announced the appointment of John Ryan as an Emeritus Professor. This what I wrote on Facebook:
I was just so pleased about this, John's appointment as Emeritus Professor. John can sometimes be a prickly chap. As an undergraduate, I was driving a university car back from a prehistory dig on the North Coast. We had broken to boil the billy for tea. "Mr Belshaw", John said. "Why are we fighting?" We weren't as I saw it, but John thought that we were!
t took me years to appreciate John properly. As I dug more deeply into New England history, he became a source of advice and past gossip. Like me, he tries to do too much, but his aggregate output is enormous.
John is many years older than me, he joined the UNE staff in 1959, but as time passed I became I became one of the diminishing number of people who shared his past, who knew the people who he was talking about,
There is something strange at becoming part of a shared past at the age I did, almost a burden. My grandfather played a key role in the establishment first of the Armidale Teachers' College and then the University College, my father was the first staff member to arrive at the new University College. Edgar Booth, the first warden, came to inspect me in hospital on birth.
Figures that are now part of the historical record live in my memory, I absorbed their dreams. John and I can talk about them,
Now John and the younger if somewhat aging Jim share a joint dream in trying to document and present a Northern past that.was important, that exercised major national influence, that is now being forgotten. We can share memories of past events and people, of dreams and causes.
Well, old mate, this is my personal tribute to you. I am just so pleased and happy. For both of us, i think that the best summary is that we tried.Just a personal tribute.