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 Anton D Luiten (PhD (Musicology) ’09)

Oxford University Press is to publish my recently completed PhD dissertation on Bartok. I managed to juggle a full-time teaching job and living in Asia while working with staff at the Conservatorium of Music to complete the final details of my work. It deals with the formation of the last major work that Bartok was to write in his homeland – The Sixth String Quartet – and provides insight into his compositional processes and the organisation of the work. I am currently the senior music specialist at the Australian International School, teaching the International Baccalaureate program in music and I direct the orchestra.

David Orchansky (MEng ’10)

I came to study to Sydney Uni all the way from Argentina. After completing my studies I decided to stay as a researcher at the Australian Centre for Field Robotics located at the University. I wrote my Masters thesis in the areas of "Situation Awareness" and “Safety” for mining applications.

After living at Mandelbaum House for two years I joined the Mandelbaum House alumni committee. In November 2009 we organised the first MH Alumni event, which gathered nearly 60 past residents.


1990s

Kassandra Bossell (BA ’87 BVArts ’91)
Photograph of Kassandra Bossell with sculptured heads

Was selected for the Blacktown City Art Exhibition, in September-October; and has been commissioned by the City of Sydney to make a large scale sculpture of a Rabbit for the Chinese Year of the Rabbit, to be exhibited first in Hyde Park as a part of Art and About, then in Belmore Park at New Year 2011.

This lantern-style “eco” sculpture is created from bamboo and recycled bottles as an ephemeral artwork using sustainable materials and processes in association with Art and About’s Green House. The public will be invited to engage with the artwork by helping Kassandra to place recycled bottles onto the rabbit.

Kassandra also received a grant with the Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Centre at Yirrkala in Arnhemland to hold two workshops with local artists in different sculpting mediums. The first workshop was in early October and the second will take place in 2011.

Tohby Riddle (BSc(Arch) ’92)

Was a cartoonist for Good Weekend magazine for ten years and his new picture book, My Uncle’s Donkey, tells the story of a donkey that’s allowed in the house. This beautiful book sees the donkey eating van Gogh’s Sunflowers, juggling (and breaking) the world’s most valuable vase – the Portland Vase; and even watching Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid (1921) on TV. Tohby has also just returned from Edinburgh where he was Illustrator-in-Residence at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.


1980s

Natalie Forbes (BMus ’88)

Is Executive Director of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra in Connecticut and a recently published photographic book titled Portrait of an Orchestra by writer, lawyer, film maker, playwright and philanthropist Cheever Tyler is dedicated to her, “because of her steadfast commitment to share the beautiful music of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra with the widest possible audience. Her energy and creativity have made it possible for audiences, filled with children, seniors, and everyone in between, to participate in the joy and enrichment that comes from hearing the sound of orchestral music.”

David Hush (BMus ’80)

Received two premieres by the Orana Trio in July. Scored for piano, flute and bassoon, the works were Prelude and Fugue and Chronicles. The premieres were given in a concert that formed part of the 2010 Sydney Cancer Conference hosted by the University. The “darkness” of the Prelude (C minor) followed by the “light” of the Fugue (C Major) has a special relevance to a conference devoted to finding a cure for cancer. A video of the Prelude and Fugue (solo piano version) has been posted to YouTube


1970s

Graeme Freer (BA ’75)

Has started a new business as a Buyer’s Advocate, sourcing suitable properties for home or investment; negotiating best purchase price and also assisting with recommendations for most suitable finance www.propertyandfinance.com.

Matti Keentok (BSc ’74)

Followed up with a Master of Science (UNSW ’83) in Physical Chemistry. First research job (molecular spectroscopy) was in Physical Chemistry, NSW, followed by a research job (rheology) in Mechanical Engineering, at Sydney. Worked briefly in software engineering at DSTO Pyrmont and then Computer Sciences Corp Sydney. After undertaking a part time PhD in Mechanical Engineering, I returned to University as Post Doctoral Fellow in Mechanical Engineering. Currently working in the Department of Defence, DMO, initially as professional engineer at Defence Establishment Orchard Hills DEOH. Currently Editor of eNewsletter Bombshell at DEOH.

George May (BSc (Hons) ’75 PhD ’80)

Since 1970, I have had the great blessing of a wonderful wife and family. We have three children, and their spouses, and now have four, and soon five, delightful grandchildren.

Apart from family, these 40 years have been divided into two parts. First, I spent nearly 20 of years training then working in science, either at or connected with the University, where I gained an honours degree and then PhD in Organic Chemistry. Following this, I worked in medical research at the University and then Westmead Hospital, in Cancer Medicine and Infectious Diseases. Much of the research involved applications of Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy to the early diagnosis of disease.

For more than 20 years now, I have been involved in Christian ministry. Training in ministry and theology has led to a BD and MA. I have been pastor to existing congregations and planted new churches from them. In the last couple of years I have been training pastors in Kenya and India, in intensive short-term teaching blocks. These pastors and church leaders do not otherwise have access to any kind of theological training.


1950s

Peter Bowler (BA ’56, Dip Ed ’57)

Has had another book published in 2010, increasing his total published output to eleven, with a further one on the way. Bloomsbury UK has published an omnibus volume of his three books about the outer limits of language under the title The Completely Superior Person’s Book of Words, and this is available in Australia through Allen & Unwin. It received the accolade of being non-fiction “Pick of the Week” in the Sydney Morning Herald’s Spectrum. And his new novel, The De Reszke Record, a dark comedy thriller about high-end record collecting, is due for release towards the end of this year. Peter has recently been appointed to the Board of the Abbey Museum, a little-known treasure house of antiquities, art and archaeology located on the northern outskirts of Brisbane. He can be contacted at pbowler@nnsw.quik.com.au for more information about any of the above.


1940s

SRC 1947-48 Reunion
Photograph of SRC 1947-1948 reunion attendees

Friday 21 May 2010

A celebratory afternoon tea was held following the graduation at which Emeritus Professor Edward McWhinney was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the University.

Many months beforehand, The Hon Adrian Roden QC had produced a photograph of the 1947/48 SRC, with Professor McWhinney sitting in the front row. Sixty-two years later, five of his former colleagues on the SRC attended the graduation ceremony and the reunion afterwards.

Not surprisingly, connections with the University remain strong. Roden married the former Rose Wicks, mother of Associate Professor John Watson, Associate Dean (Clinical Development) and grandmother of a current student. Emeritus Professor Rex Olsson’s daughter Annabelle is undertaking a PhD in the Faculty of Veterinary Science. Dr Val Rundle (née Patterson) has long been an interested supporter of the Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens, which is based at the University. Ruth Lucas (née Harvey) was also able to attend.

Also attending the afternoon tea were David Turner, President of the Alumni Council, and the Deputy Chancellor Alan Cameron AM. Alan was SRC President in 1967-68.


1930s

Ian Hall (BScAgr ’39)

Our Dean and Founder was Professor Robert Vickie Watt, ably assisted by “Wally” Waterhouse, recent graduate Jim Vincent and Gilbey Wright, who introduced a few of us into bacteriology. In first year there were 18 students including four women. One left at the end of the year; Nancy Webb married at the end of third year. Helen Wrigley and Nancy Barrie graduated in the total 15.

At that time the only courses available in bacteriology were in the medical faculty, so I became involved in what is now recognised as food technology. I did achieve a bacteriology laboratory, established by the Dairy Farmers Co-op, but WW2 intervened and work choices changed dramatically.

I married Betty Haycraft in 1940 and we remained together until February this year when she died at 92, six months short of our 70th anniversary. We have two daughters, and one son, six grandchildren and 12 great grand children. Our married life has been one of complete harmony and great affection to and from all our families.

My health is as good as may be expected at 94, and although I am physically restricted, my mental ability is still sound and I cope quite well with email and other electronic gadgets.