Martin Playne was trained as an agricultural scientist at the University of Queensland, majoring in biochemistry, and followed this with a PhD in microbiology and biochemistry at the University of Edinburgh. He has had a career as a research scientist with CSIRO, the Australian Government scientific research organization. Soon after leaving CSIRO in 2000, he started research on the social history of Victoria in the years following its settlement, or as some would say, its invasion by white people in the early part of the nineteenth century. He examined how this history related to his own family histories.
Two Squatters: the lives of George Playne and Daniel Jennings is his first book on social history, and is a biography of two men from very different backgrounds. His research has revealed how each of these little-known men made important contributions to the development of Victoria during their 15 years in Victoria. The book illustrates the historical value of examining, in detail, lives of individuals during those boisterous years of early settlement and the gold rush. The author’s experience in family historical research has been used fully to create living stories of the families of both men and their childhood years in England.
Dr Playne has written some 120 scientific papers, reports, reviews and book chapters. He has edited and produced for over 15 years, a two-monthly journal Australasian Biotechnology. He has been a regular reviewer of papers submitted to leading international scientific journals, and an examiner of many theses. Thus, he is able to draw on this experience in research methods, in assessing published literature, and in writing, in his current ventures in social history. He has been the lead author and editor of an acclaimed business directory:
Playne, M.J., and Arnold, B.L. (1993) Australian and New Zealand Biotechnology Directory (1st Edition) (Australian Biotechnology Association: Melbourne) 304pp. ISSN 1032-8068.
His most recent scientific publication is a major book chapter:
Playne, M.J. and Crittenden, R. G. (2009) Galacto-oligosaccharides and other products derived from lactose IN: Advanced Dairy Chemistry – 3. Lactose, Water, Salts and Minor Constituents (PLH Mc Sweeney and PF Fox: eds) 3rd Edition, Springer Publishers, New York, Chapter 5, pages 121-201. ISBN 978-0-387-84864-8.
He has been a joint recipient of the Jack Kefford Award for the best paper in 1998 of the Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology, and recipient of a similar award by the Dairy Industry Association of Australia for 2004.
He was born in Wales, and spent the first 11 years of his life in Britain. This background has allowed him to understand and appreciate the British people and their history. That history, of course, is intimately linked to the early history of Australia since white settlement. He lives in Melbourne, Victoria.
He is continuing research into the social history of the Port Phillip District during the period of its early settlement by Europeans with a view to writing further books in this genre of the lives of hitherto little known men and women who made important contributions to society. Dr Playne has also developed a proposal for a book for laymen on Bugs In Your Tummy- A Scientific Guide To Probiotics And Your Health.
He is a member of the Editorial Team for Ancestor - the quarterly magazine of the Genealogical Society of Victoria.
His recent publications on social and family history can be found under the link to Publications.
The Playne Family Crest
(the meaning of the word is to indicate the rebirth of new shoots from a tree stump- the crest is known to date back to 1576)