Distinguished Past Students' Awards Dinner

The Distinguished Past Students’ Awards Dinner is an annual event that recognises the actions and achievements of past students who have gone above and beyond, and in doing so, encourage aspirations and ideals of the highest community standards and values. It is the School community’s pre-eminent means of recognising outstanding achievement and contribution by Past Students. 

The Rockhampton Grammar School Distinguished Past Students’ Awards offer a variety of award categories to celebrate the diverse achievements of the School’s past students. Award categories are:

  • Distinguished Past Student Award
  • Past Students’ Association Outstanding Achiever Award
  • Central Queensland Community Contribution Award
  • Past Staff Life Memberships of the Past Students’ Association.
How to Nominate

Any one is welcome to nominate an RGS past student for the awards listed above. We invite you to download the Awards Criteria and Nomination Form and submit it via email to paststudents@rgs.qld.edu.au 

2021 Distinguished Past Students' Awards Dinner

When: Saturday 24 July 2021, 6:00pm

Where: Memorial Assembly Hall, RGS

Tickets: $50pp. Tickets can be purchased here.

Nominations: Nominations for the 2021 Awards are now closed. 

If you would like further information on the event, please contact Rachael McDonald via email (rmcdonald@rgs.qld.edu.au) or phone (07) 4936 0776.

Past Winners

The Rockhampton Grammar School Distinguished Past Students’ Awards have recognised many successful, inspirational and honourable recipients since its inception. We invite you to peruse the 2019 Award winners below. The 2020 Awards Dinner did not take place due to Covid-19 restrictions at the time.

2019 Distinguised Past Student Award
Andrew Colvin (1987)

Andrew Colvin’s education at RGS started in Year 8 in 1983 before graduating from Senior in 1987. Raised in Rockhampton, Andrew would embark on a career as a police officer. In 1990 he joined the Australian Federal Police (AFP). On 2 October 2014 the former Rockhampton Grammar School student was appointed the AFP’s 7th Commissioner. Andrew’s early years in the AFP were in Sydney where he investigated a range of crime. 

In 2002 Andrew was promoted to Superindendent where he assumed the responsibility of National Coordinator for Counter Terrorism. During this time he oversaw Australia’s investigations in the 2002 Bali bombings, 2003 Jakarta Marriott bombing and the 2004 Australian Embassy bombing. Andrew was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for his contribution to the Bali bombings investigation. In 2005 Andrew commenced as the AFP Chief of Staff where he had oversight of government relations, policy and strategy, business analysis, media communications, legal and professional standards. 

Andrew’s work was further recognised in 2006 when he was appointed Assistant Commissioner. Andrew was also named in the Queen’s honours list in 2008 and that same year was awarded the Australian Police Medal. The following year Andrew was promoted to Deputy Commissioner. Andrew stepped down from his role as Australian Federal Police Commissioner in 2019.

2019 Distinguished Past Student Award
Cameron Forbes (1956)

Cameron Forbes was born in Rockhampton, Queensland and educated at RGS, Monash University and the Australian National University. Cameron was an all-rounder at School. He was a School Prefect, who was also a school debating champion, Under Officer in the Cadets and played in the Senior Football Team. Cameron fast moved through the journalism ranks when he was appointed foreign editor of The Age and also held the positions of European and Asian Correspondent. Cameron was also a Washington correspondent for The Australian. 

Cameron has covered rebellions, civil wars and wars in Northern Ireland, Portugal, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, South Africa, Bougainville, Myanmar, the Middle East, Afghanistan and Rwanda. He has interviewed many world leaders, including Nelson Mandela, Rajiv Gandhi, Benazir Bhutto, George Bush and Benjamin Netanyahu. Cameron was awarded the Perkin Award for Australian Journalist of the Year (1986), for his  coverage of Asia; the Canadian Award for Journalistic Merit (1991), for his international coverage including the Middle East; the United Nations Association Media Peace Award (1991), for coverage of Aboriginal affairs; and Australia’s Walkley Award for the Most Outstanding Contribution to Journalism (2010).

 Cameron has written four books: Hellfire, the Story of Australia, Japan and the Prisoners of War; Under the Volcano, the Story of Bali; The Korean War, Australia in the Giants’ Playground; and Australia on Horseback, the Story of the Horse and the Making of a Nation.

2019 Outstanding Achiever Award
Greg Malone (1985)

Dr Greg Malone has embraced medical technology since graduating from the University of Queensland in 1992. Greg’s junior medical training was undertaken in Cairns and Innisfail before he advanced to surgical training in Brisbane, where he would later complete a Masters of Medical Science degree with UQ. This research focused on urinary tract cancer, with an emphasis on pathways of cancer spread. 

Today, Greg is a Fellow of the Royal Australian College of Surgeons, consulting in both Brisbane and Rockhampton with the Brisbane Urology Clinic. In 2002 he completed his Fellowship at the Institute of Urology and Nephrology (London) and in 2008 completed Post Fellowship training in the Da Vinci Robotic Surgical System.  In 2010 Greg performed the first robotic partial nephrectomy (kidney preservation/ renal cancer) surgery. Out of the operating theatre Greg has been a mentor to American Medical Systems. 

Greg’s drive in the medical professional as seen him elected chairman of the Australian and New Zealand Association of Urological Surgeons (ANZAU) and he was also admitted to the Court of Examiners of the Royal Australian College of Surgeons.

2019 Central Queensland Community Contribution Award
Hilary Mercer (1962)

Dr Hilary Mercer has established himself as one of Central Queensland’s most respected medical professionals with the paediatrician a familiar face to many Central Queensland families since starting his practice in Rockhampton. Born and bred in Rockhampton, Hilary’s education at RGS  encompassed a love of running, literature and art. He also played the violin and piano, was hooker on the rugby team, and was a keen marksman.   

On completing Senior studies, the School advised Hilary to follow a career in banking or architecture, but he then had an interest in biology  and zoology. After graduating from RGS Hilary started a Forestry scholarship at the University of Queensland, which lasted a short time before pursuing his interests in medicine.  Hilary graduated in 1969 and next studied at the Royal College of Physicians in London before returning to Rockhampton as the city hospital’s first full-time Physician. His early responsibilities were intensive care and paediatrics, which included training in paediatrics at the Sydney Children’s Hospital before returning to Rockhampton as a consultant paediatrician.  

In a Capricornus Quarterly interview Hilary said, “It’s a wonderful life being a doctor here in regional Queensland. {As a student and young doctor} we had the best of it - an enormous variety of work.”

2019 Past Staff Life Membership Award
Arthur Butler

Mr Arthur Butler was appointed the sixth Headmaster of RGS on Monday, 22 May, 1972. The School was an all-boys school at that time until returning to co-education in 1977. Mr Butler arrived with 19 years of school-mastering, 12 years of which were spent in Queensland schools, including Cavendish Road State High School and Brisbane Church of England Grammar School. Mr Butler arrived at RGS from Trinity Grammar in Sydney, where he served as Senior House Master, Deputy Headmaster, and Acting Headmaster. 

Passionate about quality education,  Mr Butler also coached rugby union.  In his farewell to the Seniors of 1972 he wrote, “Every school day gives its chance.”  Mr Butler and his wife Carol,  guided a school with a long history and on departing, he acknowledged both those before him and provided insight into future generations at the School: “The Rockhampton school image is shining brightly. It can be likened to a torch that has shed both warmth and light to man.  Every school wants to establish itself - and indeed needs to evaluate, and if necessary, re-establish itself; for to stand still is to go backwards.”