Written by Norm Halliwell. 

Today, I would like to advise all of the passing of David Henry Eccles MBE who left this world on 7/12/21 at 8.40am aged 89 from a hospital bed in South Australia.

I remember David very fondly having first met up with him and his wife in England in 1988, and he took my son and I to the most westerly coast of the U.K. near the North Sea; it was bitterly cold there. We came to know him through his involvement with Dr. Ethelwynne Trewavas (later to become Dame Ethelwynne Trewavas), and Lake Malawi Cichlids in general and through the book they co-authored call “Malawi Cichlid Fishes. The classification of some Haplochromine genera. Lake Fish Movies, Herten, 334pp in 1989”.

David was a Rhodes Scholar from the University of Cape Town in Africa, and received an MBE for all his research in 1932.

I corresponded with him on many occasions on differing subjects, mainly to do with African Cichlids, and we kept in contact with each other over many years, to a point that I needed to get someone with credentials to adjudicate on a matter of utmost importance to the Australian Aquarium Industry, when the South Australian Fisheries Department was attempting to totally ban some 360 species of ornamental finfish from being kept, bred, and sold in that State.

It took the Aquarium Industry some 8.5 years to get to a point that these 360 species needed to be analysed and adjudicated as to whether these fish would cause a problem if they accidentally or otherwise appeared in any waterway of South Australia.

To cut a long story short, David was supplied by me with the year round climatic conditions of every waterway in South Australia, together with a list of the 360 species in question, in order to come up with the facts of any incursion into the environment there and was employed by the Aquarium Industry to determine and adjudicate as to how these 360 species of fish would be received into the environment in S.A., if they suddenly appeared there, and after several weeks work David came back with a pile of 500mm high paperwork of these 360 species and eventually this was supplied to the S.A. Fisheries Department, that FLOORED them in its detail, that enabled some 341 species from the list of 360, be allowed to be kept, bred, and sold in that State.

If it were not for David Eccles, I really do not know what would have happened, as I felt this was going to be the “thin edge of the wedge” as I felt there were other Australian States looking at this case in S.A., (which incidentally there were), and I for one did not want this to occur in New South Wales.

I will be eternally grateful for all the detailed work that David Eccles supplied to resolve this issue on behalf of the Aquarium Industry. The respect I have for him is enormous, it really is.

David was a loving father, and according to his son Will, a somewhat distracted husband, and a doting grandfather to his two grandchildren. REST IN PEACE.

Vale David Henry Eccles MBE  7/8/32 to 7/12/21 89 years old.