In their own words: an engineer’s discovery

In their own words: an engineer’s discovery

Illuminate newsletter index page, June 2019
June 2019


In his time at the Institute, Greg Menzies salvaged
two marble busts of Walter and Eliza Hall.

They had been attacked with Texta pens!

That was my reaction upon seeing the two marble busts of Walter and Eliza Hall in a small service duct at the Institute as I was clearing out the space.

This was not long after the Institute moved to its current location on Royal Parade, around 1985. I was working in the engineering department, and team members were routinely disposing of old broken equipment and unwanted materials.

The busts were in bad condition: Walter had been adorned with a beard and moustache; Eliza had suffered a similar fate. They would have possibly ended up in a skip, so I stored them safely.

Later I tried to clean them up. High pressure water did not work, nor did methylated spirits or acetone. In the end it was a common household cleaner that did the trick.


The marble busts are now on permanent display
at the Institute.

Eventually the busts were drawn to the attention of the Institute’s archivist, and they came out of the dark. After further cleaning at the University of Melbourne, they could be put on display on level 7 outside the library.

Many years later I was called on to move the busts so they could to be photographed. Either they had become heavier or I had lost a bit of strength! Numerous photos and laser scans were used to produce the holograms now displayed in the Institute’s galleria; you can still see the busts next to the tea room.

About Greg Menzies

Alumnus: 1987–2015

For most of his 28 years at the Institute, Greg worked in the Engineering department. In that time he was charged with diverse responsibilities and saw a lot of change. He repaired and calibrated equipment, processed manufacturing requests, and worked on-call for maintaining the building and freezers. In his last two years at the Institute he worked in the Procurement department.

In 2001 he became a Justice of the Peace (JP) and has helped many postdocs with endorsing paperwork to be submitted in Australia and overseas.

Greg is currently a member of the committee for management for both the Kerrie Road and Mackie Road Neighbour houses based in the city of Monash. He works as a JP at the Springvale Police Station on a roster, and is also the President for the small Lions Club for Mulgrave Sandown.

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