Monthly Archives: April 2020

Vale John Gray

And gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche.
(Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales)

With much sadness I report that our friend and colleague, Mr John Gray, passed away in Sydney on Tuesday 17 March 2020 after a long battle with cancer. A member of ANZAMEMS for many years, John retired from James Cook University in 2006 after forty years of service as a lecturer and administrator.

John was a polymath whose learning and teaching extended across Old and Middle English Languages and Literature, Old Icelandic, Linguistics, Stylistics and Shakespeare studies. In the 1990s and 2000s he instituted subjects which became core units for students in Journalism, Communication and English. He was also an innovator in computer pedagogy and online teaching. The conference papers he delivered on these subjects assisted colleagues throughout Australia and internationally.

John was a friend and supporter to colleagues in Townsville and Cairns, and for those of us still teaching he remains an invigorating and inspiring influence. His wit was legendary. He spent endless time out of class counselling students on their work. An educator in the best sense of the word, he fostered students’ enthusiasm by his wit, cheerfulness and qualities as a performer. His rapport with students and ability to impart first-year academic literacies is unsurpassed in my career experience. He received perfect scores in student feedback and attracted loyalty from the most cynical or insecure students.

While I believe John’s retirement years were enjoyable and that is a gladdening consolation for his passing, it is nevertheless deeply saddening that he is gone. His wife, Denese Gray and extended family will be greatly bereft, and I offer deepest condolences and sympathy to them.
When he retired, Professor Richard Lansdown, then head of English, made the announcement: “John Gray has left the building.” John Gray has indeed left the building, never to be forgotten by the many people who knew him. Rest in peace.

from Associate Prof. Cheryl Taylor, James Cook University

AAH Call for Humanities Expertise: COVID-19 and Pandemics

The Australian Academy of the Humanities is pleased to be joining forces with Australia’s other Learned Academies to launch the COVID-19 Expert Database.

The database provides access to Australia’s leading researchers and experts across all disciplines who are willing and able to help Australia tackle COVID-19 and its aftermath. Envisaged as a publicly available searchable database, it will provide a starting point for governments, industry, education, the research sector, the media, and the community to easily connect with expertise.

Championed by Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel AO, the database is an initiative of Australia’s Learned Academies – the Australian Academy of the Humanities, Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences, Australian Academy of Science, Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering, Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, and the Australian Council of Learned Academies – to ensure that multidisciplinary expertise is brought to bear on this issue of critical national importance.

We encourage Academy Fellows and humanities researchers across all career stages to register, especially those with expertise across ethical, historical and cultural approaches to pandemic or epidemic management, crisis recovery and communication.

Call for humanities expertise

This initiative complements the Academy’s call for expertise issued last week, which seeks to support our advice to government and inform policy directions. We are keen to hear from humanities researchers working in areas including (but not limited to):

-lessons from past experiences of epidemics, pandemics and quarantine;
-community responses to the COVID-19 crisis;
-social distancing challenges for Indigenous communities and other cultural impacts;
-access and equity to essential services, including digital communications and technologies;
-ethical decision-making;
-translation and analysis of information for multilingual populations; and
-the role of arts and culture in community building, recovery and resilience.

We invite you to complete this confidential online form, outlining your research speciality across these areas.

Society for the History of Discoveries Student Essay Prize

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: 15 May of each year

Areas of eligible research include: voyages of exploration, travel narratives, biography relevant to the history of discoveries and exploration, history, cartography, the technologies of travel, impact of travel and cultural exchange, and other aspects of geographic discovery and exploration.

Who is Eligible: Students from any part of the globe currently enrolled in a college or university degree program and who will not have received a doctoral degree prior to 15 May of the submission year. Note: Graduating high school or college students accepted into a program but who do not begin classes until fall of the submission year are NOT eligible.

The Research Paper: An eligible research paper shall be original and unpublished, written in English, between 3,000 and 8,000 words, plus footnotes or endnotes. Papers written for college or university class assignments are encouraged, but students may write specifically for this prize. A reasonable amount of illustrative and tabular material will be welcome, but is not required.

The awardee will receive a prize of $500.00 (US) and will be invited to present a version of the paper at the annual meeting of the Society for the History of Discoveries. Information about participation in the conference will be provided to the awardee upon notification of the award, including details concerning costs and travel funding. Acceptance of the prize is not contingent upon your ability to attend the conference. Additionally, the awardee will be invited to submit the winning paper to the society’s peer reviewed journal, Terrae Incognitae, for which it will undergo the usual review process prior to formal acceptance for publication, of which there is no guarantee.
For more information and formatting instructions visit

Submission Deadline: 15 May
Electronic submissions only to:
Dr. Anne Good, committee chair
Subject line: SHD Student Prize

Questions? Contact Dr. Good, committee chair