Biography

Birth date: 31 May 1901
Birth place: Australia: Victoria, Foster
Death date: 10 October 1968
Death place: Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra
Conflict: Second World War, 1939-1945

Gavin Long, a journalist and historian who wrote three volumes of the official history of Australia in the Second World War, was born at Foster, Victoria, on 31 May 1901. He was educated at Trinity Grammar School and later at All Saints College in Bathurst, New South Wales. He received his tertiary education at the University of Sydney and became a teacher at the King's School, Parramatta. In 1924 he left teaching to become a jackeroo.

The following year, 1925, Long travelled to England where he worked at Australia House in the Migration and Settlement Office. In September 1925 he married Jocelyn Britten, an Australian who was holidaying in England, and returned to Australia in 1926. Having had some contributions to newspapers and journals published, he sought work as a journalist and was employed by the Daily Guardian in Sydney before moving to the Melbourne Argus. In 1928 he was promoted to general reporter for the Argus and just over a year later he was promoted again, to senior reporter, before the depression forced a demotion to his former status. In 1931 he accepted an appointment as a senior reporter with the Sydney Morning Herald.

In 1938, having worked as Chief Cable Sub-editor on the Herald, he was posted to that paper's London office and, when the Second World War began, he became a war correspondent with the British Expeditionary Force in France. After the evacuation, he reported on the Royal Navy and, in November 1940, was sent to Egypt to cover Australian operations in the Mediterranean. He was recalled to Australia in mid-1941.

Long was appointed general editor of the Official History of Australia in the Second World War in March 1943. Based at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, he drafted a volume on the Syrian campaign and recruited staff and authors. At the same time he made several visits to Australian troops at the front, interviewing participants in various campaigns and amassing many volumes of notebooks.

At its completion, the official history series comprised 22 volumes, of which Long wrote three. It was the largest historical project undertaken in Australia and Long's first two volumes were published in 1952 and 1953 respectively. The last of the series was published in 1977.

Long retired in 1963, the same year that his final volume, The final campaigns, was published. Between 1963 and 1965, Long worked as a research fellow with the Australian Dictionary of Biography. He had been a board member of the Australian War Memorial since 1943 and remained in this post until 1968. In addition he was involved in the production of Australia's official Style manual and was a regular contributor to the Canberra Times. Long also produced a concise volume to accompany the official history series, The six years war, which was published in 1973. He died in Canberra of lung cancer on 10 October 1968.

Rolls and Awards

Photograph

006819

1941-03-23. IKINGI MARYUT, EGYPT. SCENE IN THE AUSTRALIAN PRESS CAMP THE NIGHT BEFORE EMBARKATION FOR GREECE WITH CORRESPONDENTS CHECKING THE ISSUE OF TRAVELLING RATIONS. IN THE PICTURE ARE REGINALD GLENNIE, JOHN HETHERINGTON, GAVIN LONG, IAN FITCHETT, MASLYN WILLIAMS AND KEN SLESSOR. (NEGATIVE BY...

006819

007820

At the press camp near Lakoudi, from left to right: Reg Glennie; Chester Wilmot; Gavin Long; Captain Eric H Wilson; Press Relation & Censorship, 1st Australian Conference; and John Hetherington.

007820

023807

A GROUP OF AUSTRALIAN WAR CORRESPONDENTS AND OTHERS RETURNING FROM CRETE ON BOARD THE R.F.A. "CHERRYLEAF", A BRITISH NAVY OILER. FROM THE TOP, LEFT TO RIGHT:- 1. DAMIEN PARER, DEPARTMENT OF INFORMATION; 2. CAPTAIN F.M. HARVEY, MASTER OF THE "CHERRYLEAF"; 3. COMMANDER D.N.J. WILLIAMS, RNR, MASTER OF...

023807

043501

AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL, CANBERRA, ACT. 1975-10-16. MR N.J. FLANAGAN, DIRECTOR, AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL (1) WITH THE PRIME MINISTER OF MALAYSIA, TUN ADBUL RAZAK (2) ON THE OCCASION OF HIS VISIT TO THE AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL. THE PRIME MINISTER IS EXAMINING THE BOOK THE SIX YEAR WAR BY GAVIN LONG,...

043501

043887

MR GAVIN MERRICK LONG, BA, GENERAL EDITOR OF THE OFFICIAL HISTORY, AUSTRALIA IN THE WAR OF 1939-45 PUBLISHED BY THE AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL IN 22 VOLUMES.

043887

043888

MR GAVIN MERRICK LONG, BA, GENERAL EDITOR OF THE OFFICIAL HISTORY, AUSTRALIA IN THE WAR OF 1939-45 PUBLISHED BY THE AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL IN 22 VOLUMES.

043888

043889

MR GAVIN MERRICK LONG, BA, GENERAL EDITOR OF THE OFFICIAL HISTORY, AUSTRALIA IN THE WAR OF 1939-45 PUBLISHED BY THE AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL IN 22 VOLUMES.

043889

043890

MR GAVIN MERRICK LONG, BA, GENERAL EDITOR OF THE OFFICIAL HISTORY, AUSTRALIA IN THE WAR OF 1939-45 PUBLISHED BY THE AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL IN 22 VOLUMES.

043890

043891

MR GAVIN MERRICK LONG, BA, GENERAL EDITOR OF THE OFFICIAL HISTORY, AUSTRALIA IN THE WAR OF 1939-45 PUBLISHED BY THE AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL IN 22 VOLUMES.

043891

044512

CANBERRA, ACT. C. 1954. MEETING OF OFFICIAL WAR HISTORIANS AT ACTON OFFICES THERE TO ATTEND A MEETING OF WRITERS. LEFT TO RIGHT: BACK ROW: MR DOUGLAS GILLISON, MR LIONEL WIGMORE, MR. GEORGE HERMON GILL, DR ALLAN S. WALKER, MR CHESTER WILMOT. CENTRE: MR PAUL HASLUCK, PROFESSOR S.J. BUTLIN, MR GEORGE...

044512

044513

CANBERRA, ACT. C. 1954. MEETING OF OFFICIAL WAR HISTORIANS AT ACTON OFFICES THERE TO ATTEND A MEETING OF WRITERS. AROUND TABLE, LEFT TO RIGHT: MR GAVIN LONG, MR CHESTER WILMOT, DR ALLAN S. WALKER, MR PAUL HASLUCK, MR LIONEL WIGMORE, MR GEORGE ODGERS, SQUADRON LEADER JOHN HERINGTON, PROFESSOR S.J....

044513

052009

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA. 1943-05-25. MR. GAVIN MERRICK LONG, B.A., GENERAL EDITOR, OFFICIAL HISTORY OF AUSTRALIA'S PART IN WORLD WAR II.

052009

106040

Portrait of Mr Gavin Long, journalist and official war historian.

106040

109486

CANBERRA, ACT. 19 JUNE 1945. MR GAVIN LONG, GENERAL EDITOR OF THE OFFICIAL HISTORY OF WORLD WAR TWO, CENTRE, DISCUSSING A MANUSCRIPT WITH COLONEL (COL) A S WALKER, MEDICAL HISTORIAN FOR WORLD WAR TWO, LEFT, AND COL A G BUTLER, MEDICAL HISTORIAN FOR WORLD WAR ONE, RIGHT, IN THE LIBRARY AT THE...

109486

129035

CANBERRA, ACT. AT THE AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL, MR GAVIN LONG (LEFT), THE OFFICIAL HISTORIAN FOR THE SECOND WORLD WAR AND DR C.E.W. BEAN, OFFICIAL HISTORIAN FOR THE FIRST WORLD WAR.

129035

128413

WADY DERNA, LIBYA. 1941-01. THE 17TH AUSTRALIAN INFANTRY BRIGADE IN THE DESERT NEAR WADY DERNA. CAPTURED ITALIAN TRUCKS AND TRAILERS WERE USED ON THE DESERT SUPPLY LINES. (PHOTOGRAPH REPRODUCED IN OFFICIAL HISTORY VOLUME: TO BENGHAZI, PAGE 243).

128413

129034

CANBERRA, ACT. AT THE AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL. LEFT TO RIGHT: MR GAVIN LONG; DR A. G. BUTLER AND DR C. E. W. BEAN, OFFICIAL HISTORIAN.

129034

Private Record

Long, Gavin Merrick (General Editor - Australia in the War of 1939-45, War Correspondent b: 1901 d: 1968)

Private papers of Gavin Long created while working as a defence correspondent 1937 to 1942 and following appointment as General Editor of the 1939-1945 War Official History. Consists of notebooks, diaries, correspondence and newscuttings about his appointment as defence correspondent for the... Maker: Long, Gavin Merrick

PR88/072

Nottage, Stewart Gordon, (Captain), ED, 1905-1974

A collection of papers of Captain Stewart Gordon Nottage, L Heavy Battery, Royal Australian Artillery, Rabaul which includes correspondence, diaries, notebooks, nominal rolls, official documents, photographs, maps and books. The collection highlights the prisoner of war (POW) experience of... Maker: Nottage, A M

PR83/189

Digitised Collection

Volume I – To Benghazi (1961 reprint)

This volume, the first of seven in the army series of the official history of Australia in the war of 1939–45, carries the story of the Second AIF up to the end of the operations in Cyrenaica in the first quarter of 1941. It tells briefly the story of the Australian Army from 1919 to 1939...

RCDIG1070200

Volume II – Greece, Crete and Syria (1st edition, 1953)

This second volume of the army series of the official history of Australia in the war of 1939-1945 describes the campaigns in Greece, Crete and Syria in 1941. In Greece the main British force in the field was the Anzac Corps, commanded by Sir Thomas Blamey and including the 6th Australian...

RCDIG1070201

Volume VII – The Final Campaigns (1st edition, 1963)

This volume concludes the Army Series. It describes the Australian Army campaigns in the last months of 1944 and in 1945. It tells the full story of the fighting in Bougainville, New Britain, round Wewak, at Balikpapan and Tarakan and in British Borneo.

RCDIG1070206

Heraldry

Gold Cross of the Royal Order of the Phoenix : Gavin Merrick Long

Gold Cross of the Royal Order of the Phoenix in original case. The medal is in the form of a gold and white enamelled cross pattee with rounded ends. There is a five pointed star on the upper arm of the cross. On the obverse is a gold phoenix with open wings rising out of the flames, symbolizing...

REL33435

Officer of the Order of the British Empire : Gavin Merrick Long

Officer of the Order of the British Empire (Civil). Unnamed as issued.

REL33436.001

1939-45 Star : Gavin Merrick Long, Australian War Historian

1939-45 Star. Impressed on the reverse with recipient's details.

REL33436.002

Africa Star : Gavin Merrick Long, Australian War Historian

Africa Star. Impressed on the reverse with recipient's details.

REL33436.003

Pacific Star : Gavin Merrick Long, Australian War Historian

Pacific Star. Impressed on reverse with recipient's details.

REL33436.004

Defence Medal : Gavin Merrick Long, Australian War Historian

Defence Medal. Impressed around edge with recipient's details.

REL33436.005

British War Medal 1939-45 : Gavin Merrick Long, Australian War Historian

British War Medal 1939-45. Impressed around edge with recipient's details.

REL33436.006

Australia Service Medal : Gavin Merrick Long, Australian War Historian

Australia Service Medal. Impressed around edge with recipient's details.

REL33436.007

Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal : Gavin Merrick Long

Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal. Unnamed as issued.

REL33436.008

Wrist watch : Gavin Merrick Long

Wrist watch with rectangular face and brown leather band. The yellowed dial bears black numbers and the maker's name 'TAVANNES'. There is a second sub-dial at the six o'clock position.

REL33437

Pair of shoulder titles : Gavin Merrick Long, Australian War Historian

Pair of voided 'AUSTRALIAN WAR HISTORIAN' shoulder titles. On the reverse of each title are two attachment lugs. One title is attached to a khaki shoulder slide.

REL33438

Timeline

Date of birth 1901-05-31 Foster, VIC.
Other 1924 Began to pursue a career as a jackaroo.
Other 1925 Long travelled to England where he worked at Australia House in the migration and settlement office.
Date returned to Australia 1926 Long was employed as a journalist.
Other 1928 Promoted to general reporter for the Argus.
Other 1931 Accepted an appointment as a senior reporter with the Sydney Morning Herald.
Other 1938 Posted to that the Herald's London office and when the Second World War began he became a war correspondent with the British Expeditionary Force in France.
Other 1940-11 He was sent to Egypt to cover Australian operations in the Mediterranean.
Date returned to Australia 1941 Recalled to Australia.
Other 1943 - 1968 Board member of the Australian War Memorial.
Other 1943-03 Appointed general editor of the official history of Australia in the Second World War, of which he wrote three volumes.
Other 1952 Long's first volume of the official history of Australia in the Second World War was published.
Other 1953 Long's second volume of the official history of Australia in the Second World War was published.
Other 1963 Long retired the same year his final volume, The final campaigns, was published.
Other 1963 - 1965 Long worked as a research fellow with the Australian Dictionary of Biography.
Date of death 1968-10-10 Died of lung cancer Canberra, ACT.