Friday, July 11, 2008


Well, the week has been busy with various disparate activities. Next week will also be busy, but I will have time to paint. However, on Wednesday I have both an exciting and challenging experience. That is....I am the guest speaker at the University of Queensland's graduation ceremony for the faculties of Arts, and Behavioural and Social Science. I will be speaking for 5-8 minutes. So, I have written a speech which I will not read, but will refer to as I go along. I have chosen to speak about perspective...both literally and metaphorically. I will say not more now, but will elaborate after Wednesday.

I am honoured to be asked to make this speech. My family does have a history at UQ. Some families have multiple lawyers or doctors, but my family has a diverse mix of courses and experiences. My mother has 3 degrees from UQ including a Masters by Research in Education. She completed this as an external student when I was in my late teens. It was a huge amount of work, and before computers, so the floor in the spare room was covered in piles of papers and notes. My Mother did 2 of her degrees externally because we lived on a farm. I look back at her efforts and they were mighty!

My brother has 1 1/2 degrees and is now one of the Assistant Directors of IT at UQ. My 2 paternal Aunts studied at UQ in the 1940/50s. One aunt completed a Commerce Degree and the other aunt was UQ's first female graduate from Agricultural Science. Her husband is also a graduate of Agricultural Science, having completed post-graduate study. He started at UQ as a returned soldier with my Aunt being one of his lecturers. Interestingly, my Aunt also taught my former parents-in-law when they entered study after World War II.

One of my aunt and uncle's sons completed a PhD in Ionospheric Physics in the mid 1980s and won a scholarship to the prestigious Max Planck Institute in Germany. However, sadly he died on an expedition climbing Mt Everest. With only about 30 m to go to reach the summit he and the other climbers had to turn back due to the blizzard conditions. They were also climbing without oxygen. On his descent my cousin slipped and fell backwards into a major ravine and has never been found. A young doctor from Melbourne also slipped on the same spot.

And to something happier. My daughter will start at UQ next year. So, in a few years time I will be seated in the audience at the Faculty of Arts graduation feeling very proud I am sure.

Seeing Into The Vastness Gouache on paper 40 x 50 cm framed 2008

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