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Curtin University
Note to staff

22 May 2017


Celebrating reconciliation

On Friday Peter Yu, Chief Executive Officer of the Yawuru not-for-profit company, delivered the 2017 Rob Riley Memorial Lecture, which celebrates the life and achievements of the remarkable indigenous statesman and leader.

As a close friend and colleague of Rob Riley, Peter was especially well placed to speak about Rob’s legacy.  Peter spoke very eloquently, not only about Rob and his enormous contributions but about this week’s important First Nations Convention that will be held at Uluru, during which potential reforms to the constitution to recognise Indigenous Australians will be discussed.

In addition to the lecture, a number of events have been organised at Curtin to mark Sorry Day (26 May) and National Reconciliation Week (27 May – 3 June). All staff and students are invited to participate in the following:

Throughout National Reconciliation Week, the Library will feature a display of images, articles and resources giving historical and cultural perspectives to the message of reconciliation.  In addition, the ‘Hexagon’ will be transformed into a space where staff and students can leave messages about what reconciliation means to them, and Wesfarmer’s Court will be screening reconciliation-themed TEDx talks.

 CWTS Leiden results

Curtin has increased its position on the CWTS Leiden Ranking 2017, rising to 355 in the world, up from 370 in 2016. This places the University tenth nationally, up from eleventh in 2016. This is a very pleasing result for Curtin. Many thanks to all staff who contributed to our improved performance in this ranking. A full briefing paper is being prepared by the Office of Strategy and Planning and will be available on the University Rankings webpage shortly

Professor Igor Bray elected to the Australian Academy of Science  

 Warm congratulations to Professor Igor Bray of the Department of Physics and Astronomy on being elected to the Australian Academy of Science.  Professor Bray is the only West Australian to receive the prestigious honour this year. He has been recognised for his global standing in the field of atomic and molecular collision physics.  Igor was one of a group of 21 scientists from around Australia elected by their Academy peers, following a rigorous evaluation process.  New Fellows will be formally inducted into the Academy this evening in Canberra.

50fifty exhibition and campaign

 50fifty, a wonderful exhibition of 50 significant artworks from the Curtin University Art Collection, opened at the John Curtin Gallery on 17 May. The exhibition is one of the highlights of our 50 Years of Innovation celebrations and features a diverse range of artworks grouped across the five decades of Curtin’s history.  Curtin’s Art Collection was established in 1968 and has grown to include over 2,700 objects with strengths in Indigenous, Australian modernist and contemporary art.

At the exhibition opening, we launched an exciting initiative, also called 50fifty, to acquire 50 significant new pieces for the collection between 2017 and 2020.  To kickstart this initiative, the University’s recent acquisition by one of Australia’s leading painters, Brian Blanchflower, was featured.  Canopy XXII (Time Generator) from 1990 is a signature work from the artist’s magnificent Canopy Series.

Also part of the 50fifty initiative is a large outdoor sculpture gifted to the University by the State Government to acknowledge our 50th celebrations.  Murmur is a work by highly respected artist and Curtin graduate Anne Neil, and has now been installed on the Bentley campus near building 100.

WAIT Alumni Scholarships Campaign

Last week we announced our new WAIT Alumni Scholarships Campaign, which is an initiative between Curtin and our valued WAIT alumni to raise funds to establish an endowed scholarships fund for WA School of Mines students.

The campaign will run throughout the year in line with our 50 Years of Innovation celebrations and aims to raise $2 million dollars. We have a number of prominent WAIT Campaign Ambassadors who have generously given their time to this special initiative in order to help us to increase the number of scholarships we can offer students.

This is an important focus for Curtin this year and I encourage staff to share the initiative with any WAIT alumni they know. More information and details on how you can donate is available on our website.

 Taking a stand against violence

As part of our commitment to zero tolerance to violence, Curtin is participating in University Australia’s campaign Respect. Now. Always to raise awareness of the need to prevent sexual assault and sexual harassment and to enhance visibility of support services for students.   The Human Rights Commission has undertaken a survey to investigate the nature and scale of these behaviours on university campuses.   Curtin’s results, along with the results from all other Australian universities, will be released in August 2017.

We are also participating in the White Ribbon Employer Accreditation Program, a national campaign to prevent violence against women.  Some of the work completed as part of our commitment includes adopting a family and domestic violence leave procedure for staff, providing specialised training for managers to respond to family and domestic violence, and providing services and resources through the Safer Community Team for greater safety on campus for staff and students.

We would value your feedback in relation to the White Ribbon campaign and encourage you to fill in the White Ribbon follow-up survey, which closes on 30 May 2017.

 Australia’s Ambassador to Brazil visits the School of Biomedical Sciences

Last Thursday Mr John Richardson, Australia’s Ambassador to Brazil, visited the School of Biomedical Sciences and toured the laboratory spaces in building 305. His visit was arranged to discuss work by Dr Evelyne Depazes (Early Career Research Fellow, Biomedical Sciences) which involves the use and manipulation of a South American spider venom for anti-tumour activity. Her work is supported by the Cancer Council.

Ambassador to Brazil

L to R: PhD students Heloisa De Oliveira Alves, Felipe Krupelis and Karina Montenegro, Professor Philip Newsholme, Dr Evelyne Depazes, Dr Rodrigo Carlessi and Mr Richardson.

 John Curtin Medal nominations

I would like to remind staff that John Curtin Medal nominations close in three weeks, on Friday 9 June. I encourage you to put forward nominations of people who have demonstrated John Curtin’s attributes of vision, leadership and community service. Nominees do not have to be affiliated with Curtin. The John Curtin Medal is the University’s highest non-academic award and is a great opportunity for Curtin to recognise outstanding members of the community.

The nomination form and further details can be found online or please contact Julia Nicol, Director, Public Relations on extension 7711 or by e-mail at Please note that nominations must be kept strictly confidential and therefore candidates should not be contacted for information regarding their nomination.

 VC Forum 17 May

If you were unable to attend the VC Forum last Wednesday, a recording of my presentation can be accessed online.


The Holy Month of Ramadan begins on 27 May. The most auspicious month on the Islamic calendar, Ramadan marks the time in which the first verses of the Quran were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. During Ramadan, Muslims around the world fast from sunrise to sunset. I wish all of our Muslim students and staff a peaceful and joyous Ramadan.

  1. Robert Guthrie May 22, 2017 11:20am

    Would it be possible to know the names of the “interim council”

  2. Ann Paterson May 23, 2017 10:44am

    Hi Rob

    The Council members were:
    Back (left to right): Dr Harry Nash, Sir Stanley Lewis Prescott, L E McCarrey, W J Paterson, Roy Halliday Henderson
    Front: Dr Haydn Williams (WAIT Director), Dr Thomas Logan Robertson (Chair), Howard Peters (Council Secretary).

    In later years the Library was named after ‘Blue’ Robertson and Henderson Court after Roy Henderson. The Haydn Williams Fellowship is named after our first Director.

    More information on some of these people can be found online (, and on the timeline installed outside the Co-op.


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