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Julia
9 years ago

John met me and my family while he was in Oxford and until his return to Australia he was a huge support to us as an educational mentor. I was truly shocked to hear of his untimely death. We remember picnics at Oxford Brookes,his excellent coffee, his invaluable advice, and, how excited he was about becoming moving closer to his family and becoming a hands-on grandfather.. Our sympathies are with Ann and his family.

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Reg Fardell
9 years ago

Farewell John. You will be missed personally and professionally. As one of my doctoral supervisors you were an invaluable guide and then becoming a personal friend. We last saw you as your returned to Australia and we, in reverse, were heading for the UK to live. I wish I had the time then, and now, to once more pass the day and chew the fat. Farewell.

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Deborah Edwards
9 years ago

John taught me science at the Australian International Independent School - I was in the same class as Jane and she has said it so well. He was a truly extraordinary teacher and inspired us in many many ways. Condoclences from Deborah Edwards, Northern Rivers.

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Ann Geake
9 years ago

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Ann Geake
9 years ago

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Ann Geake
9 years ago

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Ann Geake
9 years ago

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Ann Geake
9 years ago

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Ann Geake
9 years ago

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Ann Geake
9 years ago

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Ann Geake
9 years ago

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Ann Geake
9 years ago

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Ann Geake
9 years ago

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Ann Geake
9 years ago

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Ann Geake
9 years ago

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Ann Geake
9 years ago

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Ann Geake
9 years ago

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Ann Geake
9 years ago

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Ann Geake
9 years ago

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Ann Geake
9 years ago

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Ann Geake
9 years ago

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Ann Geake
9 years ago

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Ann Geake
9 years ago

A memorial bench was placed at Booloominbah at the University of New England this week for my husband John, who was Professor of Education - Learning and Teaching in UNE’s Faculty of The Professions, he has been described as “one of the very few absolute best in his field, who was held in the highest respect because of his wisdom”. John Geake received an Honours degree in Physics from the University of NSW, where he was President of the Students’ Union, an A.Mus.A. from the Australian Music Examinations Board with the flute, a Diploma of Education, a Master’s degree (with First-Class Honours) in Education, and a science PhD. His passion for education led him from university to teach at the Sydney International Independent School, then on to Currumbena, an independent progressive school at Lane Cove. John joined the hundreds of bright, energetic and progressive young dreamers who went to the Nimbin Aquarius Festival in 1973. In company with friends, he bought the “Paradise Valley” property just out of town, and was the first of the original communards to relocate from Sydney. First he built a communal space, then his own house. “He was a genius,” said fellow communard and long-time friend Dr Harry Freeman of Lismore. “There didn’t seem to be anything he couldn’t do.” Turning his attention to the wider community, John teamed up with teacher Dorothy Smith to open the Nimbin Community School, where he taught maths and science. In the early 1980s John exchanged the hippy mantle for more academic robes and left Nimbin to pursue his own studies, learning to play the flute to concert standard in just two years while gaining further degrees in science, mathematics and education. He performed at many classical concerts in Nimbin, which helped raise funds for the grand piano in the School of Arts. By the late 1980s John was the Conservatorium director at Lismore and a college lecturer at the University of New England (Northern Rivers). Developing an interest - among his many passions in the sciences - for the teaching of gifted children, he taught at the new Southern Cross University in Lismore, and at the University of Melbourne, where he was a tenured Senior Lecturer. In 2002 he received an Eminent Gifted Educator award from the Australian Association for the Gifted and Talented. He accepted the position of Professor of Education at Oxford Brookes University and lived for eight years in the UK, returning to Australia to take up his post at UNE in 2008. While in Oxford he conducted neuroscientific research into high intelligence and creativity at the University of Oxford’s Centre for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain, Department of Clinical Neurology, John Radcliffe Hospital. He co-founded the Oxford Cognitive Neuroscience-Education Forum, and was adviser to the House of Lords All Party Group on the Future of Science & ICT Research for Education. He published more than 60 articles, book chapters and books on a wide range of educational issues, in addition to being a popular keynote speaker at international conferences. His latest publication was his book The Brain at School. He is survived by his wife Ann, his sister Helen, children Sally and Jonah, stepchildren Paul and Hollie, and grandchildren Tom and Sophie.

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"Coffee, Tea or Geake?" was the title of John's colum in Tharunka, the UNSW student newspaper in the late 1960s. I remember him as an energetic but gentle and considerate man who was equally concerned to see the first on-campus childcare centre, House at Pooh Corner (still going strong), as he was to manage the bitter rivalries of student activist politics in those heady times of confrontation with the establishment. John moved easily from life to life, dropping out of academia without completing his doctorate to be part of the first Nimbin Commume, where he set up the Community School, then heading the Lismore Conservatorium of Music, developing concern for Australia's (and later, the UK's) ignored and disadvantaged gifted children and their isolated families, returning to research as a mature aged PhD student, then teaching student teachers at Melbourne Uni, and then to Oxford itself, where he was Director of Research and taught education research methods to appreciative classes at Oxford Brookes University. He managed to dine at most Oxford College High Tables, courtesy of his amazing collection of scientific collaborators, particularly those in MRI research into how the brain perceives music and other types of information (eg humour). Ironic that it was his own amazing brain that failed him, so tragically soon after his return to take the Chair of Education at UNE in Armidale.His death is Australia's loss.

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Jurriaan Beek
10 years ago

I first met John when as undergraduates at UNSW we both studied physics - way back in 1967. John was an incredibly bright and gifted person, who I recall involved himself in all manner of UNSW student political activities of the late 1960’s. We next met up in Lismore, Northern NSW in the early 1980's, where much to my surprise he was then teaching music at the then NRCAE, and much to his surprise I had changed my career to medicine. He taught my daughter the flute for many years, a skill she has never forgotten. We were probably amongst the first to make use our Apple IIe computers as a means of sending messages over the phone line to each other. This was way before the dot com and the internet protocols as we know it today had been developed. I well recall his that his stated desire to teach music was based on not only his love of good music but the need to pass this on so that in his later years there would be musicians around to play the sort of music he loved to hear. His interest in the field of special education dealing with the intellectually gifted children is well known to educationists. His passing will be sorely missed by all concerned. Jurriaan Beek

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Jurriaan Beek
10 years ago

I first met John when as undergraduates at UNSW we both studied physics - way back in 1967. John was an incredibly bright and gifted person, who I recall involved himself in all manner of UNSW student political activities of the late 1960’s. We next met up in Lismore, Northern NSW in the early 1980's, where much to my surprise he was then teaching music at the then NRCAE, and much to his surprise I had changed my career to medicine. He taught my daughter the flute for many years, a skill she has never forgotten. We were probably amongst the first to make use our Apple IIe computers as a means of sending messages over the phone line to each other. This was way before the dot com and the internet protocols as we know it today had been developed. I well recall his that his stated desire to teach music was based on not only his love of good music but the need to pass this on so that in his later years there would be musicians around to play the sort of music he loved to hear. His interest in the field of special education dealing with the intellectually gifted children is well known to educationists. His passing will be sorely missed by all concerned. Jurriaan Beek

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Jane Crancher
10 years ago

John taught me science at the Australian International Independent School back in the early 1970's. He was a truly extraordinary teacher - able to take what to me was an incomprehensible mish-mash of unconnected facts called chemistry and give it life, coherence and even beauty thanks to his profound expertise in physics and his rare ability to communicate this expertise. John;'s wonderful lateral mind, his iconoclasm, his kindness and his social idealism were deeply inspiring and rare to find in a schoolteacher. It was obvious schoolteaching was only going to occupy him temporarily, and that he would seek a broader field to endow with his brilliant mind and many gifts. I am sad to hear of his early death, but it is clear that he really was someone who used his gifts and promise to the full, and did indeed leave this planet the better for his passing through. With deep sympathy for John's family and friends, from Jane Crancher, Sydney.

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Sarah Yates
10 years ago

John assessed my son as being very profoundly gifted at a time he was disengaged and labelled as being educationally subnormal, and John then helped us including attending a judicial review which ensured my son was sent to a selective fee paying school which would accommodate his needs. John helped us for no remuneration, even stayed at our home twice, and that miserable 6 year old is now a thriving 15 year old with multiple reports saying he is charismatic and an outstanding mathematician and scientist and "admired" by his teachers. John prevented Francis' life being ruined.

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