Axel Lodewycks

K A Lodewycks, 1910-1990. Obituary  inCite vol. 11, no. 17, 29 Oct 1990, p.5.

The death of Axel Lodewycks, BA, FLAA, brings to an end a distinguished professional career, spanning 1928 to 1973. It was interrupted by his service in the AIF and a short stint in the Australian Archives in Brisbane, 1944-1946. After his return to his starting point, the Public Library of Victoria, he was appointed in 1948 Deputy Librarian to Leigh Scott at the University of Melbourne.  He became University Librarian in 1956 and retired in 1973.

Axel was a gifted scholar and adept at numerous languages. His Scandinavian mother and Belgian father travelled widely, and by the time he was 6, he had lived in Belgium, Zaire, Scandinavia, South Africa and Australia. He completed his BA in 1936 (part-time) at the University of Melbourne.

Axel 's major contributions to librarianship are the planning of the Baillieu Library, Australia's first purpose designed library building, and the development of the concept of cataloguing-in-publication. He got little recognition from the University of Melbourne, whose jealous Professorial Board gave the credit for the library building to one of its members; the profession took years to acknowledge Australian primacy in the now common CIP entries in books.

His Essentials of library planning (1961) remains a valuable guide based on his own experience, while his Funding of wisdom (1982) records his career as a university librarian with all it ups and downs. The Belgians in Australia (1988) is one of the several bicentenary studies of our non-British community groups.

Axel's retiring nature and apparent shyness disappeared in the presence of understanding colleagues and friends. The indignities suffered at Melbourne University lay heavily on his mind and often caused him to appear reserved and almost taciturn. Yet those who knew him found him a wise councillor and a good friend.

DH Borchardt