Joanne Daly, interviewed by Tom Spurling and Terry Healy, 7 February 2019

By March 5th, 2019

Joanne Daly was the Chief of the Division of Entomology (2003-2007) and a member of the Group Executive, Agriculture (2007-2010)

Edited transcript (PDF – 459 KB)

Interview summary

Dr Joanne Daly was born in Darlinghurst, NSW to a young couple making their way in the post-war suburban expansion of Sydney. She went to the local primary and secondary schools, where ‘school was fun’. The community expectations were that she would leave school at 15 but she was encouraged by her parents and teachers to complete secondary school and go to University. She commenced a science degree at the University of Sydney in 1971. In the first part of the interview she talks about her interest in population genetics leading to her first-class honours degree from the University of Sydney and her PhD from the Australian National University.

Joanne talks about her life as a student at the ANU and as a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of California at Berkeley. This part of the interview has a discussion about the use of the ‘grey literature’ in technology transfer in the agricultural industries.

Joanne joined the CSIRO Division of Entomology in 1983 on a short term contract as an Experimental Officer did well and was appointed as a Research Scientist in 1984. She discusses her experiences as a Research Scientist and mother, including using her time on maternity leave to write some of her better papers.

She talks in detail about her experiences as a research leader in the Division of Entomology especially during the late 90s and early 2000s when CSIRO was undergoing great challenges and changes. She spent a year on secondment to the Department of Education, Science and Technology and expands on her views on the way in which CSIRO should engage with the Commonwealth bureaucracy.

In the final part of the interview Joanne talks about her view on the role of CSIRO in the 21st century.


Interview conducted by Tom Spurling and Terry Healy and recorded at CSIRO Black Mountain (Canberra) on 7 February 2019 as part of the CSIRO History Project.


Copyright owned by Swinburne University of Technology and CSIRO. Some re-use permitted (Creative Commons BY-NC-ND)

Related information

Joanne Daly interviewed by Alice Garner in the Fulbright scholars oral history project (National Library of Australia)