Burgmann College WEB 94

Patrick Southey

Originally from the Mornington Peninsula, and still living and working in regional Victoria, we recently caught up with alumnus Patrick Southey (1982–1984) who shared some fond memories of his experience as a Burgmann resident and law student at the ANU, and what motivates him to support the College’s annual giving program.

I grew up on the Mornington Peninsula, then went to boarding school in Geelong, and then on to ANU and Burgmann. I think I was attracted to the idea of going away to a different part of the country for university, as they tend to do in the US and the UK. Melbourne and Sydney can be insular worlds, and it was healthy to meet people from all over the place.

I loved the beautiful natural environment around Burgmann, the ANU campus, and indeed all of Canberra. I spent so many hours mooching around the Botanical Gardens that by the end I had acquired an extensive knowledge of Australian native plants, which is all well and good, except I was meant to be studying Law! And Canberra was such a handy springboard for surfing trips to the South Coast, or fly-fishing or skiing in the Alps.

Needless to say, my academic record was not stellar (seeing the fluff fall from poplars in spring still causes me some anxiety). College footy was also fun, as well as helping Julian Twigg start the Dawborn Cup. I had no inkling it would become the tradition it has.

Having finally scraped through Law, I was a barrister for 21 years, including three years as a Crown Prosecutor, and two years as a Public Defender in the Solomon Islands during the RAMSI years. I've now been a magistrate for 12 years.

Prue and I live on 26 acres in the Macedon Ranges (although we're currently doing a stint in sunny Mildura) and looking back, I suppose I was never going to end up in a big city.

Since leaving Burgmann, I've also come to realise there are particularly strong links between the College and my old school, Geelong Grammar School. The late Richard Cook was a real leader in the early days, followed by gallery owner Rebecca Hossack, and then John Mitchell, Ian Darling, Jeremy Kirkwood and Julian Twigg have all made their valuable contributions to the college in various ways. No doubt there have been others since then too.

So it seemed only fitting to support The Harriet Nixon Scholarship, Harriet having been both a country girl and a Geelong Grammar School student.

I made some of my best friends in College—friends for life—and in an increasingly socially-isolated world, it's more important than ever that today's students get to enjoy the face-to-face camaraderie and lasting friendships that College life can provide. I'd encourage all alumni to chip in when and where they can.

Donate now to The Harriet Nixon Scholarship

Read more about The Harriet Nixon Scholarship Appeal

Patrick Southey and friend
(L–R) Alumni Leo Efstathiadis (1982–1984) and Patrick Southey (1982–1984)
Patrick Southey
Patrick Southey on the Murray River, Mildura
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