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ABC of Criminology: Anita Muhl, J.V. Barry, Norval Morris and the Making of a Discipline in Australia

NCJ Number
British Journal of Criminology Volume: 46 Issue: 3 Dated: May 2006 Pages: 399-422
Mark Finnane
Date Published
May 2006
24 pages
This paper reviews the history of criminology in Australia during and after World War II, with attention to the major players, their intellectual and political commitments, and their international affiliations.
The first lecturer in criminology in an Australian university was Anita Muhl, who came to Australia from the United States in 1938 upon an invitation from Una Cato, a psychiatrist who funded Muhl's residence in Australia and her subsequent appointment at the University of Melbourne. Anita Muhl was a psychiatrist with an interest in crime forensics and crime prevention. Muhl's role in Australian criminology, however, was due mainly to the war-time collaboration between George Paton -- lecturer in jurisprudence at the London School of Economics, then Dean of Law at the University of Melbourne, and later vice-chancellor of that university -- and J.V. Barry -- a leading counsel at the Victorian Bar and recently appointed a King's Counsel. Paton and Barry were instrumental in promoting criminology as a science in Australia and in creating the post for Anita Muhl at Melbourne University. The publication in 1941 of her public lectures in criminology makes her the first author of an Australian criminology text, "The ABC of Criminology," which focused on crime prevention. Another major figure in Australian criminology was Norval Morris, who came to criminology through jurisprudence and the patronage of George Paton. Morris, Barry, and Paton were instrumental in creating an interdisciplinary Board of Studies in Criminology at Melbourne University, which in turn defined the parameters for a new Department of Criminology. This Melbourne department remained Australasia's only one for more than a decade. The establishment of the Institute of Criminology at Sydney in 1964 added another academic element, and the 1871 legislation that established the Australian Institute of Criminology in 1973 was government's recognition of criminology. 74 references