Rodney Martin - 1967

Geography major 1965-1967

How could I forget my years in Geography? The afternoon pracs in first year, competing to see whose paper dart flew the furthest from the ninth floor windows. The lectures by the venerable Arthur Wilcock ("I'LL tell you when to write something!"). The field trips, including the one where the bus became bogged at the Organ Pipes and the Welsh lecturer in charge (Davies?) was most concerned because we might not get back in time for him to attend the Geog. dinner dance that night.

In second year, the interminable prac work on New England set by Dr. Brinkman - and guess where he was from! What we didn't know about the north-eastern part of good old USA wasn't worth bothering about. The lectures on South-east Asia by Geoff Missen, famous for his pregnant pauses. The field trip to The Riverina, led by Victor Prescott. Gordon Hunter, the coach driver who was very happy to join in everything. Dropping a loaded tray of drinks in a pub in Echuca (sob!). Being thrown out of the building for the evening by mine host Perce Longobardi at the Hydro Hotel in Leeton. We had the audacity to meet with a few of the girls in a room! The boozy last night in my room at an historic hotel in Hay - a place that seemed like the end of the earth. Perhaps it was. Oh, and by the way, we did some work in between!

Third year will long be remembered for the field camp at Raymond Island - Eric Bird's grand idea. Free research for his next coastal geomorph. book. The student who ensconced himself in the pub as soon as we arrived at Paynesville, missed the last punt for the night, and then fell out of the boat he hurriedly hired to get him across. The interminable rain on the first day that soaked all of us, and we didn't dry out for the rest of the week. Being dropped off along the coastline of Lake Victoria to do some mapping. My group had great difficulty in reconciling our map to the landscape. Not surprising, really, given the fact that we had been dropped off at the wrong spot! All the males shoved into a bunkhouse with a mattress each (or two if you were quick) on the floor. The ban on alcohol (after the guy had been fished out of the lake), and the protest that came in the form of empty cans piled up against the entrance door overnight. Robin Pryor striding through said door (and cans) early in the morning, tipping blokes out of their sleeping bags by lifting the ends and watching them slide on to the floor (he was a big fellow!). Being given the hardest task in the camp: lighting the wood heaters for the hot water each afternoon after chopping the wood (you try lighting a fire with wet timber!). The very boozy last night, with John Kumnick tickling the (somewhat out of tune) ivories.

The year was also memorable for 'Kenny' Fairbairn's immortal half-lectures, after which he would stop and call for questions. I always racked my brains to come up with the most inane ones I could think of. Victor Prescott's exquisitely delivered offerings. And then there was the 'Prof', John Andrews, regaling us with his anecdotes about Europe.

I could go on and on, but I shall finish with an amusing aside (although he probably didn't think so at the time). Victor Prescott, so eloquent, so cultured, so urbane, so EDUCATED, was sitting at the front of the bus during a field trip. The bus stopped at his command and he rose in his seat, microphone in hand, to address us. He failed to take account of the overhanging shelf, however, and his head collided with it. Through the microphone, for all of us to hear, came . . . 'AHH . . SHIT!'