Dr Bernie Curran

Well-known University of Newcastle Classics professor and eccentric, the late Godfrey Tanner, was celebrated at an event held on Wednesday 27th June 2012 to mark the 10th anniversary year of his death and announce the winner of the 2012 Godfrey Tanner Undergraduate Scholarship.

This year’s Godfrey Tanner Undergraduate Scholarship recipient is first year student, Annie Nichols, who is studying a Bachelor of Physiotherapy and hoping to practise in rural Australia.

Annie Nichols receiving the Award

“My mother studied at the University of Newcastle too and remembers Godfrey. Receiving this scholarship is a privilege and will reduce the financial pressure while I am studying,” she said.

Annie speaking at the Awards

University of Newcastle Foundation Executive Officer and close personal friend of Godfrey Tanner, Dr Bernie Curran said Godfrey devoted the greater part of his life to the University of Newcastle supporting students.

“Godfrey was incredibly generous to students who had suffered setbacks.

Bernie pointing to Godfrey’s famous words

“Even though he was a Classics professor, he was explicit in his instruction that the scholarship named after him should be open to students from any discipline,” he said.

The $3000 scholarship, established with Godfrey’s blessing, assists academically gifted students facing hardship and relies on donations to the Godfrey Tanner Memorial Fund.

Annie Nichols (2012 Tanner Award Recipient) centre with Judy Vajack (Inaugural 2001 Recipient), left and Madison Crisp (2011 Recipient), right.

Members of the Tanner Society, past and present University staff, former scholarship winners and ex-students gathered at the Godfrey Tanner Bar to present the scholarship and hold an informal think-tank about ways to grow the memorial fund.

Ideas include an annual Godfrey Tanner lecture, a debate, or a bike ride. Godfrey was often seen riding his bicycle around the Callaghan campus with his academic robes flowing behind him.

Anyone interested in making a donation to the Godfrey Tanner Memorial Fund can contact the University Foundation on 02 4921 7453 or visit www.newcastle.edu.au/foundation.


A Message from Dr Bernard (Bernie) Curran to the people who remember the great Professor Tanner:

Kate and I met with staff from UON Services yesterday to discuss our “Godfrey” event on Wednesday 27 June (2012). We have decided that there will be a gathering of interested people at 5.30pm in the Godfrey Tanner Bar. UON Services have kindly offered to cater for the event (ie finger food/nibbles etc), and drinks can be purchased from the Bar.

The purpose will be to honour the memory of Godfrey, to present the 2012 Tanner Scholar and to discuss ways in which we can develop a more appropriate way of remembering the contribution of the great man. As you all know we have talked about an Annual Tanner Lecture, and I am attaching Carol Duncan’s email with her suggestions. I hope you will pass on this information and invitation to those who you think will be interested in attending. We will also be trying to gather together previous winners of the Tanner scholarship.

While this is an informal event, it will be absolutely imperative that we have RSVP’s, for catering purposes in particular. We would need to know by COB Friday 22 June (2012).

I hope you can join us.

Best wishes,


Emeritus Professor Godfrey Tanner

Emeritus Professor Godfrey Tanner

Over the last 12 months there have been a number of pleas for something to be done about the memory of our beloved Godfrey Tanner. These have been in the form of a special commemoration dinner, a special scholarship campaign as well as a publication of some kind. The latest request came from Chris Craig, and I attach his wonderful document regarding the formation of the Tanner Society in the ‘About’ link above.

We would love to get together with a few interested people to map out a strategy to do something in 2009, which fulfills the various expectations.

Dr Bernard Curran