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A Senior Yearbook and a Very Senior Yearbook for the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Sydney
1962(3) and 2013.

Stuart finished medical school in Sydney at the end of 1962 (southern hemisphere academic years are the same as calendar years). But graduation day was in January 1963 and the class are thus considered to be 1963 graduates.

In March 2013 a 50th year reunion was held at the Great Hall of Sydney University, where the class wrote their final exam papers and also graduated.

All graduates were invited to send in a page about their life since graduation with a recent photograph, to be published for the whole group as a Very Senior Yearbook alongside the original pieces from the Senior Yearbook (actually 1962).

What follows below is (1) the 1962 entry (written by classmates) with the 1962 photograph,
and (2) the 2013 entry (written by Stuart).



“Let no man speak evil of anyone.”—PLATO.

     Fresh from the fields of Shore, Stuart arrived to Medicine and whatever else was offering. A lover of books, and music (yet he is never, never pseudo), he has collected for himself in the past few years a handsome handmade stereogram and a magnificent record collection from which he is often heard humming an obscure melody (“what, whatwhat . . . ?”).
     A man of thought and perception Stu has a warmth and depth of feeling endearing to his friends. He has earned our admiration for his mild manner, his ability to keep the peace and his ready sympathy, with all this to aid him he has served well S.U.E.U., his fellowship and us on the Medical Society. A wide field of interests, from M.L.C. to Western Australia, fills his spare time.
     With visions abroad we wish him well.

2013 Very Senior Yearbook - Sydney University Medical School

Stuart Donnan ( )

In the 1962 Senior Yearbook my entry ends, "With visions abroad we wish him well." And it turns out that I have spent only 4 of the 50 years since graduation in Australia.

Original ideas of overseas missionary work foundered on ill-health in the family. But in London in the early 1970s my wife Beryl and I broadened our experience and understanding and, with our small children, made friends from a great variety of countries while we were wardens of a hostel for married overseas students.

Having spent 10 years in surgery, I decided that for me health and medicine were more interesting outside than inside the hospital. I was fortunate to be able to spend two years (on full NHS pay) as a student (of "social medicine") at the London School of Hygiene and the London School of Economics. Much education (like testosterone) is in my opinion wasted on the young. I ensured that when our son and daughter started medical school they were much older that I had been.

Having seen the first student intake graduate in Southampton medical school in 1976, I then spent almost all of the 1980s experiencing the continual growth and expansion of Hong Kong as one of the foundation professors in a new medical school in the Chinese University. We taught in English (for GMC recognition) but for much of the time I was the only European in and around our community clinic. I was in Tiananmen Square in Beijing in 1989 as the troops were trucked in during the early days of the student sit-in and its aftermath, and was moved to be involved in the distraught reaction of my Hong Kong colleagues to what happened in Beijing.

I returned to head up public health in Manchester Medical School in 1990. Beryl loved the friendliness of the north-west of England, and we came to realise the origins of a lot of Australian vocabulary in that part of England. My great-grandfather had been born nearby in Derbyshire.

Another comment in the 1962 yearbook was about music. I have been fortunate to be able to continue to sing with chamber groups and large choirs in Hong Kong and Manchester and Southampton. Having owned a harpsichord since 1970, I finally got down in my mid-30s to some string playing (which was in the genes but not in practice) - I have risen to the heights of the back viola desk in school and amateur orchestras in Southampton.

Having moved back to London in 1997 my most interesting charitable work was as the chair of trustees of the Borough Market at the south end of London Bridge, appointed to a position established in 1540 by King Henry VIII and also responsible for alms houses in south London. I had to relinquish that position when my wife (who was working as a steward at the Globe Theatre) suffered an embolic stroke in May 2000 from atrial fibrillation. The major effects were dysphasia with loss of reading and writing which had been the basis of her life as a teacher and student of feminist theology and an activist in third world development. I had to give up work soon after to look after her and the house, with no preparation for retirement. I managed some part-time NHS work for a few years in West Sussex but since we returned to familiar territory with old friends and family in Southampton in 2005 I have been Beryl's full-time carer. She is spending a few weeks in a care home so that I can come to the 50th reunion - it was her idea.

I continue to find some occupational therapy in website development and management for charities and family - intellectually challenging and satisfying, and (I hope) aesthetically pleasing. An example is www.donnan.eu with academic and personal writing and links to family history.

Since Beryl suffered the stroke I have become a Quaker, joining many other refugees from mainline churches. The atmosphere and attitude of silence and listening, the openness to "that of God" in everyone, and the "testimonies" of equality and peace and sustainable community, are for me all sources of life support and action. I have a book in preparation about searching for meaning (in life, the universe and everything) with few words or when words fail.

website updated on 3 December 2019