I was delighted to receive an invitation to attend the 50th anniversary of the founding of the UoM's Department of Geography. Even although much water has passed under the bridge since I was appointed to a lectureship in that Department late in 1959 I still have many happy memories of the several years I spent there and the many good colleagues I was fortunate enough to work with (Tom Perry, Victor Prescott, Geoff Missen, Geoff Robinson, Ian Coghill, Arthur Wilcox, Ken Double, etc., etc.). And of course, as one of the very earliest PhDs in Geography (in 1965, second only to Wong, I think), I suppose I must also count myself fortunate for I can't imagine that my subsequent academic career would have been half so prosperous without that qualification.
For all those reasons I would very much liked to have been able to attend at least the Dinner. Unfortunately however, that will not be possible. I shall, of course, be thinking of those Melbourne days when you gather at University House (of which I also have very pleasant memories!!). Should the opportunity arise, I would also be glad if you could offer my apologies and convey my best wishes for the future to any of the gathering - former colleagues or students - who might have cause to remember me.
PS: As I remember it, when I arrived in the Department in mid-January 1960 I was welcomed by John Andrews, Arthur Wilcox, Ken Double and Ian Coghill and immediately dropped into the Departmental teaching program that March. As JA had been there for several months at least by that time, I always reckoned that the Department must have been formally founded during 1959 and therefore celebrated its 50 yrs at the end of 2009. But I guess the records must show that we were not a formally established independent unit within the University's academic structure until 1960. Or have I completely lost count of the years?