Philip James Ayres
Philip James Ayres (born 28 July 1944 at Lobethal, South Australia) is an Australian biographer and literary historian, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (London), a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, and a recipient of the Centenary Medal for contributions to literature in 2001.
His biography subjects include Malcolm Fraser, Douglas Mawson, former Australian Chief Justice Sir Owen Dixon, Sydney's late-19th-century, early-20th-century Catholic Archbishop Patrick Francis Moran and Sir Ninian Stephen (who had been Australia's Governor-General for most of the 1980s).
His literary-historical books include Classical Culture and the Idea of Rome in Eighteenth-Century England, According to WorldCat, the book is held in 398 libraries  He is the editor of the two-volume Clarendon Press edition of Shaftesbury’s Characteristicks.
The British Law Quarterly Review described his Owen Dixon as a “conspicuous success” in marrying “distinguished scholarship and narrative skills”, while the Australian Law Journal devoted a 14-page section to complimentary analyses of the same book. Fortunate Voyager, the account of Sir Ninian Stephen's life, displays similar research and narrative methodologies. The other biographies have also received generally excellent reviews in the relevant professional journals, although the author has been criticised for declining to moralise his objectivist presentation of character
He has also written first-hand accounts of several conflict zones, having travelled with Malcolm Fraser in South Africa (1986) and Somalia (1992), and with the Hezb-i-Islami jihadists in Afghanistan in 1987.
He has been twice married (1965 to Maruta Sudrabs; 1981 to Patricia Monypenny née San Martin). He lives in Melbourne and Camperdown (Western Victoria).
- http://www.itsanhonour.gov.au/honours/awards/medals/centenary_medal.cfm (accessed 21 July 2013)
- University of Adelaide (1969-1971: Tutor); Monash University (1972-2006: Senior Lecturer, Associate Professor, Head of Department); Vassar College (1993: Visiting Professor); Boston University (2001: Professorial Fellow and Visiting Professor).
- Malcolm Fraser: A Biography (Heinemann, Melbourne, 1987).
- Mawson: A Life (Miegunyah/Melbourne University Press, Carlton, 1999).
- Owen Dixon (Miegunyah/Melbourne University Press, Carlton, 2003; 2004; rev. edn 2007).
- Prince of the Church: Patrick Francis Moran 1830-1911 (Miegunyah/Melbourne University Press, Carlton, 2007).
- Fortunate Voyager: The Worlds of Ninian Stephen (Miegunyah/Melbourne University Press, Carlton, 2013).
- Classical Culture and the Idea of Rome in Eighteenth-Century England (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1997).
- WorldCat author record
- Anthony Ashley Cooper, 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury, Characteristics of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times (2 vols, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1999).
- Tom Bingham, review of Owen Dixon, (2005) 121 Law Quarterly Review, 154-158 at 154.
- (2003) 77 Australian Law Journal, 682-696 (High Court Centenary number).
- Mawson: its “high level of research and carefully crafted writing make it a worthy addition to Australian scientific biography”—Brigid Hains, Historical Records of Australian Science, 13, ii (2000), 226-228; see also Rod Beecham in Australian Book Review, June/July 2004, p. 35: “Ayres’s great virtue as a biographer is his scrupulous reliance on primary sources, which he has researched meticulously. He can also be funny.”
- Frank Brennan, “Tales from the Bench”, Eureka Street, July/August 2003, 37-39.
- “South African Diary”, final chapter of Ayres, Malcolm Fraser.
- Quadrant, vol. 36, no. 12, December 1992, pp. 9-14.
- “Khost: The Crucial Siege”, The Age, Saturday Extra, 28 November 1987, pp. 1-6.