IP Australia celebrates our first Commissioner of Patents

28 Oct 2013

We have recently honoured the contributions of Australia’s first Patent Commissioner, Mr George Townsend.

Mr Townsend was Commissioner from 1904 until 1920, having previously been the Patent Commissioner for Queensland.

Mr Townsend's grandchildren graciously donated his portrait, which has been restored and is now permanently displayed in IP Australia's Discovery House.

THE Townsend Photo (2)

George Townsend framed portrait

Born in England in 1859, Mr Townsend trained as a mechanical engineer at the Imperial Dockyards in Kent, before immigrating to New South Wales.

Mr Townsend moved to Victoria in 1904 when the newly formed Commonwealth of Australia opened the first Australian Patent Office in Melbourne.

Mr Townsend steered the Patents Office through a golden era of innovation. During his term in office from 1904 to 1920 the world changed in profound ways. Transportation, communication and many forms of industrial technology we enjoy today had their beginnings in the early Twentieth Century.

Mr Townsend instruments

Mr Townsend's business cards and measuring instruments

Mr Townsend died at his home in Kew, Victoria in 1920 whilst still in office, after spending 31 years in the service of the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments.

A representative of the Townsend family, who generously donated a photograph of Mr Townsend, attended the formal dedication on 24 October 2013.

Australia has had 15 Patent Commissioners since 1904. IP Australia will celebrate its 110th anniversary in 2014.

Philip Noonan speaking

IP Australia’s Director General Philip Noonan speaking at the ceremony

Philip Noonan, Angelo Zorbas, Fatima Beattie

Philip Noonan and Fatima Beattie alongside Angelo Zorbas

Last Updated: 23/11/2013

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