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Vale Frank Burns Committed donor and Bequest Society member

Frank Burns

The Sapere Aude Bequest Society and Wesley Foundation wish to express their gratitude to long-time bequestor and donor, Frank Burns (OW1942), who passed away on 20 December 2021.

Frank and Nancy were regular attendees at events and supported a number of our philanthropic programs including Learning in Residence, Seat in History, Bruce Gregory Scholarship Fund, Moubray Precinct Redevelopment and the Robert Grieve plaque.

Frank had a long connection with the College beginning with his father, Horace (OW1915), who came to Wesley on a scholarship and fought in the First World War; his sons, Peter (OW1975) and Bruce (OW1982), nephews Doug Wood (OW1973) and Ian Wood (OW1977) and granddaughters, Alyse Brown (OW2005) and Frances Burns (OW2008).

Peter wrote the following about his father:

'Frank was born on 10 August 1924 in Broken Hill, the son of a mining engineer. His early years were spent in the slightly nomadic existence of the mining family, including a stint in Thailand. However, stability came with Wesley where he was a boarder between 1938 and 1942 and was able to spend weekends with uncles and grandparents who lived locally.

War came to Wesley in 1942. The St Kilda Road Campus was requisitioned by the military and that year was spent sharing a campus with Scotch. He joined the Air Force in 1943 but his eyes were not good enough to fly. He repaired Liberator bombers in Darwin instead and went on to study Civil Engineering at Melbourne University. It was there that he ran into a classmate from Trentham, Nancy Trewhella, and they became engaged and eventually married.

Frank joined the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission in 1950, where he stayed until his retirement in 1984. His bent was towards research and then projects: designing a spillway at Eildon, a road at Dartmouth and overseeing irrigation at Tatura. He became a champion for plastic pipes long before they became popular.

On retirement, he started a small consultancy in water quality, promoting destratification of reservoirs in Victoria and around the world, a pioneer in a field which is yet to see its day in the sun. He never really hung up his boots, even at 97.'

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