Dr Peter Hendry AO pays forward the gift of education

Monday, 8 October 2018


After a long life of service and giving, Dr Peter Hendry AO (1915 – 2017) will continue to shape the future of University of Newcastle students, thanks to a generous gift in his will. A $500,000 bequest will be used to support students from “disadvantaged backgrounds in their undergraduate training to become Doctors of Medicine through the Faculty of Health & Medicine”.

Dr Hendry knew too well the gift of education. After his father’s death, his mother appealed to her husband’s former parishioners who supported her son’s education at Newington, then Scots College in Sydney.  He went on to study Medicine at Sydney University, ultimately specialising in Pathology.

“It is testament to Dr Hendry’s great character that he chose to honour those who had shown him such generosity as a young man,” Head of School of Medicine and Public Health, Professor Brian Kelly said.

“We feel honoured that our School can help Dr Hendry help others and we are extremely grateful for Dr Hendry’s support for upholding our commitment to equity and excellence at UON,” Professor Kelly said.

Dr Hendry was known for his generosity, courage and his capacity for humour in the face of adversity. He was a prisoner of war working on the Burma – Thailand Railway and in Changi. In 1947 Dr Hendry came to Newcastle at the suggestion of fellow POW, Tom Brereton, and went on to shape medical and academic future of the Hunter.  He would later establish Hendry and Hampson Pathology Services which lay the foundation for Pathology services in the Hunter.

Dr Bernie Curran and Dr Peter HendryDr Hendry’s impact is felt across UON. As his good friend Dr Bernie Curran AM wrote at the time of his death, “He could also not have foreseen the enormous role he would play at the University of Newcastle, starting with his part in the campaign to establish a University of Newcastle and in that context, a Faculty of Medicine. The Faculty would remain his main focus - a place where he made lifelong friendships with many of the 'founding fathers' like Professor Geoffrey Kellerman AO and Professor Nicholas Saunders AO. He also made enormous contributions to Edwards Hall and Evatt House, 2NUR and our on campus childcare centres. He would go on to become the University's longest serving member of University Council and Council's longest serving Deputy Chancellor. His contribution was honoured with the prestigious Honorary degrees of Doctor of Medicine (1988) and Doctor of the University (1998).”

Rebecca Hazell, Director of the Office of Alumni and Philanthropy said the generous gift left by Dr Hendry will be life changing.

“Philanthropic support from the community is received in many ways and helps provide scholarships for our students, funds vital research and enables community programs,” Rebecca said.

“We are most grateful for all of the generous philanthropic support we receive as it really does help to change lives,” Rebecca said.

If you wish to learn more about leaving a gift in your will to the University of Newcastle, please contact Maria Pavela, Development Manager (Planned Giving) on 4985 4163.