Jeffrey Dunstan

Born 12 March 1935. Attended Camberwell High School 1948-1950

Jeffrey Dunstan, educator and educational administrator, came to Camberwell High from Mont Albert Central School. At Camberwell High he was keenly involved in cricket and house choirs, and he completed his Leaving Certificate in 1950. In August 1950, the Headmaster, the late Roy Andrews, endorsed Jeff’s application for appointment as a student teacher by stating that he ‘possesses a bright and pleasant personality, is industrious and of good mental ability. A very suitable type for the work of teaching.’ Jeff had always wanted to be a teacher. In March 1951 he began student teaching at his former primary school, Canterbury State School.

His first twenty years of service saw Jeffrey train at Ballarat Teachers’ College, where he was the top male student in 1953, and then teach in one-teacher schools in the Wimmera and Western District and in training schools in Ballarat, Geelong and Bendigo. He then lectured at Ballarat and Geelong Teachers’ Colleges, and later administered the allocation of teaching studentships. During that time he acquired further qualifications, most of which were earned the hard way by external studies and evening lectures whilst working: BA and Dip.Ed from the University of Melbourne, M.Ed Studies from Monash University and, finally, his Ph.D at Madison, Wisconsin, USA (1979-81). Jeffrey’s dissertation was entitled ‘Decision Making and Leadership at the Schoolwide Level in Selected Secondary Schools’.

In 1971, Jeffrey was appointed District Inspector of Schools in the Maryborough Inspectorate. Then, in 1974, he became the pioneer Regional Director of the Benalla Region. As well as developing the appropriate administrative structures, and establishing positive relationships with personnel throughout the region, Jeff found time to hold office in Rotary, cricket, music, church and community organisations. He practised solo roles in light opera productions in the same way as he did his official correspondence: by using a tape recorder as he drove around the vast region.

Later positions in state education held by Jeffrey included Executive Director of Education (Schools), in the Education Department, Acting Chief General Manager of the Ministry of Education, between 1986 and 1991, and, finally, Deputy Chief General Manager, from which position he has recently retired.

Jeffrey Dunstan’s other awards have included a Travelling Scholarship and Fellowship for Advanced Study (1979), Fellow of the Australian College of Education (1986) and member of the Australian Delegation to Washington as part of the USA-Australia Education Policy Project (1987). He has also been a member of the Council of the University of Melbourne and the Deakin University Council, a member of the TAFE Board and he has been Acting Chairman of the Teacher Registration Board.

Jeffrey is the author of two important books and numerous articles in educational administration, and has acted as spokesperson for the Ministry of Education for radio, television and newspaper commentaries on current educational issues. He exercised a vital leadership role in Victorian education over forty years of change, during which time he faithfully served thirteen Ministers of Education.

Journalist, Geoff Maslen, recently described Jeffrey in The Age (19 March 1991) as ‘larger than life: a tall imposing fellow with a booming, mellifluous voice, who wears splendid suits and a handlebar moustache so that he could be mistaken for a squadron leader of a group of fighter pilots. He plays cricket, sings as a bass in light opera and is still learning the clarinet.’ In a tribute at his retirement dinner he was described as ‘elegance and erudition in a suit’. Jeffrey has helped shape the structure of state education for the final decade of the twentieth century. His significant contribution is widely recognised throughout Victoria.