The Handbury Fellowship Program is supported by a vibrant and committed group of advisors.
The group meets regularly to provide strategic direction, evaluate the progress of the program, as well as assist in seeking matching resources. The group also plays a critical role as part of the selection panel – and also provides input into panel membership as and when certain areas of expertise are required. The Advisory Group services and activities are facilitated through the Handbury Fellowship Program Office, located in the Centre for Global Research, RMIT University.
Dr Geoffrey Handbury, AO (Patron)
Geoffrey Handbury, AO, Business, Philanthropist and Social Entrepreneur was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Social Science for his substantial contribution and efforts towards community development and community sustainability in Victoria, Australia and globally. The ceremony was held on 8 May at RMIT University, Melbourne and presided by the Chancellor, RMIT University. Geoff Handbury, (with his late wife Helen Handbury) has made a significant contribution in funding and establishing educational, cultural and research institutions, regional health centres, community activity centres and buildings, community self-reliant programs and social entrepreneurship opportunities for individuals as well as community and professional groups. Geoff continues to be personally involved in many of his projects – and the Fellowship Program remains one of his most inspiring and enjoyable projects. His patronage and direct involvement ensures the continued ethos, purpose and direction of this program.
Dr Yaso Nadarajah, Principal Investigator (Founder and Chair) (RMIT University)
Yaso Nadarajah is a Senior Lecturer in the International Development (Masters) program in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies and a Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Global Research, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. Her key research activities are in the areas of human ingenuity, partnership engagement, sacred investment and international development. Her particular focus is towards a deeper understanding of the structural and political economic roots, as well as the ideological and cultural roots of socio-economic marginalisation and exclusion. Yaso is also an Adjunct Professor (Centurion University, India), Senior Research Associate (Sisters-in-Islam Forum (NGO), Malaysia and Nelson Mandela University, South Africa) and Co-editor of Local-Global: Identity, Security, Community; Board of Governors, Centurion University, India; Convener, Helen & Geoff Handbury Community Fellowships Trust; and a member of the Committee for Melbourne Future Focus Group Alumnus. Her recent co-authored books include Rebuilding Community in the Wake of the 2004 Tsunami: Lessons from Sri Lanka and India (2012); Sustainable Communities, Sustainable Livelihoods - Alternate Paths to Development in Papua New Guinea (2012) and Rethinking Development through Study Tours: Interpreting the Field and Negotiating Different Viewpoints (2016).
Dr John Callinan (Hamilton region)
John Callinan is a long-term resident of Hamilton. John graduated from University of Melbourne with a degree in Veterinary Science in 1972 and soon after joined a mixed-animal veterinary practice in Hamilton. He remained in practice until 2003, later moving into an administrative role in his wife’s family manufacturing business. He has held a number of voluntary positions over the years, including roles in professional associations & regulatory bodies, Wool Capital 2000, the Rural Industry Skill Centre – Hamilton, the Community Reference Group of the RMIT Hamilton Facility as well as the RMIT Globalism Research Centre (now Centre for Global Research). John has a keen interest in the sustainability of rural communities in general and the Hamilton region in particular. He currently has active involvement with Hamilton & Region Business Association and the Handbury Fellowship.
Reverend Peter Cook (Hamilton region)
Reverend Peter Cook is a Minister of the Uniting Church and has served at Orbost for seven years before taking up his current position in Hamilton in 1999. His ministry has a strong community focus and Peter has been at the helm building on a long tradition of community service and development; particularly in assisting with drug and alcohol addiction care. Peter first joined the Fellowship as part of the selection panel – and now has joined the Advisory Group. He brings to the group an extensive knowledge of the communities, and especially of vulnerable communities in the western Victoria region. In June 2012, Peter was awarded an Order of Australia for his many community services and activities, which also include chaplaincy with district police and Western District Health Service of the Hamilton region.
Mrs Cicely Fenton (Hamilton region)
Cicely is a long-term resident in western Victoria. Led by her husband John Fenton, Cicely has spent nearly 50 years transforming their property Lanark ‘from three windswept paddocks to the complex ecosystem it is today. Cicely’s work with the conservation of the eastern barred bandicoot as well as the natural environment (fungi research group, Coleraine enterprise project) is a firm and ongoing commitment to the questions of applied and practical sustainability. Cicely brings to the Advisory group an extensive knowledge of not just the environment and natural history, but also of the many community practices and experiences.
Tony MacGillvray (Gilly)
Hamilton has been home for Gilly nearly all his life. After traveling took him away for several years visiting many areas within Australia, he returned to Hamilton where he remained self-employed for the next 25 years within the food industry and associated trades. He has been instrumental in community fundraising and projects that generate strength within individuals and groups of focused, passionate and like minded people. For example, he became involved with mentoring disengaged youth whilst self-employed and ran many programs mainly focused on creating dynamic role model activities for troubled young males in the community, mentoring models that are proving invaluable to local communities. He also became involved with remote indigenous communities whilst in the Northern Territory and Western Australia. Working for the betterment of both his local community as well as others has always been a priority for Gilly.
Bree Alexander is a final year Master of International Development student at RMIT University; while also assisting as an intern with the Fellowship Program. She has a keen interest in ground-up community development at the local and global levels. She currently works with students with special needs and volunteers with local organisations in education and advocacy.