Portrait of Mr William MacMahon-Ball, Controller of Short Wave Broadcasts, Department of ...

Accession Number 003532
Collection type Photograph
Object type Black & white
Physical description Black & white
Maker Cranstone, Edward Lefevre (Ted)
Place made Australia: Victoria, Melbourne, Australia: Victoria, Melbourne
Date made c November 1940
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Item copyright: Copyright expired - public domain

Public Domain Mark This item is in the Public Domain


Portrait of Mr William MacMahon-Ball, Controller of Short Wave Broadcasts, Department of Information between February 1940 to 1944. His unit recorded, translated and analysed enemy broadcasts. Ball was granted special leave from Melbourne University to take charge of the broadcasting work in the Department of Information. William MacMahon Ball was born 1901 in Casterton, Vic. Educated first at Caulfield Grammar School and then at the University of Melbourne, he obtained a Bachelor of Arts (First Class Honours) in 1923. From 1924 to 1929 Ball was a research scholar in psychology at the University of Melbourne, lecturing in Psychology, Logic and Ethics. In 1929, Ball won a Rockefeller Fellowship to the London School of Economics. While on this fellowship, Ball made a special study of public opinion and propaganda methods in Germany. He spent 1929-1932 in London, Germany, France and Italy, studying European politics. On his return to Australia, Ball secured a post at the University of Melbourne from 1932 to 1938, lecturing in Modern Political Institutions. He again went abroad, this time on a Carnegie Fellowship. Between 1938 and 1939 Ball spent several months attached to the BBC studying its methods of programming talks and collecting and broadcasting world news. At the time of the Munich crisis, Ball went through Sudetenland with members of the German Army, visited Prague and spent a day in Sachsenhausen concentration camp, the first foreigner allowed to visit such a camp for several years. In 1945, shortly before the end of the Pacific War, Ball returned to Melbourne University as Senior Lecturer in charge of the Department of Political Science. Also in 1945, Ball was sent to San Francisco as Adviser to the Australian Delegation at the United Nations Conference, and from November to December was Australian Government Political Representative in the Netherlands East Indies.

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