Gerald Lightfoot

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As Chairman for the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA), Gerald Lightfoot was a valuable contributor to Australia’s technical infrastructure and future industrial development. Mr Lightfoot was one of the key figures in the emergence of the national measurement system and participated in Standards Australia’s governing body for over thirty years. He was an influential figure in the history, and ongoing practice of standards within Australia.  

After migrating to from England to Australia in 1906, Gerald Lightfoot joined the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics. During his time with the Bureau, he was responsible for establishing its Labour and Industrial Branch and extending it to the main industrial centres of the Commonwealth.  

Mr Lightfoot was one of the key figures in the emergence of the national measurement system, and he participated in Australia’s standards development for over thirty years.  

In 1916, Mr Lightfoot was chosen by the then Prime Minister, Mr. W. M. (Billy) Hughes, to accompany him overseas and enquire into the work and organisation of industrial research institutions in England and America. Several years later, in 1919 he published the foundational, Engineering standardisation pamphlet. In this paper he outlined the steps taken from late 1918 in gathering support for a Commonwealth engineering standards association. He provided the rationale for this development with keen insight and knowledge, and then went into considerable detail, using words and diagrams, on how an association could be structured and what it would do. 

Additionally, Mr Lightfoot was involved in the establishment of the today’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) where he was secretary from 1926 till 1944 (formerly known as Commonwealth Institute of Science and Industry—CISI).  

In February 1947, Gerald was elected Chairman of the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA).  

NATA was a valuable contributor to Australia’s technical infrastructure and future industrial development. Mr Lightfoot’s appointment as Chairman symbolised the complementary relationship between Standard Australia’s work and NATA’s role as a testing and accreditation body.  

“In many ways, Gerald Lightfoot was the first major contributor to standards within several industries. He helped shape our way of life at the time and paved the way for standards to evolve to benefit our communities and industries. Gerald is a prolific figure and should be celebrate for years to come," said Adrian O’Connell, CEO of Standards Australia.   

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