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Geoffrey Forrester Fairbairn (1924 - 1980)

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Geoffrey Forrester Fairbairn
Born in South Yarra, Victoria, Australiamap
Ancestors ancestors
[spouse(s) unknown]
[children unknown]
Died in Westminster, London, Englandmap
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PARENTS. James Valentine Fairbairn & Daisy Olive (Forrester) Fairbairn

BIRTH. 6 Oct 1924, Feenan, South Yarra, Victoria, Australia

BIRTH NOTICE. FAIRBAIRN. — On the 6th October, at Feenan, South Yarra, to Mr. and Mrs. J. V. Fairbairn–a son.

WWII Service Record:
Service Royal Australian Navy
Service Number PM4461
Date of Birth 6 Oct 1924
Place of Birth VIC
Date of Enlistment 6 May 1942
Locality on Enlistment Unknown
Home Port/Port Division PORT MELBOURNE, VIC
Next of Kin DAISY
Date of Discharge 24 Sep 1945
Posting at Discharge HMAS Bingera
WW2 Honours and Gallantry None for display
Prisoner of War No

MARRIAGE (1). 21 Jul 1945, Christ Church, South Yarra, South Yarra, Victoria, Australia

MARRIAGE (1). 21 Jul 1945, Rosamund Anne Clifford, daughter of Lewis Joseph Clifford & Amy Beaumont (Webster) Clifford

WEDDING REPORT. Married At Christ Church, South Yarra. At Christ Church, South Yarra, on Saturday afternoon the marriage was celebrated of Rosamund Anne, youngest daughter of the Hon Lewis Clifford, of Yarra Brae, Wonga Park, Victoria, and Chudleigh, Devon, England, and the late Mrs Clifford, to Sub-Lieut Geoffrey Forrester Fairbairn, RANR, only son of Mrs J. V. Fairbairn, of Mt Elephant, Derrinalum, and of the late Mr James Fairbairn. Rev John McKie officiated. The bride was given away by her father. She wore a gown of pearl tinted satin, an old lace veil lent by Mrs Alex Russell, and she carried a small cluster of pink tipped orchids. She was attended by Miss Angela Fairbairn, sister of the bridegroom, and Miss Gardenia Seymour, flower girl, who wore white tulle frocks over pink slips and wreaths of pink carnations on their heads. The bridegroom was supported by LAC David Darling, RAAF.


(1) Katrina Elizabeth Fairbairn, b. 3 Mar 1947, d. 2005, m (1). 1968, Robert Moss, son of ??, div. 1982, m (2). 1986, Peter Laurence Wise, son of ??
BIRTH NOTICE. FAIRBAIRN. —On March 3, at the Mercy Hospital, to Rosamond and Geoffrey — a daughter (Katrina). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) Wed 12 Mar 1947, Page 2:
DEATH. 2005
Name Katrina Elizabeth Wise
Event Type Death
Registration Quarter Jul-Aug-Sep
Registration Year 2005
Registration District Westminster
County London
Event Place Westminster, London, England
Birth Date (available after June quarter 1969) 03 Mar 1947
Volume 2581A
Page A52C
(2) James Clifford Fairbairn, b. 16 Jun 1950, m. 1979, Catherine Elizabeth Cruickshank, daughter of Professor E. K. Cruickshank & ??
(3) Charles Marcus Clifford Fairbairn, b. 28 Oct 1956, d. 15 Mar 2015, m. 1984, Sarah Jane Coveney, daughter of P. A. Coveney & ??
DEATH NOTICE. Charles Marcus Clifford Fairbairn 26.10.1956 - 15.3.2015. In London. Husband of Sarah (dec). Father of Chloe and Rory. Son of Rosamund Fisher and Geoffrey Fairbairn (dec). Brother of Trina (dec) and Jamie. Adored nephew of Angela and Peter Mercer (both dec). Much loved cousin to Mary Browne and Tim Mercer (dec) and their families. The Age, Mar. 21, 2015:

DIVORCE. 1965.

Fate of Spouse (1): DEATH. date/location unknown

MARRIAGE (2). 1965, Anne Body, neé Reid, granddaughter of Sir George Reid [1]

DEATH. 11 Sep 1980, Westminster, London, England

DEATH. 1980
Name Geoffrey Forrester Fairbairn
Event Type Death Registration
Registration Quarter Jul-Aug-Sep
Registration Year 1980
Registration District Westminster
County London
Event Place Westminster, London, England
Birth Date (available after June quarter 1969) 06 Oct 1924
Volume 15, Page 1813, Line Number 43

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE. [2] Geoffrey Forrester Fairbairn was a Reader in History at the Australian National University, Canberra, and a well-respected commentator on Southeast Asian politics.

Fairbairn was born in Melbourne on 6 October 1924. He was the son of James Valentine Fairbairn, who was Minister for Air in 1939-40 in the first Menzies Ministry. His father died tragically in an air disaster in Canberra in 1940. The RAAF Fairbairn Base in Canberra was named in his honour in 1941.

Fairbairn attended Geelong Grammar School, leaving early to serve with the Royal Australian Navy during World War II. After demobilisation, he went on to obtain a Degree of Bachelor of Arts from Cambridge University in 1949. He then spent some time in Australia working on the family's property in Victoria, before returning to England where he tried (unsuccessfully) to write novels. In 1961 Professor Manning Clark, who had been one of Fairbairn's teachers at Geelong Grammar School, offered him a lectureship in History at the Australian National University, which he accepted. He remained with the University until his retirement in 1979.

Fairbairn travelled extensively in Southeast Asia, and developed an abiding interest in the politics of the region. By the late 1960s, he was regarded as one of the leading conservative analysts of the Vietnam War and Southeast Asian affairs generally. Fairbairn became the country's foremost expert on the theory of guerrilla warfare, publishing two books on the subject.

Fairbairn was married twice. In 1945 he married Rosamund, daughter of the 13th Lord Clifford of Chudleigh. They had three children. They were divorced, and in 1965 he married Anne Body, neé Reid, granddaughter of Sir George Reid. Fairbairn died in London of lung cancer on 11 September 1980.


  1. Reid, Sir George Houstoun (1845–1918), by W. G. McMinn, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 11, (MUP), 1988:
  2. Biographical Note in Guide to the Papers of Geoffrey Fairbairn:

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