nora Avis Edith Bowles, a 27-year-old schoolteacher.

Next month Mauldon was appointed senior lecturer in economics in the new faculty of commerce at the University of Melbourne, where he joined (Sir) Douglas Copland. For The Economics of Australian Coal (Melbourne, 1929), Mauldon received the university's Harbison-Higinbotham research scholarship (1928) and a Litt.D. (1929). In 1930, as a Rockefeller Foundation fellow, he chose to study 'structural changes in industrial organisation and public administration' in the United States of America and Canada. He published The Rationalisation Movement and Australian Industry (Melbourne, 1932) and a popular booklet, The Use and Abuse of Statistics with Special Reference to Australian Economic Statistics (Melbourne, 1933).

In September 1935 Mauldon took up the chair of economics, University of Tasmania, and the associated post of economic adviser to the Tasmanian government. As a member of the State Finance Committee, he prepared cases for the Commonwealth Grants Commission and the Australian Loan Council. He pioneered annual surveys of Tasmania's economy, and published studies of mechanization and of cost structure in Australian industry. In 1938 he moved to Canberra as research director of the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics.

Accepting the chair of economics at the University of Western Australia in 1941, Mauldon began an analysis of the State's economy and community income. His pamphlet, Towards Economic Reconstruction (Perth, 1941), formed part of a series, 'The Christian and the War'. Although his hope for the establishment of a faculty of economics was not fulfilled until 1954, he introduced the study of public administration to the U.W.A. and founded the Western Australian group of the British Institute of Public Administration.

Mauldon was president (1947-49) of the Economic Society of Australia and New Zealand, and a member of the Royal Economic Society and the American Economic Association. He was a prolific author of articles, reviews, pamphlets and technical publications. Temperate but persistent, he was a man of strong religious and humane convictions, with a keen interest in community activities. His 'strength as an economist was in the empirical application of his knowledge, rather than in the refinement of economic theory'. He retired in 1958. Survived by his wife, daughter and two sons, he died of cancer on 14 February 1961 in Perth and was buried in Karrakatta cemetery with Congregational forms.

Select Bibliography

  • F. Alexander, Campus at Crawley (Melb, 1963)
  • Economic Record, 37, no 78, June 1961, p 207
  • Gazette of the University of Western Australia, 2, no 1, 1961
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 16 May, 11 Dec 1929, 10 July 1935
  • Herald (Melbourne), 30 Sept 1938, 23 Jan, 14 Dec 1941
  • West Australian, 16 Feb 1961
  • Bulletin, 22 Feb 1961.

Citation details

Margaret Steven, 'Mauldon, Frank Richard Edward (1891–1961)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.online.anu.edu.au/biography/mauldon-frank-richard-edward-11089/text19743, published first in hardcopy 2000, accessed online 22 September 2017.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 15, (MUP), 2000

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