As read at Melanie’s ANU funeral service:
My name is Kerry Todd-Smith, I am the Faculty Research Manager in the Faculty of Business and Economics at Macquarie University and I worked with Melanie for the 8 years she was the Associate Dean, Research. She was my boss and also my friend.
Melanie was incredibly supportive of me, of the other members of our small team and many members of the faculty. She was very egalitarian, very down to earth and very approachable. She was always available when I needed her despite the heavy demands on her time. She was receptive to suggestions, and willing to run with a good idea. All in all she was a wonderful boss.
To borrow one of her own expressions, Macquarie University was Melanie’s ‘natural habitat’. She loved the grounds – the space, the trees and she delighted in watching the progress of a pair of lapwing plovers when they nested and raised their young on the lawns outside our building.
It amused her that Macquarie is the only university to have its own railway station.
She was very proud that PhD students could come here and choose their own thesis topic, and she worked hard to enure they received excellent support.
Melanie was a great explorer. On Mondays she would fill us in on her weekend adventures. One winter Sunday she was bushwalking in the Blue Mountains with a friend and darkness fell before they got back. They had to ring up to be rescued, waiting in the pitch black and trying to keep warm as the temperature dropped dramatically. I don’t remember her doing much bush walking after that.
Instead, she took to exploring the streets and walkways of Sydney, section by section, over weeks and months. She walked to Parramatta and she walked the length of the Cooks River and she walked sections on the north side of the harbour. Most of these journeys she walked twice as she would park the car and have to walk back.
At the end of the Cooks river walk she was amazed to find extensive market gardens, complete workers toiling in coolie hats – a surprising landscape for suburban Sydney.
She was also interested in industrial landscapes, visiting the 2 the remaining furnaces in Sydney design by Walter Burley Griffin. She undertook similar excursions when on her travels.
Other things she loved included, in no particular order
– opera and classical music
– ultra hot chilli
– red wine and good company – she was a regular at the Department of Economics last Friday of the month drinks.
– simplicity in architecture – she particularly like old Parliament House in Canberra, and University House at ANU
– Scandinavian crime fiction – an interest we shared
– She especially enjoyed supervising her PhD students. I think that was the part of her job that she found most fulfilling. She formed strong bonds with her students and they all loved her. Last year she spent most of her long service leave and then Christmas in Italy with former students Laura and Ivan, and their young son Nico. You can see what a wonderful time they all had in the photos on display.
Melanie was a bright light in the faculty. She was a good friend, she expanded my horizons and enriched my life in many ways.
I will always cherish her memory.