In Remembrance....

4th February 2022

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"Your candle burned out long before your legend ever will."

Christmas and the New Year is usually a time of festivity and celebration, but this time, the joy of another tough year coming to a close came hand in hand with an added cloud of gloom. The CHL and CAP family were in shock at the news of some bright and beautiful flames burning out and signing off—so many amazing human beings, legends in their own walks of life. Let’s take a few minutes to reminisce about these great personalities and their uniquely brilliant contributions to not only CHL and ANU, but to everyone they touched in their lifetime.

Emeritus Professor Tom Dutton

Tim Dutton

Linguist Tom Dutton conducted much of the documentation of south-east Papuan languages, most notably Koiari, but also produced what became the standard educational material for the two lingua franca of Hiri Motu and Tok Pisin. Tom was at ANU from 1969 till his retirement in 1997, with a stint in-between as Professor of Linguistics at UPNG.

Here's a special tribute to Tom by his long-time friend and colleague, Emeritus Professor Andrew Pawley.

Emeritus Professor Geoff Hope

Geoff1Geoff in the field: highland bogs of Canberra, ACT

Our friend, colleague, and Australasian Quaternary Association (AQUA) Life Member Emeritus Professor Geoff Hope passed away over the Christmas break after a long battle with cancer. Geoff was a close friend and mentor to many of us and contributed enormously to the disciplines of palynology, botany, palaeoecology and biogeography. Geoff was at ANU since 1978 and is responsible for training generations of palaeoecologists and igniting the curiosity of many in the field of natural history. His research into landscape change and the role of people in the environmental history of New Guinea, Australia, the Pacific and Asia is foundational and stands as a remarkable testament to the importance and effectiveness of doing field based research with a minimum of technology and an abundance of enthusiasm. His recent award of Life Membership in AQUA is a small reflection of the enormous contribution that Geoff made over the years to the Australasian Quaternary Association. His keen wit, wisdom and gentle encouragement for everyone with a curiosity for the natural world will be sorely missed. A Festschrift published in Geoff’s honour in 2010 details the legacy of Geoff’s enduring contribution as an inspirational research leader, collaborator and mentor.

Geoff2Geoff Hope on fieldwork at Mt Wilhelm in PNG

Emeritus Professor Brij Lal


Pacific historian Emeritus Professor Brij Lal, the most prolific writer in his field, and co-author of one of the Fiji constitutions, taught at USP, UH Manoa, and UPNG before joining ANU in 1990. Known as a distinguished son of Fiji and reputed for his championing of human rights, Professor Lal was banished from his homeland in 2009. This was after he spoke up against the interim regime following the 2006 coup in Fiji. He continued to live in exile in Australia since then.

Professor Lal He was an expert on the Indian diaspora around the world and a pre-eminent historian on the history of indenture and Girmitiya.


Han Lew


Former CAP and CHL Admin colleague, Han Lew, passed away from liver cancer on 1 January 2022. Han’s illness was very short and he was still working with ANU until late November. Han worked in various roles in CAP over many years, including Admin Assistant in Crawford, Facilities Officer in CAP, Business Support Officer in CHL, Finance Officer in CAP Finance, before moving into a specialised Data Analyst role with Research Services Division. During his time at CHL, Han received a Dean’s Professional Staff award for his exceptional data analyst skills and commitment to process improvement. Han had a heart of gold, a great sense of humour and was much revered by all his colleagues. We will all take a great deal of time to come to terms with the untimely loss of such a spirited and lovely human being who was just so full of life.

Han2 _Team CHL (Professional Staff) 2019 Back Row, left to right: Gouri Banerji Sarah McLaughlin, Stephanie Turner, Matthew Davis, Alissa Lim, Joshua Burgess

Front Row, left to right: Jo Haslam, Tasnia, Alam, Simon Haberle, Suzy Andrew, Joanna Cousins, Etsuko Mason, Ulrike Proske, Han Lew_

Jo Bushby

Jo B

Former CHL employee Jo Bushby passed away after her own battle with cancer. She worked for ANU and CAP for over 24 years, from November 1993 until her retirement at the end of 2017. Jo loved her role working with our HDR cohort, often going above and beyond to provide a supportive and nurturing environment. Jo loved inviting students and colleagues to her farm in Michelago and many of us were long-time clients of her free range chook eggs.

Rest in peace, dear colleagues and friends. We will miss you, but we will remember that the show must go on and so we shall valiantly carry your spirit forward. In the words of our Dean, Professor Helen Sullivan, “While their passing is very sad, I am reminded that their work, passion and commitment to the College leaves a powerful legacy that will continue to benefit our CAP staff and students for a very long time.”

Updated:  7 July 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, Culture, History & Language/Page Contact:  CHL webmaster