I first met Melanie in the 1960s when she was a student at Adelaide University. We became and remained friends ever after. Melanie belonged to the exceptional cohort of idealistic and courageous students who took part in the Anti-Vietnam war movement in South Australia and in other much needed social and university reforms. She was highly intelligent and it was clear from early on that she would be an outstanding scholar. She had a fine analytical mind and a deep feel for the conceptual foundations of theory as well as a passion for empirical work, especially field work. I was privileged to play a small part in getting her to Cambridge, first, to do the Economic Tripos as an affiliated student and then to do a PhD which became the basis for one of her splendid books on the new Vietnam.
I wish we had seen more of one another when Joan and I came to Sydney in August 2010 but Macquarie is a long way away, and time slipped by. One of the greatest nights Joan and I ever had was when in Cambridge Prue had Melanie to dinner, partly as a surprise for us. She was always great fun and good company, a down-to-earth democratic Australian with fine ideals and the courage to speak her mind. I am sure she was an inspiring teacher and fine mentor to her research students. Her integrity, knowledge and ever present support were exactly what a supervisor should be. Melanie was a warm, loving good friend who cared deeply, responded with fortitude to personal unhappiness and who fought the good fight for the whole of her life. It is a privilege to have known her and been her friend.