DUMAS, SIR (FREDERICK) LLOYD (1891–1973)
The son of an emigrant printer, Dumas began his career aged 15 as a cadet on the Adelaide Advertiser. He was one of the founders of the South Australian branch of the Australian Journalists’ Association in 1911. Excelling as a sports and parliamentary reporter, he moved to the Melbourne Argus in 1915, becoming the paper’s federal political roundsman. He joined Prime Minister William Hughes’ staff for the second conscription campaign in 1917, and accompanied Hughes, as his publicity officer, to the Imperial Conference in London in 1918.
Peacetime saw Dumas return to the Argus, where he was appointed its youngest ever chief of staff in 1921. In 1924, he took on the role of editor of Melbourne’s new morning challenger, the Sun News-Pictorial. A year later, Sir Hugh Denison sold the title to (Sir) Keith Murdoch’s Herald and Weekly Times (HWT) after an intense newspaper battle.
In 1927, Dumas left for London to become the editor and manager of the United Cable Service, the position Murdoch had held during the war. He was enticed home to Adelaide to serve as managing editor of Advertiser Newspapers Ltd after a Murdoch-led syndicate bought the struggling company. As the Depression bit, both men revelled in the strategising that would lead to Adelaide’s morning press falling under their monopoly control. The promotion of Joseph Lyons for prime minister in 1932, employing Advertiser Newspapers’ newly established radio station 5AD as well as the press under their control, was just one example of the pair’s politicking. In a letter to Dumas, Murdoch would later describe Lyons as the man ‘we chose and made’. Dumas was also associated with the longevity of Sir Thomas Playford’s Coalition government in South Australia.
Dumas had been elevated to the board of Advertiser Newspapers in 1931; he became its managing director in 1938 and chairman in 1942. As well as radio, Dumas’s era would see Advertiser Newspapers embrace television with the launch of ADS7 in 1959, while its small job-printing office was developed into one of Australia’s largest printing houses as Griffin Press. Dumas retired as chairman in 1967. His career had also seen service on the boards of the HWT (1946–67) and Australian News- print Mills Pty Ltd (1938–67), and leadership as chairman of Australian Associated Press (1949–62) and Reuters News Agency, London (1950–53).
REF: L. Dumas, The Story of a Full Life (1969).
TOM D.C. ROBERTS