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  3 January 2012

On 3 January 2012, Dr William Norman Roebuck OAM, born on 28 March 1930, passed away at Hedley Sutton Community in Camberwell, Melbourne, at the age of 81.

Dr Roebuck's professional education and career spanned several decades, and commenced with his apprenticeship at Qantas at the age of 16. He was educated at Sydney Technical College (Diploma in Electrical Engineering), the University of New South Wales (BE and ME) and Monash University, where he received his MEd and PhD, in 1978 and 1988, respectively. Throughout his professional career, Bill Roebuck held numerous engineering, management and technical education posts.

He came to the sphere of our activities in engineering education in late 1989, when he joined the Australasian Association for Engineering Education (AAEE). AAEE was established and based in the School of Electrical Engineering at the University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia. Bill Roebuck was elected to the AAEE Executive Committee at the 1st AAEE Annual Convention and Conference, held at the University of Sydney in 1989 and continued on the Committee until his resignation in March 1994.

In 1991, Dr Roebuck was appointed to the Electrical Engineering Education Research Group (EEERG) based at the School of Electrical Engineering, University of Sydney, as Chief Education Services Officer, to assist the Group Director in the Engineering Continuing Education for Electrical Technology project, funded by the New South Wales Education Foundation.

While working at the EEERG, Bill was elected Secretary/Treasurer of the AAEE in December 1991, a position he held until his resignation. His involvement in the AAEE was critical in its early foundation and development. He also served on the Advisory Board of the Australasian Journal of Engineering Education (AJEE) from its foundation in 1990 until March 1994. During that time he contributed to engineering education by publishing numerous conference papers and journal articles, and by his involvement in committee work for local and international conferences on engineering and technology education.

Whilst with the EEERG, Dr Roebuck assisted its Director in setting up the International Faculty of Engineering (IFE) at the Technical University of Łódź in Poland, the first academic institution in the former eastern bloc, where the main language of instruction was English.

Dr Roebuck's exceptional achievements were recognised by the award of the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to education through technical industrial training programs and apprenticeships, and to the community.

Dr Roebuck was one of a few engineering educationists with formal qualifications in both engineering and education. With his passing, both the local and international engineering and technology education communities have lost an exceptional engineering and technology educator. We have lost a loyal and dedicated collaborator, and an amicable colleague and friend.

We wish to offer our sincere condolences to his wife Jean-Marie and family.

Farewell Bill, we will always remember you!

The photograph shows the late Dr Roebuck addressing one of the AAEE Annual Convention and Conferences.

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