It is with regret we note the death of Distinguished Life Member George Weston. Members Greg Clark and Stephen Cimpoeru have written of George’s enduring contribution to the Association
George was a metallurgist who spent his working life at the Materials Research Laboratory (MRL) at Maribyrnong Victoria, part of the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO).
George commenced work at MRL after graduating from RMIT in 1970 with a Diploma in Secondary Metallurgy. He was involved with a number of areas of research, including solidification, particularly in relation to the Electroslag Remelting (ESR) process for production of high quality steels, metal surfacing, aircraft sabotage while on secondment to the UK, the interaction of materials and explosives, fire and smoke studies on the HMAS Derwent, and finally management of the work concerned with the ballistic protection of land vehicles
George was a steward and Chair of the Professional Officers Association (POA) Maribyrnong Committee for many years and was a Victorian POA committee member and Federal Council Member. An active recruitment campaign meant that around 90 per cent of professional staff at MRL were members of the POA. Conditions as diverse as flex time and improved salary structures were achieved under his stewardship.
He took the initiative in fighting for the undervalued scientists and engineers at DSTO with a resounding success that made a significant difference to many staff in their then current financial situation and professional standing, and ultimately to a richer retirement.
In 1992 the POA amalgamated with the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) and the members were assimilated into the CPSU Professional Division.
By 1994, dismayed by the diversion of resources away from the Professional Division, a majority the Victorian Branch committee led a successful campaign to dis-amalgamate from the CPSU leading to the formation of the Professional Officers Association of Victoria (POAV).
George played a key role in this exercise and was awarded his Distinguished Life Membership for his untiring efforts and leadership. Ultimately, POAV members joined the Professionals Australia and the subsequent formation of the Australian Government Division of Professionals Australia.
George made a significant difference to the professional lives of many in a practical and substantive manner. He did this for colleagues without seeking honour or reward because he felt it was the right thing to do. George died on 20th June 2014 after a long battle with cancer. He will be remembered fondly as a friend, a colleague and a fighter for simple justice. He is survived by his wife Judith, two sons and a daughter.