The RCH Foundation is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Geoff Handbury AO in November 2019. A visionary philanthropist and dedicated supporter of the RCH, his commitment to the Centre for Adolescent Health was inspirational and changed so many lives.
The establishment of the perpetual Geoff and Helen Handbury Chair in Adolescent Health as a joint appointment at the University of Melbourne and The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) caps a lifetime of giving by the couple.
Now in his 90s, Geoff credits his late wife Helen with teaching him generosity. “She was a chip off her own mother,” said Geoff, “and that made me more thoughtful.”
In fact, Helen’s mother was Dame Elisabeth Murdoch who had a lifelong dedication to improving the health and wellbeing of children. Her association with the RCH began in 1933 and today is commemorated in the name of our campus partner, the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute.
“Professor Susan Sawyer appointed as the Chair in Adolescent Health at such a place of excellence as the RCH is a big step into the future,” said Geoff. “I’m delighted I got involved.”
The Chair’s position raises the profile of adolescent healthcare at the RCH, underpinned by the Department of Adolescent Medicine. Strong clinical leadership and expertise has further established the RCH as an adolescent friendly hospital.
Geoff has been a proud member of Melbourne Legacy since the 1950s and guided many fatherless Legacy children through adolescence; a time in life he recognises as particularly challenging.
“The greatest pleasure in my life is in what I’ve given away … in time, in money, and in helping guide young people through their adolescence,” continued Geoff. “I’ve given back because I’ve been so lucky to have healthy children and grandchildren.”