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A legendary lecturer made his mark on and off the field

Garry Davidson

Dr Garry Davidson had an infectious and irrepressible love of geology. An enthusiasm for educating, encouraging and entertaining students and a meticulous and creative approach to research.

But the late University of Tasmania geology lecturer also had a legendary love of lunchtime touch footy.

Dr Davidson was famously quick off the mark. Minutes before a touch footy match he’d be rounding up staff and students using his persuasive powers to cajole them into joining the game on the oval.

Academic duties and overdue assignments were quickly forgotten. A lack of sports shoes was no excuse. Here was your chance to star in the stories of missed catches, grass burns and stellar sneaky manoeuvres that would be told for weeks to come.

It’s been four years since Dr Davidson’s death and his predecessors are determined to honour his memory with the Garry Davidson Memorial Match.

The annual game brings together students and staff from CODES, the Discipline of Earth Sciences and Mineral Resources Tasmania.

This year, despite a very strong effort from the students, many of whom were students who had never played touch footy before, the staff team was ultimately victorious.

Dr Davidson, a senior lecturer in economic geology, geochemistry and groundwater at CODES/Earth Sciences, would have been proud of his peers.

After gaining a Geology BSc from ANU, he worked for three years in the exploration industry.

His PhD at the University of Tasmania evaluated the geology and origin of deposits at Mt Isa Inlier.

His special research interests were in iron oxide copper-gold deposits, stable isotope applications to ore genesis and exploration, volcanic basin seafloor hydrothermal activity and hotspring-related hydrogeology.

In addition to his contribution to research, Dr Davidson also shouldered a heavy teaching load with grace and enthusiasm. ​​​​​​​

His impact on the hundreds of students who fell under his supervisions and tutelage was profound.

Past TMVC-CODES Honours student Olivia Wilson said Dr Davidson was instrumental in sparking her interest in geoscience and eventually led to her pursuing a career as a geologist.

“His kindness and his enthusiasm for geology carried into every lecture, and he was always willing to go above and beyond if you needed a bit of extra help to understand a concept,” she said.

Project Exploration Geologist Josh Denholm said Dr Davidson’s first year lectures inspired him to stick with geology.

“In each one we were met with unparalleled enthusiasm and taken on a trip through time from the Hadean to the Present, from the whole universe to a single mineral.

“As third years at the time of Garry’s passing, it was a difficult time to lose such an icon in the department, who made such an impact on us, but he has left an incredible legacy for his past students and those to come. Rock on Gaz."

​​​​​​​In addition to the deep reservoir of stories from students and staff and the annual footy match, the Garry Davidson Prize in Earth Sciences has been established in his memory.

This article featured in the monthly eNews Alumni and Friends, if you are a member of the University of Tasmania alumni community and would like to receive this publication, please email us at  Alumni.Office@utas.edu.au or update your email address.

Published on: 10 Jun 2021 10:56am