Tributes to Clive from Fellow Academics

“Clive was a fine historian who was always up for an intellectual scrap and was full of life. Like my own uncle, it turned out that Clive’s dad was a five-bob Pom who sailed to New Zealand in the early 1950s and settled in Christchurch for a new life. I first met Clive when I passed through Perth and visited UWA on my way back to Auckland from my study leave in the UK in 1988. I gave a talk there that Clive attended and Donald Leinster-Mackay, who was presiding, gave me a much-cherished copy of the third volume of Cremin’s history to review as a reward. While there I noted also that Clive had contributed to the excellent special issue of Education Research and Perspectives in 1981. Golden days. He was also a great friend of the late Prof. Richard Aldrich and he sent a quite superb note which he invited Prof. Roy Lowe to read out on his behalf when we held the memorial-day at the Institute of Education in London for Richard in 2015.”

Professor Gary McCulloch
Brian Simon Professor in the History of Education,
Institute of Education.
University College London

“I remember first meeting Clive at the 1982 ANZHES Conference in Hobart, held at the Sandy Bay campus of the University of Tasmania. He had come along to my paper, maybe to renew some old friendships, more than obtain any wisdom from me, a young school principal undertaking a PhD and delivering a paper on the history of the Dalton Plan in Tasmanian schools. I greatly welcomed Clive’s advice. But what impressed me most at the time was the respect and appreciation he received from the other outstanding historians of education in the room with his comments on my paper that day in Hobart—Dick Selleck, Bill Connell, Andy Spaull, John Ramsland and Alan Barcan. Clive’s comments on the topic carried the day for me. I next encountered Clive as a young and aspiring academic when a few years later I submitted one of my research papers to Education Research and Perspectiveswhere he was a long-standing editor. It was a déjà vumoment for me—that same obliging, if not caringly pedantic, but still highly valuable and much-appreciated suggestions. The same pattern followed with my other submissions to the journal. I now had developed a rapport with Clive, and I looked forward to chatting with him at other ANZHES conferences during the following years. I owed much to him and his group of friends at that 1982 Hobart ANZHES conference.”

Dr Grant Rodwell
TTC, BA (Hons) (Tas.), MEd (Tas.), MA (Tas.), PhD (Tas.), PhD (N’castle), PhD (Tas.), PhD (A’laide), PhD (Tas.)
University Adjunct
Faculty of Education
The University of Newcastle
Mobile: 0411 757 492

“Clive and I were in many ways like chalk and cheese. He an historian and I am an empirical data-driven child-and-adolescent psychologist. Worlds apart in our research and teaching, yet we got on well and spent considerable amounts of time over the years deep in discussion about a range of subjects and controversies. Irrespective of the topic, the discussion would at some stage turn to sport and with a glint in his eye and a cheeky smile on his face, Clive would gently deride me about having an obsessional interest in “aerial ping pong” (AFL for the initiated) – especially as I had been on the books of an English premiership football club as a boy. It is that glint and smile that I remember so fondly. What else do I remember? Without a doubt, staff meetings when a point of discussion had reached its conclusion and everyone was ready to move on or conclude the meeting. “Now let me play the Devil’s advocate!” would inevitably be heard from somewhere in the room. Needless to say Clive’s interjection would maneuver the discussion onto a different, but valuable, course. My earliest memory of Clive is when I first arrived at UWA. In one of our first discussions he discovered I had been brought up in the Black Country, in the heart of the UK. Over the ensuing years he would talk fondly of his time in the area, especially visiting the Black Country Museum (and the scrapyard next door where he found many of his spare jaguar car parts). Clive always had a tale to tell and I was always ready to listen. Clive’s name still comes up in conversations with colleagues at UWA. I will remember him for his insistence on rigour and maintaining high academic standards within the Graduate School of Education, along with his keen interest in my work, his humour and his artistry in discussions.”

Professor Stephen Houghton
The University of Western Australia

“My brother Greg and I first met Clive Whitehead in 1981 when we were graduate students in the first year of our master’s degree programme. At that time Clive was visiting Dunedin and he called in to The University of Otago, where he had formerly been a staff member (1970- 1976), to catch up with his old friend and former colleague, Professor David McKenzie. Invited by David to participate in his weekly two-hour graduate history of education course, Clive immediately made a very positive impression on us and indeed, on the whole class. He was in his element – the opportunity to play the role of Devil’s Advocate was simply irresistible for him to ignore. With that characteristic twinkle in his eye and that all-too-familiar grin, Clive quickly adopted the role of the questioning student who kept asking for more and more clarification from the lecturer. Our class, comprising senior schoolteachers, school inspectors, and education board officials, sat in stunned silence as Clive continued quizzing David. Eventually Clive paused, allowing David time to introduce Clive as both a former colleague and now an academic staff member at UWA’s Graduate School of Education. Thankfully, that trademark sense of humour, very quick wit and mind, and questioning nature never left Clive. We felt privileged to be in his company, albeit only briefly on that particular occasion.

Upon completing our master’s degrees in 1983 my brother and I embarked upon our doctoral research, supervised by Professor McKenzie. As our professional relationship with David developed over the following years we came to learn much more about Clive, his historical scholarship, and the long-term friendship that they shared. When the time came to select external examiners for our respective PhD theses David contacted Clive Whitehead who fortunately agreed to undertake this task. Clive’s work in, and his deep knowledge of, Aotearoa New Zealand education history was highly regarded and well known. Clive might well have declined to be our external examiner if he had seen the size of the Lee brothers’ respective theses. This was to become a long-standing joke between us.

Our next face-to-face meeting with Clive came in late 1991 at our respective oral examinations. Having begun our respective orals by declaring “Let the (oral) battle of ideas begin”, we each discovered that very little had escaped Clive’s watchful eye – the occasional ‘rogue apostrophe’, the odd split infinitive, and the incorrect spelling of an educationist’s name were all identified and commented upon, albeit briefly. What we each learned from Clive was his rare ability to grasp and understand the detail at the same time as never losing sight of the ‘bigger picture’. This is the hallmark of so much of Clive’s research and scholarly writing. Each of us was hugely impressed too with the care and attention that Clive had devoted to writing his detailed examiner’s reports. Each report pointed to a man who was not out to ‘score points’ or to pontificate; rather, Clive undertook his examiner’s role seriously, constructively, and totally professionally.

As my brother and I pursued our own academic careers in different Aotearoa New Zealand universities we had frequent contact with Clive. He was always willing to read our respective contributions for Education Research and Perspectives that he edited so skilfully for 18 years and for a variety of other publication outlets, and to make recommendations that would enhance their readability and scholarship. Clive was a superb ‘critical friend’. He encouraged me to spend my study leave in 1996 at The University of Western Australia’s Graduate School of Education, where he made my young family, my wife, and I feel very welcome. He encouraged me to participate in a wide variety of campus activities and introduced me to his academic friends and colleagues. It was at UWA that I also had the good fortune to meet and befriend Professor Tom O’Donoghue. Knowing that I am a motoring enthusiast Clive took me to the monthly meetings of The Western Australia Jaguar Car Club. The time that we spent together ranks as being one of the most enjoyable in my 40-year long academic career. During one of our many lunchtime conversations where we were discussing academic life and the direction in which we believed the modern universities should be heading, Clive looked at me and said: “Howard. I have three pieces of advice for you. First, enjoy what you do as an academic and always give it 100 per cent of your commitment. Second, make sure that you make and maintain contacts and friendships in academia in and beyond New Zealand – academics are part of a global university network. Finally, make sure that you have a life outside of your university career.” Twenty-five years later those words of advice remain firmly embedded in my memory.

In September 2007 I was delighted to be able to ‘return the favour’ from my 1996 UWA study leave when Clive came to stay with me and my family in Palmerston North, prior to his retirement from UWA later that year. I had just taken up a five year appointment as Head of the School of Educational Studies and, in between numerous administration and meeting commitments, I was able to include Clive in many Massey University activities as well as in my courses during his visit. Fortunately, my wife, Maree, had a week’s annual leave so during the day she took Clive out to show him around Palmerston North. On one day Maree took Clive
down to the Len Southward Classic Car Museum where they spent much of the day looking at approximately 100 vehicles, some dating back to the early 1900s. When I returned home later that evening Clive announced (with that characteristic twinkle in his eye) that he had had a thoroughly enjoyable day with Maree, that he had loved visiting the car museum, but was unimpressed with the lukewarm tea and the curled up sandwiches on offer in the cafeteria! We hope that education historians will continue to engage with Clive’s numerous scholarly publications and contributions. Finally, in his many emails and letters to us (and others), Clive would always sign off with the words used by the late Dr Beeby (Director of Education, New Zealand, 1940-1960, and a close friend of Clive’s) when writing to Clive, “Blessings on you and yours.” We both are indeed very fortunate – ‘blessed’ – to have known Professor Clive Whitehead.”

Professor Howard Lee
Institute of Education
Massey University

Professor Gregory Lee (retired)
College of Education
The University of Canterbury

“Clive was a fellow traveler in the field of the history of education of India for many years. He was always willing to offer advice as a senior scholar. Although we never really found common research ground, his generous intent was what I needed in those early years to want to know more about our shared research interests. Clive was never a great proponent of theory – something he would readily concede. We talked about that often over several meals together when we were both working at the British Library in London. However, what became apparent to me was his incredibly broad knowledge of empire, and not just India. His talent lay in his knowledge of detail and particularly his interest in recovering and writing about the intellect of colonial administrators. The 1990s was when the academic currents were running the other way. Subaltern scholarship and its able theorists were mostly writing the European out of the colonial story. Others, including the late Sir Christopher Bayly at Cambridge, then did much to counter these directions with new ways of looking at the European in India. Yet, Clive had already shown much courage in fearlessly writing about empire on his own terms regardless of the scholarly currents of the time. He also Clive had a great capacity to produce high quality books at astonishing pace, a remarkable achievement given that they were mostly based on systematic archival research carried out abroad.”

Tim Allender
Professor and Chair of History and Curriculum
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
University of Sydney; 2006

“Our friend Clive Whitehead was born in South London. He was a lifelong supporter of Charlton Athletic Football Club whose glory days were in the 1930s. On his numerous visits to London, Clive would often stay with his friend and fellow historian of education, Richard Aldrich, a good footballer in his youth and a Charlton supporter. At ‘Ashwood’, their suburban home in Kent, Richard and Averil Aldrich hosted and entertained Clive and other visitors from Australia and America. The two ‘Charlton tragics’ would not just relive the Charlton past but hoped for a better Charlton future which never arrived. And at the end of the evening, Clive accepted the gracious offer of Averil to do his washing for him.”

Emeritus Professor Geoffrey Sherrington
The University of Sydney
Fellow, Royal Australian Historical Society (FRAHS)
Fellow, Royal Society of New South Wales (FRSN)

“I first met Associate Professor Whitehead, Clive, in 1985 when I was appointed as a sessional staff member. Being part time and with few academic credentials, but loads of teaching experience, I knew I would have to earn my stripes. From day 1, however Clive accepted me as a colleague. He would seek me out in my broom cupboard of an office in the back of the Reid Library each morning with a cheery greeting, always happy to dispense advice or lend an ear. Over my 27 years in the Faculty of Education I enjoyed many entertaining and enthusiastic conversations with Clive as he would land in my office for a chat, sharing his views on everything. One persistent theme was his determination to help me further my career. To that end he encouraged me to complete my Master’s degree and later a PhD. As my supervisor he was a great teacher and mentor, showed enormous patience and good humour, and had an inspiring wealth of knowledge. Clive was always supportive and reassuring, and I will always be grateful for his genuine interest and help. He often also shared stories of his delightful family, being so proud of their achievements and the young adults they became. We will all miss Clive – a gentleman, friend, scholar and mentor.”

Dr Di Gardiner
Former UWA staff member

Clive’s Schooldays

Clive’s Early Schooldays in England – A paper given by him from his private collection to Tom O’Donoghue

Read About Clive’s School Days Here

Tributes to Clive

Tributes from friends and colleagues of Clives

Read Tributes Left For Clive Here

Clive’s contributions to Richard Aldrich

Clive Whitehead’s Contribution to the Commemoration Day for the late Prof. Richard Aldrich of the Institute of Education, The University of London.

Read Clive’s Contribution Here

Selected publications of Clive Whitehead

A selection of publications from Clive in Academic Papers and Book Chapters

Find Clive’s Publications Here

Special issue papers in honour of Clive

A short selection of papers issued in honour of Clive

Read Special Issue Papers Here