Print Page   |   Contact Us   |   Your Cart   |   Sign In   |   Register
Community Search
Professor John Burr
22 March 2007
The University community who remember him will be saddened to learn of the passing away of Professor John Burr. John started at UNE in 1957 as a lecturer in mathematics. When he retired in 1982 he was Professor of Computing Science and director of the Computer Centre. He passed away in a nursing home in Gosford at age 81.

Professor (Robert) Bob Hughes
24 March 2007
Professor (Robert) Bob Hughes has passed away after a short, but courageous battle with cancer.

Bob grew up in Macksville, on the north coast of New South Wales where he worked as a solicitor for some time after completing a Diploma in Law. He then undertook degree studies by extension from the University of New England and graduated with a BA in Philosophy with first class honors and was also awarded the University medal. He then completed a PhD, also from UNE.

Bob moved into academia at that stage and started up the Law program at UNE before joining the University of the South Pacific as Professor of Law and the Head of the School of Law at the end of 1996. He was then appointed the first Dean of Arts and Law in 2006. During his time at USP, Bob also served as acting Pro Vice-Chancellor on two occasions.

Bob was not just a highly qualified legal practitioner, he also had an enviable research and publications record having published several books and numerous book chapters and monograms.

Brian Plummer
27 July 2007
Brian Plummer was a member of staff at UNE for approximately 10 years in the 60s and early 70s. He was recruited to UNE by the Professor of Geography, Gilbert Butland, and immersed himself into the life of the University with great enthusiasm. His primary concern was for the welfare of students, particularly those associated with Wright College, and he selflessly and generously supported their endeavours. He was a member of the UNE Exploration Society and joined expeditions to such places as the Simpson Desert and Barrington Tops and wrote about the Society for the Wright College 50th anniversary publication, "Wright on Education”.  On his return to England, he worked at London Guildhall University (formerly City of London Polytechnic) and Brunel University where, after retirement, he taught and supervised project students. Apart from work, he continued his passion for Spanish and music, singing in the church choir for many years.

(Edward) Keith Winterhalder
29 October 2005
Professor Keith Winterhalder studied and taught botany as a sessional lecturer at UNE for six years (until 1962) before taking up a three-year posting as a research fellow in botany at the University of Liverpool in England. In 1963, he accepted a job as a lecturer in botany at the newly incorporated Laurentian University and immediately on arriving
he became curator of the university's newly formed herbarium.
He was promoted to assistant professor in 1969 and associate professor in 1980. After his retirement in 1999, he continued working at the University Herbarium as curator emeritus and founded his own company, Wintergreen Ecological Services.

He completed a masters degree in science from UNE in 1970.

Professor Sue Johnston
4 July 2008
Professor Johnston was appointed by Professor Ingrid Moses as the founding Director of the Teaching and Learning Centre at UNE (1998-2000). Sue developed motor-neuron disease and deteriorated rapidly in the closing stages of her illness.
In 2007 Sue was honoured at the Carrick Awards for her sustained contribution and major influence in higher education. Sue was already too ill to attend the awards and the following was provided as part of the citation.

"With a career spanning more than 25 years in research, teaching, professional development and senior leadership, Professor Johnston has held posts at a number of Australian universities.

She was the inaugural Director of the Centre for the Enhancement of Learning, Teaching and Scholarship at the University of Canberra and later served as Director of the University of New England's Teaching and Learning Centre.

Last year, she was conferred the title of Emeritus Professor by the University of Tasmania in recognition of her contribution as the inaugural Pro Vice-Chancellor (Teaching and Learning).

Professor Johnston has also worked on major projects, including the revision of the National Protocols for Higher Education Approval Processes, a national study on credit transfer from vocational to higher education and Australia's country report for the OECD review of higher education. "
Grainger Rabone Morris
BSc (Syd) PhD (Camb)


At a recent memorial celebration in Armidale, Emeritus Professor Grainger Morris was described as a "man for all seasons” who will be remembered for his modesty and encouragement of others.

In 1966, he arrived in Armidale to take up the Chair of Pure Mathematics at UNE. In accordance with the University's principle of rotating headships of departments where there was more than one professor, he and Professor RCT Smith alternated the headship of the Department of Mathematics for many years. Students responded to his gentlemanly, friendly teaching style and he continued to assist school students and members of U3A even after his retirement from UNE in 1985. What guided him was a belief that "giving and passing on knowledge, especially to young people, is what makes us”.

His significant contributions to the University and mathematics were recognised with the conferral of the title of Emeritus Professor in 1986.

Professor Morris was actively engaged in the world. Aside from his passion for maths, he was renowned as a polyglot, with a good command of Russian, French, Indonesian and Swedish. He had, in fact, learnt Russian so that when he was on sabbatical in Moscow, he could translate some of the writings on maths. He was also a keen bushwalker and long-time member of Alliance Française.

Up until the last few years, he led a rich and active life. He will be fondly remembered by the many people who had the chance to know him.

Erle Burdett Robinson
LLB  MA (Wellington)

Erle Robinson is remembered by his former colleagues at the University of New England for his untiring pursuit of justice.

From his arrival as a lecturer in Philosophy in 1954-the year the University gained autonomy-till his retirement in 1989, he devoted his academic career to the education and welfare of his students and the health of the institution. "He was the sort of ‘thorn in the side' of Administration that every administration should be grateful to have,” said UNE's current Professor of Philosophy, Peter Forrest.

Professor Forrest said he had encountered former students whose most vivid memory of their university days was "Erle teaching them ethics”. And Mr Robinson's colleagues-even those who were his antagonists in one or other of his campaigns for institutional justice-all remember him with fondness and respect.

Erle Robinson was born and educated in New Zealand, where he gained a law degree and practised law before developing-through a Master of Arts degree-his vocational interest in philosophy. As a leading figure in UNE's development of philosophy programs for external students, he upheld the principle that external students should be taught and examined according to the same standards as internal students. It was his "pragmatic advice” (as one former colleague put it) that "helped to shape the University's external Bachelor of Arts degree”.

In 1957 he was elected to represent undergraduate students on the UNE Council, and he continued to serve in that role until 1960, when he took a year's study leave. From 1976 to 1980, and then again from 1982 to 1984, he served as a member of Council elected by the academic staff. He served as President of the UNE Teachers' Association, and was active in the Student Christian Movement.

His life-long pursuit of justice was remarkable for its integrity: his determined opposition to what he believed to be wrong was balanced by a lack of personal rancour. "He never bore malice,” one of his colleagues recalled.

Erle Robinson's unique contribution to UNE over 35 years was a product of that integrity.

He is survived by his wife Marcia (whom he married in 1960), their daughter Christine, and their grandchildren Timothy and Genevieve. Their son Stephen was killed in an ice avalanche on Mount Cook, New Zealand, in 1997. (

Professor Len Goddard


Philosophy was the life work of Professor Leonard Goddard. After leaving school, he started an apprenticeship in an architect's office and later joined the RAF. After the war, he studied Philosophy and Mathematics at St Andrew University, in Scotland, and then won a scholarship to Cambridge.

In 1956, he arrived at the relatively-new University of New England to take up a lectureship in Philosophy. He was later offered the Chair of Philosophy where he introduced the idea of UNE being an Australian postgraduate centre for formal logic. In the late 1960s he returned to St Andrews to take up the Chair of Logic and Metaphysics. Life in Australia, though, had been very pleasant and when he was appointed to the Boyce Gibson Chair of Philosophy at Melbourne University, he and his family moved back to Australia.

He was awarded the Centenary Medal in 2001 for services to Australian society and the humanities in the study of history and religion.

In a speech to graduating Arts students at St Andrews in 1971, he passed on the following words of advice:

"For the one thing I have discovered in the past 20 years is that people the world over want the same things, care about the same things, and, above all, care about each other. And this has always been, and always will be, our salvation. We may never find the right way to realise our ideals, but so long as we keep trying, it does not matter. People do. In the years that follow pause occasionally, return to the quiet beauty of this place and ask where you are going and why; where your country is going and why. And if your answers contain nothing about people, take a tip from David Hume and commit them to the flames for they will contain nothing but sophistry and illusion. But if, in the end, you can say I served my fellow men, then we who remain here will honour you, and our sons and daughters of the next generation.”

(Ida) Madge Brown
Madge Brown was household administrator at the University for many years. She came to Armidale in 1946 after her service in the army during WW11. Armidale seemed like a quiet and idyllic place after the horrors of her wartime service.
Cherry Robinson in Long Youth Long Pleasure (pp 16-17) notes that "the appointment and duties of maintenance staff, dining hall staff, the staff of the campus residences and town houses, were all her responsibility.” and she is remembered as being remarkably efficient. She retired from the University in 1964 and was admitted to Convocation for her conspicuous service to the University.
Many students will remember her as someone who had a real interest in them and making sure they were properly looked after.
Madge's Life of Service Wangaratta Cronicle
Dr Bruce Arthur Mitchell
1935-12 October 2009
Members of the University community with long memories, or those with an interest in the history of the institution will be saddened to learn of the recent death of Dr Bruce Arthur Mitchell (1935-2009).
Bruce Mitchell was appointed as a Lecturer (later Senior Lecturer) in the Department of History in 1970 and retired in 1994. He was Dean of Arts from 1976-78 and always a vigorous advocate of the university and its unique merits – not the least of which in those days was its manner of external teaching.
He was a productive researcher who published extensively, an inspiring teacher and committed supervisor. An expert in labour history and the history of education, in 1975 Bruce published a major study of Teachers, Education and Politics: A History of Organizations of Public School Teachers in New South Wales. He plunged into the ‘Botany Bay Debate' with ‘Why Botany Bay: the founding of a colony but from around 1980 he was increasingly absorbed by aspects of local history and, especially the built environment of Booloominbah and Saumarez House. He wrote a number of guides to Booloominbah and that work was capped by his splendid book House on the Hill: Booloominbah Home and University. His enthusiasm for buildings as a means of exploring local history was continued in a series of publications for the National Trust on Saumarez as a grand residence and also a place of work and business. A happy collaborator who brought out the best in others, Bruce wrote Working Saumarez: People and places on a sheep and cattle station with Barry McDonald and Saumarez: a history of the property and its people with his partner and long-time collaborator Jillian Oppenheimer. The Mitchell/Oppenheimer team also produced two excellent examples of family history in the works focussed on Jillian's Nivison ancestors who settled near Walcha. An Australian Clan: the Nivisons of New England and Abraham's Tribe: the descendants of Abraham and Mary Nivison are models of what family history can be. Bruce's published work extended beyond those items listed here but they indicate the scope of his interests and productive historical research.
He will be remembered with affection by those who knew him and missed greatly by all those who understand the value of local and regional history.

[Written by David Kent, Adjunct Professor in the School of Humanities]

Margaret Davidson Mackie
12 November 1914-14 December 2009
Many education and external students will remember Margaret Mackie, who inspired hundreds of students with her teaching and scholarship.
John Joseph James Pigram
15 May 1933-5 January 2011
Professor Pigram began his 52-year association with the University of New England as a student in 1959 and subsequently became a leading international authority on water management policy.

Professor Pigram, who was a founding member of the Board of Governors of the World Water Council from 1996 to 2006, President of the International Water Resources Association (IWRA) from 2001 to 2003, and an invited member of the Club of Tokyo and Rosenberg International Water Policy Forum, attributed his life-long interest in the use of water to being raised on a farm – near Cootamundra, NSW.   He is considered by many to have been Australia’s pioneer in water policy and economics, and was the first Australian to hold the position of President of the IWRA.  

Trained as a school teacher, he brought those teaching skills to UNE, where he became a Lecturer in Geography in 1970 after moving to Armidale to do an Honours year in 1967 and before the completion of research for his PhD degree on irrigation.

When he received the Distinguished Service Award of the International Water Resources Association in 2006, the citation pointed out that he had "supervised more than 50 graduate students at Doctoral and Master’s levels, many of whom are now active in the application of water policy initiatives and water reform in Australia and elsewhere”.  

Professor Pigram was appointed as Director of UNE’s newly-formed Centre for Water Policy Research in 1987 – a position he held until his retirement in 2001. Under his direction the Centre became recognised world-wide as a hub of water policy research, and he gained an international reputation as an authority in the field. After his retirement he maintained his connection with the University as an Adjunct Professor while continuing his activities as a world leader in water policy.   In 2005 he was appointed to the rank of Fellow of the International Water Resources Association – the highest rank of membership in the association. This appointment, the Association said, "capped a long career of contribution, integrity, honesty and public service par excellence at home and around the world”.  

In recognition of another field of expertise, he was made a Charter Member of the International Academy for the Study of Tourism.  

John Pigram was instrumental in the formation of St Albert’s College at UNE, was a member of the College’s Senior Common Room, and was awarded an Honorary Fellowship at St Albert’s. 
Ellen Mary Higham FCN OAM
15 February 1921-13 July 2011
Ellen Higham completed her general nursing training at Grafton Base Hospital in 1945 and then followed Midwifery training at Ryde District Soldiers Memorial Hospital and Mothercraft training at the Tresillian Home, Vaucluse, NSW. She returned to Grafton in April 1949 as Theatre Supervisor and was subsequently appointed Deputy Matron in 1951. She succeeded Matron Miller in 1959 becoming the youngest Matron in the State.

Prior to her appointment as Deputy Matron Ellen was awarded scholarships enabling her to study nursing in the UK including a post graduate course at the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin. Following this she did further studies at Guy’s Hospital in London. Ellen studied for the Diploma in Nursing Administration at the College on Nursing (NSW) in 1966 and in 1972 returned to the UK to concentrate on Senior Nursing Staff Structures—a report of these studies was completed for the NSW Health Department.

She  was a strong advocate for the transfer of nursing education to the tertiary  sector and worked hard to achieve this change over several years as  a Member of the Inaugural Council of the Northern Rivers College of Advanced Education  from 1974- 1981. She was later appointed as a Member of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Nurse Education, University of New England, Northern Rivers as preparation for the transfer of nurse education was in progress. Ellen was a Fellow of the College of Nursing (NSW), a Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing Australia and a Foundation Fellow of the Institute of Nursing Administrators of NSW & ACT.

She was awarded the honour of life membership of the College of Nursing (NSW) on her retirement. She was active in a number of organisations during her time as Matron which included founder and Member of the Graduate Nurses’ Association in 1969. This course encouraged nurses to undertake refresher courses enabling them to return to the workforce.

She was a foundation member of Grafton’s Community Learning Unit from 1974 until 1986. During this time community members were given the opportunity to attend lectures in health education. In the Queen’s Birthday Honour’s List in 1986 Ellen was awarded the OAM for services to nurse education. She was further honoured by her colleagues when she was admitted as the first Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Nursing Administrators of NSW & ACT in 1986. From 1990 to 1993 Ellen was a member of the Board of St Vincent’s Hospital, Lismore and from 1994 to 2000 a member of the Hospital’s Medico Moral Committee.

On her retirement Ellen had time then to fulfill a life time ambition to study at University and was an external student at the University of New England, Armidale where she completed a Bachelor of Arts degree (Philosophy) in 1995.  

Several hundred nurses completed their training under her outstanding leadership and graduates were sought throughout Australia having trained in a hospital of such high regard with some graduates achieving national and international recognition for their expertise in nursing. Also of note under her administration Grafton Base Hospital was the first country hospital to appoint and educate male nurses.   Ellen will be sadly missed by her family, former colleagues and many friends.   Contributed by Kay Paine

Dr Alan Treloar
13 Nov 1919-22 July 2011

Alan Treloar was one of the most distinguished members of the UNE community. He studied Classics at the University of Melbourne, and then saw distinguished military service in the Middle East during World War II before taking up – in 1946 – the Rhodes Scholarship to New College, Oxford, that he had been awarded in 1940.

After lecturing positions at the Universities of Melbourne, Nottingham, Glasgow and Tasmania, he arrived at UNE in 1960 as the second Master of Wright College – a position he held until 1965.   As UNE’s Reader in Comparative Philology, Sanskrit and Classical Arabic (also teaching classes in languages such as Hebrew and Old Icelandic) from 1966 to 1984, he gave the University community – and the international scholarly community – the full benefit of his vast knowledge of classical and ancient languages including (among many others) Hittite, Akkadian, Sumerian and Ugaritic. He was an Honorary Research Fellow at UNE from 1985, and the University awarded him the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters for academic excellence in 1992.  

In his "retirement” Alan continued to give his time and knowledge with untiring generosity, giving individual tuition to students and playing an active role in the life of the University as well as pursuing his own scholarly interests.  

His beloved wife Bronnie, herself a distinguished academic, died in 1991. They had three daughters: Anna, Megan and Jeannie.  

Alan was the quintessential "scholar and gentleman”; his rigorous approach to scholarship, combined with a gentleness of manner and a humane outlook on the world, made a lasting impression on generations of students and colleagues. He was a generous benefactor of UNE, establishing the Bronnie Treloar Prize in French and contributing to various Classics and Museum of Antiquities projects and annual appeals. The Alan Treloar Postgraduate Scholarship in Classical Philology was established in his honour.  

He is survived by daughters Anna and Jeannie, son-in-law James, and grandchildren Sarah, Katy and Alex.
Sign In

Forgot your password?

Haven't registered yet?

Latest News
Online Surveys