President’s report to AGM (Nov 20th 2018)

Note: This report was prepared a few days before the AGM and does not include the death of Dr Kester Brown which occurred on November 14th. At the AGM appropriate tribute was made to Dr Brown, whose funeral took place On Friday November 23rd.



2018 has been a year of continued growth and evolution for the RCH alumni. Our membership numbers now stand at 177, a net increase of 5. We welcomed 11 new members. These are

Prof Sylvia Metcalfe

Dr Michelle Fink

Dr Sara Murphy

Prof Peter McDougall

A/Prof Ronda Greaves

Prof Jeffrey Rosenfeld

Dr David Cook

Dr Roger Allen

Dr Geoff Debelle

Ms Lynn Crellin

Ms Ann Clark

There has been a refreshing infusion of former senior professional and scientific colleagues who are making a great contribution to the Alumni. Our lively and energetic vice president is Ruth Wraith, whilst Gigi William’s magnificent photographs and Bev Touzel’ s essays have enhanced our newsletters.

Sadly, three of our members passed away. We said farewell to Max Kent, Jim Rossiter and John McNamara, all of whom made major contributions to the RCH and the advancement of Paediatrics. We honour their memory, and the rich legacy they have left to those who follow.

We have again provided a rich program of events. The AGM and annual dinner was held at the Kew golf club.It was well supported and thoroughly enjoyed by all. The guest speaker was historian Peter Yule, who gave an insightful and challenging presentation on the medical consequences of the Vietnam war.

There have been 7 other Alumni events. Three of these were Alumni lunch time meetings with author and outback GP Dr Howard Goldenberg, gender pioneer A/Prof Michelle Telfer, and Oxford ethicist and neonatologist Professor Dominic Wilkinson. Three of the other meetings were held in conjunction with Children’s Rights International. These were aimed at bringing doctors and lawyers together for discussions about children’s rights based on the UN declaration on the Rights of the Child. The first of these was held at the RCH, the second at the University of Melbourne and the third was presented at the National Paediatrics bioethics conference. Notably, the attendance at the luncheon events has been better than those held late afternoon.

These were all high-quality events and reports appear on the Alumni website and newsletter. Particular thanks go to Dan Warne for his help with setting up the NEWSLETTER which has been interesting, informative and entertaining and which showcases the Alumni to the wider community.

The Vernon Collins Oration, co-sponsored with the RCH, was a sell-out grand round. The presenter was the inspiring Prof Sandra Eades, whose personal story sets an example of hope not only to indigenous young people, but to all of us. Her presentation, as well as some of the other events, can be found on the website.

The first lunch time speaker for 2019 will be Prof Katie Allen of the MCRI, who is the Liberal candidate for Prahran in the forthcoming state election. Her topic is “Why on earth would a paediatrician consider standing for state parliament?”

I am pleased to report that we expect the establishment of an RCH Alumni status recognised by a lanyard and ID card for the purpose of recognition of past service and more practically to allow for concessional car parking rates. Thanks to A/Prof Matt Sabin, our executive sponsor.

The executive has worked harmoniously and efficiently throughout the year. Garry Warne as secretary has been the key to continuity, institutional memory and effectiveness and we all owe him a huge vote of thanks. Jim Wilkinson as treasurer and web master continues to ensure financial stability and effective communication and Ruth Wraith has supported me greatly as vice-president. A special note of appreciation to Karin Tiedemann for her fantastic contribution over many years. The success of the recent annual dinners has been in large measure due to her efforts. She has indicated her intention to take a break, but I hope she will be back some time soon. Thanks to new members: Christine Unsworth, with her wealth of contacts and people skills; and Don Cameron for their constructive contributions and  to Kevin Collins, who with characteristic good humour, has given us much wise counsel.

We look forward to another great year of fellowship and enjoyable and interesting events. We expect to become more involved with the RCH 150th anniversary celebration preparations and the reestablishment of the historical room. We will also continue to advocate for an improved process for RCH members who are retiring or leaving.


Hugo Gold,


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