6 November 2008

A distinguished member of The University of Queensland’s community, Sir Bruce Watson AC, died on November 1, aged 80.

Sir Bruce was a UQ and King’s College alumnus, former member of the University Senate, former King’s College Council president and a UQ honorary doctorate recipient.

The Chief Justice of Queensland and Patron of the King’s College Foundation, the Hon Paul de Jersey AC praised Sir Bruce for his tireless and unselfish contribution to King’s College.

“Sir Bruce has been an integral part of King’s College for over 60 years,” Justice de Jersey said.

“He was passionate about his old college serving in various capacities including President of the College Council and more recently as Chairman of the Foundation. His tireless and unselfish contribution has made King’s the great college it is today.”

Current King’s College Master and CEO Greg Eddy said, “Bruce was a humble and fine gentleman whose contribution to King’s is without precedence. He will be sorely missed.”

Bruce Dunstan Watson was born in Stanthorpe on August 1, 1928, attending Toowoomba Grammar School before residing at King’s College from 1946 to 1949 while studying a Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical) at The University of Queensland.

After leaving UQ, he worked in the power supply industry in Tasmania then in Townsville for MIM’s Copper Refineries.

Sir Bruce then moved into the coal operations of MIM Holdings in Mt Isa and its Agnew nickel mine in Western Australia.

In 1980, Sir Bruce was appointed Managing Director of MIM Holdings, Chief Executive Officer in 1981 and Chairman in 1983, following Sir James Foots’ retirement.

He was knighted in 1985 in recognition of his distinguished service to Queensland industry.

Sir Bruce also received honorary doctorates from UQ and Griffith University.

Sir Bruce stayed involved with The University of Queensland, serving as a senator from 1990-92. After his retirement, he was elected to the King’s College Council in 1995, becoming President in 1996, a position he held until 2000.

During his period as President, the college expanded and in 1998 a new residential building, the Williams Building was completed to house an extra 28 students. He was personally involved with the Capital Appeal to raise funds for the new building.

In 2006, Sir Bruce became Chairman of the King’s College Foundation and was instrumental in the launching of the Centenary Building Appeal in 2007, which has raised in excess of $600,000 to date.

A donation by his family and the family of his cousin Alf McCulloch, also a Kingsman, will see a new terrace of the college dining room built as part of the Centenary Building named the McCulloch/Watson Terrace.

In his retirement years, Sir Bruce was involved as Chairman of the Queensland Institute of Medical Research, where he helped raise tens of millions of dollars.

His passion for charities extended to the Brisbane Lions Club, where he was a member for 51 years, the Scouts Association of Australia and Queensland Art Gallery Foundation, of which he was chairman.

Sir Bruce is survived by his wife, Lady June Watson, his two daughters Jenny and Sally and son Tim and four grandchildren. A memorial service will be held in his honour at Albert St Uniting Church on Monday, December 1 at 12.30pm.

Media: Scott Young at King’s College (07 3871 9826 or s.young@kings.uq.edu.au)