Series 433 - Papers of Dr E J (Ted) Steele

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Papers of Dr E J (Ted) Steele


  • 1978 - 2004 (Creation)

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22 Type 1 boxes

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(1948 -)

Biographical history

Ted Steele received his PhD in Immunology in 1976 (University of Adelaide) for research on immunological mechanisms against diseases of microsal surfaces such as cholera. He then began a post-doctoral fellowship at the John Curtin School of Medical Research at the Australian National University, studying mechanisms of antibody diversity and anti-immune reactions. In 1977 this post-doctoral work continued at the Ontario Cancer Institute in Toronto, Canada (through to 1980) and during these years his interests in immunology became intimately involved with general evolutionary mechanisms as well as with the growth of knowledge and the philosophy of science. Steele’s work on the theory of evolution aroused considerable interest, criticism and controversy and, in 1980-1981 he spent a post-doctoral year in London (Clinical Research Centre, Harrow) where the controversy surrounding his studies reached a peak. In 1981 Steele returned to Australia to continue post-doctoral studies at the John Curtin School of Medical Research. In 1985 Steele took a lectureship at the University of Wollongong, where he was able to continue his work and to rise to the position of associate professor. From the late 1900s Steele began to publicly voice his concerns over the marking standards and academic management at the University and, on 26 February 2001, he was summarily dismissed from his tenured post of associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences for 'breaking an employment relationship'. This ‘unfair dismissal’ issue was resolved on 6 July 2002 when Steele and the University of Wollongong came to a confidential agreement. Although little is known in regard to the settlement, Steele did not return to the University. Ted Steele was Honorary Visiting Fellow John Curtin School of Medical Research, 1986-2003 and Research School of Biological Sciences, 2003-2009 and, in 2010, Research Director of CY O'Connnor ERADE Village Foundation, Canning Vale, Western Australia.

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Scope and content

Papers relating Ted Steele’s academic career, 1981-2003; scientific research and publications, 1993-2003, mainly pertaining to his reassessment of Lamarck’s evolution theories; alleged scientific misconduct by John Curtin School of Medical Research director, Professor Kevin Lafferty, 1977; plagiarism dispute with British scientist, Professor John Cairns, 1981-1992; criticism of the University of Wollongong’s academic standards and the assessment of honours students in Department of Biological Sciences, 1989-2001; dismissal from the University of Wollongong, 26 Feb 2002, and the involvement of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) following this event. Includes the campaign against proposed changes to the administrative and financial control of the John Curtin School of Medical Research at the Australian National University, 1991-1993; Senate Inquiry into the capacity of public universities to meet Australia’s higher education needs, 2001. Also contains photographs, audio visual material and books.


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Access under a 20-30 year rule

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Dates of creation revision deletion

Entered from series register March 2014; revised by Margaret Avard, July 2015




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