Alumni of Distinction

The Alumni of Distinction Award was inaugurated in 2011 as part of the College’s 75th Anniversary celebrations.

The accomplishments of the 2011 inductees have been acknowledged in the pages of the Oakhill Drive, at an awards dinner held in February of this year, on a touch panel display installed in the College’s reception area, as well as in local media.

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Father (Dr) John Wilcken – Class of 1943

Father John Wilcken is Emeritus Professor of Theology at Jesuit Theological College, Melbourne.  For many years he taught Systematic Theology in an ecumenical faculty, the United Faculty of Theology, Parkville specialising in Ecclesiology and the Theology of the Human Person.  Father John also taught in the area of the relationship between Christian theology and Australian Aboriginal religions.  As well as contributing articles to various periodicals, Father John published several books.  He has also been extensively involved in facilitating retreats and spiritual direction as well as working with homeless people in a Jesuit Community where he now resides as Chaplain.

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William Darwen – Class of 1955

Bill retired from the post of Public Trustee of NSW in 2001 after having served for forty years with the Public Trustee’s Office, twenty-one of those as Public Trustee and CEO.  In that same year he was awarded the Public Service Medal.  He has served as the Vice-President of the Federation of De La Salle Past Students, Treasurer of the Hyde Park War Memorial, and a Board Member of the NSW Public Accounts Registration and Disciplinary Board.

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Doctor Alex Hunyor – Class of 1956

After graduating with honours from Sydney University Medical School, Alex completed his residency training at St Vincent’s Hospital and Ophthalmic training at Sydney Eye Hospital.  He was the second Retinal Fellow at Sydney Eye Hospital in 1969.  Commencing private practice in 1970, he established Chatswood Retina Service.  He is an Emeritus Consultant of Sydney Eye Hospital Retina Unit and an Inspector with the Sydney Eye Hospital.

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Professor Stephen Hunyor – Class of 1957

Stephen is a Cardiologist, Professor of Medicine and Director of the Cardiac Technology Centre in the Kolling Institute, University of Sydney at Royal North Shore Hospital.  He was Director of the Co-operative Research Centre (CRC) for Cardiac Technology and co-Founder of the North Shore Heart Research Foundation.  He has published over one hundred and eighty papers, edited four books and is co-inventor of four Patents.

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The Hon Conrad Staff – Class of 1965

Conrad was appointed Deputy President of the Industrial Relations Commission of NSW in February 2004.  Conrad also serves as Deputy Chair of the Board of Kincoppal College at Rose Bay.  Conrad is married with three daughters.  He was a founding partner at James Staff and Co., a partnership specialising in industrial law and trade union litigation.  He resigned from the partnership to accept the appointment to the IRC.

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Doctor Jimmy Lim – Class 1963

Jimmy’s academic life began with a degree in Architecture from the University of New South Wales.  He holds an honorary Doctorate of Science from the University of Tasmania.  Among many noteworthy achievements, he was a founding member of the Heritage of Malaysia Trust (1983); won the Norway Award for contribution towards Cultural Excellence (1991); won the Aga Khan Award (1998) and was appointed Adjunct Professor at Curtin University (2000).

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Doctor Stephen Kendall – Class 1964

Stephen holds a Doctorate in Public Administration from the University of Canberra.  After 30 years in the Commonwealth Public Service, he is now an independent public policy analyst.  In 2010 he published his book, “Policy Implementation through Leadership – Success for Implementers”.  He has written many articles on topics as diverse as the war in Iraq, social justice for indigenous Australians, management practices and leadership skills.

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Bayne Kelly – Class 1965

Bayne fought in Vietnam as a member of the 3rd Battalion.  During the battle of Long Kanh he fought for nine hours against a determined enemy and saved several badly wounded colleagues.  He has been awarded the US Army’s Commendation Medal for Valour.  Bayne is a former President and honorary life member of the Royal Automobile Club of Australia.

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Sir Anthony Siaguru KBE – Class 1965 (RIP)

Sir Anthony had a distinguished career as the first Secretary of the PNG Department of Foreign Affairs, as a Parliamentarian, Minister and Deputy Secretary General of the Commonwealth.  He was acknowledged internationally as an energetic anti-corruption campaigner.  At the time of his death the Australian newspaper reported that “Papua New Guinea [has] lost a great citizen and Australia one of its most important friends”.

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John Dugas – Class of 1967

John is a Lecturer at the University of Newcastle.  He served as the inaugural Director, Reginald Engagement at Newcastle University.  John has served on profit and not for profit boards since the early 1070s.  John was elected Shire Councillor in his home town of Gloucester from 2004 – 08 and served as Chairman of the Australian Institute of Company Director’s (AICD) National Education Committee (NEC) for four years.

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Most Rev Julian Porteous – Class of 1967

Pope John Paul II named Rev Porteous Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney in July 2003.  In 2013 he was appointed Archbishop of Hobart.  He has published a number of books and has been actively involved in evangelisation, particularly among young people.  He was instrumental in establishing the Pastoral Training School (now called “Summer School”) which has since formed thousands of young Catholics in their faith.

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Father Hugh Brown – Class of 1968

Hugh is a Carmelite priest currently working within the Diocese of Sale as Parish Priest of Churchill and Chaplain to Monash University, Gippsland.  Early in his ministry, Hugh taught Theology and Biblical Studies at the Yarra Theological Union, Box Hill and McAuley Teachers College.  He spent eight years as Principal of Whitefirars College, Donvale and then Parish Priest of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Middle Park and St Joseph’s Parish, Port Melbourne.

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Doctor Jeffrey Carmichael AO – Class of 1968

Dr Carmichael has a PhD in economic from Princeton University, and honours Bachelors and Masters degrees in Commerce from the University of NSW.  He was the inaugural Chairman of APRA.  His career also includes senior positions with the reserve Bank and seven years as the Director of Finance at Bond University.  In 1995, Dr Carmichael was awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for service to finance, education and the community.

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Paul Maher – Class of 1968

Paul owns and operates the highly successful Loxley on Bellbird Hill, a restaurant, reception and conference centre.  He has won many awards, including Excellence in Tourism; Outstanding Community Service; Western Sydney Entrepreneur of the Year and the Australian Hotels Associations’ Hall of Fame.  Paul is committed to assisting his community and has often made the facilities at Loxley available for charity fundraising.

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Greg Whitby – Class of 1971

Greg Whitby is the Executive Director of Schools and leads a system of approximately eighty Catholic schools serving the Catholic community of greater Western Sydney.  In 2007, he was named the most innovative educator in Australia by the Bulletin Magazine.  Greg has also been awarded an ACEL Presidential Citation for his contribution to Australian education.  Greg is a fellow of the Australian Council for Educational Leaders, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management and a Member of the Australian College of Educators.

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Michael O’Brien – Class of 1972

Michael was appointed as a Magistrate in 2014 after practising in a private practice since 1978.  He has been a legal officer in the RAAF Special Reserve since 1987 and currently holds the rank of group Captain.  Michael was the Head of Panel for the Sydney Air Force Legal Reserve from 1995 to 2014.  In 2013 Michael became a Director of the Oakhill College Board.

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Frank Hicks – Class of 1977

With a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Biology from Stanford University and a Masters from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, Frank has spent virtually his entire working life in the ‘not for profit’ sector in developing countries.  Frank has worked in the areas of developing sustainable environmental practices in agriculture that are economically feasible for the village level and above.  Frank has been married for many years to Meg and has two teenage daughters.

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Garry Connell – Class of 1978

Garry owns and operates TRAK Recruiting.  He is an accredited “lifestyle coach” and is passionate about maximising skill development through training/coaching.  Garry has maintained a strong association with the College.  He was a founding member of the Collegians Association and served on the Advisory Board from 1993 to 1998.  He has actively supported BoysTown and in 2002 was Chairman of the Executive Committee of Kids’ Helpline.

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Linda Adair-Roberts – Class of 1979

From 1985 to 1989 Linda worked in a voluntary capacity to protest the prevalence of Deaths in Custody initially through the Committee to Defend Black Rights.  Having worked to support CDBR, Linda was a founding member of the Aboriginal Deaths in Custody Watch Committee (NSW) – taking on an Executive Committee role.

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Warwick Anderson – Class of 1979

Warwick studied law whilst serving as a member of the NSW Police and is now a successful local solicitor.  He is a trustee of the “Pass the Hat” charity instigated by country singer, Lee Kernaghan.  He is a member of the Advisory Committee of Leonardo’s Education Assistance Foundation (LEAF) which is a charity dedicated to providing service to children with learning difficulties.

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Phillip Bradac – Class of 1981

Phillip is a successful local Real Estate Agent.  For twenty-five years Phillip has been an active member of the Glenhaven Rural Fire Service, holding at various times the positions of Vice-President, President and Captain.  He supports and contributes to a range of community based fundraising causes.

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Bryson Anderson – Class of 1984 (RIP)

Bryson began his career as a police officer in 1986, successfully gaining his designation as Detective in November 1993.  He was promoted to Sergeant in 2004 and to Detective Inspector in 2009.  Serving as Duty Officer in the Hawkesbury Local Area Command, Bryson was killed in the line of duty in 2012.  He was awarded the NSW Police Medal, the National Medal, as well as the first and second clasps to the NSW Police Medal.  In 2003 he received a Commissioner’s Unit Citation for highly professional investigations.  Posthumously, Bryson received the first clasp to the National Medal, the third clasp to the NSW Police Medal and was also awarded the NSW Police Force’s highest honour, the Valour Award.

Darren Spencer – Class of 1990

Darren is a major supporter of the charity “Hands Across the Water”, which was formed by Peter Baines, a member of the Australian Federal Police Disaster Victim Identification section.  In January 2010 he participated in a 800km bike ride from Bangkok to Khao Lak which raised over $400,000.  The charity established two orphanages and opened a medical and community centre at Baan Nam Khem.

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Ben Quilty – Class of 1991

A multiple finalist, he won the Archibald Prize in 2011 for his portrait of Australian artist Margaret Olley.  In 2009, he won the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize.  His painting Dead (Over the Hills and Far Away) won the National Artists Self Portrait Prize in 2007.  He was awarded a Brett Whitely Travelling Art Scholarship in 2007.  Ben supports a number of charitable causes.

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Bart Bunting – Class of 1993

Bart has been legally blind since birth.  He has competed in Triathlons and is a Paralympic downhill skier.  He won two Gold medals and one Silver medal at the Salt Lake City Paralympics where he was selected to carry the Australian flag at the closing ceremony.  He was overall champion at the 2001/2002 World Cup series and in the 2004 American Nationals he won first place in the Super G and Downhill events.

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Doctor Nicole Brooke – Class of 1994

Nicole has worked across a number of organisations and in a variety of nursing and management roles since 1998.  She has demonstrated significant strengths as a clinician, educator, leader and academic.  Nicole has been engaged in consultant and policy development over a range of international and national health and aged care inquiries and projects.  She has dedicated herself to improving quality of care and service provision across residential and community aged care.

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Catherine Cox – Class of 1994

Catherine is one of netball’s greatest boasts and is a favourite with supporters and sports fans alike.  Not only has she represented teams in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth but won Gold in the Commonwealth Games of 2002 and Silver in 2006 and 2010.  In both 2007 and 2011 Catherine was part of the team that won the World Championship.  In her representative career to date, Catherine has received an abundance of prestigious awards including Australia’s Favourite Diamond Team Member Award (voted by the public) for two consecutive years in 2011 and 2012.

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Russell Garnett – Class of 1994

Russell achieved a lifetime dream of being an Olympian when he was selected for the Sydney 2000 Olympics playing European Handball.  His playing career also included two world championships.  After his distinguished playing career, he turned his attention to coaching.  Russell is an assistant national team coach and has been the NSW’s team coach since 2004.  In the latter role, his team has won six national titles from seven attempts.

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Trooper Jason Brown – Class of 1999 (RIP)

Jason excelled in his career, becoming one of the world’s most elite soldiers as a member of the Australian SAS Regiment.  He saw service in East Timor and Afghanistan.  He was awarded the Active Service Medal with East Timor with Timor-Leste clasp, the United Nations Medal, the NATO ISAF Medal, the Australian Defence Medal and the Infantry Combat Badge.  Trooper Jason Brown died serving his country in Afghanistan.

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Doctor James Cowling – Class of 1999

During his academic career, James won the Sir William Tyree Scholarship, an International Exchange Scholarship and the Fulbright Scholarship in Science and Technology.  He obtained his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  He was awarded the Sydney University Medal for Academic Achievement. James was also awarded the Convocation Medal for contribution to University life.

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Grant Brits – Class of 2005

Grant was selected in the squad for the 4 x 200 metre freestyle relay for the 2008 Olympics.  He helped Australia qualify sixth in the heats, being the fastest of the four heats swimmers.  This effort resulted in the selectors deciding to retain him for the final of the 4 x 200 metre freestyle relay.  He swam the third leg of the relay, the Australians managed to secure a surprise bronze in the event; handing Grant his first Olympic Medal.