Geoffrey Thomas Stilwell, AM, BA, ALIA was the Curator of the Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts at the State Library of Tasmania, Hobart. He was born in 1931 and died in Hobart 11 March 2000.
He grew up at Ranelagh, where his family farmed apples and hops. He was educated at The Hutchins School and from a very early age developed a great interest in and deep genealogical knowledge of Tasmanian colonial families. His interests were expressed in later life in the restoration of his home, an elegant stone Georgian cottage at 351 Liverpool Street, Hobart which he purchased in 1963.
His encylopaedic knowledge of Tasmanian art, decorative arts as well as history and genealogy was an invaluable rescource to historians .
He first joined the staff of the State Library of Tasmania on 21 February 1949 but resigned to undertake an Arts degree in 1954 at the University of Tasmania. He then worked as a cataloguer in the Mitchell Library in Sydney and at Bathurst Teachers College, before a working holiday in Europe. He joined the staff of the Archives Office at the State Library of Tasmania in 1959, and on the sudden death of the State Archivist Peter Eldershaw in 1967 he was acting State Archivist for some months. In 1966 he was appointed Special Collections Librarian in charge of the W. L. Crowther and Tasmanian Collection and the recently acquired Allport bequest which he supervised moving from 'Cedar Court' in Sandy Bay to a purpose-built museum within the State Libray of Tasmaina building. The acquisition of items for the State Library's collection from the Launceston- based Tasmanian collection of Dr Clifford Craig in 1975 was also a major undertaking. He was appointed Curator of the Allport collection in 1984. a position he held until his retirement in 1995.
His leisure time was largely spent on historical matters. He was a founding member of the Southern Regional Committee of the National Trust in 1963, where he made a notable contribution to the Building Classification and the 'Runnymede' Committees and was a co-author of the trust's book 'Priceless Heritage', a trustee at Narryna Folk Museum from 1979, a founding member of the Tasmanian Historical Research Association in 1951 and a comittee member since 1959, secretary from 1961 - 1968 and later vice-chairman, a member of the working party of the Australian Dictionary of Biography and a member of the Nomenclature Board from 1972 and Liason Officer for Tasmania for the Australian Dictionary of Australian Artists from 1980 until publication in 1992.
In 1988 he was awarded an AM and the following year the State Library organised an oral history recording program conducted with Geoffrey by Joan Buckie. In 1992 'Tasmanian Insights, a festschrift', a collection of essays by local, interstate and overseas authors who had benefitted from Geoffrey's research and editorial assistance, was published by the State Library of Tasmania.
This agency registration includes many series that were given to Geoffrey by friends and acquaitances because of his well known interest in Tasmanian history. Many such donations he passed to the Archives Office in his official capacity and he was able to provide details of the donors. If that is the case the records have been registered under the relevant creating agency. Where Geoffrey acquired material in a private capacity these have been included here and in this respect Geoffrey Stilwell maybe seen as a "Collector"