Home' Focus : Focus Magazine Autumn 2016 Contents 32
The Auldists are a Scotch
Oakburn family who have
made great contributions to
life and societies in Australia
and overseas in many and
Five Auldists attended Oakburn’s predecessor,
Methodist Ladies College, and Scotch
Their father, Clifford, was a Presbyterian
minister at St Andrew’s Church in Launceston
in the 1950s, having come from Victoria with
his wife, Elsie, and children.
By the time the family returned to the
mainland in 1956 the four elder children had
excelled at school, often dux of classes, while
the youngest daughter had spent a short
time at the Scotch junior school, then at St
The eldest of the siblings, Marion (MLC,
1951-53), was dux of school in her final
year, became a primary school teacher in
Melbourne’s south-west and later, having
attained a masters of education, a principal for
a quarter of a century.
In retirement she and husband John Coulson
spend a lot of time as volunteers in East
Timor, helping with education, water supply
and village infrastructure. The rest of their time
they split between a farm at Shady Creek
near Warragul in Victoria and their home in
Alex (Scotch, 1951-56) was co-dux of
Scotch in 1955 but stayed on for two more
terms before finishing his schooling at
Melbourne’s Frankston High, which enabled
him to enter the medical faculty at Melbourne
He went on to specialise in paediatric
surgery and, after spending two years in
Toronto, Canada, joined the surgical staff
at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital,
eventually becoming chief of the department of
surgery for 10 years.
He visited Victorian regional centres
Shepparton and Echuca twice a month
to provide paediatric surgical services for
20 years and also travelled regularly to the
Pacific, particularly Fiji, as part of the Royal
Australasian College of Surgeons’ Pacific
His modesty precludes him mentioning it,
but he is revered in the medical profession for
having separated several sets of conjoined
twins, the last of them from Buka in Papua
New Guinea in 1995.
Alex won the Royal Children’s Gold Medal,
an annual staff award, in 2004 and was named
Senior Victorian of the Year in 2005.
Now retired, he divides his time between
a farm near Deniliquin in southern NSW and
Ian (Scotch, 1951-56) studied agricultural
science, also at Melbourne Uni, and later did
a masters in tropical agriculture at Townsville’s
James Cook University.
He settled on a sheep, cattle and crop
farm, Winilba, at Hay, NSW, and also had two
stations, Galah and Old Galah, north of there.
He was passionate about landcare and
sustainable agriculture and generously and
energetically shared his knowledge nationally
and in Asia, teaching farmers and advisory
groups better farming techniques to reduce
In all, he spent 10 years abroad and was
awarded a Certificate of Friendship by the
Chinese Government for his efforts.
Ian was a director and later chairman of
Shear Outback, an exciting interpretive centre
devoted to Australian shearing at Hay, where
he was named Citizen of the Year in 2009.
Among his many other passions were music,
cricket and country football, a subject on
which he spoke eloquently and humorously
in an ABC interview in recent years. He had
played footy with distinction in many places
throughout the eastern states and northern
Australia until the age of 37.
He died in February this year after a short
illness. He is survived by wife Jan and children
Kylie, George, Jack and Bill.
Jeanie (Scotch 1951-52, MLC 1953-56) did
arts and sociology at Melbourne’s Monash
Uni, became a teacher and lecturer, but from
the mid-1970s largely devoted her life to
working with Aboriginal communities.
She created a company that published
Aboriginal writings and wrote two children’s
books herself. One of those, Pigs and Honey,
the story of an Aboriginal family’s camping
weekend at Aurukun on Cape York Peninsula,
was Australia’s Children’s Book of the Year in
Jeanie, now retired in Townsville, and the
youngest of the Auldist siblings, Alison, both
married Uniting Church ministers – John
Adams and Kenneth Ralph.
Alison (Scotch junior school 1956) studied
arts and social studies at Melbourne Uni,
became a social worker, with a particular
interest in adoption issues, fostering and
permanent care for children.
She is still with Victoria’s Department of
Health and Human Services, lives in Geelong
and has been a member of the Melbourne
Symphony Orchestra Chorus for 18 years.
The Auldists are a family of achievers and
contributors. Now the subsequent generations
of their family are making their ways and
names in areas as diverse as neurosurgery,
research into Alzheimer’s and malaria, milk
science, farming, architecture, teaching,
music, plumbing and media.
A family of achievers
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