National honour for 101-year-old scientist

David Goodall, who turns 102 in April and who has been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia, is believed to be the country’s oldest working scientist.
Picture: Martin Kennealey        www.communitypix.com.au   d449218
David Goodall, who turns 102 in April and who has been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia, is believed to be the country’s oldest working scientist. Picture: Martin Kennealey        www.communitypix.com.au d449218

An honorary research fellow at Edith Cowan University Joondalup, 101-year-old David Goodall was given the honour on Australia Day, recognising his contribution to plant ecology and natural resource management over the past 70 years.

Dr Goodall, who turns 102 in April, travels for an hour and a half by public transport every weekday to attend the university, where he reviews papers sent by other researchers.

“It’s the little way I can still contribute to science,” he said.

His career has taken him around the world, having held positions in the US, UK, Africa and Australia.

Until a few years ago, he worked out in the field and personally, was actively involved with several local theatre groups as a performer and director.

Dr Goodall said he found it “interesting but also very sad” that climate change had become a hot topic in recent years.

“What is sad is that it’s too late,” he said.

“They ought to have thought about it at the start of last century, then we would have been able to make some changes but now we can’t.”

He said his Australia Day appointment was “very nice” but was about more than just his own achievements.

“I am not proud of my personal contribution,” he said. “I am proud of the contribution that my profession has made in the field of ecology.”