• Geelong
  • Newcomb
  • Torquay
  • Ocean Grove
(03) 5248 3444

The following messages of condolence and symbols
have been added in memory of John.

Click here to leave your own message.

4 1

Messages Placed

Gabrielle Fletcher on 24 February, 2021 at 9:30am

On behalf of the NIKERI Institute (formerly the Institute of Koorie Education), Deakin University, we offer our deeply felt condolences to the family of Honorary Professor John Henry. John was instrumental in helping to establish the Institute of Koorie Education some 35 years ago, providing significant development of the ethos of our Community Based Delivery (CBD) model, that is still in operation today. His legacy and his spirit continues in our space, and we pay respect and homage to his leadership, tenacity and contribution to positive change for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. With much thanks as we know you continue to walk with us.

Melody Ingra on 23 February, 2021 at 2:37pm

I am sending my condolences to the family of one of the best lecturers that i ever had. I met John back in 1990 at KTEP - Deakin Uni, I was a 17 year old in my first year at University. John was an amazing person and his views on Aboriginal education were 20 years ahead of everyone else. Me and all my fellow students were very fond of John and have taken his teaching on our life's journeys..

Yirrkala Community School on 23 February, 2021 at 1:11pm
Allan and Cheryl Arnott on 23 February, 2021 at 12:28pm

Ahh, old mate, how do we ever fill the void you have left? You were a friend, mentor and inspiration to us. Your empathy and ability to listen and work closely with Aboriginal people led to ground breaking work at Yirrkala and Batchelor Institute (to name but two). You always lived up to your principles and displayed courage and integrity in how you went about pursuing the many projects you undertook. You gave us all something to aim for. Thank you for that and the many memories we have of being with you. Rest easy now.
To Steph and the family we pass on our love and share some of your loss. It鈥檚 a sad time but we hope to catch up soon.
Luv Allan and Cheryl

Paul Coolwell on 23 February, 2021 at 11:26am

Wunyunga, firstly I would to pass in my heartfelt condolences and sypathies to all John's family n friends and extended families I was like most of you shocked to hear this "WARRIOR" CHAMPION FOR ALL HIS PAST STUDENTS AT K-TEP THEN I.K.E.
HIS GUIDENCE AND STATURE AMONGSTus was not only loving and caring but this man wanted all his students to get a degree and he let nothing get in my/our way but look towards that big prize at the end to not only better ourselves but our immediate families and communities around not only Qld,but all over Australia !
He is held in the highest regard/respect by my aunt's and cousins who have had this great man guide them/us to a Uni degree something I thought would never ever happen I/we would not be here or hold such high positions in our communities today if it weren't for people like "J.H"...IM GREATFUL FOR KNOWIN YOU I WAS BLESSED TO BE TAUGHT / LECTURED BY YOU, I GAVE YOU THE RESPECT NOT TO TO CALL YOU BY YOUR FIRST NAME BUT I CALLED YOU UNCLE BECAUSE IF YOU LOVE AND GUIDENCE TO GET ME THROUGH UNI AND MY OTHER LECTURERS AT KTEP /
I.K.E. THANKS UNCLE JOHN MAY YOU REST IN PEACE KNOW YOU WERE A LEGEND CHAMPION FOR ABORIGINAL PEOPLE TO STRIVE FOR BETTER EMPLOYMENT NOT INLY TO PUSH US THROUGH TO GET THAT PIECE OF PAPER..
("YOUR HANDS AT EASE YOU MINDS AT PEACE")
MY UNCLE JOHNNY THANK YOU AND BLESS YOU KNOW AND YOUR FAMILY N EXTENDED FAMILIES AT THIS SAD TIME.

LOVE YOU AND SEE YOU IN THAT BIG UNIVERSITY IN THE SKY...馃懆馃従鈥嶐煄擆煈煆锯嶐煄擆煈煆锯嶐煄擆煈煆锯嶐煄擆煈煆锯嶐煄擆煈煆解嶐煄擆煈煆解嶐煄擆煈煆解嶐煄擆煈煆解嶐煄擆煈煆解嶐煄擆煐ゐ煐ゐ煐ゐ煂佛煂佛煂佛煂佛煓忦煆金煓忦煆金煓忦煆金煓忦煆

PAUL COOLWELL. BRISABANE...

Rob and Lynne Walker on 22 February, 2021 at 11:40pm

John was a remarkable practical scientist. In designing and making kites, in tracking the Grampians panther, in making 鈥楤othWays Education鈥 work, in wine making, in developing the property with Steph, he seized on every opportunity with creative energy and wit.
In all his diverse ventures John saw complex problems calling for inventive solutions. He sometimes seemed a loner but was both an independent thinker and rare collaborator. John was not impressed by policy targets and measurable outcomes but liked to be involved in an evolving process and emerging practice. He was less interested in publishing and giving conference presentations to other academics than he was in developing close working relationships with others.
John was a gifted teacher. He never told you more than you needed to know in order to share his passion for problems and to work with him on finding solutions. He had a quiet authority. His focus was always on learning, for him teaching was always a means to and, never an end in itself.
We have many memories of John and Steph while they were in England, when they first moved to their property in Wallington and of the time they lived at Batchelor College.
We are thinking of Steph and the family and wish we were closer. Thank you all for many remembered conversations and shared memories.

Damian Blake (Deakin University - School of Education) on 22 February, 2021 at 8:04pm

My deepest condolences to Stephanie and all of John鈥檚 family for the loss of such a wonderful man. He has been a shining light in our community, always challenging us to look at things differently through his cheeky and irreverent sense of humor. I cannot start to quantify the many things I learned from John, both as my doctoral supervisor and as my colleague and friend. I will miss John greatly, and I am deeply grateful for having shared just some time with him during his incredible life. His legacy will also continue in Deakin's School of Education, inspiring us to educate teachers who can make a genuine difference in our community.

Kathryn Gilbey on 22 February, 2021 at 4:59pm

Batchelor Institute and Charles Darwin University want to acknowledge the work of John Henry and his incredible influence and legacy left in the Northern Territory. A former Deputy Director of Batchelor Institute, founder of the DBATE program that saw us graduate our first ever degree students in a four year teacher education program run through Deakin University. He was also a much loved Supervisor of PhD students, so there are many teachers, PhD graduates, lecturers who credit him for their success. He will be missed but his legacy lives on in those that he helped achieve their dreams.

Richard Tinning on 22 February, 2021 at 4:50pm

My friend John Henry

John and I first met when we both joined the Geelong Teacher鈥檚 College in 1973. John was in the science department and I was in physical education. Along with some other 鈥榥ew arrivals鈥 we were called 鈥渢he young Turks鈥 as we tended to challenge authority in what was then a very patriarchal and hierarchical Teacher鈥檚 College. John had come from a background of teaching biology in secondary schools and also knew a thing or two about unions and power struggles from his involvement in the VSTA. He immediately showed his considerable political skills in the day-to-day small battles over resources and power that at the time seemed to be distributed more on cronyism and age than on merit.

I remember John鈥檚 presence in meetings. He would listen, not in interrupt or try to talk over others. Rather he would wait his time and deliver, what always seemed to be a brilliant analysis of the issue. More often than not he tabled a written argument or proposal before the meeting and typically that document became the agenda. A wonderful tactic.

John was never afraid to state his mind in such meetings even when he knew it would ruffle some conservative feathers. I greatly admired his political skills.

Not long after meeting John, our families became friends. We would have reciprocal dinners and barbeques at each other鈥檚 places. Our kids played happily together while we adults consumed appropriate amounts of wine while discussing the politics of the time (and it WAS TIME). And yes, embarrassing as it now seems, we always drove home!

It was during those early years that John began jogging. He joined the Geelong Cross Country Club and ran in races on Sundays in the country around Geelong. John proved to be a bloody good runner and not only won some races but also ran some pretty impressive sub 2hours 50 min marathons. John also joined a small group of us 鈥榶oung Turks鈥 who jogged at lunch times around the streets and valleys of Herne Hill (where the Freeway now runs) and often got back just in time for a quick shower before our lectures.

In December 1981 John joined with fellow joggers and 鈥榶oung Turks鈥 Lindsay Fitzclarence and myself in a hiking expedition to Frenchman鈥檚 Cap in North West Tassie. We crossed the Franklin river on a rope bridge, stepped over a tiger snake and headed into the enchanted forests, then across button grass plains (mud plains actually) and finally spent some days in a hut at Lake Tahune at the foot of Frenchman鈥檚 Cap. It was Tasmania in December and of course it snowed. At the time Lindsay and I were impressed by the utility of John鈥檚 hook. He could use it to pick up hot billys and spiky creatures like echidnas.

Lindsay and I later had the pleasure of accompanying John and his team of student scientists on numerous Puma hunting adventures in the Grampians.

By the 1990s John and I were no longer 鈥榶oung Turks鈥. John had established himself as a leader in indigenous education, an accomplishment that drew on his respect for aboriginal culture, his strong commitment to equity and his considerable political acumen. The indigenous communities have lost one of their most respected elders.

One of the many things about John that I respected was not just his intellect, but the way he used it. Never one to get caught up in intellectual fashions and the jargon that often accompanies it, John seemed to be guided by a pragmatist philosophy that was underpinned by a strong ethic of social justice. His success as an academic was, in many ways, because he grounded his work in an understanding of the practical and political realities of teaching.

Since retiring from Deakin, John has been honoured with an honorary doctorate in part for his outstanding contribution to indigenous education. He also became a successful vigneron making a seriously good shiraz at his vineyard 鈥榃ayawu Estate鈥 on the Bellarine Peninsular.

As if that was not enough to keep him busy, John also wrote a couple of novels (murder mysteries) that are set in the country of the southern Grampians where he grew up.

Over the years John and I had the pleasure of sharing some books that sparked our shared curiosity in evolution, biology and culture. It started with Jarred Diamond鈥檚 Guns, Germs and Steel and most recently Yuval Harari鈥檚 Sapiens: A Brief history of Humankind. John had a mind like no other and I will greatly miss learning from him. I do however, still have a few bottle of his Harry鈥檚 Shiraz 2018 and I will savour each one in memory of a wonderful friend and colleague.

As well as leaving a huge void among his beloved family, John will be greatly missed by his many friends (especially Pato), colleagues, indigenous folk, and lovers of good wine and the good life.

Vale John Henry.

Alison Johnstone -Ivanhoe on 22 February, 2021 at 2:23pm

I鈥檓 sitting here at my computer and the memories of past come flowing back. The memories of when I was young scared 18 year old aboriginal woman from a remote community in western New South Wales. Fast forward to now 53 and the assistant principal at the very school where I grew up I can鈥檛 help but thank you Mr John Henry for giving me the opportunity not to become a statistic of the system.
I boarded that train that night from Mildura at 9pm 1988 I was alone, it was my first time to Geelong and had no idea where I was going but I trusted God, trusted you John Henry, aunty Wendy Bravan, Uncle Ivan Cozens, Aunty Joy Smith and the team; all of you from that night on with my life. From that moment I knew I would be okay.
John, the opportunity you gave me and many other aboriginal people around Australia to become a teacher and role model to my people - it changed my life. John Henry you dared to break the mould of tradition systems and policies to give indigenous people the same opportunities as non-aboriginal Australia. You took the knocks and the criticism from people who didn鈥檛 share the same values and dreams that you did for indigenous Australia.
I remember it all, but mate you forged on, and all over Australia to that now we have now aboriginal teachers, academics all because of you. Mate you are a testimony that you can reach for the top if you want and believe in something so bad that it make changes.
When I heard the news, I sat and pondered my two very different lives had I not taken the opportunity to join KTEP (Koori Teacher Education Program / The Institute of Koori Education) in 1988. We were the second group to go through, I remember the old demountables on the hill where the program started first. I want to say thankyou John Henry for believing in me and never giving up on me. At times you would read my assignments and show me where I had gone wrong, especially how my Koori English which was overlapping when writing assignments hahaha!
John thankyou for the legacy you have left behind with indigenous Australia. Not one State, but every State and Territory in Australia would have academics and teachers that are a testimony to the journey you walked with Aunty Wendy and the team to lead us down a better path.
I just want to say thankyou to Steph, Daniel, Emily, and the family for sharing this wonderful man with us over the years. His time away from you guys would have not been in vain but in selflessness to make a better aboriginal Australia. I sit here as the assistant principal thinking that had I not dared to take the journey with you John Henry, I would probably be lining up at my local Centrelink office to get my payment, so once again mate, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Rest in Peace.
Alison Johnstone 鈥揑vanhoe 鈥 Assistance Principal Western New South Wales.

Georgina Ryder on 22 February, 2021 at 1:40pm

John will be greatly missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him. A joy to work with who had an incredible mind and ablity to make the complex seem simple. Always able to see the best in everyone and have a positive outlook on life. Cleaver, witty and charming. Gone but never forgotten. Rest in Peace 馃槏XXXXX

Robyn Ober on 22 February, 2021 at 12:28pm

On behalf of my family I extend my heartfelt condolences to Stephanie and the Henry family on the passing of your dearly beloved husband, father and grandfather. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this sad time. I am so thankful that John was instrumental in my educational journey and left a lasting impression on my life. I will always remember him as a kind, thoughtful and wise lecturer, mentor and friend. God bless you all. Love from Robyn and Ober family.

Jaqueline Johnson on 21 February, 2021 at 10:34pm

JH Introduced me to Paulo Freire's Liberation Theology ideas. I continued to test the spirit of this ideology. Condolences to his families.
JJ

Di Barker on 21 February, 2021 at 8:16pm

Deepest sympathy to all of John's family on his passing it was a pleasure knowing him, he was always smiling. Rest in peace John.

Scroll to top

Symbols of Love

Lay flowers, light a candle or
place a symbol of love.

Condolence Messages

Leave a written, audio, photo or
video message of condolence.

Memory Timeline

Contribute your photos and
memories to the timeline.