Issue 10 - 7 November 2011 enews home

Oldest lecturer continues to thrive

By Patrick Nelson

CDU Pro Vice-Chancellor of VET John Hassed, Long-serving horticulture lecturer Liz Hagan, NT Minister for Education and Training Chris Burns and Baz Levarde

CDU Pro Vice-Chancellor of VET John Hassed, long-serving horticulture lecturer Liz Hagan, NT Minister for Education and Training Dr Chris Burns and Baz Levarde, Liz's husband
Long-serving horticulture lecturer Liz Hagan was the toast of Casuarina campus recently with a surprise celebration of her remarkable career in education.

Born to teach, Liz has been involved in education for more than 40 years, including the past 21 years at Charles Darwin University.

Liz, who recently celebrated her 80th birthday, has the distinction of being CDU's oldest lecturer, but has no plans for retirement.

She came to the Territory with husband Barry (Baz) to serve as a volunteer tutor at Hayes Creek Roadhouse in the early 1990s. Within a short period of time she was offered a tutoring position in horticulture at the Northern Territory University (now CDU).

She began her teaching career in 1953 in Sydney at Ascham Girls School, the same school at which she was a student in the 1930s and '40s. Later, while on leave to have three children, she decided to enrol in a Horticulture Certificate Course at Ryde School of Horticulture, so she could better manage her garden.

She was initially refused admittance on the grounds that "horticulture was man's work", although this was reversed and Liz went on to complete the course with high marks.

Liz was invited to teach at Ryde School of Horticulture, which she did until offered a job as Head of Science at the Presbyterian Ladies College in Sydney by head mistress Dr Freda Whitlam, sister of former Prime Minister Gough. Liz served as Head of Science at that prestigious institution for nearly 20 years.

Liz has maintained sound levels of fitness and health by keeping active and interested in a variety of pursuits. She danced with the Polish-Australian Ballet Company, played tennis into her late 60s and currently participates with the Sing Australia group in Parap each week.

The grandmother of five is a qualified aerobics instructor and a committee member of the Australian Open Gardens Scheme NT. She is a regular contributor to a tropical horticulture magazine and has judged the NT Government's Garden competition and the horticulture section at Freds Pass Show.

Liz is highly respected by staff and students alike as a consummate professional who invests high levels of energy and enthusiasm into her work.