Former ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Chubb AC with Hope Hewitt (née Tillyard) in 2006. Photo by Stuart Hay.

Former ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Chubb AC with Hope Hewitt (née Tillyard) in 2006. Photo by Stuart Hay.

Life Sentences: The Tillyard family

One Canberra family name has had a remarkable impact on a number of aspects of the capital, as the Australian Dictionary of Biography's MELANIE NOLAN writes.

Robin and Pattie Tillyard named their four daughters Patience, Faith, Hope and Honor "after the virtues", their mother explained.

They also chose those names "because she did not want to offend the grandmothers, both of whom had the unfashionable name of Fanny". 

The Tillyards were well-known in Canberra as the city began to take shape and the family had a long-lasting legacy in the nation's capital.

As a result, they are all well represented in the Australian Dictionary of Biography.

Robin and Pattie were graduates of the University of Cambridge and separately came to Sydney, where they married in 1909.

They headed to Nelson, New Zealand, where Robin (1881-1937) - a naturalist and entomologist - served as head of the biology department at Cawthron Institute.

In 1928, Robin was appointed the first head of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research entomology division in Canberra.

Pattie Tillyard, née Craske (1880-1971) MBE was a biologist and suffragist who had illustrated her husband's book The Insects of Australia and New Zealand (Sydney, 1926).

She became deeply involved in community work in Canberra, arguing "there ought to be women on every governing body".

She was fundamental in establishing the ANU Tillyard Prize in 1940.

The prize is the oldest and most prestigious prize available to Bachelor degree students whose personal qualities and contribution to university life have been outstanding.