I joined La Trobe in December 1968, and was the first Asian to get his Ph.D. in Chemistry in 1973. During my Ph.D. years, what I liked, and was most convenient, was access to laboratory facilities to work late hours and even over the weekend (provided the University guard on duty was informed about working late/over weekend).
At La Trobe, I also had the opportunities to do volunteer work, both for the University, university groups, as well as outside. My first experience of volunteer work with the University fellow students, at a home for children with intellectual disabilities. That spirit continued after my Ph.D., in West Africa, also in underdeveloped and very poor areas of Pakistan and now, more so, at regional and global levels, as President of the International Society of Doctors for Environment (ISDE), with a focus on children, environment, health (CEH) and hazardous chemicals/waste.
Our research at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) on mercury issues earned an “Excellence in Research” award in 2014. It was pleasure to be in Australia, where people, though reserved (and at time cautious) in the beginning, were sincere and friendly, with some of whom even now after all these years, I am in touch with.
Watching and playing sports was great fun in Melbourne and being a member of one of La Trobe’s cricket teams’, I learnt the fierce but friendly competitiveness in sports. “Just focus on your own performance, never ever give up and a match is not over until the last ball is bowled,” would continue in my life’s ongoing inning, inshallah.
I cherish and most fondly remember my Eid celebrations with invited Australian friends and research colleagues, bush walking (about 10-12 days) in Lake Saint Clair and Cradle Mountain Park, Tasmania. There were so many enjoyable beach sides, short pleasure visits, events, evening with families at my friends’ homes and two friendly cricket matches of our Chemistry Department team (research students and staff), with the sister department team of Monash University and with the team of Welfare Association.
Mahmood can be contacted by email if you are a past classmate who wants to get in touch.