Wyvern of the Year

The Award

The Wyvern of the Year Award recognises a member of the Wyvern Society who has demonstrated exceptional and outstanding service to the community, who has selflessly given in a way well in excess of what might normally be expected by a person in their position.

Nominations are accepted until July 30th each year, with the award presented at the annual Wyvern Dinner in October.

Past Recipients

Some of the incredible and selfless Wyverns who have recently received the award are:

2023 Professor Alicia Oshlack

Professor Alicia Oshlack heads the Computational Biology Programme at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and sits on the Laboratory Research Executive team where they consider how to enable researchers to make discoveries for better treatments, better care, and cures for cancer.

Alicia is best known for creating statistical methods and software for the analysis of genomic data, which gives clear insights into what is happening in cells. This includes understanding aberrations in cancer cells or determining what molecules should be targeted in cancer treatments. By developing analysis methods for all researchers to use, laboratories across the globe can access them to answer their own scientific questions in all areas of biological science. Through Alicia’s work, even small or poor hospitals can run tests, use these tools to analyse them, and make decisions accordingly. Her research enables much more research to occur than could be achieved in her group on its own.

Alicia has been recognised by the science community for her important work receiving the Gani Medal for Human Genetics from the Australian Academy of Science, the Georgina Sweet Award for Women in Quantitative Biomedical research, and membership of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Science.

2022 Gareth Andrews

Gareth Andrews, a former Australian football player, has achieved great success in founding the Life Again Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting positive mental health. After a successful career in the Victorian Football League (VFL), Gareth co-founded the Australian Football League Players’ Association (AFLPA) and served as its president. He later became the CEO of the Richmond Football Club and the vice president of the Geelong Cats. Gareth’s contributions to Australian football earned him prestigious life memberships in various football clubs and associations.

However, Gareth’s most significant achievement lies in his founding and patronage of the Life Again Foundation. Originally focused on providing support to men facing mental health challenges, the organization has expanded its scope to deliver prevention-focused programs to both men and women, as well as organizations and communities. Under Gareth’s leadership, Life Again offers a range of programs, including mental health safety action programs, preventive mental health workshops, and cultural education experiences.

Notably, Life Again’s immersion trips, known as “On Country” experiences, foster two-way learning between Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants, promoting understanding and addressing the health and well-being disparities faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

2021 Renee Carr

Renee Carr is a campaigner and strategist passionate about growing movements for change. Having completed Bachelors of Law and Arts at the University of Melbourne, she has dedicated her career and life to helping better
the lives of others. In 2015 she was named as one of Australia’s ‘100 Women of Influence’.  

Renee was part of the team that led The End of Polio campaign to secure $118 million in additional funding from countries for global polio eradication efforts. Renee served as Chair of the Board of The Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC), an organisation with a mission to build a movement of young people leading solutions to the climate crisis. However, her greatest achievement to date has been the creation and development of the organisation Fair Agenda, which campaigns for a fair and equal future for all Australians, with an emphasis on women’s equality.

2020 David Lawrence

An astonishingly humble yet hugely respected member of the College community, David is a truly generous and unfailing supporter of Wyverns and current students alike. David has mentored students, held committee positions as former deputy Arch Wyvern, and was instrumental in launching the Wyvern Ball and reviving Wyvern Dinners. He was the perfect choice to sum up the collective feelings of the community at the memorial service for former Vice-Master Jack Clarke.

David’s ready wit, energy, and insight have helped make Laughing Matters, the corporate comedy business he runs with fellow Wyvern Jo Gill, extremely successful. His College friends also remember him for his kindness, tolerance, and inclusivity: qualities which he still displays, and which have shaped his achievements.

David is passionate about improving childrens’ literacy, especially in remote Indigenous communities. He has authored 11 books for young readers which explore the themes of bullying, racism, leadership, teamwork, and support, and use a sporting backdrop to engage normally reluctant readers. His AFL-inspired Fox Swift series was co-written with Cyril Rioli, while The Stormy Protest won the 2019 Children’s Environmental Award. As an Ambassador for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, he has facilitated Creative Initiative writing workshops with students from the Tiwi Islands and Katherine, helping them to write and publish stories such as Japarrika and Japarrika Rises, and the Damo Makes His Mark series. These initiatives have helped young Indigenous women and men create (produce stories), cultivate (build knowledge) and motivate (grow self-esteem). In characteristic style, though, David sees this inspirational work as a privilege, counting himself lucky to be able to do what he loves.

2019 Kristen Hilton

Kristen Hilton (1992) is the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner and from her time growing up in Kyabram to her appointment to the VEOHRC, Hilton has always been passionate about social justice.

Kristen works tirelessly to create a more tolerant, diverse and socially aware society that is better prepared to confront injustices. Through her various appointments at community legal centres and other socially-minded justice movements, she has been at the forefront of the Royal Commissions into family violence and institutional child sex abuse; the opening of Victoria’s first gay pride centre; the commitment of Victoria Police  to eliminating sexual harassment; the NDIS is roll-out; and assisting major sporting codes in confronting issues of diversity and racism.

She sees an important part of her role as getting out of the CBD and talking to people across Victoria – in Mildura and Morwell and Shepparton and Werribee – what it should mean to feel connected, enabled and hopeful. The language of human rights does not always resonate with people but Kristen wants to find a common language to express the importance of living lives of dignity, respect and value. In her own words:

“Whether that’s because you’re a woman, or whether that’s because you’re gay, or disabled, or you’re indigenous, that can have a terrible effect on your sense of self worth. It can have an effect on the way in which you work and in how you contribute to society. I [will help]… re-weight the world so it’s a bit more fair.”

2018 Associate Professor Andrew Weickhardt

Associate Professor Andrew Weickhardt attended Queen’s College from 1996-1998, and was the Student Club President in 1998. He completed his MBBS with Honours at the University of Melbourne in 2002 as the highest ranked student. After completing residency and basic physician training at The Royal Melbourne Hospital, he went on to do advanced training in medical oncology, obtaining his FRACP in 2009. He also completed a DMedSc at the University of Melbourne investigating acquired resistance to targeted therapy in cancer, before spending two years at the University of Colorado in Denver doing a clinical post-doctorate. He now works as a medical oncologist and translational scientist at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Centre at the Austin Hospital, leading the genitourinary cancer team investigating new ways of using immune therapies to treat bladder, prostate and kidney cancer.

2017 Mr Rod Sims

Rod Sims is the current chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), having held the position since 2011. As a resident, Rod was an integral member of our back-to-back intercollegiate tennis premiership team and participated fully in all areas of College. His illustrious career in the public service, from working as the Principal Economic Advisor to Prime Minister Bob Hawke to his current position as head of the world-leading regulator, made him a deserving recipient of the 2017 Wyvern of the Year Award.

2016 Ms Lauren George

While you can find many Wyverns on Collins Street overlooking Melbourne’s CBD, you will struggle to find the recipient of the 2016 Wyvern of the Year Award. Lauren George has devoted her time to establishing the Steven Tito Academy in Tanzania, a capstone for her work teaching English in rural Tanzanian communities. She began planning her first trip to Tanzania as a resident on 3J and regards Queen’s as a major source for her work.

2015 Hon. Marcia Neave AO

Few people have had a similar impact on the law and everyday life of Australians as The Honourable Marcia Neave AO. Marcia was the first academic to be appointed directly to the role of Justice of Appeal, Supreme Court of Victoria, Court of Appeal. This judicial position was bookended by remarkable work in law reform, as the Foundation Chair of the Victorian Law Reform Commission, and more recently as Commissioner for the Royal Commission into Family Violence. Her work has been incredibly important and The Wyvern Society were proud to make Marcia the 2015 Wyvern of the Year.

 

2014 Dr Donald (Scotty) MacLeish AO (Dec)

Mr Donald (Scotty) Macleish was the first Australian traveller of the James IV Association of Surgeons in 1973 and became the association’s first Australian member in 1981. He served as a member of the Royal Melbourne Surgical Teams in South Vietnam, treating soldiers and members of the local community. A giant of Australian medicine and a humble philanthropist, Scotty was a very deserving recipient of the inaugural Wyvern of the Year Award. The College mourned his passing in 2017.

 

Nominations

Members of the Wyvern Society are eligible to nominate a candidate for the award and an individual can submit multiple nominations, including for themselves. Nominations will only be accepted if they are completed using the official form and submitted to the Wyvern Society committee either by postal mail or via archwyvern@queens.unimelb.edu.au.

Nominations are open to 30 July each year.

Eligibility

Nominees and nominators must be members of the Wyvern Society, being one of:

  • Past resident or non-resident student of Queen’s College
  • Resident member of the Senior Common Room
  • Fellow of Queen’s College, past or present
  • Member of the Council of Queen’s College, past or present
  • Such other person as decided by a General Meeting or the Wyvern Society Committee to be deserving of membership of the Wyvern Society.

Selection Criteria

Recipients must be members of the Wyvern Society and have demonstrated exceptional and outstanding service to the community. They must have also demonstrated persistent commitment and their achievement(s) must have had lasting positive impact.

Judging Process

The Wyvern Society Committee forms a selection subcommittee to assess nominees and propose a winner for Committee endorsement. Preference is given to recent contributions or achievements. An award will not be made if, in the opinion of the subcommittee, there is no suitable candidate.