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Papers of Michael Dobes, 1912-1969
Bib ID 7764750
Format ManuscriptManuscript [text, volume]
Author
Dobes, Michael, 1909-1994
 
Access Conditions Available for research. Not for loan. 
Description [between 1912 and 1969] 
0.03 m (1 folder) 
Summary

This collection contains a small selection of documents, including a photograph of Michael Dobes as child with his family in Slovakia circa 1912; a photograph of Michael Dobes at his Progress Lamps desk circa 1960s; a letter from the Illuminating Engineering Society of Australia enclosing a copy of a Meritorious Lighting Award certificate, 1969; and a business card and catalogue from Progress Lamps. The Meritorious Lighting Award was awarded to the National Library of Australia, and Michael Dobes made the light fittings featured on the inside of the external columns of the National Library of Australia building.

Biography/History

Michael Dobes was born Armin Back in the small town of Kovarce, Slovakia in 1909. His father was killed on the Russian front in Bukovina in 1915 during the Great War. Michael attended Jewish public school in Nitra and Topolcany, later studying electrical engineering at a technical college in Brno and living in a hostel for war orphans. To avoid anti-Semitic feeling he declared himself an atheist whilst at college. Qualifying as an electrical engineer he met and married Ruth, a Czech Jew dressmaker, in 1938. They moved to Prague for work, where they were denounced as saboteurs and deported to Theresienstad concentration camp in 1942, then to Zamosc labor camp in Poland. Narrowly avoiding execution, they eventually settled in Bratislava with false documents bearing the names Barbara and Michael Dobes. Retaining these assumed identities, in 1949 they emigrated, penniless and without English, to Australia. Within ten years they had opened a light shop, Progress Lamps, in the Royal Arcade in Sydney. Michael designed and made specialty light fittings while Barbara worked in the showroom. Completed commissions include light fittings on the external columns of the National Library of Australia (cylinders with a copper ring around the middle) and wall brackets for the interior of the Australian Academy of Science.

Notes

Manuscript reference number: MS 10428.

Subjects Dobes, Michael, 1909-1994 -- Archives.  |  Progress Lamps Company.  |  Illuminating Engineering Society of Australia.  |  National Library of Australia -- Buildings -- Design and construction.  |  Electrical engineers -- Australia -- Archives.  |  Designers -- Australia -- Archives.  |  Artisans -- Australia -- Archives  |  Lighting, Architectural and decorative.  |  Lighting -- Design -- Australia.
Time Coverage 1912-1969 
Occupation Electrical engineers.  |  Designers.  |  Artisans.
Other authors/contributors Illuminating Engineering Society of Australia
Terms of Use Copying of Michael Dobes' copyright material is permitted for research purposes. 

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