Dr Rebecca Johnson
It is the goal of this page to celebrate the lives and careers of ex-students as role models for the unending chain of Barrenjoey students who follow.
Wherever you go there are Barrenjoey alumni from all walks of life locally, nationally and internationally. Being a Barrenjoey alumni offers the opportunity to share skills and talents as well as motivate current students to do their best.
We would love to hear of your successes at Barrenjoey to join the long list of alumni. Please email Kalinda Hawson at Kalinda.firstname.lastname@example.org to talk about your inclusion on the list. This list is by no means exhaustive. Please contact us to add your name to the list or would like to correct a fact.
Name: Emeritus Professor Richard Whittington
Year Graduated: 1976
Achievements: Richard graduated as a veterinarian from The University of Sydney in 1980 and spent several years in small and mixed animal practice on the NSW south coast and in the United Kingdom before undergoing training in veterinary pathology with NSW Agriculture at the Regional Veterinary Laboratory Wollongbar (1983-84) and Wagga Wagga (1984-87).
In 1988 Richard began full time research work at the Veterinary Research Station Glenfield, which moved to Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute when it opened in 1990. He studied the microbiology, virology and immunology of economically significant diseases of sheep and fish, and completed a PhD in 1994 on the immunology of Dichelobacter nodosus infection in sheep at the University of Sydney.
Richard was appointed as the Chair of Farm Animal Health in the Faculty of Veterinary Science at the University of Sydney in 2002. There he developed a major research program in pathobiology and epidemiology, which included international projects. He led the ISO17025 accreditation of specialist infectious diseases laboratories at Camden. He supervised many post graduate research scholars and lectured in veterinary public health, microbiology, pathology and ruminant and aquatic animal health.
He was the inaugural chair of the Veterinary Public Health Management Program, a unique post graduate course work degree for animal health professionals. Richard retired from full time academic work in 2017.
Name: Wendy Sharpe
Year graduated: 1976
Achievements: Wendy Sharpe FRSN is an Australian artist who lives and works in Sydney and Paris. She counts among her influences paintings by Chaim Soutine and Max Beckmann. She is the winner of numerous major awards including the Archibald Prize, the Sulman Prize, the Portia Geach Memorial Prize and The Adelaide Perry Drawing Prize. She was commissioned by the Australian War Memorial as an official Australian War Artist in East Timor in 1999-2000 (the first woman since World War II). Her partner is artist Bernard Ollis.
Sharpe won the Sulman Prize in 1986 with Black Sun – Morning and Night, awarded by Albert Tucker, the Archibald Prize in 1996 with Self Portrait – as Diana of Erskineville, Portia Geach Memorial Award twice in 1995 with “Self Portrait with Students – After Adelaide Labille Guiard” and 2003 with “Self Portrait with Teacup and Burning Paintings”, the Adelaide Perry Drawing Prize in 2014 with “Self Portrait with Imaginary Friend”, and many more. She has been a finalist many times in the Archibald Prize, the Sulman Prize, the Doug Moran Portrait Prize, The Kedumba Drawing Prize, The Dobell Prize for Drawing, and various other visual arts awards throughout Australia.
She was awarded the Marten Bequest Travelling Scholarship in 1987 through the Art Gallery of New South Wales. She then completed a residency at the Cité internationale des arts in Paris (and again in 2007).
She has been a finalist in the Archibald Prize six times, and the Sulman Prize fourteen times. This includes winning both awards.
Sharpe created in 2014 a series of portraits of asylum seekers in Australia, “Seeking Humanity: Portraits and Stories of Asylum Seekers and Refugees”, which became a touring exhibition. In 2015 she became Ambassador for the Asylum Seeker Centre, Sydney.
In 2018 Sharpe was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of New South Wales (Est 1821) and was gazetted as such in January 2019 by the then Governor, His Excellency the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC(Rtd) in the NSW Government Gazette.
Name: Angus & Julia Stone
Graduated: Julia 2001 and Angus 2004
Achievements: Angus & Julia Stone are an Australian folk and indie pop group, formed in 2006 by brother and sister Angus and Julia Stone. Angus & Julia Stone have released four studio albums: A Book Like This (2007), Down the Way (2010), Angus & Julia Stone (2014), and Snow (2017). At the ARIA Music Awards of 2010, they won five awards from nine nominations: Album of the Year, Best Adult Alternative Album, Best Cover Art and Producer of the Year for Down the Way, and Single of the Year for “Big Jet Plane”. The siblings have issued two solo albums each.
Name: Kirsten Milenko
Year Graduated: 2011
Achievements: Study: Kirsten Milenko is an Australian composer based in Copenhagen, Denmark. Kirsten studied a Masters of Music at the Roal Danish Academy of Music and a Backelor of Music Composition at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. She has performed at the Hamburg Staatsoper 2017
Working closely with movement, her music embodies a constant synergy between sound and motion to capture perceptions of space. She works with vocal, instrumental and electronic media to compose music that echoes environmental phenomena and expressions of the human form. This has led to a consistent output of music across the performance arts in both acoustic and electroacoustic settings.
Milenko has received the Roche Young Commission 2021, awarded by Wolfgang Rihm, Artistic Director of Lucerne Festival. In March 2020, her opera/ballet ‘Dalloway’ premieres at Pulsar Festival in Copenhagen. She has recently been shortlisted for the composition of a new opera at the Mannheim National Theatre, Germany.
Currently, she studies at the Royal Danish Academy of Music under Niels Rosing-Schow, Simon Løffler and Jeppe Just Christiensen, where she will graduate from the Master’s programme in June 2020. During her Bachelor’s degree, she was awarded the 2015 Ignaz Friedman Memorial Prize by the Sydney Conservatorium of Music where she studied under Liza Lim, Natasha Anderson, Ursula Caporali and Rosalind Page.
Name: Wayne Brown
Year Graduated: 1974
Achievements: Wayne achieved a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics at Sydney University. He runs and owns Brown Bros. Skip Bins. He is a life member National Parks & Wildlife and a Life Member of the Avalon Soccer Club.
Name: Shane Oliver
Year Graduated: 1978
Achievements: Head Of Investment Strategy And Chief Economist AMP Capital
Shane joined AMP in 1984 and is Chief Economist and Head of Investment Strategy. He has extensive experience analysing economic and investment cycles and what current positioning means for the return potential for different asset classes.
Name: Brad Sheldon
Year Graduated: 1981
Achievements: Brad is a Director KPMG and has a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) focused in Computer Science from UNSW.
Name: Tuan Bendixson
Year Graduated: 1982
Achievements: Completed PhD in DNA Vaccines at Sydney University Vietnam Director Animals Asia
Tuan Bendixsen, PhD is the Vietnam Director of Animals Asia’s operations in Vietnam, which include the Moon Bear Rescue Centre and the campaign to end bear bile farming. He also works with the national government and local authorities to increase awareness and enforcement of the laws to protect bears in Vietnam, and to negotiate the rescue and transfer of bears into our care.
Before joining Animals Asia in 2005, Tuan managed a veterinary clinic/laboratory in Hanoi in partnership with a French and Vietnamese vet and worked with the moon bear project on a voluntary basis.
Originally from Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Tuan emigrated with his family to Australia in 1973.
Confident in the power of Animals Asia’s work Tuan says, “I feel our bear rescue and companion animal welfare projects such as Dr. Dog and Professor Paws will ultimately lead to a change in people’s attitude and perception towards animals, and hopefully, not too far into the future, the Government of Vietnam will introduce animal welfare legislation.”
Both Tuan’s daughters attended Barrenjoey.
Name: Stephen Humphreys
Year Graduated: 1989
Achievements: Stephen graduated from Monash University with a Bachelor of Business. He qualified with Association of Corportion Treasures. He was Head of Treasury UK Corporate. He move to British Airways where he was head of UK & Ireland sales and marketing for five years.
Humphreys joined BA from Sydney-based rugby league side Wests Tigers where he was chief executive.
As of 1 November 2019 he was announced as CEO of Manly Warringah Sea Eagles.
Name: Professor Mark Howden
Year Graduated: 1978
Achievements: Director, Climate Change Institute, ANU College of Health & Medicine. Professor Mark Howden is a global expert on climate science and is Director of the Climate Change Institute at ANU. He is a Vice Chair of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and sits on the Australian National Climate Science Advisory Committee.
Professor Howden is an expert on how climate variability and climate change will impact on food production and food security and how to adapt to those impacts. He has also developed the national and international greenhouse gas inventories for the agricultural sector and assessed sustainable methods of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture.
He is a former Chief Research Scientist at CSIRO Agriculture.
Dr Rebecca Johnson
Year Graduated: 1992
Achievements: Wildlife Forensic Scientist and Chief Scientist and Associate Director of Science of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC.
Rebecca is a Wildlife Forensic Scientist, conservation geneticist and Chief Scientist of the Australian Museum. Rebecca became Director of the Australian Museum Research Institute in April 2015 and was the first female to hold this position in the AM’s 190 year history. She is co-chief investigator of the Koala Genome Consortium, an Australian led group carrying out sequencing of the koala genome and it’s genes for direct conservation application and, as Director of AMRI, the co-founder of the Oz Mammals Genome Initiative.
She has an honours degree from the University of Sydney and PhD from La Trobe University Melbourne in the field of molecular evolutionary genetics and has worked as a molecular geneticist, in Australia and the USA before joining the museum in 2003. Since then she has established the Museum as one of the global leaders in the field of wildlife forensics and conservation genomics through the ISO17025 accreditation of the Australian Centre for Wildlife Genomics facilities (one of the only fully accredited wildlife forensics laboratories in the Australasian region). She is one of only two experts appointed by the Federal Environment Minister as an examiner in wildlife forensics under the EPBC commonwealth legislation section 303GS(1). In May 2016 she became an adjunct Professor at the University of Sydney.
For more information on Rebecca follow these links
Name: Lyndall Gerlach
Year Graduated: 1973
Achievements: Lyndall designed the Barrenjoey Badge. She win an Australian Branding Design Award. She is also a national champion in archery.
Name: Andrew Prentice
Year Graduated: 1982
Achievements: Andrew played in the Australia National Soccer Leagues representing Australia at both youth and Senior level. He played 500 professional games in his career. He has also written seven full length novels / short stories published.
Name: Tom Laurich
Year Graduated: 1998
Achievements: Rower Silver Medal
Tom Laurich is an Australian former rower – a junior world champion, a national champion, an Olympian and a medallist at World Championships.
Laurich’s first New South Wales selection came in the 1996 U22 Trans-Tasman series where he competed in a single scull. In the 1997 U22 Trans-Tasman series he rowed in a double scull
Laurich’s first Australian representative selection came in 1998 as a sculler. He rowed to a bronze medal in the single scull at the World Junior Rowing Championships in Linz, Austria.
Laurich represented Australia at the Athens 2004 Summer Olympics in the men’s coxless four. With Jahrling, David Dennis, and David McGowan, he recorded a time of 6.13.06 in the final, rowing to a fourth-place finish.
At the 2008 Beijing Olympics that crew finished last in their heat, fought through a repechage to make the Olympic final and finished in sixth place. It was Laurich’s final representative appearance.
Name: Ben Player
Year Graduated: 1996
Achievements: Ben Player is an Australian bodyboarder who was world champion in 2005, 2007 and 2013. His 2007 victory came after placing second (narrowly being defeated by Damian King) in the 2006 Pipeline final. He has finished #2 overall on the World Bodyboarding Tour several times. Ben now also helps run Movement Bodyboarding magazine.
Name: Sam Harris
Year Graduated: 1997
Achievements: Samuel Richard “Sam” Harris is a former professional rugby footballer. He played representative rugby league for Sydney and in the National Rugby League for the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles and Wests Tigers clubs. Harris also played rugby union for the NSW Waratahs & Western Force in the Super 14 competition.
He returned to rugby union in 2007 when he signed on with the Waratahs franchise for the 2007 Super 14 competition playing at centre .
Career highlights Junior Club: Avalon Bulldogs First Grade Debut: Round 10, Manly v Parramatta at Brookvale Oval, 18 May 2003 First Grade Record: 59 appearances scoring 10 tries & 3 goals
Name: Chelsea Georgeson
Year Graduated: 2001
Achievements: Chelsea Georgeson (now Chelsea Hedges) is an Australian surfer who won the world title in 2005. She won the title after beating Brazil’s Jacqueline Silva in the final at the season-ending event at Honolua Bay, Hawaii. She started surfing at the age of 13.
Name: Josh Holmes
Year Graduated: 2002
Achievements: Josh Holmes is an Australian rugby union player. He has played Super Rugby for the Western Force, Brumbies, and New South Wales Waratahs. His preferred position is scrum half.
Holmes made his provincial debut for the Waratahs as an 18-year-old in 2005, but did not play Super 14 until 2007, when he made his debut for the Waratahs against the Brumbies. He racked up 4 caps before moving to the Brumbies in the wake of George Gregan’s departure.
Holmes was competing with Patrick Phibbs for the starting position at the Brumbies side, but spent the next two seasons with playing in every game, whether starting or on the bench.
In 2010, he returned to the Waratahs on a two-year deal. He joined the Western Force in April 2012 to cover injured players James Stannard and Justin Turner. In May 2014, he signed a short-term contract with the Melbourne Rebels as injury replacement for Nic Stirzaker.
Holmes’ older brother Luke also plays Super Rugby.
Name: Naomi Flood
Year Graduated: 2003
Achievements: Naomi Flood is an Australian kayaker and in 2009 was the overall winner of the Ironwoman Series. She represented Australia at 2012 Summer Olympics in the K-2 500 m event, with teammate Lyndsie Fogarty.
Flood started canoeing in 2009 with friends from surfing in order to improve her surf ski skills.
Flood finished 3rd in the K1 1000m event at the 2011 World Championships in Szeged, Hungary. She finished 5th in the K4 500m event at the 2011 World Cup 2 in Racice, Czech Republic. She finished 9th in the K2 500m event at the 2011 World Cup 3 in Duisburg, Germany. She finished 2nd in the K2 500m event and 2nd in the K4 500m event at the 2012 Oceania Championships in Penrith, Australia. She finished 1st in the K2 500m event and 2nd in the K4 500m event at the 2012 National Championships in Penrith, Australia. At the 2012 ICF Sprint World Cup in Russia, she came in first in the K1 1000m event.
Flood was selected to represent Australia at the 2012 Summer Olympics in the K-2 500 m event where she made it to the finals with a tie of 1:47:650 and finished 12th. She then competed at the 2013 and 2014 World championships in the K2 with Jo Brigden-Jones. Flood faced a tough world class field in the K2 500m at Rio. She finished sixth in her semi-final which meant she did not advance to the A-Final.
Name: Nina Curtis
Year Graduated: 2005
Achievements: Sailor; silver medalist at the 2012 Summer Olympics
Curtis attended Barrenjoey High School and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Human Movement from the University of Technology, Sydney
Curtis is a sailor and began competing when she was eight after having her parents expose her to it as a toddler. Her national team debut was at the Harken International Match Racing Regatta when she was fifteen years old. In 2007 and 2008, she competed in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. She was named that 2010 Australian Female Sailor of the Year.
At the 2009 Women’s Match Racing World Championships in Lysikil, Sweden, she earned a gold medal.
Curtis was selected to represent Australia at the 2012 Summer Olympics in sailing.
She was named to the Elliott 6m team. In the lead up to the Olympic Games and the team won the silver medal.