Ken O'Connor - 1960s

My life since Geography 62-65:

In 1966 I completed a Diploma of Education at Melbourne and in  February 1967 I began my geography teaching career at Bonbeach High School. I  remained there till August 1969 when I moved to Canada where I taught geography  in two high schools in Toronto till June 1974. During that time I completed a  masters degree in Education at the University of Toronto and I met and married  my Canadian wife Marilyn. In July 1974 we started a six-month journey through Europe  and Asia that brought us to Melbourne for Christmas 1974. I spent 1975 teaching  geography at Scotch College. We returned to Canada at the end of 1975 and I  taught geography (and a few other subjects) at two high schools in Scarborough,  the school district that covered the eastern third of Toronto. In March 1990 I  became the Curriculum Coordinator for grades 7 to 12 Geography and grades 1-6  Social Studies. I retired from the school district in June 1969 and since then  I have been working as an independent consultant on classroom assessment with a  special interest in grading and reporting. I have now had the good fortune to  work in nine Canadian provinces, 43 American states and 13 countries outside of  North America.

Melbourne Memories – Geography 1962 to 1965 and beyond

I was very  fortunate to be in the second group of students who were able to get an honours  degree in Geography at the University of Melbourne. My main memories are of two  professors and my friends who were students in the honours program.

The two professors I vividly remember are Dr. Tom Perry and Dr.  Victor Prescott; I found that both of them immediately built on my love of  geography through the content of their lectures and their contrasting  approaches – Tom, gentle and fun, and Victor, demanding and a little  intimidating. I particularly appreciated the opportunities that Dr. Perry gave  me to expand my knowledge and skills by working with him one summer and the  guidance Dr. Prescott gave me while I struggled with some of the difficulties I  encountered while researching and writing my honours thesis on the Victoria/New  South Wales border.
There were only nine other students in the 1962-65 honours group and  as we took so many classes together we became a very tight knit group. We  worked hard but we had a lot of fun. Although I have lived in Canada for most  of my life I still keep in touch with three of our group and consider them to  be some of my best friends. They have all visited my home in Toronto and we get  together on all my visits to Melbourne.

I have had two ‘careers’ that have given me the opportunity to  travel widely (international (field) hockey umpire and independent consultant)  and the understanding of geography that I obtained at the University of  Melbourne has enhanced those travels. There have been many occasions when I  have been in an interesting location or have been looking at an interesting  landform when I have found myself thinking about how fortunate I was to have  the great learning opportunities that I had in the geography department.

I am very sorry that I cannot attend the reunion but I have work  commitments that prevent me from coming to Australia in early October. Have a  great day – happy 50th!