Faculty of
Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology

22 June 2015

We remember Emeritus Professor Keith Bullock (PhD 1957, BE 1952), Dr Robert Wensley, QC (LLD 2005, BLaws 1977, MEngSci 1977, BE 1967) and Emeritus Professor Gordon Dunlop.

Emeritus Professor Keith Bullock (PhD 1957, BE 1952)

Emeritus Professor Keith Bullock

We are sad to announce that Emeritus Professor Keith Joseph Bullock passed away on Friday 20 March 2015.

Keith was born in 1931, attended Moorooka Primary School and the Church of England Grammar School in Brisbane. He enrolled in Engineering at The University of Queensland (UQ) in 1948 and graduated with First Class Honours in 1952, winning the James Dowrie Memorial Prize in 1950, the Qld Freemasons Scholarship in 1951, and the Alfred Henry Darker Scholarship in 1951 for his achievements. Keith was appointed as a Demonstrator in Mechanical Engineering immediately after graduation.

Keith enrolled in a PhD at UQ, with Professor Mansergh Shaw, Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering as his supervisor. He was the first Engineering student to enrol in and graduate from the PhD program at UQ. For his PhD thesis, he studied the physical properties and milling of sugar cane, in the hope of making the Australian sugar industry more competitive by reducing the capital cost of milling trains and the huge maintenance bill of the sugar mill. As part of this study, he designed a two roll mill for sugar cane milling – a development that was promptly applied by the Sugar industry. The research was supported by research grants from the Colonial Sugar Refining Company and the Sugar Research Institute in Mackay, which tested the theories Keith developed. The outcomes from the study were taken up by the industry and resulted in significant improvements in processing capacity. More

After gaining his PhD in 1957, Keith was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship and accepted the offer of a Research and Teaching position at Harvard University, Boston, spending two years (1957 – 1959) there (as well as later periods during his career). While at Harvard, he undertook research in the measurement of velocity and temperature profiles in the vicinity of small diffusion flames and he taught graduate courses in heat transfer.

On Keith’s return to Australia, he accepted a position as Lecturer in UQ’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, commencing in 1960. His teaching areas included classical control systems, analogue computation, operations research, fluid mechanics, and heat transfer.

Keith’s major research interests related to hybrid and electric transmissions for automobiles and heavy duty road vehicles, adaptive control systems, and turbulence and heat transfer.  He took a keen interest in the area of turbulent flows and some of his early work on the fundamentals of turbulent pipe flow continues to be cited today.

His research studies were broad and varied. For example, they included re-design of power trains for underground load haul dump vehicles with Dr Frank Grigg, a colleague in the Department.

Keen to develop technology which would reduce fuel usage and emissions, Keith’s interest in the automotive industry led him to become one of the pioneers of research into hybrid vehicle technology. In the 1970s and 1980s he led a research team (including Dr Duncan Gilmore) that tested their concepts for hybrid vehicles by converting a Ford Falcon to run on a small internal combustion engine with battery and flywheel energy storage systems. This high-profile hybrid car activity attracted much interest in the hybrid technology from industry and within the general public.  He went on to produce designs for products such as fuel saving submarines, city transit buses, and freight train locomotives, in addition to such items as Uninterrupted Power Supply Systems and Remote Area Power Stations. As with the hybrid car, he was pleased to take colleagues for a demonstration ride in the hybrid bus. 

Keith presented his technology at numerous national and international conferences.  His innovative research and dedicated leadership was an inspiration to many engineers. The excellence of his contributions attracted a number of prestigious awards, including the Rodda Award for outstanding work on a muti-purpose hybrid vehicle in1982, and the SAE Excellence Award (J.E. Batchelor Award) for the most outstanding written paper, in 1986.

Keith rose rapidly through the academic levels in the University and he succeeded Professor Shaw as the Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering in 1975. Keith was active in the governance of the University and served on several Vice-Chancellor’s Committees, Academic Board Committees and Faculty of Engineering Committees.  He championed the introduction of the semester system at UQ. He also sought to increase the research standing of Mechanical Engineering at UQ and promoted research within the Department.

Keith attracted engineers from interstate to join the UQ staff.   For example, he was eager to have research undertaken in the field of hypersonics.  Accordingly, he convinced Professor Ray Stalker to relocate to Queensland and facilitated the construction of world class hypersonics test facilities - which ultimately led to the UQ’s Department of Mechanical Engineering undertaking the first successful scramjet flight tests.   Keith also recruited other influential mechanical engineering academics to join the UQ team at that time – including Professors Pra Murthy, John Simmons and Neil Page.

Eager to promote post-graduate study in Engineering, he was responsible for the introduction of postgraduate subjects and for the formulation of structured study at the Master of Engineering Science degree level.  He also restructured the technical staff establishment to provide extremely efficient technological support.

Keith became the Dean of Engineering at UQ in 1983 and continued to promote a strong teaching and research culture in the Faculty and to increase collaboration between the Engineering Departments. He argued successfully for a Full Time Dean and for the construction of a larger building to promote integration of Faculty of Engineering activities.

Keith participated actively in any Group or Society of which he was a member and contributed to Institutions such as QIT and James Cook University. In 1988, Professor Bullock was rewarded for his contributions by being appointed a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (for which he later served on the National Committee and as Chairman of its Qld Branch).  He was also appointed a Fellow of the Institute of Engineers Australia and was an active member of several of its Committees.

Keith made an unsurpassed and heart-felt commitment to The University of Queensland.  He is remembered in the University for his keen intellect, creativity and courage and for his enthusiastic approach to any activity in which he became involved. He was always a strong advocate for Engineering in the University and in Queensland.

He contributed to the collegial life of the University, serving a term as President of the Staff and Graduates Club.                                                                                                                                             

Keith had a strong interest in promoting student activities and was active in promoting engineering as a career option for young women.                                                                                                     

In 1991, Professor Bullock retired from UQ. However, he continued to be active in the engineering industry, through the Research and Development Company (Transport Energy Systems Pty Ltd), which he established in 1991.  His company developed and implemented innovative ways to ensure saving of fuel and reduction of emissions in various heavy transport vehicles - ranging from city transit buses to freight locomotives.  His longest serving employee was Dr Peter Hollis, who had worked with Keith in UQ.

In 2001, Professor Bullock was awarded a Centenary Medal for service to Australian society in energy research and development.

Keith is survived by his wife Margaret (who served in many academic capacities within UQ), his two children and six grandchildren.

Dr Robert Wensley, QC (LLD 2005, BLaws 1977, MEngSci 1977, BE 1967)

Dr Robert Wensley, QC

UQ alumnus and former Deputy Chancellor Dr Robert Wensley QC urged graduates at a 2005 UQ Graduation Ceremony to be “engaged with the issues of the day”.

“[Be] concerned and thinking citizens whose views and votes count and are important,” he said, after receiving a Doctor of Laws honoris causa.

“It will mean being principled, paying heed to the basic rules of civilisation, maintaining integrity, caring for your fellow men and women as well as for yourselves and applying the dispassionate rules of inquiry and analysis which have been the basis of your university learning, no matter what your discipline.”

Dr Wensley, who died on May 19, aged 70, lived by that very philosophy. Over a period of more than five decades, Dr Wensley made significant contributions to the UQ community. These began when he was a student and continued throughout his career as a staff member and subsequently as a lawyer. His connection to UQ spans generations and built on a family tradition beginning with his mother’s uncles, who attended UQ and lived in King’s College, and cemented when his parents, Doris McCulloch and Neil Wensley, met at UQ. More

Born in Toowoomba on 15 March 1945 and schooled at Penrith High School in New South Wales and Battersea Grammar School in London, he gained three UQ degrees: a Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical) with Honours, a Master of Engineering with Honours, and a Bachelor of Laws with Honours.

Between 1972 and 1976 he was personal assistant to the UQ Vice-Chancellor, Sir Zelman Cowen. 

Dr Wensley served as the alumni-elected Senator on the 22nd to 31st UQ Senates, from 1978 to 2009, with a short break in service in 1987.  He was Deputy Chancellor from 1999 to 2005, a member of the Audit Committee from 1994 and Chairman from 2002, and a member of the Discipline Appeals Committee from 1990. While on the Senate, he was a director of several University companies, including UQ Holdings and UniQuest. He was also a Senate representative on the Faculty of Business, Economics and Law, and the Senate representative on the Women’s College Council.

He was active in community relations and fundraising through the Alumni Association executive and the Senate Development Committee, and as Chairman of the King’s College Foundation and President of the University's annual appeal.

Dr Wensley carried out his extensive, multifaceted services to UQ while maintaining a very busy and distinguished career as a Barrister. Dr Wensley was admitted to the Bar in 1976 and appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1993. His commercial legal practice specialised in building, construction, engineering and technology matters and he acted as counsel, arbitrator, mediator, appraiser and court-appointed referee on a regular basis.

He was an acting judge of the District Court of Queensland in 1998, and was a member of Queensland’s Criminal Justice Commission Misconduct Tribunal from 1990-93 and a member of the Queensland Building Tribunal and Chairman in 2000-01. Dr Wensley was appointed an Adjunct Professor in UQ’s TC Beirne School of Law in 1999.

As a student, he took an avid interest in theatre, and led proposals to build the Schonell Theatre. He performed in its opening production, an original musical called Bacchoi cast alongside a young Geoffrey Rush. He performed in and directed many other performances – including the College Players’ production of Macbeth – at venues including the Avalon Theatre and the original Festival Hall.

Many of his contributions to student life were made during his years living in King’s College, where he captained the debating team and was President of the College Students Club, and as the first full-time President of the UQ Student Union, elected in 1969. During the 1960s, as his young sister, Penny was also making an impact on campus, the name “Wensley” was assuredly linked to future leadership. Dr Penelope Wensley AC would progress to build an exemplary career as a diplomat and Governor of Queensland.

At King’s College, Dr Robert Wensley’s legacy is concrete and enduring. He gave the college the law library from his Brisbane chambers in 2008, and was a significant benefactor in other respects. The Robert Wensley Cultural Laureate Award is given annually to a student who makes outstanding contributions to the college’s cultural life.   Last month King’s College named a new wing in his honour, which will house students from the start of 2016.

A small private funeral was held in Sydney on Monday 25 May 2015 and a memorial service will be held at King’s College on 9 June 2015.

Emeritus Professor Gordon Dunlop

Emertius Professor Gordon Dunlop

Emeritus Professor Dunlop had a distinguished career at UQ that spanned more than two decades. He was Professor of Materials Engineering from 1989 until 2002. During this period, he led the growth of light-metals research at UQ, which resulted in the establishment of the CAST CRC and the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Design of Light Metals. Emeritus Professor Dunlop was the inaugural CEO of CAST, which was headquartered in the Department/School for all of its 23 years. He was also Executive Director of Business Engagement at UQ from 2008 until his retirement in 2012 and then was appointed as an Emeritus Professor in the School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering in 2013. Emeritus Professor Dunlop had a distinguished international reputation in materials science and engineering and was one of the world leaders of his generation in the field. He made significant contributions to teaching, research and industry engagement at disciplinary and institutional levels. His leadership and effort in his capacity as Executive Director of Business Engagement was outstanding and has helped strengthen UQ’s industry collaborations through the CRCs and research partnerships. Emeritus Professor Dunlop had a passion for STEM education and championed the Wonders of Science program in the last few years. He will be sadly missed by his family, friends and colleagues at UQ and beyond.