20 October 2016 - Dr. VICTOR CHANG


G'day folks,

 Victor Peter Chang, AC, was a Chinese-born Australian cardiac surgeon and a pioneer of modern heart transplantation. Born in Shanghai to Australian-born Chinese parents, he grew up in Hong Kong before moving to Australia.

As a gifted surgeon, respected humanitarian and skilled campaigner, Dr Victor Chang was a pioneer of the modern era of heart transplantation.

His achievements include developing Australia’s National Heart Transplant Program at St Vincent’s hospital, which has since performed more than 1200 successful heart, heart-lung, and single lung transplants since 1984. He also saw the incredible value of research – playing a key role in development of an artificial heart valve and, in later years, an artificial heart.

Victor Chang (Yam Him) was born in Shanghai of Australian-born Chinese parents. He came to Australia in 1953 to complete his secondary schooling at Christian Brothers College, Lewisham. He graduated from Sydney University with a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery in 1962.

In 1966 Victor became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons at the age of 30. Initially he trained in general surgery in England, but he commenced serious training in cardiac and thoracic surgery at the Brompton Hospital for Chest Diseases in London. It was in London that he met and married his wife, Ann. After two years at the Mayo Clinic in the U.S., where he was chief resident, he returned to Sydney in 1972 to join the elite St Vincent’s cardiothoracic team, which included Dr Harry Windsor and Dr Mark Shanahan. In 1973 he was made a Fellow of the Australasian College of Surgeons and in 1975 he became a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

A pioneer of the modern era of heart transplantation, Victor Chang was responsible for the establishment of the National Heart Transplant Unit at St Vincent’s Hospital in 1984, lobbying politicians and raising funds for its ongoing work.

During the 1980’s he lectured extensively in China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia. He founded the Australasian-China Medical Education and Scientific Research Foundation which sponsored South-East Asian doctors, nurses and students to work in Australia and take improved skills and quality of care back to their home countries.

At the same time, he helped teams from St Vincent’s travel to China, Singapore and Indonesia where they shared their medical, surgical, nursing and hospital administration expertise.

In 1986 Victor Chang was awarded a Companion of the Order of Australia and the University of New South Wales awarded its highest degree of M.D. Honoris Causa for “scholarly achievement and humanitarian endeavour”.

Victor Chang died in tragic circumstances in Sydney on 4 July 1991.

He was an Honorary Professor of Surgery to the Chinese Academy of Medical Science in Peking; an honorary Professor of Surgery to Shanghai Medical School; official advisor on cardiac surgery development in Indonesia; and a member of the Australia China Council.

In 2000, Dr Victor Chang was named Australian of the Century by the people of Australia.

He is remembered as a quiet, charming man – much loved by his patients and his friends, his wife Ann and his children Vanessa, Matthew and Marcus.

Clancy's comment: I recall when this man was killed. What a waste of a bright human.

I'm ...


18 October 2016 - THE AUSTRALIAN KOALA


G'day folks,

Today I introduce one of our favourite animals. The koala is an arboreal herbivorous marsupial native to Australia. It is the only extant representative of the family Phascolarctidae and its closest living relatives are the wombats.

Koalas aren't bears as many people are led to believe. They aren't even related to bears.The koala is related to the kangaroo and the wombat. The koala is a marsupial mammal. The reason the koala is called a koala bear is because the koala looks like a teddy bear.

The koala's scientific name is Phasclarctos Cinereus.

Now there are only 2,000 to 8,000 koalas in the wild! Although not officially classified as endangered, the population of Australian koalas has dropped by 90% in less than a decade. This is due to the destruction of the koala's natural habitat, a narrow crescent on the eastern coast of Australia.

Logging, agriculture and urban development have not only reduced the area available to them, but added other dangers. The koala's habitat has been criss crossed by roads, resulting in many road kills and attacks by neighboring pet dogs are frequent. Disease, too, has taken its toll on the koala.



The koala's nickname is a Native Bear.
The koala is a marsupial mammal.
They are warm-blooded.
The koala's young is called a cub.
The koala's young are born alive.
Koalas drink milk from the mother.
The koala breaths oxygen from air.
The koala might look cuddly but the koala has very sharp teeth and very sharp claws.
The koalas have white on the underside and gray on the rest of its body.
The koala has big ears and a big nose.
The mother has a pouch.
The koala has very thick fur.
The adult koala generally grows to 25 - 30 inches long.
The koala is very small when it's just born.
After 1 month the cub is 1 cm. long.
The koala weighs 15 to 30 pounds.
One cub is born at a time.
The koala cub stays in the mother's pouch for 5 months.
The koala cub is blind when it's born.
Koalas breed in the summer.
Koalas live for 20 or more years.
The koala can run as fast as a rabbit.
Koalas sleep for up to 19 hours.
Koalas live on the East coast of Australia.
They live and sleep in the eucalyptus trees. It's hot, light and dry here.


Mating occurs Nov-Feb in the south, Sep-Jan further north. Gestation about 35 days; single young weigh about 1/5 oz. and are about 3/4 inches long. Newborn crawls from cloaca to pouch and attaches to a nipple to complete its development. The koala Leaves the pouch first at about 5.5 months, permanently at about 8 months. The young joey then clings to it's mother's back or stomach, sticking it's head into the pouch to feed. During weaning the joey eats partially-digested eucalyptus that merges from mother's cloaca,
thus receiving bacteria needed for digestion as well as food.

Life span 12+ yrs (wild) 16+ yrs (captivity).The largest koalas weigh over 10 kg and are found in Victoria while the smallest live in North Queensland and weigh only 5.5 kg. Koalas are found between these two areas, but only where enough suitable trees have been left.

Koalas also communicate with each other by making a noise like a snore and then a belch, known as a "bellow". 

Koalas usually only have one cub per year. Older females will usually have one every two years.

Koala babies are known by several names. "pouch young", "back young", "joeys" and "cubs".

When koalas are born they are only 2 centimeters long, which is about the same as a jellybean.

 Clancy's comment: I've seen many of them, but they are fairly difficult to photograph because they generally sit, dozing high up in trees.

I'm ...

16 October 2016 - Dr. DAWN CASEY


G'day folks,

Welcome to one of the most influential indigenous women in Australia. To some she is known as a “person of great distinction”, a “respected figure”, and to others, a “cultural warrior”.

There is no doubt, however, that Dr Dawn Casey is a visionary in the preservation and promotion of Indigenous culture. She has been recognised nationally and internationally for her groundbreaking work as the Director of the National Museum of Australia, bringing Indigenous culture into the spotlight and to the masses.

Dawn is also an accomplished administrator, having succeeded in a number of high profile roles in Commonwealth Government and Museums. She will bring all this experience and skill to her new role as Chair of Indigenous Business Australia, formally announced by the Minister for Families, Housing, Communities and Indigenous Affairs, the Hon Jenny Macklin during NAIDOC Week 2009.

Like many of her contemporaries, Dawn is a battler, and rose to the top from humble beginnings. Born in 1950 her father was a stockman and mother a cook from Croydon, North Queensland. When she was young the family lived in a cramped shack on the outskirts of Cairns. Here, her mother cleaned houses and her father worked as a garbage collector.

Despite their hardship, Dawn recalls that growing up in Cairns was “a joy” with her and her brothers involved in sports. Her parents insisted that she attend school and did not tolerate absenteeism. Dawn recalls never feeling different to the other children until high school where she was told she couldn’t do the subjects that she really wanted to, like French, on the basis of being Aboriginal. Instead, Aboriginal girls were encouraged to study sewing and cooking to prepare them for domestic employment, with teachers maintaining that ‘you Aboriginal children will leave school before you reach Grade 10’. Dawn’s parents insisted she return to the school and fight her battles. These experiences ignited the determination in Dawn, a determination that would assist her throughout her career.

After leaving school at 14, Dawn was married and pregnant by 16. Working as a cleaner she put herself through business college, and secured her first role in the public service at the Commonwealth Department of Education, Cairns. She rose rapidly to senior posts in the Commonwealth Public Service, including AusAid, executing some impressive projects and honing her skills.
Throughout her childhood and early adult life museums held little interest for Dawn. But this changed when she was director of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs in South Australia, working closely with the director of the Museums. At that time, in South Australia, Indigenous Australians were experiencing a breakdown of culture. 

Petrol sniffing was rife and a wide range of anti-social issues were arising in the communities. Dawn funded a program for the repatriation of human remains and secret sacred material back to Indigenous communities. Her hope was that this would reconnect Indigenous people to their culture, and she found she experienced a strong reconnection of her own in the process. This helped forge her commitment to museums and the preservation of Indigenous culture.

It was Dawn’s work on the National Museum of Australia (NMA) in Canberra that cemented her reputation. Recruited in 1999, she managed the transition of the museum from an organisation with 40 staff and an annual budget of $4 million, to a fully operational museum with 210 paid staff, 200 volunteers, and an annual budget of $43 million. The museum had approximately 2 million visitors within the first two and half years of opening. Building was completed on time and on budget – a rare and remarkable achievement for a major public sector building project – and the NMA opened as a Centenary of Federation project in 2001. The significance of this achievement was commemorated by the builders of the museum who presented Dawn with a framed piece of the Berlin Wall, on which was engraved, ‘For making the impossible possible’.

Dawn revelled in her role with the NMA. She enjoyed working for an institution where she got to “share with millions of visitors including school children, the rich, complex, ancient, sophisticated and enduring Indigenous culture, together with the long struggle for recognition and the impact of the removal of children, with people who come through museums; because museums are trusted organisation and, if you do it well, you change attitudes.”

Although the NMA was a success, in 2003 the Howard Government decided not to renew Dawn’s contract as Director, a controversial decision that was met with and accusations of racism among the general public and the Museum fraternity. Ironically, not one month after her dismissal Dawn was awarded a Public Service Medal for her “remarkable achievement” in outstanding public service.

After a brief stint as a cultural consultant to the Victorian and West Australian governments, in 2005 Dawn became the CEO of the Western Australia Museum before moving to the position of Director of the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney in 2008. Dawn’s appointment to the Powerhouse was seen by some of her colleagues as risky and bold, but Dawn was excited by the chance to live in Sydney and take on the significant challenges at the Powerhouse with her characteristic passion and dedication.

In NAIDOC Week 2009, Dawn officially commenced another new role in Indigenous affairs as the Chair of IBA. At the annual IBA NAIDOC breakfast on 10 July 2009, she said “I am attracted by the opportunity to influence the commercial and economic aspects of Indigenous development. My career has always focussed on highlighting areas where improvements are possible and I believe the building blocks that underpin economic development stem from creating opportunities and a better future for our people.”

Dawn recollected a conversation with her mother after her contract at the NMA was not renewed, in which her mother asked “Dawn, weren’t you working hard enough? After 25 years in the Commonwealth Government you’re leaving?” Dawn said, “I believe she’s looking down from up there somewhere and sighing with relief that I’ve been accepted back into the Commonwealth fold.”

She has been welcomed with open arms by IBA, with IBA General Manager, Ron Morony, saying “The executive team and I are pleased with this appointment and it gives us a basis to move forward with confidence.”

Dawn Casey has had an influential, distinguished and at times controversial career. But despite the numerous awards, medals and accolades she remains a modest, humble, and carefree role model. She is a treasure to Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians and IBA feels privileged to have her as its new leader.

 Clancy's comment: Go, Dawn Casey. What a high achiever for a woman who was pregnant at 16, working as a cleaner. Love ya work!

I'm ...