Queen's University

Swag of grads gathers in Oz

Principal Woolf and Vice-Provost Dixon met a number of Queen's alumni during their February trip to Australia.

John, James and Jennifer LillJames and Jennifer Lill show James’ father John around Perth after Principal Woolf’s alumni reception.
Photo: Lindy Brophy, UWA News

You can’t travel much further from Kingston, Ontario, than to Perth, Western Australia – not without finding yourself on the way back. Perhaps this is why a swag of Queen’s alumni, finding themselves in the city of Perth, on the west coast of Australia, decided to stay. It may also have something to do with the clear blue skies and sunny days of its Mediterranean climate, and a relaxed way of life.

When Principal Daniel Woolf and Vice-Provost (International) John Dixon ventured to the University of Western Australia in Perth recently, they wanted to get the most out of their trip by meeting those Queen’s ex-pats. So, after two days of meetings with principals of the seven universities that make up the Matariki Network, they hosted an alumni reception at St. George’s College, UWA’s oldest, gothic-style, residential college. About 25 Queen’s alumni from the area enjoyed a cocktail party, where Woolf and Dixon filled them in on the latest news and developments back at their alma mater.

Husband and wife James and Jennifer Lill, both Sc’04, are working for the big Australian mining company BHP Billiton in Perth. They were the youngest alumni at the Principal’s gathering, but James’ parents were visiting them from Toronto at the time, so his dad John, Sc’73, joined the party. All three are mining engineers.

Margot Jupp, Sc’87, spent a year traveling the world before settling in Perth in 1988. “I met an Australian chemical engineer in Austria on a train for all of 15 minutes and he said to look him up when I got here,” Margot says. “When I arrived in Sydney, I called him and he was true to his word – he found me a job!”

After a few years at UWA, Margot now works for another mining company, Woodside.

Craig Atkins, Arts’64, PhD’69, and his wife Penny (Kelly), MSc’69, met at Queen’s back in the 1960s. Craig is a native Australian who was doing his PhD in Chemistry while Penny was studying for her MSc. “I was the President of the Graduate Students’ Society,” says Craig. He was also one of the first four students on Queen’s Senate.

He and Margot went to Vienna to work for the International Atomic Energy Agency. “But the early ’70s were a dangerous time. Terrorists kept sending letter bombs to the Agency, and people were getting their hands blown off. So, in 1973, with our first baby daughter, I brought Penny home to Australia.”

Craig worked at UWA, most recently in the Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis. He is now (supposedly) retired, but retains a position as an Emeritus Professor at UWA and still does some research. Penny works with Prof. Lyn Beazley, an animal biologist who is Western Australia’s Chief Scientist. Between them, the Atkins have degrees from five universities, but they still hold Queen’s close to their hearts.

Among all the science graduates at the reception was a lone Artsman -- Paul Barron, Arts’72, an independent filmmaker and a rare creature in Perth, as most film companies are based on the east coast. Paul, originally from Toronto, has won 50 national and international awards as a film and television producer. He has worked in the arts, culture and entertainment industries in Perth for more than 30 years.

Queen's Alumni Review, 2011 Issue #2Queen's Alumni Review
2011 Issue #2
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