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Heritage Guide to The Geelong College






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LAWLER, Donald Blair (1930- )

LAWLER, Donald Blair (1930- )


Don Lawler, journalist, has led an extensive and colourful working career in the newspaper industry and government, both in Australia and overseas.

'Don' Lawler (Rowing, 1949).

'Don' Lawler (Rowing, 1949).

'Don' first found his interest in journalism as the editor of the Geelong College student newspaper Chez Nous which, in it's second series, was published at College during the late 1940s. At the time, some teaching staff regarded the newspaper as a cheeky and scurrilous publication. 'Don' completed his schooling at College and left to begin training as a reporter with The Geelong Advertiser. He later worked in Melbourne on The Sun newspaper , including five years chasing ambulances, fires, crime and air crashes on Police Rounds. He then moved to The Age, also in Melbourne, as a sub editor. In 1960, he moved to Canberra to join RAAF Public Relations, then to the Department of Immigration with postings to Australia House, London, Scandinavia, and several times to Holland with responsibilities in France, Belgium, Yugoslavia, Turkey and U.S.A.

'Don' Lawler, c1949

'Don' Lawler, c1949

'Don' was a long-serving president of the Australian Journalists Association (AJA) in Canberra, receiving a gold honour award for meritorious service in 1981. He was with the Department of Media until moving to the Federal Government’s counter-terrorist and VIP protection organisation known as PSCC. He pursued his interest in politics by taking secondment to the National Media Liaison Service before eventually retiring and moving to Geelong. He ‘retired’ again in 2010 by moving to live at the Bay of Islands, New Zealand.

'Don' attended the College as a boarder from September 1940 until 1949 with his brother, George, after escaping the worst of the Blitz in England where he had attended the short-lived Preparatory School of St Edward the Confessor at Foxhunt Manor in Waldron, Sussex. They were the first of five Lawler brothers to board at the school and were followed by six of their children over some 20 years.

An enthusiastic bush walker, Don, with David New and Neville Leith were the College Exploration Society group who 'found' Victoria's then mysterious Lake Tarli Karng in 1948. With College parties Don also explored Wilsons Promontory and was a member of the first successful Federation Peak climbing expedition of 1949.

At College, Don was a Lieutenant in the Cadet Corps, a Senior House Prefect and House vice-captain, and rowed in the sixth position in the 1948 and 1949 First Rowing VIIIs. In 1949, he was Captain of Boats. His brother, George rowed with him in the 1949 crew. More recently, Don has been a strong supporter and committee member of the OGCA and was an early member of the commissioning committee to publish 'The way to the Stars: 150 Years of The Geelong College' in 2011.


Sources: Don Lawler, 2014. OGC 1945. Last updated 29 August 2014.
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