Reunion reports - 2010

1951 graduates celebrate 60 year reunion, November 2010

1951 group photo

On 24 November 2010 medical graduates of 1951 met for their 60 year reunion in the Refectory of the Holme building, several decades after our last occasion at the university itself. Traditionally we celebrate the anniversary of the Finals. Over seventy graduates attended, some with a partner of decades, others with a more recent one, a friend or younger relative. Some had overcome disability with remarkable effort to make it possible. Some came from interstate. Glen Duncan, our memorable wordsmith of early reunions, came as usual from California. We welcomed the Dean, Bruce Robinson, and heard with interest about the faculty of today and the Dean’s Scholarship Fund. We appreciated his clinical intervention, for prompt care of one diner - and a good outcome within a few days, Dick Bull presented him with his recent book of poems “Wonder with a Sting”.

The sunny day and pleasant lunch had tongues wagging, not only with reminiscence but with wonder about changes in modern medicine and tutelage. The organising committee, largely intact through the years, had enjoyed once again in a number of homes, months of understanding from tolerant families. At lunch some graduates regaled fellows for interest or entertainment, though it did become apparent that small group discussions in committee had been more audible! Joy Bearup (Boughton) read her amusing verse, keynoting envisaged reactions to our changing physical signs and likely difficulties in mutual recognition. Doug Caspersonn shared details of personal research into historical features of university and faculty. Fred Stephens read from his recent book “From Kurmond Kid to Cancer Crusader”, highlighting leadership challenges encountered as a youthful ship’s surgeon performing an appendectomy at sea. Many messages of regret from other members of the year were duly shared. Sadly, some related unfortunate personal clinical events and frailty. Nevertheless we warmed to their continuing generous expressions of fraternity and goodwill.

Eleanor Dawson (Shiels)

1956 graduates celebrate 55 year reunion, October 2010

1956 reunion in 2010

Reunion photos

Our move to the new venue at the Royal Sydney Golf Club in Rose Bay was appreciated by all. We were fortunate in having a beautiful mid-spring day which showed the club with its surrounding golf course to advantage. For this reunion we extended invitations to the families of all graduates including our deceased graduates. Our seating was pre-arranged with graduates nominating guests at their table, and name badges with large letters aided recognition. The food, presentation, service and ambience were all excellent.

The attendance of 50 from our original 205 graduates was not as good as at our previous reunions, however a total of just over 100 were present at our function. Unfortunately our In Memoriam list has increased from 83 to 95 since our last reunion in 2005. We received apologies from 27 of our living graduates and a further seven apologies from the families of our deceased graduates. Surprisingly more than a handful of our graduates are still working.

The Governor of New South Wales, Professor Marie Bashir, who is one of our graduates, enthralled us with a talk on the fifth Governor of NSW, Major General Lachlan Macquarie, who was the King’s representative from 1810 to 1822. Macquarie took over the colony two years after Governor Bligh was recalled to England and during this interregnum the colony was managed by the military authorities. Macquarie arrived at a very crucial time when it appeared that the colony may not prosper however by the time he returned to England the colony had grown considerably and was very prosperous. Marie had by request given a similar talk at the recent Edinburgh Festival; it was received by a full house with a standing ovation.

We were honoured by the presence of Professor Bruce Robinson who is the current Dean of Medicine at our Alma Mater. The Professor informed us of the large part which our University in general and the Faculty of Medicine in particular are now playing in tertiary education both in Asia and in the Pacific region. Both Marie, in her capacity as Chancellor of our University, and Professor Robinson go to designated Chinese universities and conduct graduation ceremonies at which degrees are conferred on those Chinese students who successfully completed their medical education at the University of Sydney. The feedback from this initiative is very positive.

For light relief at the end of proceedings Michael Owen compered a competition amongst our graduates for the best personal story with a medical background. The bottle of Black Label was won by Jim Purchas for his story of a couple of red back spider bites in a little country outhouse over three generations and some 40 years.

Jim Purchas

2000 graduates celebrate 10 year reunion, October 2010

2000 reunion in 2010

Reunion photos

Anderson Stuart courtyard was the venue for our first reunion, well attended by those few graduates who had actually refused lucrative teaching and clinical positions overseas! There was a genuine atmosphere of warmth and enthusiasm even though some cynics would argue that the difference between a good and bad reunion is approximately 4.5 standard drinks (less on an empty stomach).

A quick scan of the room revealed a vast and impressive mix of medical professionals with life experiences as varied as being guest programmer on RAGE to working on Obama’s successful bid in the Illinois State Senate. (A busy GP practice precluding her from working on his 2008 presidential nomination.)

Special thanks must be given to Benson Riddle for his witty impromptu speech and for leaving the duty of doing this write-up to a year 5 ’ring-in’ whom three quarters of the year has never met.

Here’s to our 20 year reunion...only those directly involved in presidential campaigns of UN responsibilities shall be excused from not attending.

Sue Thanos

1946 graduates celebrate 64 year reunion, September 2010

1946 reunion in 2010

Twenty 1946 medical graduates, who together with their partners made a group of thirty one, celebrated their 64th reunion at the Concord Golf Club on Friday 24th September 2010. The group renewed old friendships over drinks and canapés. The group photograph, a wonderful reminder of the occasion, followed. The official welcome was made by the convenor, Jack Blackman. Then we progressed to our delightful lunch with much laughter and warm conversation.

There were many apologies which was not surprising as the average age was eighty seven. Messages from colleagues were delivered by Jack Blackman, Victor Bear, Roger Davidson, Alan Young, Grosvenor Burfitt-Williams, Ewen Sussman, and Joy Tibbetts. Phyllis Bauer wrote to tell us that Gaston was well and sent us his best wishes.

Peter Rogers spoke about our special year and referred us to our year book and the preface in which Professor Dew, the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine wrote “to the students of this year who may be called medical war babies, it marks the end of a very strenuous and difficult period, but they can, I think, face the future with equanimity for they will very soon bring some relief to a sadly overworked profession”. Peter noted that a big proportion of the year went on to a distinguished career and made a major contribution to the community. Peter also spoke endearingly of Ruth Godden, the editor of our year book.

Alan Grant made a six word speech, “we have a dream to remember”. We were reminded that Doug Everingham was the Minister for Health in the Whitlam government, and John Austin remembers that he was a great talker. Warwick Williams spoke of friendship, boxing and training at Dunleavy’s gym.
Alan Young expressed our gratitude to Diana Lovegrove and the Medical Alumni for their great help with the mail out of invitations and for arranging the photographer. There is difficulty in keeping in touch with everyone and we were asked to supply any change of address or contact details and an email address or mobile telephone number.

We thank Victor Bear for being our treasurer, Roger Davidson for arranging the excellent venue at the Concord Golf Club, Alan Young for liaison with the University of Sydney and Jack Blackman for being our Convenor. Roger thanked the staff of the Golf Club for their help in making this such a memorable occasion.

It was agreed to have the 65th Reunion on Friday 23 September 2011 at the Concord Golf Club.

1980 graduates celebrate 30 year reunion, May 2010

1980 reunion in 2010

Reunion photos

The class of 1980 had an excellent 30 year reunion on Saturday May 1 in the very beautiful Great Hall at the University of Sydney. There was a great buzz in the air as 140 graduates and many partners assembled in the Quad for drinks on an unusually mild Autumn evening. As usual, the biggest hurdle was the attempt to get people to stop chatting and move to tables allocated by student hospital. Perhaps even more difficult was the gathering on the steps for an official photograph...but the result was well worth it!

Anyone organising a reunion needs to know that is no longer the daunting process it once was. The Medical Alumni Association provides endless support with contacting graduates, collecting money, organising (fantastic) catering, arranging flowers, music, photography and doing all the admin duties...most importantly the provision of name tags in LARGE font. With the assistance of such name tags it was easy to recognise old(er) friends despite the passing years. The organising committee did a great job in tracking people down (and forcing them to come!).

The person who held the show together was Peter Bland, our wonderful MC and comedian for the evening. Pete had cleverly arranged a debate "Should I advise my offspring to do medicine?" pitting our current Dean, Bruce Robinson (with the No case) against the formidable Teri Foran (the Yes case) whose riotous stories gained through a career in sexual health added to the fun. It seemed to us that in order to nobble Teri, Bruce had brought along his grandad's old home movie slide projector, an incapacitated technical assistant and a dodgy microphone for her to use, but she stormed on despite the technical challenges!

The night went by so quickly, it was impossible to catch up with everyone, but the atmosphere was fantastic and a celebration of the many successes inside and outside medicine. At the end of the night Peter Bland made a toast, not just to a "Goodyear" but to a GREAT year (you had to be there for the joke!)

Judy Kirk

1955 graduates celebrate 55 year reunion, April 2010

1955 reunion in 2010

Fifty graduates from 1955 and partners lunched elegantly at the Royal Sydney Golf Club on Saturday, April 10, 2010. Brilliant sunshine matched the warm companionship of those who re-lived older times and learned of their friends’ continuing interests and activities. David Glenn’s and Vera Gallagher’s toasts to the University and the Year earned great applause, encapsulating our communal respect and affection for all concerned.

It was confidently decided that the 1955’ers would reconvene in two years and again count our blessings on being graduates of a wonderful university in an outstanding year.

John Wright

1950 graduates celebrate 60 year reunion, March 2010

L-R: Brian Pollard, Janese Owen, Joy and Clem Boughton

Reunion photos

A Reunion lunch to commemorate our 60th year since graduation was held at Concord Golf Club on Monday, March 15. Of the 164 who graduated in January 1950, 73 are still with us and 88 have died, a survival rate of 45%. 37 graduates were present on the day plus 18 spouses and widows, including travellers from Western Australia, Queensland and Victoria. Our members have met at intervals of five years (and once after just a two year gap) and have always relished the opportunities to catch up and enjoy each other’s company. The inevitable question arose this year, in the context of increasing levels of disability and a likely hike in the attrition rate, namely what to do about such future gatherings. In a demonstration of what can only be seen as enviable and indomitable optimism, two decisions were virtually unanimous - that we meet again in two years and at the same venue. Concord Golf Club continues to provide a remarkably good standard of service and good fare and can be highly recommended to anyone.

Brian Pollard

1960 graduates celebrate 50 year reunion, March 2010

1960 reunion in 2010

Reunion photos

On Saturday 13th March, 2010, the graduating class of 1960 celebrated 50 years. We are not altogether sure how all that time passed so quickly! The planning was initiated by Steve Kovacs, Peter Conrad and Ann Sefton (Jervie), with considerable assistance from the Medical Alumni Association. It was very well attended by over 100 graduates and some spouses. It was by general agreement that the Great Hall was thought to be the appropriate location: there we were welcomed to the University, there we sat innumerable exams, and there we graduated. Overall, the event was an outstanding success and a very good time was had by all as we caught up with colleagues, spouses and friends, sharing experiences.

The current Dean of the Faculty, Professor Bruce Robinson and Ann Sefton welcomed the group. Individuals came from across the world and from various parts of Australia as well as locally. It was a very lively and enjoyable occasion as we celebrated our friendships and shared experiences with colleagues whom we had not seen for some time. Professor Ruthven Blackburn joined us - very appropriately - as we were the first fourth (clinical) year group that he taught after his appointment to the position of Professor of Medicine. One interesting feature was the wine was supplied by one of our colleagues, Professor Trefor Morgan, who now lives in Victoria and operates Morgan’s Vineyard. Thank you Trefor; each of us left with a bottle of wine at the end of the night. The occasion was commemorated by the publication of a book that included the original graduation Year Book material, along with recent photographs and current brief biographies. The diversity of achievements was spectacular!

Ann Sefton

1990/91 graduates celebrate 20 year reunion, February 2010

1990 reunion in 2010

Reunion photos

Our year was the final graduating year of the 5-year degree. The graduates were split between a large graduating group in 1990 and a smaller group in 1991. The first student group for the new 6-year degree graduated in 1992, so our two years were very much a single group of 262 graduates.

Having had no previous reunion (now, why did we not do anything at the 9/10-year mark?), we were enthusiastic and optimistic about a 19/20-year reunion this year. We set up a dedicated reunion email account and received over 500 emails from graduates, as everyone pitched in to find others. A few graduates would have made excellent detectives! In the end we were able to track down all but two.

Saturday 27 February saw 162 graduates and partners from around Australia, as well as a few from overseas, gather in the Main Quad. We enjoyed twilight drinks, accompanied by beautiful carillon by Dr Jill Forest, who had tutored many of those at RPAH. We then dined and talked (and talked and talked) in the Great Hall, until we were finally compelled to leave, very late in the night.

A fantastic time was had by all. Although many of us had stayed in touch over the years, most of us had not seen each other for 20 years. The general consensus was that we all looked better for the passage of time. Many contact details were exchanged, as neglected friendships were renewed.

The reunion group clubbed together to raise funds for The Sheila Nicholas Scholarship, which assists medical students who are struggling to meet the basic costs of living. As qualified doctors, it was satisfying to be able to give back to the university and to encourage current students, who will be our future medical colleagues.

The evening was such a success, that as they were leaving the Great Hall, many people asked when the next reunion would be. We will all be looking forward to it with eager anticipation...

Karen Arnold, Diana McKay and Anna Alexiadis

1965 graduates celebrate 45 year reunion, January 2010

1965 reunion in 2010

The graduating year of 1965 Sydney University Medical School celebrated 45 years since their graduation on Saturday 30th January at the Taronga Centre, Mosman, Sydney. 161 graduates, partners and widows of graduates enjoyed a wonderful time of fellowship, with many not having seen colleagues since graduation. The function, organised by Allan Meares, Merv Cross and Bob Wines, was attended by several overseas graduates, including Chaeng Thongthai from Bangkok, Dale (Bryan) Duncan from London and Valerie Brandon from Honolulu.

The 50 year reunion is planned for lunch on Saturday 24th January, 2015 (Australia Day Long Weekend), hopefully in the Great Hall, Sydney University.


Singapore alumni reunion

Singapore alumni, including recent and not-so-recent graduates, gathered with parents of many of the current Singapore students of Sydney Medical School, at the Stamford Hotel to trade stories and meet the Dean, Professor Bruce Robinson.

It was enjoyable gathering for alumni and parents. The alumni who attended included a number of very recent graduates, as well as those from the 1960s and 1970s and now at the top of their medical fields in Singapore. For the first time, parents of current students were also asked – they are after all underwriting expensive education programs for their children and it was an opportunity to meet the Dean and talk about the way medicine is taught in Sydney, and discuss difficult issues including the uncertainties over internships for international students.

Sydney Medical School has contact details for 128 alumni based in Singapore, but many email addresses are out of date. To update contact details at any time, contact .