Kevin Luxford's memories from the 1950s and 1960s
Kevin says, "My memories pertain to the old StudAss at the Town site. I started my studies for my B.Sc. and B.E. in 1959. In February of 1960 I met this charming girl at Jackie Lester's tutorial school. I saw her again in Chemistry I lectures (I for the second time and she for the third). We gradually got to know each other and we would have coffee together in the old StudAss. One day, as I pulled out a cigarette to have with my coffee, she looked at me seriously and said, 'If I were ever thinking of marrying anybody, I would much prefer that they did not smoke.' Asking her for the reason why she did not like blokes who smoked, she told me that several years previously (in 1956) she had watched her beloved father die of lung cancer. I was then ignorant of the connection between smoking and cancer.
"I tried to give up smoking all the next Lent. I was living at Rochester Hall, and I emptied my ash tray into a waste paper bucket in my room, but never emptied that. The nauseating smell in my room was indescribable. Then on Easter Monday, I ran out of smokes, and have not had one since.
"That quiet and solemn warning in the old StudAss has probably prolonged my life, and has saved me thousands of dollars in purchases of tobacco avoided, let alone medical costs.
"And that girl is still giving me solemn warnings some 56 years later.
"The other memory that I have is that of Anne Ballin (later Dame Anne) asking me to carry her upstairs. She did not have full use of her legs and people used to carry her up or down the stairs as she needed. I did as she asked, but was ever fearful of stumbling or even dropping her.
"I also have wonderful memories of staff members who did me huge favours that materially helped me on my way to completion of my two UC degrees. K. Walter Roth who quickly and economically showed me how to study after a disastrous failure in Physics III, Bernie Withers who lent me his vintage Bentley (I think it was) to take my infant son and wife to the emergency room at Christchurch hospital, and Frank Newstead who tutored me in the basics of Drawing and Design in his own home every Wednesday evening for some six weeks because I had been exempted 1st Pro elec eng on account of my B.Sc.
"These memories of kindly staff have no doubt influenced my attitudes towards my own Monash University students.
"With so many fond memories and wishing you at UC all the very best."