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Economics reunion (1974-1978)

We are hosting a reunion especially for our Economics alumni who graduated between the years 1974 and 1978. You and your guest are invited to join fellow alumni and former Economics lecturers to enjoy a three course dinner at the National Wine Centre in Adelaide for a memorable evening of reminiscing and celebration.

To ensure we are able to invite as many Economics graduates as possible from the era, we encourage you to share this reunion through your networks and help the University to reconnect with our lost alumni.

Guest Speaker - Dr Guy Debelle

Dr Guy Debelle commenced as Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia on 18 September 2016. He is Deputy Chair of the Reserve Bank Board and Chair of the Reserve Bank's Risk Management Committee.

Dr Debelle is also Chair of the Australian Foreign Exchange Committee and Chair of the BIS Foreign Exchange Working Group developing the Global Code of Conduct for the Foreign Exchange Market.

Dr Debelle (B Ec (Hons) 1988) will be our honoured guest speaker.


1974-1978 Class and Regional Champions

To assist us in promoting this reunion and to re-connect with graduates we have unfortunately lost contact with over the years, we have enlisted a team of Class and Regional Champions. We would like to extend a huge thank you to the following graduates who have helped to make this reunion possible.

  • Robert Schwarz B Ec (Hons) 1969 - 73

    Robert completed a B.Ec. (Hons) in 1974, before embarking on an economics based career path navigated in an era of market fundamentalism. Robert is semi-retired, but works part-time for the South Australian Department of Treasury and Finance.

    Who are you most looking forward to seeing at the reunion and why?

    Academic economists, in light of the influence of economics on decades of public policy, to ask if they consider things have turned out well? Also to find out whatever happened to Keynesian functional finance /also the balanced budget multiplier.

    What has been your career path since graduation, including major highlights?

    I've had the privilege of working both locally and overseas including Commonwealth Treasury, Banker Magazine (London), Commercial Bank Australia, Economics Unit SA Dept Premier and Cabinet, SA Government Finance Authority, Assistant Under Treasurer SA Dept Treasury Finance,

    Highlights: Public policy oriented worklife; defending horizontal fiscal equalisation and infra marginal vertical fiscal imbalance (so called).

    What are your favourite memories of your time at the University of Adelaide?

    Decrying capitalism and related US foreign policy. Opposing the War in Vietnam. Wearing long hair and favouring peace and the ‘brotherhood of man’ (that is to say, the solidarity of peoples across races and cultures –that was then). Being enlightened (partly) by feminists. Puzzling over ‘false consciousness’.  Discovering speciesism. Admiring the ‘campus cred’ of Lyndon Owen.

    Presuming the world was becoming a better place.

    Time and space (except at exam time).

    Going (sort of) surfing.

    Public policy economics and IS/LM analysis taught by Ron Hirst. Macroeconomics by Geoff Harcourt International Economics Eric Russell, Monetary Economics with Merv Lewis, Politics tutorials with Greg O’Leary, Barr Smith lawns speeches by Peter O’Brien on time as a social artefact. Psychology tutorials with Norm Greet.

    Never really understanding Microeconomics 1 /perfect competition and why shallow behavioural premises didn’t matter; and having read pre course text The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists probably not really trying hard enough.

    Obtaining some understanding of economic principles of opportunity cost, efficiency and equity, public goods, methodological individualism, the power of prices, and the fallacy of composition.

  • John Leske - B Ec (Hons) 1971 - 74 (Sydney)

    Image on leftBefore becoming a principal of Wealth Foundations, John enjoyed a number of finance related roles, spanning a 25 year period. Each role has added to his experience and knowledge (and, hopefully, wisdom), but also provided key lessons that heavily influenced his approach to personal wealth management.

    Who are you most looking forward to seeing at the reunion and why?

    I’m looking forward to meeting my classmates of 1974, very few of whom I have seen since graduating. I’m interested to know how their years at the University affected what they did later in life and how it still influences the way they think about the world.

    I’m also interested in getting together with graduates from later years that I have met after University, mostly in a professional context. The connection with the University of Adelaide is always a strong immediate bond.

    What has been your career path since graduation, including major highlights?

    Following graduation, I worked in Canberra for 7 years in Treasury and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. During this time, I also completed a coursework Master of Economics degree at ANU. At a relatively young age, I was directly exposed to the “politicalisation of economics” in my role as a regular observer and notetaker for meetings of the Monetary Policy Committee for the then Fraser cabinet.

    In 1981, I moved to Sydney as economist for a merchant bank. From there, I moved into direct investment and commercial banking roles for a couple of overseas banks and a 10 year stint at Westpac. In all my roles, my ability to take an economist’s viewpoint enabled me to often come up with effective solutions and frameworks to address issues/problems that were previously handled discretely and inconsistently e.g. an approach to problem loan recovery during Westpac’s near death experience in the early 1990’s.

    It was during this time that I introduced myself to financial economics and, particularly, to what I have found to be both one of the most useful and most maligned concepts in economics – the efficient market hypothesis. More practically, it taught me to be wary of “free lunches” and had a strong influence on my subsequent career as, primarily, a risk manager. Initially, this was in the area of credit risk management for Westpac.

    But since 1999, I have applied general, financial and behavioural economics thinking to help individuals articulate and achieve their personal financial objectives without taking undue or unappreciated risk. While personal financial planning may seem somewhat removed from what most people (and most economists) think of as economics, it is a rich field for the application of many economic ideas and research, directly improving the lives of individuals who find personal financial management causes anxiety and/or is a distraction to what they really enjoy doing.

    What are your favourite memories of your time at the University of Adelaide?

    I have many good memories of my time at the University of Adelaide.

    First, academically, the Economics teaching was stimulating, if not a little confusing. There were a wide range of views put forward, from the strong Cambridge, UK, approach espoused by Geoff Harcourt to the free market beliefs of Milton Friedman, as championed by Merv Lewis. My first “lightbulb moment” into how economics may reach counterintuitive conclusions was a series of lectures by Eric Russell discussing a Treasury White Paper’s response to the Club of Rome’s “Limits to Growth”.

    Successfully integrating the often conflicting views of the academic staff proved challenging for this student but resulted in a willingness that still exists, to explore ideas from all streams of economic thought. The efficient market theory, mentioned above, is an example that so called heterodox economists dismiss but, as well as often misinterpreting, don’t understand its practicality for most investors.

    Second, I lived at Lincoln College during my four years at the University of Adelaide. They were four of the best years of my life – independent, but within a solid structure and with a large network of ready-made friends, some for life. I have very fond memories of ambling down from Brougham Place to the University, past the University Oval and over the footbridge, on a cool, clear, sunny winter’s day humming Elton John’s “Daniel”. Other than 10-12 hours of lectures a week, my time was almost at my total discretion (which I only subsequently understood the value of).

    Third, despite a bit of a stop-start commitment, I enjoyed playing football with the University Blacks, particularly in my final year in 1974. Being from the SA country, playing football broadened my friendships outside Lincoln College and Economics students and forced me to travel to areas of Adelaide I would not otherwise have seen. I particularly remember one game against Alberton United at their home ground – it was fair to say the spectators didn’t think too highly of University students and weren’t afraid to share their views.

  • Darryl Gobbett B Ec (Hons) 1972 - 75

    Image on leftDarryl completed his Bachelor of Economics (Honours) degree at the University of Adelaide and went on to hold senior management and financial/economic advisory roles in both the private and public sectors.  Darryl is currently the Chief Economist and an Adviser with Baillieu Holst Ltd.

    Who are you most looking forward to seeing at the reunion and why?

    Probably those whom I have not seen since 1975 and the staff. It is always interesting to see and hear what different paths people have taken.

    What has been your career path since graduation, including major highlights?

    Along with several others from Adelaide, I started in Federal Treasury a few days after the end of exams and just in time for the first election of the Malcom Fraser Coalition Government. After 8 years in Treasury I moved to Prime Minister and Cabinet with Bob Hawke as PM. In 1985 I joined the then State Bank of SA and after its sale to Advance Bank I moved to the then Adelaide Bank, followed by Access Economics. Then 15 years at the stockbroking and financial advising firm Prescott Securities in various roles. Since mid-2015 I have been an Adviser and Chief Economist at the national stockbroking firm of Baillieu Holst Ltd.

    The “highlights” were trying to help get clients, organisations and staff through those various interesting times, such as recessions, financial crises, institutional or regulatory changes etc., that have been a feature of the last 40 years.

    What are your favourite memories of your time at the University of Adelaide?

    Getting through the first year and then being invited to do Honours remains a strong memory. I had come from a small country SA high school and my family was graduate free so I had no real idea of what study workloads and standards would be required.

    Meeting my future wife.

    The high quality of the teaching and staff and the focus generally on real world issues, particularly the international economics and economic history are also strong memories, giving a good base of skills and interest for my later work.

  • Christine Bierbaum (nee Hefford) B A (Hons) 1973 - 76

    Image on leftAfter some years spent as an Economics tutor at Flinders University and a high school teacher in Zimbabwe,  Christine joined the South Australian public service and held senior executive positions in the departments of industry, infrastructure, and Premier and Cabinet.

    Who are you most looking forward to seeing at the reunion and why?

    I am looking forward to catching up with classmates from the 1977 graduation to see where life has taken them. I am particularly keen to catch up with my fellow 1976 honours class students at what will be our second reunion this July, as I promised to organise it twenty years ago at our first reunion.

    What has been your career path since graduation, including major highlights?

    After some years spent as an Economics tutor at Flinders University and a high school teacher in Zimbabwe, I joined the South Australian public service and held senior executive positions in the departments of industry, infrastructure, and Premier and Cabinet. These roles enabled me to have a significant influence economic policy development and reform at both state and national levels.

    Major highlights include leading reform of infrastructure planning and delivery; managing development of South Australia’s first infrastructure plan and being instrumental in securing Australian Government funding for a number of major infrastructure projects in SA.  I played a key role, working with other jurisdictions, in the development of a range of national policy reforms in industry, trade, infrastructure, competition policy and business regulation.

    I also found my leadership of a range of organisational and business process reforms to improve effectiveness and efficiency of the state’s public sector to be both challenging and rewarding.

    What are your favourite memories of your time at the University of Adelaide?

    Some random memories which I think others may share -  handwritten assignments and sitting end of year exams at Wayville showgrounds, blackboards and chalk, roneo machines and carbon paper, guys at the back of the Eco 1 lecture theatre studying the form guide; learning about Aussie rules football in my third year Economic Theory lectures, cream cheese rolls and coffee in orange plastic mugs from the Union theatre café, lounging on the Barr Smith lawns – a popular meeting place, Friday nights at the uni bar or some local restaurant with fellow students. I also remember being taught by some very talented and committed lecturers who confirmed the value and importance of economics as a discipline.

  • Michael Lawriwsky B Ec (Hons) 1971 - 74 (Melbourne)

    Image on leftAfter the B.Ec. (Hons) graduation in 1975, Michael enrolled in an M.Ec by thesis at the University of Adelaide, which was converted to a Ph.D. supervised by Mr David Round. His objective was academia. In 1978 Michael took up a Senior Tutorship in Economics at La Trobe University in Melbourne, completing the degree part-time by correspondence.

    Who are you most looking forward to seeing at the reunion and why?

    Half an hour before I sat down to write these reflections, I bumped into my lecturer / later PhD supervisor, Professor David K Round on Toorak Road in South Yarra, Melbourne. He didn’t recognise me walking straight past him, but let’s put it this way, I spent a much longer time looking at him than he did at me. It would be great to see more of our former lecturers from those days. Last year I did get to meet Dr. John Hatch at a dinner after many years, and that was the day before a small group of Adelaide economics students who used to congregate during those years had a mini-reunion at a pizza parlour up on Norwood Parade (just like old times). Over the years I have met a few of my contemporaries by accident. It would also be great to see more of them.

    What has been your career path since graduation, including major highlights?

    After the B.Ec. (Hons) graduation in 1975, I enrolled in an M.Ec. by thesis at the University of Adelaide, which was converted to a Ph.D. supervised by Mr David Round. My objective was academia. In 1978 I took up a Senior Tutorship in Economics at La Trobe University in Melbourne, completing the degree part-time by correspondence. After completing my part-time degree by correspondence in 1980, it was conferred by Justice Roma Mitchell in 1982. I switched into finance, and seemed to rapidly glide through the positions of lecturer and senior lecturer to professor in 1988. Around the same time, I became involved as a consultant in M&A at ANZ McCaughan (later ANZ Securities), which led me into investment banking. One highlight of my time as a professor came in 1990, when I lectured on capital budgeting in the first (and last) MBA course in the Soviet Union at the IMI-Kyiv. Another highlight was writing an undergraduate finance text book with Professor Kevin Davis, a graduate of Flinders University who taught at Adelaide in the mid-late 1970s, but was then at the University of Melbourne.

    I worked on the float of Qantas, which led to investment banking roles (director – M&A) that were focussed on privatising infrastructure during the 1990s and early 2000s (at ANZ Investment Bank). I worked on the float of TAB Ltd, and bids for a range of privatising assets including the Victorian energy assets, Brisbane International Airport, and ETSA Utilities. In between, I had part-time roles as a commissioner of the International Air Services Commission (allocating air rights from Australia) and on the Mortimer Report (review of government assistance programs).

    Post investment banking I went into regulatory consulting with The Allen Consulting Group, PwC, and currently a small partnership called Incenta Economic Consulting. We advise regulated businesses, regulators, and bidders for regulated (or potentially regulated) privatising infrastructure assets. Our Managing Director, Jeff Balchin, is also a former University of Adelaide economics graduate.

    Since investment banking I have also written two novels, Hard Jacka and Return of the Gallipoli Legend about Captain Albert Jacka, Australia’s first VC recipient of The Great War. That (and a finance background) led to my appointment as a Trustee of Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance. At the launch of Hard Jacka (launched by Professor Geoffrey Blainey) I noted in my speech that this was the book I had felt most passionate about. Kevin Davis called out from the floor: “Speak for yourself, Michael!”

    What are your favourite memories of your time at the University of Adelaide?

    My favourite memory from my time at the University of Adelaide was the spirit of community that existed there. Unlike the university scene of today, back in the 1970s it was a place that you stayed all day. With $2 per day in my pocket (which had to cover lunch, dinner, petrol and smokes) I would set off from Uraidla in the Adelaide Hills, and twenty minutes later, after having rolled a cigarette while coming down the Green Hill Road, I was parking beyond the Adelaide Zoo and walking into the campus. Professor Potts from Mathematics would often be seen jogging very seriously down that way in the morning. One morning I was confronted by the novelty of an FJ Holden suspended in mid-air, from the middle of the footbridge across the Torrens. I had always assumed that engineering students floated it in on a pontoon and hoisted it up there, but a recent issue of Lumen informed that it was driven in on the bank, cranked up and then over into the middle of the river.

    Students would study in the library, with most being satisfied to occupy only one desk. Albert Cheok had a different approach, which was to take up two large back to back desks in the old Barr Smith Library hall. At lunch and dinner times we would come out of the library and dine together at the refectory, or sometimes downtown. I recall a hotel in Hindley Street provided a chicken dinner for 75 cents. The innovation of a bar at the Cloisters put some life into the place at times. One Prosh Week a number of students had set up a giant slingshot between the pillars of the cloisters, and were propelling water-filled balloons into the bar area above.

    On occasion, we used to visit the Jeff Scott Cloak Rooms below the Cloisters. He was one hell of an unforgettable lecturer / tutor / character in Politics, although he might have been immortalised in a better way. I later found out that a colleague of mine at La Trobe University, the now deceased Professor Peter Burley, was responsible for that sign. (As an aside, I later employed Peter’s identical twin sons Edward, and Richard, as analysts in investment banking).

    There were also lectures and tutorials going on. The most serious / dour presenter was Professor Ken Wright, who was famous for the incredibly heavy, corrugated rubber soles of his shoes. His “antipodean” was Professor Geoff Harcourt, who seemed to be surrounded by Joans – his secretary, his wife, and his mentor and fellow “Cambridge Controversies” warrior, Joan Robinson of Cambridge, UK. During our honours year I can remember sitting at the feet of Joan Robinson, literally, in the courtyard garden of the Napier Building. She was probably expounding on “jelly capital” and its ability to “shed light but not take heat”. We students were mightily impressed by Geoff Harcourt: the magnificent lecturer who never referred to a single lecture note; the sportsman who was always with you on the field (I remember him shepherding once - “Go Mike” he called, but it was soccer!); and the great mentor of students and staff at every level.

    Later, I got to see the way that Geoff held court at morning and afternoon tea time in the “Eco Chamber”. I remember discussions about the latest episode of the ABC’s series Power Without Glory, or the fiery politics of the day. This was the Vietnam War era, and demonstrations were an almost daily affair. One time that Geoff brought laughter to all at a lecture was the day that the popular band “Daddy Cool” was playing at the university. Another one of the excellent teachers we had was Dr Frederick Bloch, or as he was commonly known “Doc Bloch”. On that day Geoff Harcourt’s lecture was suddenly interrupted when Doc Bloch swung the doors open at the top / back of the lecture theatre and screamed: “Daddy Who?” Without a second’s hesitation Geoff replied at the top of his voice: “Daddy Cool, Daddy Cooool, Daddy!” to the tune of the then well-known song.

    The only other time that I saw that much laughter was during an Economic Geography lecture. The place looked like the Battle of Britain for all the darts that were criss-crossing the air. I honestly don’t know how the poor lecturer put up with that amount of bullying from students. Well, the house came down when a jumbo-sized “dart” made from a large piece of cardboard came sailing across our heads and seemed to hang there for ages.

    In the days before anyone had heard of videos / DVDs / and streaming through the internet, there was a great community entertainment at the Union Hall – movies. The greatest benefit of this venue was the wise-cracking commentary that flowed freely throughout any film playing there. No-one complained, because it was extra entertainment that was self-generated. Watching A Clockwork Orange in that milieu was particularly interesting.

    When the library closed at around 9pm or 10pm, some of us would move on to the Reading Room Annex, which kept going until midnight. There seemed to be only two faculties represented in the reading room close to midnight – medicine and economics (although some of the latter used to have a serious card game going on at one end).

    They closed the Reading Room Annex at midnight, and I would set off for my drive up the Green Hill Road to Uraidla hoping that there was enough in the tank to get me over the crest at the turnoff to Mount Lofty (from there I could roll home). Once I didn’t make it, which meant rolling back down the hill to Burnside, where an all-night petrol bowser operated on 20 cent coins. As the saying goes, “the past is a different country.”

  • Julie Barton B Ec (Hons) 1973 - 76 (Brisbane)

    Image on leftMuch of Julie's early career was spent working for PwC (known then as Price Waterhouse) in Adelaide as a Chartered Accountant in business advisory.  She then moved to Queensland in 1987 to embark on a 10-year journey as co-founder and CEO of a wholesale and retail business in the surfing industry (T & C Surf Designs Australia), successfully starting up, growing and selling this business.

    Who are you most looking forward to seeing at the reunion and why?

    I am especially looking forward to catching up with my cohort and our lecturers

    What has been your career path since graduation, including major highlights?

    My first-hand business experience combined with my professional background provided an ideal foundation for working with business owners and leaders to help them realise the potential for their businesses and their people.  I have been doing so for almost 20 years in strategic planning and execution roles, leadership and team performance engagements, and as a sounding board, mentor and performance coach.  My business is called SuREAL and its core purpose is getting to the heart of what our client’s want to achieve, helping them discover how to get there and then make it happen.

    Central to what I do is focusing on achieving success through people in an engaging way.  A career highlight for me was being introduced by one of my clients to the Instinctive Drives (I.D.) System.  For the past 16 years, I have been utilising this breakthrough technology to reveal what motivates people, what needs to happen for them to operate at their best and shows them how to interact better together.  Recently I have spent a lot of time rolling this system out to a global tech firm in Silicon Valley which has been really exciting.

    My work is mainly global, done virtually from my Brisbane base in conjunction with overseas and domestic travel.

    What are your favourite memories of you time at the University of Adelaide?

    Economics fresher's camp and the many wonderful friendships that started then and still exist to this day

    ●  A welcoming and friendly Economics faculty

    ●  Prosh breakfasts with cheap “champagne” entertained by Robyn Archer

    ●  Friday afternoon drinks on the balcony at the Richmond Hotel and upon opening, the Uni bar

    ●  Hanging out with friends in the library basement

    ●  Uni snow ski trips

  • Carolyn Hewson AO, B Ec 1974 - 77, B Ec (Hons) 1980

    Image on leftCarolyn Hewson, AO, BEc (Hons.), MA (Econ.), FAICD is a former investment banker and has over thirty years’ experience in the financial sector. She is a non-executive Director of two listed Australian companies - BHP Billiton and Stockland Group.

    Who are you most looking forward to seeing at the reunion and why?

    So many students and lecturers on “the list” I haven’t seen since I left Uni or the Honours reunion 10 years ago. As many of them as possible!

    What has been your career path since graduation, including major highlights?

    I’ve really only had 2 types of job; Investment banker for 16 years - all at Schroders and Company director for 21 years at a range of listed and Government boards in SA, NSW and Victoria.

    Also found great pleasure in my not – for – profit roles with many organisations that have focused on medical research, disadvantage and disability, particularly supporting social enterprise.

    What are your favourite memories of your time at the University of Adelaide?

    Playing hockey and tennis for Adelaide Uni and Graduates and the all night bus trips to Falls Creek for the Uni ski trip.  Sitting watching for friends and drinking coffee on Barr Smith lawn or walking The Cloisters.

    I found my way into Economics by chance but, what a fabulous decision.  The students, lecturers and the subject have all been integral to the rest of my life

    Finally, Prosh Day, so many wonderful memories.

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