18 November 2017
In February 1961, six young women and fifty-six young men gathered on the Parkville campus of the University of Melbourne to commence studies for the Bachelor of Agricultural Science. In November 1964, twenty-nine slightly older men qualified to graduate. Their first-ever reunion was held over 10 hours on November 18th 2017, and it proved to be a most successful drought-breaker. Former graduates attended from the across Victoria and Tasmania, NSW, UK and Indonesia.
Of the twenty-five surviving graduates, nineteen attended, along with another nine who had either commenced earlier or had extended their course by going part-time. Nine apologies were received. Nearly all the teaching staff from that time have now departed this life, but two former Faculty staff, Professors Doug Parbery (a former Dean of the Faculty) and Nick Uren attended, and received many expressions of appreciation of the 4-year, broad-based course that produced so many successful academics, research scientists, consultants, advisors, teachers, primary producers and leaders of industry and business. Careers based on biochemistry, microbiology, plant science, animal science and horticulture were well-represented amongst the diverse list of careers that the group-members had pursued.
In an ambiance of abundant conviviality, friendships were renewed, lost colleagues were remembered, anecdotes were exchanged and memories celebrated.
The reunion was held as a joint event, combining with the graduates from the 1962-65 group (who, by way of contrast, have gathered regularly over the years). With wives and partners plus five relatives of deceased graduates, a total of eighty-two gathered together in the afternoon and heard about the future plans for the Faculty from the Dean, Professor John Fazakerley. Emeritus Professors Ian Jones and Alan Robson responded on behalf of the 1961 and 1962 groups respectively. Over half the party stayed on for dinner at the Ag’s traditional pub, Naughton’s Parkville Hotel.
For the 1961 group, Ian Jones and Kevin Reed edited and distributed a set of biographies for the group, which included those of the Faculty staff and those of former students now deceased.
We express our appreciation of the assistance provided by current staff-members of the University, especially Ms Maree Blackburn, in making this reunion the outstanding success that it was.
Dr Ian Jones