‘Father of Australian archaeology’ sees his son graduate from UNE

Published 10 October 2011

ken-mulvaney-john-mulvaney-bloggEmeritus Professor John Mulvaney, often called “the father of Australian archaeology”, visited the University of New England on Friday 7 October to see his son Ken Mulvaney, who is also an archaeologist, graduate as a Doctor of Philosophy.

In 2004 the Australian Archaeological Association awarded Professor Mulvaney its Rhys Jones Medal for Outstanding Contribution to Australian Archaeology, acknowledging “his pioneering spirit, his distinguished and sustained achievements in Australian prehistory, his fostering of the discipline in Australia, and his mentoring of so many young archaeologists – including those who themselves have attained distinction”.

Another recipient of the Rhys Jones Medal, UNE’s Professor Iain Davidson, was the principal supervisor of Ken Mulvaney’s research for his PhD thesis titled Dampier Petroglyphs: Shadows in the Landscape Echoes Across Time. That research, funded by Woodside Energy Ltd, concerned the Aboriginal rock art of north-western Australia’s Dampier Archipelago. Dr Ken Mulvaney now works in Western Australia as Cultural Heritage Specialist for Rio Tinto.

Professor Mulvaney said he was “very pleased” that his son had followed him into the field of Aboriginal archaeology, and had completed such a “very important piece of work”.

The ceremony on Friday was for those graduating from academic programs within UNE’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences. The following day – Saturday 8 October – saw the ceremony for the Faculty of The Professions, at which the Occasional Address speaker was Philip Clark AM, Chair of the Advisory Board of the Australian Government’s Education Investment Fund.

Mr Clark inspired the graduands with the story of his own successful career, which developed through legal training and business experience. That career has included leading roles with the major law firms Mallesons Stephen Jaques (as Managing Partner) and Minter Ellison (as Managing Partner and Chief Executive Officer). He was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia in 2007 for his contribution to the development of national law firms and encouraging corporate involvement in community programs.

Mr Clark’s work in the not-for-profit sector includes positions on the Board of the St James Ethics Centre and on the Advisory Board of the High Resolves Initiative. He served on the Board of Directors of the Garvan Research Foundation from 2005 to 2008.

“There’s nothing more important than a strong education and research sector,” Mr Clark said, and he went on to describe UNE as an institution that combined “the highest academic standards, industry-valued qualifications and flexible modes of learning”, and that was “at the forefront of online learning”.

“UNE has built significant strength and expertise around regional issues, and is capitalising on that expertise as a centre of excellence for regional education,” he said. “That is of considerable interest to the Education Investment Fund, as we open a $500 million Regional Round to provide infrastructure to universities and VET organisations to enable them to significantly improve their educational offerings to benefit regional students.”

THE PHOTOGRAPH displayed here shows Dr Ken Mulvaney (left) and Emeritus Professor John Mulvaney at the UNE graduation ceremony.