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D'Arcy Ananda Neil Cromer (1910–2003)

by R. C. Ellis

Several functions were arranged during 1989 to recognise the contribution to forestry and the Institute of members having achieved 50 year’s membership of the IFA.

Dr D.A.N. (Neil) Cromer

Neil Cromer was born in 1910 in South Australia and attended both the University of Sydney and the University of Adelaide, as well as the Australian Forestry School to achieve BSc (For.) and MSc degrees. During his period at AFS (1930/31) the idea of formation of an Institute of Foresters was being debated. Neil commenced work with the NSW Forestry Commission at Coffs Harbour, where he found himself the only professional forester between Kempsey and Queensland but still kept in touch with the institute movement, becoming a foundation member in 1935. His certificate is numbered 19 and signed by S. L. Kessel and G. J. Rodger.

Neil served with distinction in the Air Force in WW2, discharged with the rank of Squadron Leader. Shortly after he joined the Commonwealth Forestry and Timber Bureau based in Sydney where he was elected Chairman of the NSW Division of the Institute in 1948 and President from 1950–53.

The first conference of the IFA was held in Canberra in 1954, where Neil was now stationed. He was Chairman of the Organising Committee for this historic and successful meeting. Shortly after this our benefactor, Sir Russell Grimwade made a bequest to the Institute which became the Russell Grimwade Bequest Press, for multilithing Institute documentation and newsletter. From 1958–68 Neil was voluntary ‘Press Officer’ contributing untold hours of work to the Institute cause, as well as earning a DSc from the University of Queensland.

In 1960/61 he was elected Chairman ACT Division, a unique distinction in chairing two divisions as well as the Presidency. Throughout he continued a highly successful career in research in forest inventory at the Forest Research Institute of which he became Director in 1963.

At the fourth IFA Conference in Hobart in 1965 Neil was awarded the 1964 N W Jolly Memorial Medal. He was elected to the grade of Fellow in 1969. From 1970–1975 he was Director General of the Forestry and Timber Bureau, retiring in 1975. In his roles as Director and Director General he was very active in representing Australia at the international level, heading numerous delegations and as member or chairman of IUFRO and FAO committees. He was a member of the Governing Council at the Commonwealth Forestry Association 1971–82. On retirement Neil has remained active in Institute affairs. He was a member of the Organising Committee (1979/80) for the first joint NZ Australia Conference and has attended both joint conferences to date. To round out a remarkably full career he is currently a convenor of a committee to establish a National Woodcraft organisation and is a life member of the Woodcraft Guild of the ACT.

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R. C. Ellis, 'Cromer, D'Arcy Ananda Neil (1910–2003)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 26 May 2024.

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