McGeary named 2017 OHA Medallist

Geoff McGeary ('59) has been announced as the winner of the prestigious Old Haileyburians Association (OHA) Medal. The medal was awarded for the 10th time at the Founders Day assembly, held today in Aikman Hall at Keysborough.

The Old Haileyburians Association Medal is awarded to an Old Haileyburian in recognition and appreciation of exceptional achievement to the community beyond expectation in their field of endeavour. Given that there are now in excess of 16000 members of the Old Haileyburians Association, to be awarded this medal is a major achievement in one’s life.

Geoff McGeary graduated from Haileybury in 1959, at a time when there were only 600 students in our Senior school and 38 members of staff.

Geoff is the owner of Australian Pacific Touring (APT) which has been a McGeary family business since the 1920’s, when Geoff’s father, Bill built a bus body on a tray truck after a tram strike affected the city of Melbourne. Since then APT have pioneered Australia’s dynamic travel industry via a diverse range of modes.

In 1961, aged 19, Geoff obtained a special under-age bus driver’s licence and took over McGeary’s Parlour Coaches. With his entrepreneurial spirit, he seized on Australia’s increasing appetite for domestic tourism and began his pioneering camping holidays to Queensland and Central Australia.

In the mid 70’s the company was renamed Australian Pacific Touring and took its first foray into international travel with trips to New Zealand followed by Canada and Alaska in 1991. It was here that APT moved beyond its traditional coach touring to include travel by luxury train and cruise ship.

In 2005, Geoff saw an opportunity for a new style of travel and launched APT’s innovative Europe River Cruise business. Since then APT has continued to commission new ships and offer new destinations in Asia and the Mekong as well as the US and South America. In 2014, Geoff’s services to Australian tourism were recognised with the Order of Australia Medal and he has also been honoured as an Australian Tourism Legend at the Australian Tourism Awards.

In an era where we encourage our students to be entrepreneurial and show enterprise and innovationit is truly fitting that the 2017 OHA Medal be awarded to a true entrepreneur – one who had a vision and brought it to reality.

Previous winners of the Medal are as follows;

2008 : Hon Justice Lex Lasry ('66)

2009 : Mr. Tony Taggart ('69)

2010 : Dr. Ian Watterson ('75)

2011 : Professor Geoffrey Cleghorn ('71)

2012 : Professor Simon Molesworth AO AM ('71)

2013 : Mr. Ian Henderson ('70)

2014: Dr Ross Sundberg AM QC (’60)

2015 : Mr. Robin Fildes AM OAM ('58)

2016 : Dr. David Scrimgeour AM ('67)