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Campus News : July 2010
www.uow.edu.au University of Wollongong Campus News July 2010 13 Mining chiefs started careers in Wollongong Two of the mining executives tragically killed in the Sundance resources air crash in the Congo in June are both alumni of the University of Wollongong. Ken Talbot, 59, and Geoff Wedlock, 62, were two of the six Australian mining executives among nine people who died when a twin-engined aircraft crashed into mountainous jungle on a flight from Cameroon to the Congo. The group were on their way to inspect an iron ore deposit in the Congo. Mr Talbot grew up in Figtree and studied Mining Engineering in the late 1960s at Wollongong College, which was then part of the University of NSW before it gained autonomy as UOW in 1975. Sundance Chairman Geoff Wedlock also grew up in Wollongong and studied Science at the College under a BHP Steelworks cadetship. Mr Wedlock took up the cadetship after graduating from Wollongong High School, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1970. He forged a successful 25-year career with BHP in the Pilbara, before joining iron ore producer Portman as Managing Director in 2005. He joined Sundance last year. Mr Wedlock returned to Wollongong each year to visit family and friends from the Vikings rugby union club. Mr Talbot lectured at UOW in the early 1980s and helped strengthen the University's Mining Engineering degree before becoming one of Australia's most successful mining magnates. Associate Professor Naj Aziz from UOW's School of Civil, Mining and Environmental Engineering said Mr Talbot had played a significant role in helping to strengthen UOW's mining engineering course between 1980 and 1985, while working as a mining engineer and manager with Kembla Coal and Coke. He also lectured part-time in Mine Economics and Planning. Mr Talbot moved to Queensland in 1986, where he established Macarthur Coal, which was to become the foundation for his considerable fortune. Talbot Group chairman Don Nissen told a media conference in the wake of the crash that Mr Talbot would be "greatly missed by those whose lives he touched". "Ken was very much a larger than life character, enthusiastic, buoyant, sincere and humane. He was a great Queenslander and Australian, but most importantly he was a devoted family man," Mr Nissen said. "Ken was definitely a self-made entrepreneur. The proud son of a truck driver and with a state school education he often described himself as a simple coal miner." Mr Talbot last visited UOW in 2004 to present a paper at a coal industry conference. NH IN MEMORIAM Dr Colm Patrick Keirnan 24 November 1931 -- 27 March 2010 Colm Patrick Kiernan (pictured left) was one of the foundation members of the then History Department when Wollongong was a College of the University of NSW. From his arrival in 1964 to his retirement in 1996 he developed a strong reputation as an enthusiastic teacher and on occasions, a strong interrogator of students -- especially those who had failed to do the required reading! Colm was the son of the Irish Ambassador to Australia and he never lost his passion for things Irish. While his early works concentrated on European history, especially the Enlightenment, the French Revolution and the role of science in 17th and 18th century France, his later books, research and teaching dealt largely with Irish issues -- the Irish in Australia (their influence in the Australian Labor Party and their role in the Roman Catholic Church) which he examined through the lens of two powerful figures; one a politician Arthur Calwell, Leader of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party, and the other Daniel Mannix, Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne for almost 50 years. He also took Australian History to Ireland when he taught at the University College Dublin between 1980 and 1986. He reported enthusiastically back to his colleagues in Wollongong on the pleasure that his teaching and students gave him, once noting that unlike Wollongong students, his students "surged through the corridors" on their way to lectures! His lectures and tutorials were never dull and many of them were highly memorable. That he had such an impact on first year undergraduates when classes were held at 7.45am is testament to his enthusiasm and his occasionally unpredictable Irish character. He is survived by three children by his first wife Joan who died in 1992 and his second wife Susan and a son. Colm made a wonderful contribution to the early days of History at Wollongong and he will be missed. Vale Colm. By Dr Glenn Mitchell, School of History and Politics Harry Alla 19 March 1934 -- 31 March 2010 Harry Alla, who served the University of Wollongong, its staff and students for many years, died in April from leukaemia, aged 76. Mr Alla joined UOW in the 1980s and had a number of senior roles up until 1999 including Manager of Student Administration. After his retirement he continued to take an active role in alumni affairs. Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Professor Rob Castle described Mr Alla as a "steadfast friend of the University", and special colleague who was well- liked and respected by academic and general staff. He is survived by his wife Betty and children Andrew, Sue and Julie. NH Appeal makes right connection This year's annual Alumni Office Appeal achieved much more than a doubling of pledges from alumni to support UOW's scholarship campaign and cancer research. About 60 current students took to the telephones during April and May, connecting with around 5000 graduates. "It was an enormous success," Manager, Development, Alumni and Community Monique Harper-Richardson said. "We were very grateful to the many alumni who participated, and to those who offered financial support for our scholarships program and cancer research. However, the campaign is much more than seeking philanthropic support. "It gives our current students the chance to really connect with those who have gone before them. It's an invaluable opportunity for the students to talk to people about their memories of their time here, their careers and their lives after University. "It reinforces for our current students the value of staying connected with the University after they graduate, and also hopefully does the same for our graduates. Our students reported very positive reactions from most of the people they rang. One student was even offered a job by a graduate she was talking to in the field of engineering." Ms Harper-Richardson said UOW received support from alumni in many ways. "Some employ our graduates or have research partnerships with us. Some are philanthropists and some are wonderful ambassadors for the University, wherever they live in the world. All that support is highly valuable and much appreciated." Tthe appeal generated pledges of more than $150,000 over the next three years. If you would like to support the Appeal Fund, please visit www.uow.edu.au/donations/index.html