Obituary for Professor Garry Willgoose (1958-2021)

We reproduce here the tribute distributed by the ANZGG to Prof Garry Willgoose, University of Newcastle, Australia, who passed away early in 2021. The IAG were saddened to hear of his passing.

“Professor Garry Willgoose passed away on 26 February 2021, after a 22-month battle with brain cancer. Though many colleagues know about the sad news, we have become aware that others do not.

Garry was undoubtedly a world leader in fluvial geomorphology and modelling landscape evolution. His work has been global in its impact, ranging from Hydrology to Earth and Planetary Surface Processes, and the connections between both. In 2018 Professor Willgoose published Principles of Soilscape and Landscape Evolution (Cambridge University Press). Many of his peers believe this book will become a classic, and a must-read for new generations of landscape modellers.

Garry was a gifted communicator. This along with his passion for the environment made him an inspiring lecturer and sought-after commentator on the local media. He had the rare distinction of pioneering a new field and bringing fundamental change to industry practice. His influence went well beyond the research community. He placed a high value on translating his research into forms that had practical value in environmental management. His SIBERA landscape evolution model saw its first industry application in designing a stable cap to contain tailings at Ranger Uranium mine in the Northern Territory, Australia in 1993. It has since evolved to become the mining industry standard for assessing rehabilitated landforms following cessation of open-cut mining. Due to his outstanding career, in December 2020, Garry became a fellow of the American Geophysical Union.

Garry was an inspirational teacher who was loved by students. He always took time to listen and to explain complex problems in language appropriate to the level of understanding of the listener. He was a great mentor to younger academics. His open mindedness, deep knowledge, and multi-disciplinary view were highly appreciated. He worked assiduously at developing cross-disciplinary groups, research initiatives, and teaching curriculum. He retired due to ill-health in October 2020.

Garry was a generous colleague and a valued friend to many. He will be missed.”

Written by Greg Hancock, Anthony Kiem, George Kuczera, Jose Rodriguez, Patricia Saco, Mark Stewart, Danielle Verdon-Kidd, Welivitiyage Don Welivitiya and In-Young Yeo, from the College of Engineering, Science and Environment, the University of Newcastle, Australia.