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With a fair bit of 'ad libbing' this is essentially what was said in the three toasts.


Toast 1

To absent friends

A number of our colleagues have pre-deceased us.  Some are listed on the website, no doubt some of you know of others.  I wear my National Service medals tonight as a memorial to my friend and colleague George McIinnes (ASMB: Chem 1965) and to all others who served in Vietnam and who have not lived as long as we have.

Very many of our colleagues are not with us tonight since we were unable to locate them and a number who were located were not able to attend.

They are colleagues nevertheless.

“To absent friends”


Toast 2

To our Alma Mater: The Ballarat School of Mines and Industries

As SMB students we entered a world unfamiliar to most of our parents, families and extended families.  The School of Mines offered us a way into what was then called the professional class. 

At the SMB we entered an exciting and novel world: the world of ideas.  A world where problems were solved using the mind rather than the hands. 

Courtesy of this great institution we became people who planned things, some here have directed considerable enterprises and we all became people who were prepared to shoulder significant responsibility.  We have all had fulfilling and stimulating professional lives.

For this we, and that multitude which went before us, and those who came after, owe the school a very great debt of gratitude.

“To Our Alma Mater: The Ballarat School of Mines and Industries”.


Toast 3

To Ourselves

Why are we here tonight?  Yes, to remember our friends and colleagues who are not here.  And yes, to hail the magnificent institution which gave us our great start in life.

Another important reason for being here, surely, is to celebrate the friendships we formed and the times we had together. 

If we reflect for just a moment, and look back over 50 years, the building of the social animal has turned out to be just as important as the gaining of a diploma.

How fortunate we are to have the memories we have and to have been part of the times we were part of. 

We came through it pretty well 50 years ago then went on with it for 50 years.

Looking around we seem to have come through those years pretty well.  I look out from the lectern on radiant, lively faces; men and women who are happy with what they have achieved and contributed. 

Let us celebrate tonight what we had then and what we have now.

“To Ourselves”