Hugh Gilchrist (1916-2010)

HALSTEAD PRESS AUTHOR Hugh Gilchrist died on 16 October 2010 after what seems to be many lives lived in one.

It was Gilchrist’s appointment as ambassador to Greece in 1968 that began a longstanding commitment to Greece and the Greek people and was the genesis of his masterwork, Australians and Greeks, published in three volumes by Halstead Press.

In a lifetime of achievements as a distinguished diplomat, scholar and writer, Gilchrist accompanied ‘Doc’ Evatt’s 1948 delegation to the UN, had postings to the Balkans, Berlin, London, Paris, Jakarta, Africa and was appointed ambassador to Spain and Greece.

He edited, along with Mungo MacCallum, the army’s wartime publication, Salt, and contributed to student newspapers and revues and the founding of the national union of students in his days at Sydney University in the company of Judith Wright, Forbes Carlisle, James McCauley, Gough Whitlam, Chips Rafferty and Donald Horne.

As with most things, he threw himself into the four-year role of ambassador to Greece; learning modern Greek, immersing himself in Greek life and culture and even naming his daughter Athene.

Later, while researching for Australians and Greeks in retirement, Gilchrist stumbled upon Greek records that showed he had been awarded the Grand Cross of St George by the Greek government.

Described as a ‘unique contributor to Australian-Greek relations and to the Greek community here’ (Canberra Times, 19 November 2010), he is loved and admired by a grateful Greek community in Australia.

The three volume Australians and Greeks has never been out of print since publication and is available from Halstead Press.