May 16 2019

Vale Dr Thomas Hurley AO, OBE

By The Ian Potter Foundation

Eight men in office
Left to right: Dr Tom Hurley, Sir SydneySunderland, Mr Roy McArthur, Sir Ian Potter, Sir Roger Darvall, Sir Ian Wark and two scientists from the Florey, Professor Geoff Tregear and Professor Hugh Niall.

The Governors and staff of the Foundation were deeply saddened by the recent passing of Dr Thomas Hurley AO OBE. Dr Hurley was Governor of the Foundation from 1978 to 2014. He remains the Foundation’s longest serving Governor.

As a senior medical practitioner at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, committee member of NHMRC and board member of Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (among many other appointments), Dr Hurley brought a wealth of knowledge, experience and contacts to the Foundation.  These were a great asset in the Foundation’s ability to make informed decisions about major medical research and health grants – many of which are continuing to contribute to knowledge and treatment of diseases.  Dr Hurley was also a key advocate for the $1.5m grant made to the Menzies School of Health Research in 2009 to establish the Centre of Child Development and Education.

Dr Hurley also possessed great insight. When asked in 2007 which key issues the Foundation might best address, Dr Hurley stated:

“The deleterious effects of substance abuse (notably alcohol), obesity, the profligate use of limited natural resources leading to environment degradation and the breakdown of relationships within families. The parlous situation of indigenous communities and other disadvantaged groups in our community. These and other problems are made worse by a difficulty in clearly identifying their cause and a failure to develop long term evidence-based strategies to address them.”

A decade on this statement still encapsulates The Ian Potter Foundation’s grantmaking strategy and its commitment to a vision of a Vibrant, Healthy, Fair and Sustainable Australia.