Thunderous applause as Roger Jones graduates aged in late-eighties

Last Thursday afternoon, May 23, Roger Trelease Jones, OAM Bed, MPhil, FAIES MIAEM, an MPhil student in his late 80s, graduated with a spontaneous, thunderous and sustained applause – the loudest of the evening. The spontaneity of the applause created a teary moment for his family and supervisors as we acknowledged his successful research journey.

Roger completed his Master of Philosophy with the Monash University Disaster Resilience Initiative (MUDRI), which is part of the Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC).

In his retirement, Roger had a strong desire to consolidate and document his more than 40-year career that spanned international, regional, national and state developments in emergency management. As an informed observer, he wrote an autoethnography, which is a form of self-reflection and writing that explores a researcher’s personal experience and connects this autobiographical story to wider cultural, political and social meanings and understanding. Using his personal reflections, personal insights and comprehensive personal library of references and writings, Roger contemplated the future of the proposed Australian developments in emergency management. His thesis entitled Developments in Australian Emergency Management  Theory, Policy and Practice, 1930-2015: An Autoethnography received high commendations from both his examiners, and required no amendments – every student’s hopeful wish!

As morbid as it may seem, Roger’s personal highlights include the happy, wonderful, odd collaborations that come when people work together on emergencies, disasters and events such as the Granville Train Crash, Ash Wednesday, Cyclone Tracy and the Longford Gas Crisis. They gave him the opportunity to contribute to concept development and policy formulation based on the cumulative lessons from all of his experiences over 40 years.

Roger pictured, second to the left above, following his graduation with Emeritus Professor Frank Archer and Dr Caroline Spencer, his supervisors and good friend, colleague and fellow MUDRI Graduate, Dudley McArdle. In the picture below, Roger stands with his daughter, Janne Bowen, also a MUDRI research student, his wife Lesley and daughter Pip on the right.

Roger Jones

At different times, Roger and Dudley served as the Director of AEMI, and curiously, they are the first of the MUDRI students to complete their theses. We are indeed fortunate to engage with proactive, self-starters who are ahead of the pack! Many congratulations to Roger and Dudley.

- Dr Caroline Spencer