PhD student William Wong, reflected in the droplet, was part of the team that developed a spray-on material with a remarkable ability to repel water. This image won an international science photography prize. Photo by Stuart Hay.

PhD student William Wong, reflected in the droplet, was part of the team that developed a spray-on material with a remarkable ability to repel water. This image won an international science photography prize. Photo by Stuart Hay. 

A viewfinder on famous subjects

After more than three decades at ANU, Photographer Stuart Hay has vivid memories of the towering figures who have marched across the campus.

He had a front row seat as Nugget Coombs, Alec Hope and Sir John Crawford helped shape the University.

“When you stop to think about what these people have achieved, you realise it’s a very rewarding place to be,” he says.

Hay was also there, camera ready, for the arrival on campus of Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama and Princess Mary.

“The room at University House was full of VIPs for Princess Mary – I was the only photographer allowed in – and she chose to come and say hello to me, I was on a buzz for the rest of the day,” he says.

“The then Master of the House Emeritus Professor John Richards took a photo of me with Princess Mary and it’s on my Mum’s fridge.”

Hay retired at the end of 2017 after 36 years at ANU, the last four working for Strategic Communications and Public Affairs in the Chancelry Building.

A highpoint in his career was the visit in 2000 by Nelson Mandela, the former President of South Africa, to receive an Honorary Doctorate.