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DUIGAN, Terence Lawless (1916-2006)

Cartoon by Terry Duigan Published in Pegasus, 1935.

Cartoon by Terry Duigan Published in Pegasus, 1935.

DUIGAN, Terence Lawless (1916-2006)

'Terry' Duigan, architect and pilot designed many of the educational buildings of Geelong including Geelong Grammar’s Timbertop, Marcus Oldham College and several buildings within Deakin University.

He was the son of the pioneering aviator, Reginald Charles Duigan who in 1910, together with his brother John Robertson Duigan, built and flew the first Australian built aircraft to fly in Australia. Terry Duigan was born in Kyneton but went firstly to Elliminyt Primary School and then Colac High School after the family moved to a farm near Colac. He was educated at Geelong College from 1929 until 1933. At College, he won the Under 16 handicap tennis championship in 1932 and in the following year the Open Championship. He also won the Drawing Prize of 1933. After leaving school, he completed a Bachelor of Architecture at Melbourne University.

At the outbreak of war in 1939 he enlisted but was not called up until May, 1940. In November, 1940, he gained his ‘wings’ and on that same day married Gwynne Elizabeth nee Eeles. He was initially posted to Rathmines RAAF base near Lake Macquarie and then to Port Moresby with 11 Squadron but was returned to Cairns after the Japanese invasion of New Guinea. He flew Short Empire Flying Boats and Catalinas mainly on patrol over New Guinea, the Solomons, New Britain and the Netherlands East Indies (Indonesia) and was to feature in the Battle of the Bismark Sea, one of the decisive battles of the Pacific war, when he re-discovered a Japanese fleet that had been ‘lost’ by the American patrols. For this action he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

After the war he returned to architectural practice with the firm, Buchan, Laird and Buchan in Geelong. He was a talented cartoonist and water colourist and several of his cartoons featured in The Bulletin and The Digger. He was also responsible for the design of several monuments including that in Cairns honouring the WW II Catalina pilots and crew, and at Mia Mia, Victoria where his father’s plane first flew. The original Duigan Pusher Biplane survived and is now held by the Museum of Victoria. A reproduction is on display there. In 2003, to celebrate 100 years of flight a one sixth scale model of the Biplane built by Garry Sunderland, was flown at the Geelong College.

Sources: Frontiers of Flight-Geelong Times 10 December 2003; Students’ Blind Desire-Geelong Advertiser 6 December 2006; Obituary-Geelong Advertiser 6 May 2006; Obituary Brisbane Courier-Mail 5 June 2006; James Affleck, Geelong Collegians at the Second World War.
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