Reunion reports - 2011



2001 graduates celebrate 10 year reunion, November 2011

2001 reunion in 2011

On Saturday, November 12th, 72 members of the University of Sydney Medical School graduating class of 2001 met at the Nicholson Museum on campus. This class was composed of members of both the undergraduate medical degree and the inaugural graduate medical program, formerly known as the GMP. In addition to classmates, we were joined by a number of influential faculty members. It was lovely to speak to these mentors again, including Prof Ann Sefton, Prof Stephen Leeder, Prof Michael Field and A/Prof Jill Gordon.

It was wonderful to catch up with old friends and hear what our classmates are doing now. Most of the specialities were represented in career choices: surgery, general practice, internal medicine, psychiatry, ophthalmology, anaesthetics, radiology, obstetrics/gynaecology and emergency medicine. Many of our class have recently returned from overseas fellowships and some continue with their postgraduate qualifications and research.

I was initially struck by how young everyone still looked, until the slide show of old photos began! Yes, we have all aged but what an interesting and accomplished group we have become.

Special thanks go to Dr Marisa Magiros for all of her hard work, and the Medical Alumni Association, in making the evening such a success.

Dr Sarah Walker



1957 graduates celebrate 55 year reunion, October 2011

In October last, the Senior Class of 1956 met for a luncheon at the Holme Buidling, Sydney University, some travelling from North America. Whilst organising the event I revisited the “Senior Year Book” seeing the youthful faces of my contemporaries. In 1951 our numbers were small with fewer ex-service personnel and fewer European graduates updating their skills with the
intention of starting a new life far from their devastated homelands.

Our 55th reunion had suffered the loss of many from wear and tear but, even so, about fifty of the original graduates, some accompanied by spouses, were in attendance.

As I talked to my colleagues I became aware that all of those present had contributed to the fantastic developments in medicine of the latter half of the 20th century. It was obvious our mentors were giants in their fields and through their teachings, we had carried their ethics of participation and contribution forward to the 21st century.

On commencement in 1951, Penicillin had been in use barely nine years and then, in the main, for military personnel at war. Relaxant
anaesthesia with Tuberine and Flaxedil was in its infancy, anti-
hypertensive and psychiatric drugs were few, biochemical testing was onerous and slow, oral contraceptives had not been invented, donor tissue transplants were limited to corneal surgery and all of the modern surgical marvels that we take for granted today were still the stuff of science fiction.

Yes, it was obvious that the graduating classes of the 50’s were the custodians of a fine inheritance and those present at their Alma Mater that October Saturday afternoon all are still part of the continuing revolution that is Medicine today.

The faces from the Year Book have aged but their minds and spirits
have not.

It was a most successful reunion and I look forward to the next one.

Al McKay

1947 graduates celebrate 64 year reunion, September 2011

1947 reunion in 2011

A luncheon meeting at the Royal Automobile Club on 24th September 2011 hosted the Class of 47 at its biennial celebration.

Getting together for drinks an hour before lunch, classmates, spouses, partners and guests seemed to lose their sense of time as past memories, incidents and experiences set the scene for an enjoyable lunch. This has been the low-key pattern of 47, with conversation, discussion and laughter through lunch and later.

There were, as usual, no formal speeches, Kevin Byrne and Peter Crowe our meticulous Convenors made the special announcements and noted the unhappy roll of deaths, which unfortunately we have come to expect as a continuing reality.

Twenty three members of the class sat down to luncheon, there were twenty three apologies and members welcomed five widows of deceased members as guests. While the average age is eighty seven, we still have a strong representation and strong friendships remain.

Those present were pleased to hear again from the Class of ‘47 Poet, Len Green. His views on Medical Meetings, was both amusing and interesting.

June Fitzhenry treated all present to two choral items; one immortalizes Jim Egan and the other will assure that the Class of 47 remembers “The Wearing of the Green”.

Future meetings were discussed and it was decided that time, tide and level of remaining interest would be reviewed within the next two years and a decision taken.

Peter Crowe and Kevin Byrne the long term Convenors were given full thanks for having us come together to make our sixty fourth Reunion so meaningful & so enjoyable.

The Class of ‘47 has made a donation to The Medical Benevolent Fund.

1946 graduates celebrate 65 year reunion, September 2011

1946 reunion in 2011

The 1946 Graduates 65th year Medical Alumni Reunion Lunch took place in the Anderson Stuart Graduates Room, 23rd September 2011.

The beautiful Gothic building “The Old Medical School” was shining brightly in the warm spring sunshine. Twenty one graduates together with their partners making thirty two, joined for drinks and canapes in the Anderson Stuart Courtyard. Most of us had not visited the building since our preclinical years which commenced in 1941. It was a very special occasion and we were delighted to visit the Dissecting Room and the Wilson Museum with its world class prosections, including some from the members of our year.

We were joined at lunch by the Dean, Professor Bruce Robinson. After a welcome by Jack Blackman, Professor Robinson outlined the changes and diversity of the medical curriculum and spoke with great passion and understanding of the medical students’ conditions and opportunities of today.

During lunch, Peter Rogers spoke of our special year, the many awards and those who distinguished themselves both within and outside the profession. He spoke of our gratitude to our teachers, especially Professor Harold Dew. He also mentioned Ruth Godden, the Editor and the Editorial Committee of our Senior Year Book. We then drank a toast to “absent friends.”

There was a fine display listing those still with us, and those who have died since our previous reunion together with letters from those unable to attend, other apologies and pictures of our preclinical teachers.

Alan Young pointed out that 37% of our year are alive, quite a remarkable figure. He also thought that the 65 years of combined wisdom and experience of our group should be used in a positive fashion to complement the incredible progress in medical knowledge over this time.

Ewen Sussman spoke of the great contribution of Cath Nicholson (Hamlin) in her work with fistula patients both in the ground-breaking operations at “The Hospital by the River” in Ethiopia and her counselling skills with patients.

The great enjoyment of this occasion made for a lot of happy chatter although sometimes it was difficult for all to hear the jokes and anecdotes.

Nev Newman told some stories as did Kev White. Joy Tibbetts (Parry) was in good form, John Austin, John Allsop, Thea Robilliard, Don Dunlop, Roger Davidson and Grosvenor Burfitt- Williams also contributed to the occasion. Bill Gilmour from Perth had to cancel at the last minute and sent his best wishes.

We all felt this was a very special nostalgic occasion. Victor Bear, our financial manager, Roger Davidson, Alan Young, and I had many meetings with the Medical Alumni Association and would like them for their support. Our thanks also go to the University for allowing us to use such a memorable venue.

Jack Blackman

1961 graduates celebrate 40 year reunion, August 2011

1961 reunion in 2011

On Sunday August 28th 2011 seventy-five alumni from the graduating Class of 1961 gathered for our 50 year Reunion at the Australian Golf Club in Sydney. Graduates came from far afield, Don Wilson making his usual pilgrimage from California and others came from Western Australia, Victoria, ACT, Queensland as well as rural New South Wales. Over the preceding months Bryan Yeo had compiled a booklet with photographs and a brief resume from those on our mailing list and had posted these out prior to the meeting, thus making it much easier to recognise colleagues and to hear of their activities. Many were still working, both part-time and full-time, some had retired and followed a different career path and some had retired into leisure activities in which family and grandchildren figured prominently.

After prelaunch drinks in the function rooms, with their floor to ceiling glass windows affording panoramic views of the magnificent Australian Golf Course layout, the group was marshalled outside for the traditional group photo and then enjoyed a superb buffet luncheon, complimented with fine wines. Mal Stuart carried on his traditional role of Emcee at these Reunions and kept the group in order and the proceedings according to schedule.

It had been decided that this was to be a very informal gathering with plenty of time for get together and reminiscing, and in keeping with this there were two brief toasts at the beginning of the luncheon, one to the University and then to “absent friends”. The passing of several of our colleagues since the last Reunion was noted as was the fact that distance and, in some cases infirmity, prevented many from overseas from joining us. We hope to see them at the 55th.

During the luncheon Susi Freeman proposed a toast to the group, mentioning some experiences (that she “survived”) over the years that would have been common to many of us, and Frank Stening then responded on behalf of the group with some very well chosen and appropriate comments. He concluded by suggesting that there were undoubtedly many experiences in the group that should be compiled and possibly published. As yet there have been no volunteers for this task!

At the conclusion of the luncheon we continued to mingle in small groups, looking both backward and forward, and with that in mind it was announced that Rob McGuinness would be the convener of the 55 Year Reunion in 2016.

David Brender

1953 graduates celebrate 58 year reunion, March 2011

1953 reunion in 2011


At Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, Kirribilli

We were not an organised year in some respects. No ten year reunion; no fifteen year reunion; no Year book. We made a start after sixteen years when ten graduates formed the organising committee for the first reunion. Some years later another successful reunion and then in 1990 (at 37 years) a reunion dinner in MacLaurin Hall at the University. Grey hair had become fashionable.

But the dramatic bit came with the fabulous “Reunion of Fifty Years.” To that, every living mortal graduate that was on Planet Earth made the effort to be present. From far and wide they flocked in. Some on crutches, in wheel chairs, hobbling, some still stalwart and youthful looking (or was I also going blind?). There were 120 graduates present. Lunch this time, not dinner.
Once more, heaps of congratulations, merry making, serious whispers, a few tears, bodies rapidly falling into decline, and the obit list getting inexorably longer.

Four years later – another reunion lunch. Numbers had fallen to just under 70, but the occasion was well worth the effort.
This year the Medical Alumni Association came to our rescue. They took over the “back office” work, getting address lists up to date, sending out invitations, receiving replies and subscriptions. What a marvellous organisation it is. Professor Bruce Robinson, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, and good friend to many, and his team gave it full support.

So Reunion of 58 years occurred on March 18, 2011. Numbers continued to decline, as time and illness took their inexorable toll. At this gathering, wives, partners, carers were also invited and, of the total attendance of 66, 55 were ’53 graduates. Previously it was strictly graduates only. Another great occasion. A number of brief “speeches” – Joan Ingham and Bernie Greer were notable and David Warden’s apology from Cooper Pedy was a stand-out.

John Knight for the “Graduating Class of 1953” Committee, the other members being John Cashman, Brian Morgan and Peter Geddes


1971 graduates celebrate 40 year reunion, February 2011

1971 reunion in 2011

Reunion photos

Once again, and thanks to the sterling efforts of Keith Hartman, the graduating class of 1971 gathered at the Great Hall to celebrate our 40th anniversary of graduation from Medicine. Our thanks also go to the faculty staff for all of their help in the organisation of the Great Hall and the catering.

It was a beautiful warm night and wonderful to see old friends and acquaintances again. Over 200 graduates, spouses and partners attended and included many of us who came from both overseas and from interstate. We were very privileged to have one of our distinguished alumni Clarissa Fabre speak on the role of women in medicine as she is now the President of the Women in Medicine Association of the United Kingdom. The faculty was toasted by media star John Darcy and a toast to the University was given by Doug Joshua, Chris Bambach and Michael Stevens provided musical accompaniments and helped us all sing with gusto the University and faculty songs.

To be able to reconnect with people whom we often have not seen for many years and to bring back the wonderful memories and the excitement of the times we had when studied medicine was certainly a fantastic experience. We graduated at a time when eccentricity was allowed, when career choice was open and we have all benefited immeasurably from our period of time at Sydney University. We look forward to meeting again at our 45th anniversary and Keith and Diana have promised to help with the organisation.

We can look back over the past 40 years and see how medicine and surgery have progressed. Research and technology have led to cures and surgical and radiological procedures have taken great strides. We all started our careers BC (before computers) and few of us can claim to have guessed or envisaged the remarkable medical environment we live in and practice in today.

Doug Joshua


1966 graduates celebrate 45 year reunion, January 2011

Following our tradition of the past 20 years, we celebrated our 45-year reunion over two days on 28-29 January, mainly at a Sydney coastal retreat.

More than 40 from our year began the reunion weekend by inspecting a spectacular exhibition of rare medical books in the rare Books section of Fisher library. At a reception in the Anderson Stuart Building, and also later at our conference, the Dean, Bruce Robinson, spoke about opportunities for alumni to assist in educational roles, locally and internationally.
Many then left for informal dinners on Friday night at restaurants near the University or at Manly.

Among the diverse topics presented at the day-long Saturday conference on ‘Passions, hobbies and interests’, Chee Yeen Loi gracefully played several pieces on the Erhu
(Chinese violin), taken up only since his retirement. John Whitehall told yet another of his gripping tales on teaching Tamil Tigers. The other presentations included everything from orienteering, travelogues and photography to jazz guitar playing, poetry, mental health, psychosurgery, child advocacy, GP locums and offshore medical services, and medical history and biography.

Chats during breaks in the daylong conference were enhanced by reading and reminiscing on single-page stories of our ‘transition to retirement’. These were accompanied by both 1965 and recent photographs of about 80 fellow students, the whole display organised by Maureen Rogers. These described our lives in the last 5 years or so and plans for the next 5-10 years, as most of us approach the beginning of our eighth decade!

At our buffet reunion dinner, Ross Kalucy, the 1966 Robin May prize-winner, reflected on the changing national scene in medical education over the past 50 years.

Wine for our dinner was generously donated by one of our medical vignerons, Colin Andrews.

About 110 alumni and partners registered for the conference and 160 enjoyed the reunion dinner. Any profits from the reunion and other donations will be contributed to continuing the Doug Baird Student Scholarship, initiated at a previous reunion.

Paul Lancaster