[ASC-list] Peter Pockley

David Ellyard david at davidellyard.com
Mon Aug 12 05:44:02 UTC 2013

I am very sad to hear this. "Pockers" got me into science communication when
he brought me (and Robyn Williams) late in 1972 into the ABC Radio Science
Unit to cover the last mission of the Apollo program. A  very early memory
was joining him and Jenny at their house in Glebe to watch the "Its Time"
election. Peter soon moved into other things but his influence on me was
profound. I am pleased to remember that with my encouragement he was made a
Life Member of the ASC some years ago. A genuine pioneer and a mentor to so


David Ellyard. 


From: asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au
[mailto:asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au] On Behalf Of Kylie Walker
Sent: Monday, 12 August 2013 1:44 PM
To: Guy Nolch; asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au
Subject: Re: [ASC-list] Peter Pockley


Peter will be missed by the Australian Academy of Science. He was a faithful
attendee at many Academy events, and never failed to attend and cover our
annual Science at the Shine Dome meeting. And to tell us when our newsletter
needed subbing!


Peter was the first and only journalist to be awarded the Academy's highest
honour, The Academy Medal. His citation for that medal might assist those
writing obituaries:



 <http://www.science.org.au/> AAS-plain_rgb

Kylie Walker  Director, Communications and Outreach

Australian Academy of Science  Ian Potter House, Gordon Street, Acton ACT
2601  |  GPO Box 783, Canberra ACT 2601

T (02) 6201 9427  M 0405 229 152 F (02) 6201 9494  E
<mailto:kylie.walker at science.org.au> kylie.walker at science.org.au
<http://www.science.org.au/> www.science.org.au

Disclaimer: This message is intended for the addressee named and may contain
confidential information, which also may be legally privileged. 

If you are not the intended recipient, please notify the sender and delete.






From: asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au
[mailto:asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au] On Behalf Of Guy Nolch
Sent: Monday, 12 August 2013 1:23 PM
To: asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au
Subject: Re: [ASC-list] Peter Pockley


Peter has been a wonderful mentor for me since the time I first started out
as a trainee editor on the ANZAAS journal Search. 


My first encounters with him involved an ongoing fight with technology as he
tried to submit his copy from Sydney via modem. It never worked and we had
to retype his copy off the fax, at least for the first year. While he was
understandably "prickly" in those telephone encounters, when I first met him
at an ANZAAS Congress I found him much warmer.


He was a stickler for detail, with each submission a running battle to keep
him to length as he tried to fit in every fact and quote. Even his final
blog in May, a three-parter in conjunction with Stewart Fist, was somewhat
longer than anticipated!


Peter fought the good fight for science, and will be sorely missed. I've
quickly put together an obituary at australasianscience.com.au and would
appreciate any additions, clarifications, dates etc., as well as online
comments for posterity.


Guy Nolch

Editor, Australasian Science

Box 2155 Wattletree Rd PO

VIC 3145 Australia


Phone: 61-3-9500 0015

Fax: 61-3- 9500 0255

Web: www.australasianscience.com.au

ABN 46 006 591 304







On 12/08/2013, at 12:51 PM, Toss Gascoigne wrote:


Sad news indeed.


For several decades Peter flew the flag for science funding and science
communication.  He was one of the best-informed journalists, and scientists
everywhere have much to thank him for his relentless questioning of
politicians and policy-makers.  He must have felt lonely in the Budget
lock-ups, pouring over science and research funding figures when those
around him had other concerns.


Peter was passionate about science communication, a great friend of ANZAAS,
and was one of the leaders in an attempt to start a science communicators'
group in the mid-1980s.  That group didn't get off the ground - his timing
was unfortunate, being 7 years before the popularisation of the internet and
easy email access - but the seeds of an idea were planted and ASC came into
being in 1994.


He flew the flag for Australian science in international circles, at AAAS
meetings in the US and BA meetings in England.


And then of course there was his pioneering work with ABC's Science Unit and
the Science Show....


Peter wasn't always the easiest person to work with, prickly at times, and
totally fearless in what he said.  This led to some monumental battles, one
over the proper place for ASC in its early days and how it should complement
the work of other groups with long-established histories, notably ANZAAS.
Things were resolved in the end, and he became a friend and supporter of


When the history of science communication in Australia is written, the
significant role Peter played will gain a proper recognition.


Toss Gascoigne


Toss Gascoigne and Associates

56 Vasey Cres



P. 02 6249 7400

M. 0408 704 442

E. director at tossgascoigne.com.au

W. tossgascoigne.com.au <http://tossgascoigne.com.au/> 

Skype. tossgascoigne


ABN:  31 068 557 522



Begin forwarded message:


From: Susannah Eliott <Susannah at smc.org.au>

Subject: [ASC-list] Sad news re Peter Pockley

Date: 12 August 2013 11:52:44 AM AEST

To: "asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au" <asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au>


Dear ASCers,


Peter Pockley passed away peacefully yesterday. Many of you will know Peter
as the very early founder of the ABC Science Unit in the 1960s. Indeed we
could call him the father of science communication in Australia and a true
pioneer. He mentored many Australian scientists and science communicators
over decades (including me) and was an established writer and broadcaster in
his own right. He is survived by his wife Jenny, daughter Kate and two


The scicom landscape won't be the same without him!




Dr Susannah Eliott

Chief Executive Officer


Australian Science Media Centre (AusSMC)

Street address: The Science Exchange, 55 Exchange Place, ADELAIDE SA 5000

Postal address: PO Box 237, RUNDLE MALL SA 5000

Ph: (08) 7120 8660 | Mob: 0424 676 136 |  <mailto:susannah at smc.org.au>
susannah at smc.org.au |  <http://www.smc.org.au/> smc.org.au


The Australian Science Media Centre (AusSMC) is an independent,
not-for-profit service for journalists, working to improve links between the
news media and the scientific community. We aim for a better informed
society with greater access to evidence-based science. The national centre
is supported by a wide variety of sectors with each contribution capped at
10% of total running costs. For a full list of current supporters visit our


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