Elizabeth Maud McBriar OAM Scholarship

Tom Davis and his partner Emeritus Professor Diana Walker

Tom Davis and his partner Emeritus Professor Diana Walker

Elizabeth Maud McBriar OAM, known simply and affectionately by peers, friends and students as Maud, was as influential in her relationships as she was in her career.

This influence is evidenced by the McBriar Room in the University’s Mawson Building being named after her, the conservation status of geological science in Australia for which she fought, and the enduring admiration of her nephew Tom Davis and his partner Emeritus Professor Diana Walker.

Tom credits regular trips to visit Maud as a young child as the catalyst for his own lifelong interest in geology and earth sciences.

“The opportunity to scrabble around her backyard and have [it] pointed out that the stones were the outwash from the Mount Lofty Ranges gave me the idea that things aren’t always permanent and that there’s this thing called geology,” he said.

Maud first became interested in geology as a young girl. A prize-winning scholar, excelling in the sciences at the top of a small country school in regional Victoria, she later studied a Bachelor of Science at the University of Melbourne before working in a variety of roles in Australia and abroad, eventually settling into a tenure at the University of Adelaide spanning more than 30 years.

Throughout her life, Maud remained an assiduous advocate for geological conservation and the environment. Her advocacy, paired with a myriad of interests including amateur dramatics, art and furniture building, led to strong connections with councils, governments, organisations and conservation and community groups.

“Everywhere you went you’d bump into someone who knew her,” said Dianne, who shares Maud’s passion for earth sciences.

“She was an incredibly well thought of woman in all of the things that she did.

“She’d done all of this work for geological heritage of the state and of Australia, which is why she got her Order of Australia medal in the end.”

While receiving an OAM was “one of the things she was proudest of”, Maud was equally thrilled by her students’ abilities, enjoyed taking them on field trips and took great satisfaction in supporting budding geologists to flourish.

Now, a generous scholarship in her name will continue to encourage the University’s best and brightest geology students in their pursuit of education. The Elizabeth Maud McBriar OAM Scholarship will support Earth Sciences Honours students to fulfil the requirements their degree.

Of the scholarship, Tom said, “I hope to see a number of very successful students who are encouraged and enabled.”

“I hope they’re able to do field work better supported, and to do the job they need to get done in order to advance their own careers in geology,” added Dianne.

“We’re just proud to have known her. I’m proud to have the opportunity to do something with some of what she left behind.”

Find out more about the Elizabeth Maud McBriar OAM Scholarship here.

Find out more about supporting student scholarships here.

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