The ASAA is saddened to hear of the loss of an important scholar of Indonesia, Hugh O’Neill from the University of Melbourne.
Hugh O’Neill passed away on Tuesday 15 March a few weeks before his 89th birthday. In his very self-effacing way Hugh was an important figure in the history of person-to-person relations between Australia and Indonesia. Among the pioneers of the Volunteer Graduate Scheme at the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), he went on to play a major part in the scheme’s later development as the Overseas Services Bureau with its Australian Volunteers Abroad program and on to Australian Volunteers International. As a lecturer in the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Architecture he taught generations of Indonesian students and promoted the study of Asian architecture. His former students went on to be leaders of the architecture profession in Indonesia, and Hugh kept up his connections with them long after his formal retirement. He had a passion for the arts and music of Indonesia and was a founder of the Indonesian Arts Society in Melbourne, the predecessor of the Museum of Indonesian Arts, Inc.