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John Western

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John Stuart Western was born in Adelaide in 1931 and grew up in Melbourne. First studying psychology and social psychology at the University of Melbourne, Western went on to study social studies before gaining his PhD in sociology at Columbia University in the United States in 1962. Returning to Australia, he took up a position in the Department of Psychology at the Australian National University and later moved to the University of Queensland to take up a Senior Lectureship in Government. In 1970 Western was appointed as the first Professor of Sociology at the University of Queensland, a position he held until he retired in 1996. Western’s distinguished career saw him publish profusely across a wide range of subject areas with over 50 books, monographs and commissioned reports added to 70 book chapters and 120 journal articles. Just two of his many publications are Comparative Anomie Research (1999) and Understanding Youth Crime (2003). Western was instrumental as both institution builder and pioneer to the discipline of sociology in Australia, becoming president of SAANZ in 1975 and the inaugural TASA president in 1989, and serving as editor of ANZJS in 1989 and also 1982-85. He contributed also to the discipline beyond the shores of Australia, and his commitment to the broader Asia Pacific region saw him appointed as the inaugural President of the Asia-Pacific Sociological Association, an organisation he helped establish. Western participated in numerous public policy initiatives, including serving as Commissioner for the Queensland Criminal Justice Commission from 1990 to 1993. Adding to his many accolades, Western was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2009 for his contributions to sociology and education. Western passed away on the 6 January 2011.