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The Word – April 2019

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Newsletters | 10 Apr 2019


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The start of semester has been buzzing as we welcomed 104 new students to the College for their first year and everybody moved back in to begin their studies for 2019.

The College completed the appointment process and formed the new College Council, our Student Leaders undertook a comprehensive training to prepare them for their roles in 2019 and we also won the Palladian Cup – Solo Instrumental Competition.

We were sad to hear about the passing of Ray Imberger (SJC 1961) and his fellow Johnsmen have written a eulogy in memory of him.

New Council of Saint John’s College
On 14 March 2019 the St John’s Council appointed the following four members of Council:

  • Mr Matthew Gordon
  • Mrs Christine Liddy AO
  • Dr Sandra Lynch
  • Mr David Pacey

This completes the process of constituting the Council following the passage of the Saint John’s College Act 2018. The members of Council are now:

  • Dr Bernadette Tobin AO GCSG, Chair
  • Mr Adrian Diethelm, Rector
  • Mr John Coorey, Deputy Chair
  • Very Rev Dr Gerald Gleeson VG
  • Mr Matthew Gordon
  • Sr Mary Helen Hill OP
  • Mr Khan Horne
  • Mrs Christine Liddy AO
  • Dr Sandra Lynch
  • Mr David Pacey
  • Judge Gerard Phillips
  • Ms Alexandra Ryan
  • Most Rev Dr Richard Umbers DD VG
Speech by Deputy Chair, John Coorey, at Council Dinner
14 March 2019
A combined Council Dinner was held on Thursday 14 March 2019 following the inaugural Council meeting of the new College Council. The dinner was held to thank members of the 2017 College Council and welcome members of the 2019 College Council.

New Deputy Chair, John Coorey, spoke at the dinner and marked the occasion of the constitution of the new Council pursuant to the St. John’s College Act 2018 and to thank the outgoing Council for its service.


Celebrating Academic Achievement at the University Honours Dinner – Tuesday 26 March

The St John’s College University Honours Dinner, was held on Tuesday 26 March to recognise the academic achievements of 2018.

The annual celebration of academic excellence, one of the core pillars of life at St John’s, showcased the quality of talent of St John’s students.

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney, Dr Michael Spence, was the guest of honour and presented the College’s Medal winners and Endowed Prize winners of 2018. A full list of medal and prize winners can be seen here.

Throughout the evening the College celebrated:

  • 1 student who graduated with a Masters degree;
  • 3 students who graduated with First Class Honours;
  • 2 students who graduated with Second Class Honours;
  • 16 students that achieved a High Distinction average in 2018;
  • 77 students who achieved a Distinction average in 2018.

One of the main highlights of the evening was the address delivered by Dr Michael Spence. During his speech, the Vice-Chancellor made three key recommendations: that the students enjoy communal life, that they taste the pleasures of the life of the mind, and that they open themselves to the ‘big questions’ in life. He also emphasised how he is incredibly impressed by the diverse, engaging group of students that constitute the community of St John’s and is very pleased to see the goodwill of the new Council.

Guests were also entertained throughout the evening with a variety of musical performance. First year student, Shamus Fraser, played a piano medley to welcome everyone prior to the festivities. The musical interlude then featured another two First Year students, Xavier Lynch who performed Reflets Dans L’eau by Claude Debussy on the piano and Chelsea Hardiman who performed an original arrangement of The Wayfaring Stranger featuring a capella and vocal looping.

Alumnus Gerard Phillips sworn in as President of the Workers Compensation Commission

Alumnus and recently elected Council Member, Mr Gerard Phillips LLM (John’s 1983-85) was sworn in as the President of the Workers Compensation Commission, and simultaneously joined the NSW District Court bench in a ceremony at the District Court on 23 January 2019. The Attorney-General of NSW, the Hon Mark Speakman SC MP represented the New South Wales Bar at the swearing-in ceremony.

“Mr Phillips brings more than 30 years of legal experience to the bench and is consistently recognised as one of Australia’s top industrial lawyers in Chambers Asia-Pacific legal directory,” Mr Speakman said in announcing the appointment.

“He has practiced extensively in every state in Australia and also the United Kingdom, appearing in all NSW court jurisdictions, as well as the High Court, across a range of criminal, civil, personal injury, industrial relations and employment matters.”

St John’s wins Palladian Solo Instrumental competition
It was a hot night in the Refectory of the historic Holme Building on Tuesday 12 March 2019, which hosted the solo instrumental section of the 2019 Palladian Cup. There was standing room only.

The room was filled with the voices of College students who had turned out in force to support the two candidates from each of their own Colleges. The St John’s College contingent numbered about 70 students, and was possibly the largest of the night. As each St John’s candidate appeared on stage, they rose to their feet as one, clapping, stamping and shouting in support, easily drowning out the supporters from the other colleges.

John’s had fielded two brilliant musicians for the event: Harley Coleman on electric guitar, and Xavier Lynch on classical piano. Both are first years this year. Harley is studying for his degree in music at the Conservatorium, specialising in guitar, and Xavier studied piano performance for his HSC last year at St Stanislaus College, Bathurst.

Laffo’s Long Lunch
Laffo’s Long Lunch raises money for the Matt Laffan Scholarship, which enables students with disabilities to attend St John’s College.
Date: Friday 13 September 2019
Venue: Doltone House
(Tattersalls Club, Hyde Park)
Location: 181 Elizabeth St, Sydney NSW 2000
Leadership Week and Welcome Week wrap up

The first two weeks of the College calendar are full of learning and development opportunities with Leadership Week and Welcome Week.

Leadership Week

Leadership Week began on Tuesday 12 February with over 30 of the College’s Student Leaders participating in a range of training sessions that will prepare them for the upcoming year. Over 5 days, sessions presented by College Staff and external providers, focused on three core themes: Values and Culture, Pastoral Care and Wellbeing and Safety.

The sessions were a combination of talks and practical training sessions covering topics like mental health, fire safety, substance abuse, sexual misconduct as well as how to provide support to their peers.

The College invests in training for student leaders in the expectation that the individuals concerned will act responsibly in their roles and give back to the community. This system is an integral part of the broad educational experience that a residential university college offers.

Welcome Week

Welcome Week began with Matriculation Day on Tuesday 19 February. 104 new students joined the College community.

During Welcome Week students immersed themselves in the diverse and vibrant university and college communities by attending college, faculty and school welcomes, transition sessions and skills workshops, and social events and activities.

St John’s first year students also completed induction sessions that covered spiritual life, academic work, mental wellbeing and coping strategies, drug and alcohol awareness, harassment, discrimination and sexual crime as well a comprehensive introduction to the St John’s College culture and values.

Help us preserve the history of the College

Do you have your Year Photo from your time at St John’s?

Several years ago a display of Year Photos was installed in the Rector’s Corridor. However we have some blank spaces in our collection.

We are currently missing photos of the following years:

  • 1914, 1915, 1917, 1918
  • 1920, 1921, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1929
  • 1930, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1937, 1939
  • 1947
  • 1961, 1963,
  • 1973
  • 1994, 1997, 1998, 1999
  • 2000, 2003, 2008

If you have a Year Photo from the missing years, please let us know at

Remembering Ray Imberger (SJC 1961)
Ray arrived at Johns in February 1961 after completing his Leaving Certificate at St Johns College Woodlawn in Lismore. It was the start of a successful career in veterinary science.

He was born into a farming family in Tenterfield on 9th October 1943. This connection with the land stayed with him all through his life as did his ties to Tenterfield. So true to his country roots, he always ‘called Australia home’.

Ray was a gifted student, won a Commonwealth Scholarship at school and commenced a Veterinary Science course at the University of Sydney in 1961. This was a natural progression for him as even when a boy in Tenterfield, he showed a keen interest in rural pursuits. This interest continued all through his life.

Do you have news to share?

The college loves to hear what the alumni are up to these days, so if you have any news please email it through to

If you are organising a reunion make sure to contact the college to let us know.


Our mailing address is:

St John’s College within the University of Sydney

10 Missenden Road, Camperdown
Sydney, NSW, 2050

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