Our Golden Graduates have witnessed the growth and remarkable evolution of ANU from its infancy to a world-class institution in education and research. Read stories about their experiences at ANU.

Dr Bill Murphy


One evening in August 1960, I was in the lab, when the janitor came in  to tell me the local Press had hammered at the door of the JCSMR, with the rumour that Prof Eccles was to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine. The Common Room was opened for celebratory drinks for any researchers in the building, and champagne flowed. As it eventuated, it was another Aussie who won the 1960 award, namely Sir Macfarlane Burnett. I've wondered to this day where the Canberra Times reporters sourced their information. I cannot recall any report making the pages of the paper, but as a poor married PhD, a taste of "bubbly" was most acceptable.

Sir John Eccles won the gong in 1963!

Jimmy Cabrera


How I could forget my most meaningful experience while schooling at ANU of getting the chance to enter all and every room of the famous Australian Parliament House, including most importantly the Office of the Prime Minister, as part of a part-time 2-team (my supervisor and me) Maintenance Crew of the Rentokil International Ltd. doing maintenance retrieval of ornamental plants. This was made possible through the University's Employment Office, not to mention the visits to many sceneries all over ACT Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne and others. I would surmise I might be the only foreign student then (1993-94) that had this unique experience at this symbolic national house.

Yuan H Tien

PhD 1960

I first became aware of Australia through Charles Dickens, whose books were translated into Chinese even before I was born. His Great Expectations (the movie) were an eye-opener in 1946. All the images of the convicts! So it was with a little trepidation that I set out with my family to Canberra. I had lived in Pennsylvania and had gone to three Quaker Colleges before enrolling at the U of Penn., so their pacifist view influenced me much.

Still, I must say that wars have their 'positive' consequences. The many displaced persons from WWII, and peoples from different parts of Asia were there. In Australia, everything, however, turned out beautifully!!

All the friendly neighbours and strangers. And our daughter was born in the Canberra Community Hospital. My year in 1958 as the President of the ANU Students Association was another exciting time in my life in Canberra.

Dr John Kleinig

PhD 1969

They were good years – 1966-68 – both at ANU and Bruce Hall. In the RSSS [Research School of Social Sciences], John Passmore presided over the Philosophy Program, at morning teas Eugene Kamenka held forth on most topics, and Stanley Benn was an exemplary supervisor. At Bruce Hall, Bill Packard created his outback Oxford College, Des Ball was across the corridor and CK Cheong next door. At the end of my doctoral term, I caught one of the last of the 'boom years' and had the luxury of choosing among seven jobs.

Ben Selinger

Deputy Warden Burton Hall 1965-67

January 1965: the women’s quarters of Burton Hall was ready, but the men’s was a piles of bricks and muddy holes. I was given temporary accommodation in Bruce Hall. “My God, is this the Warden?” I had met Bill Packard. Gowns, High table, Senior common room! I had just returned from the UK by boat to escape all this.