Helen Sutherland

My entry to La Trobe University in 1977 was as a recipient of an Early Leavers Scheme placement. I was thrilled to discover a vibrant Department of Humanities. I feel sad the Department as I knew it is no longer in existence. I would like mention the names of some lecturers and ask to be forgiven for taking the liberty of leaving out mention of titles and honours.

My journey began with 1st year Spanish and I found it hard to keep up with the cracking pace set by Don Jose. However, I lasted the distance and could speak passable Spanish.

I was introduced to Bamburger and Brofsky in the Music Department by John McCaughey and learned how to listen to music with a “refined” ear, and whenever I hear Mozart’s Symphony No. 40, I think of them. In 3rd year Music, I took a step back in time to study Early Music with John Stinson and was thrilled, despite my ‘unusual’ voice, to be in the choir of a production of Peri’s “Euridice” directed by Andrea von Ramm, world famous musicologist from Basel University, at Melba Hall.

My Art History major began immersed in Greek Art and Sculpture with Ian McPhee and led to meeting Dale Trendall who became a dear friend. I worked my way through the centuries of Western Art with Robert Gaston and eventually reached the 20th Century and met Richard Haese. I learned to value the works of the Australian artists and appreciate the struggle they had to be accepted on the world stage.

In 1988, I enrolled in postgraduate studies in the English and Philosophy Departments and regret, because of changed life circumstances, I was unable to finish. However, the influence of the work of John Wiltshire and Kay Torney in “Literature and the Experience of Illness” and David Tacey and Robert Farrell in the introduction to the works of “Carl Gustave Jung” have had a profound impact on my life.

I made lifelong friends, learnt much, and had fun at La Trobe University. Wherever I go, whatever I do, memories of my time there are always with me and for that I am extremely grateful.