Jonathan Brown (Cu'65)

Former Australian High Commisioner for the Republic of Zimbabwe (2001-2003), Jonathan Brown learned a lot about walking at Timbertop in 1964. He walked a lot on Odysseus' homeland too before borders were closed, and has published his findings in a new book, In search of Homeric Ithaca (Canberra: Parrot Press, 2020).

Odysseus was notoriously vague about where he lived. Ithaca was the place, he said, but his description of its whereabouts was a mixture of geography and poetry. Jonathan's book takes a close look at the traditional view that it was Ithaki in the Ionian Sea, and at some of the other theories. He also reflects on how Homer could have known the island that so closely matches the island of his poem.

"Timbertop taught me some essential lessons for this search," he said. "Be wary of maps. Have a sense of topography. One winter weekend at Mitchell's Hut on the Jamieson River, several hiking groups converged. At night it snowed. In the morning the landscape was magical. When we set off, all the paths were covered. We had to guess our route. We became lost around the Governors. We were cold, wet and exhausted. Some wanted to lie down in the snow and go to sleep. It was dangerous. But we had to go on. We had only a sense of where the Howqua valley was. We trudged down unknown spurs, and eventually stumbled into it, to Fred Fry's hut where the good horseman gave us mugs of hot tea."

Bush-bashing and going on despite the difficulties: these Timbertop lessons underlay Jonathan's explorations on the Greek island of Ithaki where he found new locations for some of the events in the Odyssey.

"I found a tiny landing cove for Telemachus, the son of Odysseus, on his return from Sparta that perfectly matches the words of the poem. The site had never been suggested before. I first espied it from the sea. There was no path to it. The scrub was almost impeneterable. I needed all my bush-bashing skills and stamina to get to it. It was an exhausting scramble, but I went on, and I found it."

"Several years ago I re-visited a secret camping spot just off the road to the Howqua. It was a small level area enclosed by small cliffs with room for three tents and a campfire. A wonderfully secluded spot for a short walk from school on a rainy weekend. Alas, it had become overgrown. A tree grew out of the old fireplace. Its location had been handed down by older sibling to younger. But the chain of memory had broken. So too had memory of the site of the palace of Odysseus become lost on Ithaki. However, I found it, in the only place that fully matches the words and action of the Odyssey. It had eluded generations of archaeologists and classical wanderers. It was a thrilling discovery."

Jonathan, who studied Latin and ancient history at the Australian National University in Canberra, writes about these discoveries in his beautifully illustrated book. There could be no book launch. He has donated a copy to Geelong Grammar School's Fisher Library. It is also available online at the National Library Bookshop.


Laura Dalrymple (Je'81)

Laura and her partner Grant Hilliard run the Feather and Bone Providore in Marrickville, Sydney, one of Australia’s few whole body butcheries promoting regenerative agriculture and ethical meat consumption, sourcing directly from local farms. With a goal to provide meat that comes from pasture-raised animals grown on regenerative farms that contribute to the overall health of the planet and where buying meat grown by these farmers, plays an active role in supporting better land, animal and human welfare. Feather and Bone dry-age their meat and label the farm the meat came from along with the breed of the animal. Meat is sourced directly from farms committed to genuinely sustainable soil, plant and animal health, each farm is visited and total transparency is encouraged. Every part of the animal of the animal is used, from nose to tail. The-Ethical-Omnivore
"We use every part of every animal and promote the idea of balanced diet. We exclusively source whole, pasture-raised animals directly from local farms - no boxed meat - and we visit every farm so we can give you chapter and verse about where your meat comes from and how it lived and died."

Their new book, The Ethical Omnivore: A practical guide and 60 nose-to-tail recipes for sustainable meat eating was written “to answer the questions we're asked every day in our butchery and it's an unapologetic paean of praise for regenerative agriculture and the importance of community. Our book explores the solution: living with a conscience; asking the right questions of whomever sells you meat or of the labels you read; and learning how to respect the animal so much that you're willing to cook something other than chicken breast. We hope that it shows all of us how to live with less impact on the animals and environment that support us." Laura and Grant discussed their book as part of the Inner West Council’s Speaker Series.


Photo: Golf Australia

James Sutherland (P'82)

Golf Australia appointed James Sutherland as its new chief executive in August 2020, commencing the role on October 1. James is one of Australia's highest profile sporting administrators, having previously held the position of chief executive with Cricket Australia for 17 years. As golf looks to modernise and innovate, James' experience with the introduction of Twenty20 cricket and the Big Bash League in particular appealed to GA chairman Andrew Newbold.

"James has a resume that is long and distinguished and I’m delighted that golf will be able to tap into his vast knowledge and resources as we push into a new era,” Newbold said.

James, who attended the Biddlecombe Society's Bellarine Peninsula Luncheon earlier this year, is excited to get started. "I’m really looking forward to advancing that work (completed by Andrew and the board) and helping unify, modernise and grow golf to be a sport that welcomes people of all backgrounds and grows to achieve its enormous potential.”


Zoë Laidlaw (Cl'90)

Cambridge University Press will publish Zoë's third book on the history of British imperialism, colonialism and Indigenous/settler relations in 2021.

After returning from a long stint in the UK in 2018, Zoë took up the role of Professorial Fellow in Historical and Philosophical Studies at The University of Melbourne. Prior to this, Zoë had completed a Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Oxford in 2001 before taking on roles of Lecturer in International History at the University of Sheffield (2001-2005) and Reader in British Imperial and Colonial History at the Royal Holloway, University of London (2005-2018).

In an introductory video clip made while at Royal Holloway, Zoë talks about where her interest in history began, in particular, her time growing up in Australia in the 1980s and ‘90s, when Australia was just beginning to confront the consequences of British Imperialism for Indigenous Australians. "My research on the 19th Century British Empire, while it seems quite divorced from where we are in the 21st Century, actually is really important to me because understanding where we’ve come from is going to help us work out where we should go in the future."

While at Geelong Grammar School, Zoë's academic prowess was evident. She was awarded the F.Stanley Sheppard and M. Knappstein Prize for Mathematics, the Charles Murray Maxwell Prize for Physics and Chemistry, the Wilkins and Purnell Prize for History and the Francis Hope Lascelles and Lady Robinson Prize for Reading. She was also awarded The Head Master's Prize as runner-up to the winner of The Old Geelong Grammarians' Prize (for the Dux of the School), the I.B.M. Australia Scholarship and The Centenary Scholarship.

After her time at GGS, Zoë went on to attain a Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Mathematics/ Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in History at the University of Melbourne before securing funding in the form of a Commonwealth Scholarship to do her PhD in Oxford. "I thought that the UK would be a good place to study Britain’s imperial history, not only because of the archives there, but also because of the chance to work with people interested in both other parts of the Empire and Britain. It was a chance to see Australia’s history from a different perspective. It was a really exciting time in Australian History. When I started my undergraduate degree in 1991, the Mabo case was ongoing and its reverberations were considerable in historical studies as well as political life. It helped non-Indigenous Australians start to recognise how important Indigenous History was, and how problematic existing interpretations of Australia's colonial history were. I hadn't learned Indigenous History at school; work by scholars like Henry Reynolds, which I encountered in my first year, was very fresh and important. It inspired my interest in studying History further. But, by the time I was completing Honours, I thought it would be good to put those new understandings of Australia's past within the wider context of colonial settlement across Britain's Empire." Zoë told PhD candidate Jonathan Peter in an interview late last year about her experiences as an academic, her research interests, as well as current and future projects.

Zoë is a member of The University of Melbourne's Indigenous Settler Relations Collaboration, which is a multi-disciplinary research unit comprised of a core research team and a network of established scholars from a wide range of disciplines devoted to exploring the challenges that lie at the heart of relations between Indigenous and settler Australians. Working in partnership with a range of Indigenous and non-Indigenous organisations in Australia, the ISRC use networks and expertise to explore what might inform, shape and give life to more just relations between Indigenous and settler peoples.

Zoë's expertise lies in the history of British imperialism and colonialism. She has worked on imperial networks and governance, humanitarianism, settler colonialism and Indigenous-settler relations, slavery and its abolition, the imperial state, commissions of inquiry and the creation of imperial knowledge. Her publications include Colonial Connections 1815-45: patronage, the information revolution and colonial government (Manchester UP, 2005) and, co-edited with Alan Lester, Indigenous Communities and Settler Colonialism: Land Holding, Loss and Survival in an Interconnected World (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), with Protecting Humanity, a study of the intersections between Britain's metropole, colonies and the wider world told through the life and work of Dr Thomas Hodgkin, due to be published by Cambridge University Press in 2021. Zoë is a Fellow, and past Honorary Secretary, of the Royal Historical Society (UK), a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland and a Fellow of the Australian Historical Association.



Tom Ainsworth (Fr'96)

Tom is the CEO of digital start-up Memories (, which was recently the subject of an article in The Financial Review in which one of the entrepreneurs involved with the app, likens the potential of it to the success of Facebook.

Memories, which aims to transform the way the world celebrates a life well-lived by creating a digital legacy to inspire family and friends for generations to come, allows you to create timelines of either your own life, or that of family members, current or past, your pet, or events. You can also create stories and histories of local clubs, communities or workplaces that shape your life. It enables you to honour loved ones who are no longer with us, as well as preserve the stories, moments and histories that matter to you in one centralised place. Tributes or messages can be submitted – perfect for weddings, retirements and memorials. Documents, photos and videos can be uploaded to a secure storage vault, and used to create timelines which can be either private or public. 

The Memories platform is also the publisher of digital notices for The Age, Sydney Morning Herald, WA Today, Brisbane Times, Canberra Times, Newcastle Herald and over 100 other publications.


Sally Schoeffler (Langford, Ga'00)

After leaving Geelong Grammar School, Sally attended The University of Melbourne where she completed a Bachelor of Physics with Honours and went on to complete a PhD in Physics and Astrophysics. During her PhD studies, she developed a new method to measure the light reflected by extrasolar planets in order to characterize their surfaces and analyzed spectra of two extrasolar planets and stars, following testing of methods with numerical models. She was interview as part of the Moon Special for ABC’s Catalyst programme in 2009, discussing her research and findings on earthshine. 

After a stint with the Bureau of Meteorology assessing the skill of International dynamical models for operational seasonal predictions of Australian rainfall among other things, Sally moved to the US to become a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She researched multi-decadal droughts in western North America using global climate models, as part of the NSF project: Investigation of Decadal Climate Predictability and Hydroclimate Impacts (IDCPI) on the Western US.

From there, Sally moved to Silicon Valley and into data science. She is currently a data scientist manager for Stitch Fix, a personal styling service that sends individually chosen clothing and accessories items for a one-time styling fee. Customers fill out a survey online about their style preferences and a stylist selects five items to send to them based on the survey answers and any access the customer gives them to their social media outlets. The company uses data science and has combined personal stylists and machine learning (AI) for personalized recommendation.

Machine learning is the study of computer algorithms that improve automatically through experience. A subset of artificial intelligence, machine learning algorithms build a mathematical model based on sample data, known as "training data", in order to make predictions or decisions without being explicitly programmed to do so. Machine learning algorithms are used in a wide variety of applications, such as email filtering and computer vision, where it is difficult or infeasible to develop conventional algorithms to perform the needed tasks. Machine learning is closely related to computational statistics, which focuses on making predictions using computers.

Merchandise optimization can be achieved by looking at in-depth insights provided by AI and machine learning. Brand insights and innovation can also be achieved by leveraging AI and machine learning merchandise optimization strategies. Sally uses machine learning at Stitch Fix to recommend the fraction of future orders to be placed with vendors in each size, based on client demand and inventory dynamics. She works with business partners to connect planning to engineering data flow and allow for successive versions of algorithms to be quickly integrated. To see how data science works at Stitch Fix, take an Algorithms Tour, scroll down on this page:



Rom Sangkavatana (P'04)

Rom (known as Aim while at school) is the founder of Bangkok and London based branding company ROM DESIGN with clients including Vogue, Icon Siam, King Power, True Coffee, Gems Pavilion, GQ Magazine and One Nimman. Offering a myriad of cutting-edge design and branding services encompassing brand identity, product development, strategy, market research, content creation, interior architecture, and consultation, ROM DESIGN spans Bangkok, Hong Kong, London, Paris and New York.

Rom instigated the Spotlight project, a design exhibition which not only highlighted charismatic Thai artists but also paired them together to push the boundaries of their creativity, conveying the mix and match culture unique to Thai people. The coupling of artists who worked in different mediums, Thai fashion designer Thakorn Wannawongis who established the Takarawong brand and street photographer Kanrapee Chokpaiboon, resulted in a collaboration that was put on display at ROM DESIGN in Ari, Bangkok.

“The images of Kanrapee sparks cultural beliefs, street fashion, unique objects have been spotted through his eyes, giving new life, reflecting on social norm, crucial aspect of the Thai sub-cultures, the overlooked, unspoken mis-function ‘mismatch’ of people and objects.” Rom Sangkavatana

More recently, ROM DESIGN was involved in a collaboration with Merge Collective to fuse art and technology through interactive lighting and sound design projected around an art sculpture called the Bangkok Meridian. Collaborators ROM DESIGN and Merge Collective launched an exclusive party to kick-off Bangkok Design Week 2020 with the ‘Bangkok Meridian’ lighting meets art sculpture installation exhibition held at the iconic location at the bank of Chao Phraya River. 

Rom was recently nominated for Tatler Thailand’s The Future List 2020. One hundred unique people were selected from a wide range of career fields to recognize those with ideas, from all walks of life, who are making positive contributions to Thailand. 


Caroline Fieldus (EM'11)

After completing a Bachelor of Biology/Biological Sciences at the University of Melbourne, Caroline began a role as Zookeeper and research assistant at Zoos Victoria. She is now also completing her master’s degree in Conservation Biology at Macquarie University.

Her first article has recently been published, based on recent modelling out of Swansea University, showing that the dynamics between Tasmanian Devils and Devil Facial Tumour Disease are likely very different from what was first believed.

Caroline reveals a crucial piece of information left out by earlier predictive models. “When a Tasmanian devil is infected with DFTD, the number of transmissible tumours (i.e. tumours that can spread cancer between different individuals) increases as the infection goes on. So, an infected devil is more infectious a few months after contracting the disease than it was when it first started to develop symptoms. This additional factor of time can have a major influence on the dynamics of disease spread and has, until now, been left out of predictive modelling.”

Photo: Morgan Hancock, Financial Review

Lucy Gubbins (Cl'11)

Lucy was recently featured in the Financial Review article Welcome to the work-farm-home revolution which highlights the move of young professionals back to rural and regional Australia, potentially one of the long-lasting benefits for rural Australia of the Government's "work from home" directive during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Lucy, a Senior Consultant at KPMG in the Food and Agribusiness team works across strategic investment, commercial deal advisory, supply chain and operations, and regional infrastructure.  "My challenge to the corporate world is to unlock opportunities in regional Australia and allow employees the flexibility to choose where they live and how they want to work." she said in an article for KPMG's Newsroom, "This time has proved that working a corporate job from regional Australia is definitely possible."

In May of this year, the Regional Australia Institute launched the Regional Australia Council 2031 (RAC2031) with the primary goal of using the collective knowledge and influence of the Council to help transform regional Australia. and to convene influential and committed organisations and leaders to prioritise regional Australia.The Council gives corporate Australia a vehicle to support the development, investment and prosperity of our regions in a collaborative way, to enhance the lives of Australians who choose to live in the regions.


Pat Saunders (M'14)

Hot air ballooning runs in the family for Pat. He was set to contest the (postponed) World Hot Air Ballooning Championships in Slovenia this year, his siblings, Scarlett (M'19) and Edward (M'16), either hold or are chasing Australian altitude records, and their father, Kiff, was the first balloonist to fly over Mt Kosciusko and across the Snowy Mountain range. 


Kiff is Director of Global Ballooning Australia and they have launched a campaign to crowd fund "a love letter to Melbourne" in the form of a hot air balloon etched with thousands of messages from Melburnians to celebrate their first post-pandemic flight. Pat has appealed to the community for support in the above video. 

To support their love letter to Melbourne and have a message of hope added to their "flying love lock bridge", click here.


Caleb Serong (Cu'19)

Caleb's brilliant first season in the AFL was recognised by both his peers and a panel of experts in a week of award presentations, winning the AFL's best first year player at the AFL Players Association Awards on Tuesday 22 September and the NAB AFL Rising Star Award at the AFL Awards on Thursday 24 September. The Rising Star award is the most coveted prize among young players and Caleb joins an honour roll featuring multiple Brownlow medallists and premiership captains.

Caleb made his debut for Fremantle in Round 4 and went on to play every game for the remainder of the season. He burst onto the scene in Round 8 against Geelong as he went head-to-head with Cats superstar Patrick Dangerfield, gathering 22 disposals on his way to securing the Round 8 AFL Rising Star nomination. Caleb ranks in the top-5 of several statistical categories among Rising Star nominees, including 1st for total clearances and 2nd for contested possessions, effective disposals and metres gained. 

“It’s a great honour. I try to pride myself on being a really tough opponent to play against," Caleb told

“Hopefully, that’s what my opponents and teammates have taken away from the year, that I don’t give an inch.”

Caleb was the School's 1st XVIII captain in 2019 and won the Alan Gray Memorial Trophy in 2018 awarded to the 1st XVIII Best and Fairest. He becomes the first Old Geelong Grammarian to win either award.


More from the September OGG Update

Members of The Clyde Old Girls' Association are notified that the 2020 Annual General Meeting will now take place virtually, via video conferencing service Zoom, on Sunday 25 October at 11.00am.
OGG Footy Tipping Competition Winner
Congratulations to the winner of the OGG Footy Tipping Competition, Philip Mitchell-Taverner (FB'59). A very close second place was Sarah Bland (Fr'09) with Simon O'Brien (A'94) in third place.
Happy Birthday Boz
Happy Birthday Boz
News of OGGs
News of OGGs Jonathan Brown (Cu'65), Laura Dalrymple (Je'81), James Sutherland (P'82), Zoë Laidlaw (Cl'90), Tom Ainsworth (Fr'96), Sally Schoeffler (Langford, Ga'00), Rom Sangkavatana (P'04), Carolin ...
Virtual Choir Collaboration
Old Geelong Grammarians participated with GGS students and staff in a virtual choir collaboration. The GGS Virtual Choir - spearheaded by Middle School students this time around - have performed Boog ...
GGS Treasures - Building Timbertop
GGS is home to a remarkable collection of artefacts and ephemera, accumulated over the 165 years of its history. These ‘Treasures’ are being featured as a digital cabinet of curiosities. This month, ...
OGG Mentoring - Register for 2020
Sign up for OGG Mentoring. Now more than ever, mentors from all industries and all jobs are encouraged to register their interest along with OGGs wishing to find a mentor.
From the Archivist
Can you help? The Archivist, Geoff Laurenson, is looking to complete the collection of House, School Prefects, Choir, Band and Sport photographs and hoping some may be donated by OGGs who no longer wi ...
Healing and Hope
On Friday 11 September, members of our Geelong Grammar School community recognised White Balloon Day, Australia’s largest campaign dedicated to preventing child sexual abuse, in a live-streamed event ...
When is my next Reunion?
COVID restrictions have stopped all the fun but this won't last forever. Reunions will resume if restrictions allow. Read on for details of postponement dates...
Calendar of Events 2020
The COVID-19 situation has led to many OGG, COGA and HOGA reunions and events being postponed or cancelled for 2020. We will update events as restrictions allow.