$3 million gift to benefit medical, health and agricultural research at Murdoch

November 24, 2015

Mr Alan Peacocke A Western Australian veteran has given an estimated $3 million to support medical, health and agricultural research at Murdoch University.

Alan Villiers Peacocke passed away in February at the age of 103 after supporting scholarships at Murdoch for almost 20 years.

Murdoch University’s Acting Vice Chancellor Professor Andrew Taggart said that Mr Peacocke was a great friend to the University.

“We are deeply saddened by Mr Peacocke’s passing and we are honoured that he chose to continue his support for medical and agricultural research with a gift in his Will,” Professor Taggart said.

“Mr Peacocke’s gift is the largest single bequest the University has received, and we will carefully use his gift to support research that will benefit our community for generations to come.”

Mr Peacocke was born in 1911, and as a young man, he worked in the Wheatbelt region before enlisting in the 2/28 Battalion of the Australian Imperial Forces (AIF) in December 1940.

He departed for the Middle East in January 1941 and returned by hospital ship to Australia in July 1942. He was discharged from the AIF in 1946.

Alan moved from Perth to Tasmania for the cooler climate but maintained connections to Perth through his sister Iris, who remained in Maylands all her life.

Originally working for the Prices Commission, Alan was soon transferred to the Repatriation Department (now the Department of Veteran Affairs) where he worked for 30 years.

Mr Peacocke was well known for his passion for gardening and active support of the community through the Causeway Club, the Midway Progress Association and the Sorrell Gardening Club. .

Mr Peacocke and his father shared an admiration for the writings of Sir Walter Murdoch so when he inherited his sister’s estate, he was inspired to contact Murdoch University to discuss how he might support students and research.

In 1999, Mr Peacocke and Murdoch University established the Alan and Iris Peacocke Research Foundation to support doctoral research scholarships in the areas of agriculture, horticulture and medical research.

PhD student Caroline Nilson, who is the current recipient of the Alan and Iris Peacocke Research Scholarship, said the scholarship was invaluable to her study.

“The Alan & Iris Peacocke scholarship not only enabled me to devote 3 years to full-time study, but it enabled me to support an Aboriginal community to develop a community owned and controlled health promotion program, which continues to run today,” Ms Nilson said.

“The flow on effect of his support has mobilised and enabled the community to become proactive and self-determined and make changes for improved health and wellbeing.”

Over the past 20 years Mr Peacocke donated more than $300,000 to Murdoch to support PhD scholarships and the development of the Institute of Immunology and Infectious Diseases.

Mr Peacocke's family and friends gathered for the commemoration of Peacocke garden.Mr Peacocke also chose to make a generous bequest to Murdoch so that the Alan and Iris Peacocke Research Foundation will continue to fund research scholarships in perpetuity and to support other strategic initiatives at Murdoch University.

Murdoch University recently commemorated the life and generosity of Mr Peacocke by dedicating a garden in his memory.

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