Class notes

We want to hear from you

University of Sydney Alumni are in the news around the world every day. However we would like to hear about the adventures of less public, but equally interesting, alumni. Tell us what you are up to and where your University degree has taken you personally and professionally.

You can submit your update online or you can email your story together with any photographs to the editor, Diana Simmonds at


2000s

Dr Reuben Bolt (PhD ’10)
Photo of Dr Reuben Bolt

Is the first indigenous student to graduate with a doctorate from the Faculty of Health Sciences. Deputy Chancellor and Fellow of Senate Alan Cameron presided in an exciting event for the Faculty, with four visiting academics who were significant in Dr Bolt’s journey joining the academic procession: Professor Chris Cunningham, Massey University, Wellington NZ; Professor Gavin Mooney, based in Western Australia; Associate Professor Susan Page, Head of Department of Indigenous Affairs, Macquarie University; and Ms Sally Farrington, University of Tasmania, School of Human Life Sciences, Rozelle Campus. Both Dr Page and Ms Farrington were previously FHS academic staff at Yooroang Garang, Cumberland campus.
Members of Dr Bolt’s family were in the front row for the occasion – his wife, three-year-old daughter, newborn son, both parents, his aunty, two sisters and 82-year-old grandmother. Also with the family as personal friends were Professor Cunningham’s wife and daughter who came from New Zealand for the graduation. Dr Bolt has accepted a position at UNSW.

Ganesh Sahathevan (LLM ’03)

Is a Fellow at the American Center for Democracy, a researcher and reporter from Sydney, Australia who focuses on South East Asian business, economic and politics. This work has led him into research of structures that support terrorist and jihadist activities in the region, and their links to similar structures in other parts of the world. Ganesh investigated financial mismanagement in Malaysia prior to the financial crisis in the ’90s.
public-integrity.org/team.php


1990s

Mimi Fong (BA ’95 LLB ’97)

Practised law for a year and a half before moving into the legal recruitment profession, specialising in relocating lawyers around the world to the major global law firms. After forging a successful recruitment career over a decade and building up an extensive network of contacts, I set up my own international recruitment business in 2008 called Amicas Global, a high end consultancy which recruits lawyers, HR and marketing/BD professionals to the leading international law firms worldwide – www.amicasglobal.com. Our most exciting news however is the recent launch of the Amicas Global Coaching business, offering life/business/leadership/career coaching to individuals and companies. We utilise very specific techniques in Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Time Line Therapy and Hypnotherapy; all our coaches are certified in these areas and we guarantee our results.


1980s

Daphne Howie (BA ‘80)
Photo of Daphne Howie

Has had many Sydney exhibitions of her paintings depicting her travels to places such as Peru and China. However, she will be exhibiting outside Sydney for the first time to show her works depicting Aboriginal communities in remote locations in the Northern Territory.

Daphne’s paintings, some realistic and some expressionistic, show contemporary Aboriginal life in remote communities as they actually are – looking for bush tucker, kids playing in water, cutting dugongs to share among families. These paintings are not idealised, but slices of genuine Australia as seen by the artist in her travels around remote Australia.

Landscape, Community and Memory at Peta Appleyard Gallery, Alice Springs from 6-20 May 2011.



1970s

Dennis A Ahlburg (BEc’73)

Is an internationally respected economist and in October 2010 was celebrated at his inauguration as 18th president of Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas.


1960s

BDS class of1960 reunion dinner
Class photo

Was held at the Women’s College in an atmosphere of remarkable congeniality. Alumnus Braham Pearlman writes that it was “a reflection of the bonds formed during the undergraduate dental program, one which was both intensive and of relatively small class size (44).

“The classmates submitted bio's, which reflected a consistency of long and productive professional lives. The undergraduate training of SU not only provided a platform for professional fulfilment and personal reward, but enabled many years of collective service to the community.

“It was notable that, having achieved their BDS, almost all found their life's occupation within Dentistry, and 'opting out' or switching to other fields has been virtually non-existent. A high proportion of the graduates of BDS 1960 have undertaken further study to specialise in clinical practice or academic teaching; many of the group, while pursuing Dentistry as their principal occupation, have been involved in diverse interests, often in community service or professional societies.”

BSc Geology and Geophysics class of 1960 Anniversary lunch
Class photo

Members of the BSc (Geology or Geophysics) class, which graduated in 1960, at an anniversary lunch in Sydney in August 2010. L to R: Dr George Gibbons, Dr Ted Lilley, Phil Lavers, Don Nicholson, Greg Kater, John Arnold, Peter O’Rourke, Dr Michelle Smyth and (seated) Doug Maclennan (photo by Dr Tony Wright, email: ). Present on the day but missing from the photo: Dr Malcolm Galloway and Dr Robin Helby. Absent on the day (excluding deceased): Dennis Benbow, Pat Bucknell, Peter Burgess, John Cramsie, Dr Tim Hopwood, Dr Brenda Franklin, Warwick Jones, EA (Kip) Mainwaring, Dr Chris Reading, Sid Smith, Kate Wentworth, Dr Dick Woodward.


1950s

Les Sullivan (BA ’50)

Won second prize in the 2008 RAAF Heritage Awards (Literature) for Proceed on Posting, A RAAF Education Journey 1952-1974, a sequel to his Not To Be Shot At Or Exported, which was awarded first prize in the 1994 competition. In it Les, then a primary teacher, describes his three years as an evening Arts student 1947 to 1949 of the post-war cohort and the career door as an education officer in the RAAF that his degree opened. Les is a long-time member of Writers of the Far South Coast and has contributed many articles to journals and writers’ anthologies.

Michael Kirby AC CMG (BA ’59 LLB ’62 BEc ’66 LLM ’67 LLD ’96)
Photo of Michael Kirby

Former judge of the High Court of Australia, and Associate Professor Ben Saul of the Sydney Centre for International Law, visited Bhutan in December 2010 at the invitation of the Chief Justice of Bhutan, Lyonpo Sonam Tobgye.

Mr Kirby and Dr Saul gave a series of lectures and seminars, which explored Bhutan’s new Constitution from a comparative perspective and were attended by many judges from the newly restructured Supreme Court, High Court and Dzongkhag (District) courts of Bhutan. Government ministers also attended Mr Kirby’s opening lecture.

The seminars examined the Bhutanese Constitution in the light of constitutional practices and jurisprudence in a range of jurisdictions (India, South Africa, Australia, Britain, the United States and Europe); addressing issues such as the separation of powers and the rule of law; judicial power and non-justiciability; standing in constitutional litigation; prerogative and executive powers; principles of constitutional interpretation; the relevance of international and foreign law; the interpretation of fundamental rights and principles of state policy; and national security and public emergency powers.

Bhutan adopted a new Constitution in 2008, after the 4th Dragon King (the Druk Gyalpo), Jigme Singye Wangchuck, initiated a national consultation on its drafting in 2001. More than 100 foreign constitutions were reviewed and 20 selected as particularly relevant. Attention was also given to incorporating Bhutan’s international law obligations, particularly under human rights treaties, as well as Buddhist philosophies and it further refers to duties to respect the environment, culture, heritage and diversity; mentioning Bhutan’s famous policy of pursuing “Gross National Happiness”.

Marie Coleman (BA ’53 DipSocStud ’57)

Is the ACT’s Senior Australian of the Year 2011. She was a public servant in the Whitlam and the Fraser governments; the first woman to head a Commonwealth Government statutory agency, and the first woman to hold the powers of permanent head under the Public Service Act. She was founding Secretary of the National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW) and was on the board of directors that established the Australian Women’s Archives Project. She currently chairs the Social Policy Committee of the NFAW, which has played a leadership role for national women’s organisations in research and analysis of the impacts of the former WorkChoices and Welfare to Work policies on women. Marie spearheaded the campaign, which resulted in the establishment of the Productivity Commission Inquiry into a national paid maternity, paternity and parental leave scheme.
She is currently leading a national project with the National Women’s Alliance promoting the expansion of affordable rental housing.


Australia Day Honours

Professor Ron McCallum was named Senior Australian of the Year in the Australia Day 2011 Honours List.

“I am greatly honoured to be Senior Australian of the Year and I am grateful to the University, which appointed me to a full professorship in 1993 as the first totally blind person to be appointed to such in a position in either Australia or New Zealand,” Professor McCallum said.

Professor McCallum was the University’s foundation Professor in Industrial Law and he served five years as Dean of Law from 2002. He is currently an Honorary Professor at the Sydney Law School. He plans to use his position as Senior Australian of the Year to change the attitudes of Australians to disability

Australia Day honours were awarded to more than 60 staff and alumni including:

Officer (AO) of the Order of Australia

Dr John William Prineas – Honorary Professor of Medicine. For distinguished service to medicine in the field of neurology as an academic, researcher and mentor, to improving the lives of people with multiple sclerosis, and to medical education.

Lucy Turnbull – Board of Directors United States Studies Centre and Law School Fundraising Committee. For distinguished service to the community, particularly through philanthropic contributions to, and fundraising support for, a range of medical, social welfare, educational, youth and cultural organisations, to local government, and to business.

Member (AM) of the Order of Australia

Professor Ivan Goldberg – Clinical Associate Professor of Ophthalmology & Eye Health, Sydney Medical School. For service to medicine, particularly in the field of ophthalmology, through national and international glaucoma support organisations, and to education.

Professor Ian Oliver – Clinical Professor of Medicine, Sydney Medical School. For service to medical oncology as a clinician, researcher, administrator and mentor, and to the community through leadership roles with cancer control organisations.
Professor Jill White – Dean, Sydney Nursing School. For service to nursing and midwifery through the design and implementation of academic programs, through contributions to government health committees and taskforces, and to professional organisations.

Emeritus Professor Roger Smalley – Honorary Research Associate, Sydney Conservatorium of Music. For service to the arts as a composer, concert pianist, educator, mentor of emerging musicians and advocate for Australian and international new music.

Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia

Professor Ben Freedman – Professor of Cardiology and Deputy Dean, Sydney Medical School. For service to medicine as a clinician, educator and researcher.