On the 14th August 2012 the newly re-designed and refurbished Derkenne Courtyard was re-opened to the University community.
The Derkenne Courtyard was originally named in 1990 in honour of Warren Derkenne (1933-1999), the former President of the University Union (1964-1966) and Warden of Convocation.
Warren Gerard Derkenne LLB (Syd), BA (Hons) (New) was educated at Newcastle Boys’ High School and majored in English at the University of Newcastle, from which he graduated with honours, second class first division, in 1968.
While he studied, he was President of the University’s Union and was involved in the planning of the Shortland Building, within which this very courtyard stands.
After graduating, Mr Derkenne remained active and involved with his alma mater, and made a significant contribution through his role as an alumnus. He became a convocation member of University Council in 1966 and on the 7 May 1971 was elected Warden of Convocation, succeeding Joe Talty. He was Warden until May 1974.
Through the Council and University committees, Mr Derkenne lent his expertise across the University on a number of important issues ranging from advocating for the establishment of a law school to overseeing the fundraising by Convocation to purchase the doors to our Great Hall. He retired from Council in 1983, and was awarded an honorary Master of Arts by the University in 1990.
The Derkenne Courtyard was officially unveiled and re-opened by the University of Newcastle’s Vice Chancellor Professor Caroline McMillen and Mrs Beverley Derkenne.
Given his contribution and passion for the University, it is apt that one of the most recognised and vital spaces on the Callaghan campus for the University community is named the Derkenne courtyard. It has long been a favourite spot for staff and students to relax, catch up with friends, listen to live music, or according to history, stage a few protests!
[We acknowledge the research assistance of Scott Brewer of the UoN50 Project and Kate Robinson in the Office of the Vice-Chancellor in the preparation of this post]