Talking 'bout your grad generation

Erin was the third generation of Gourlays to graduate from UQ, and the fifth graduate from the same family

Michael Gourlay's first UQ graduation was in 1964

Wife Jacqui Gourlay at Michael’s PhD graduation on 12 December 1978

Michael was a staff member in the (then) Department of Civil Engineering at UQ for 37 years commencing in 1960. He taught, consulted and researched in the field of coastal engineering, particularly in later years, on problems relating to the islands of the Great Barrier Reef. When he first started at UQ, he was based at Gardens Point in the City in buildings which later were taken over by QIT (now QUT). Later he moved into an office in the hydraulic laboratories (part of the then recently opened civil engineering laboratories) which were located on the site of the current Advanced Engineering Building at St Lucia. He was one of the very few engineering staff members to have a view of the lake. Outside the laboratory were scale hydraulic models of beaches, harbours, rivers and other areas of interest such as Brisbane Airport. These models have now been removed and replaced with the GHD Auditorium and the General Purpose South Building – from which Chris Gourlay currently works.

Michael did not attend the graduation ceremony for his ME degree in 1964. When Michael came to UQ in 1960, graduation ceremonies were held in the Brisbane City Hall. When Michael and Chris received their PhDs in 1978 and 1988, graduations were held in the then Mayne Hall (now UQ Art Museum); and David, Claire and Erin received their degrees at the UQ Centre.

A photo of Michael and his wife Jacqui (mother of Chris and grandmother of Erin, Claire and David) at Michael’s PhD graduation on 12 December 1978 appears above. Jacqui, a science graduate from the University of Sydney, completed a number of Arts subjects as a mature age student at UQ in French and German with results of either 6 or 7.

Chris Gourlay

Chris leads the Expertise Commercialisation Group at UniQuest, UQ's main commercialisation company, where he brokers research and consulting contracts between UQ researchers and industry partners. Some of these researchers are his ex-professors from the School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering and some others are Michael’s ex-colleagues from the School of Civil Engineering.

Michael was one of Chris’ lecturers in first year engineering, teaching part of a course called Engineering and Society. Michael showed the students photographs of great historical engineering structures such as Roman aqueducts in Europe. Chris’ role was, as a 12 year old in the photographs, to provide the scale – much to the amusement of his friends in the course!

Following his PhD, Chris worked in high speed aerodynamics at a local company in a joint UQ venture with clients in the USA. While working at other companies, he had contracts with the UK Department of Defence, and provided engineering consultancy in a range of industries including defence, mining, automotive, software and rail. He worked for an international engineering software simulation company, one of whose customers was UQ. Prior to his current job at UniQuest, he was Research Director at the Cooperative Research Centre for Rail Innovation, for which UQ was a research participant organisation.

Chris graduated in Mechanical Engineering in 1983 with First Class Honours and won 17 scholarships and prizes and a university medal while a student at UQ.

David Gourlay's Masters graduation December 2014

David graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts (majors in Ancient History/History and English), and in 2014 with a Master of Environmental Management (major in sustainable development). As part of his Master’s degree, David had the opportunity to conduct field work on Heron Island, looking at the impact of UQ’s research station on the island's natural environment. Interestingly, Michael Gourlay conducted extensive research on Heron Island, and his work on coral cays was the assigned reading for the course.

Since graduating from his Masters’ degree, David has worked for the Commonwealth Department of the Environment and Energy in Canberra, where he currently works on climate change policy. He joined the Department through their graduate program and has worked in a number of environmental policy areas since. He has also spent time at the Australian Antarctic Division, which gave him the opportunity to (briefly) visit Antarctica.

Claire graduated on 7 December 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts (extended major in Linguistics and minor in English Literature) and First Class Honours. She wrote her thesis on the discourse particle “la” in Queensland Aboriginal English. In first year she won the Carole Chandler Memorial Prize for excellence in Ancient History and in third year she was chosen to participate in the Arts Faculty Scholars Program. She graduated with a university medal for her scholarship.

Since graduating, Claire has tutored linguistics and worked as a research assistant on different linguistics projects based at Griffith University and the School of Languages and Cultures at UQ. She has presented her Honours research at the Australian Languages Workshop and the Queensland Indigenous Languages Workshop, and has co-authored a paper in the Australian Journal of Linguistics.

Erin Gourlay on her graduation day

Erin graduated on 19 July 2017 with First Class Honours. Her majors were French and Political Science. She was a member of the “Phoenix” team in the Philip C Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, which lost in the quarter finals of the Australian rounds due to a scoring error, but were reinstated to compete in the world finals in Washington DC. She was also a member of the winning UQ team in the 2014 National AAT Moot Competition. In early 2017, Erin spent three months in Washington DC at the World Bank where she undertook a fellowship in the Integrity Vice Presidency – the World Bank’s anti-corruption division. She also spent a semester studying abroad in 2015 at Sciences Po in Paris.

Erin was awarded the David Jackson Trophy for Outstanding Advocacy (the law school’s highest mooting award) and the R J Bulley Prize for the highest marks in the Law of Evidence.She received two Dean’s Commendations.

Erin currently works as a paralegal at DLA Piper in Brisbane, where she will commence a graduate program in 2018. She has done work in the areas of international law, international dispute resolution, international law of the sea, and renewable energy projects.