Legends of State High


Legends of State High was a vision of 1964 School Captain, Paul 'Porky' Morgan. One of his dreams was to highlight the achievements of past students that he felt could be motivational for students in the years to come.

We inducted the inaugural Legends of State High in 2007.

The Legends of State High honour board is located in the foyer of the Indoor Sports Complex and a Legends of State High display is in the school museum. 

Meet our Legends

Mr Paul Morgan

Businessman and stockbroker

Paul graduated in 1964 as School Captain. 'Porky', as his friends fondly called him, represented Queensland in rugby league during his first year out of school.

A stockbroker by trade, he was credited for bringing the stock market to 'mum and dad investors' and co-founding the Brisbane Broncos.

Paul passed away in 2001 and following his death, we created the Legends of State High wall.

Ms Hayley Lewis OAM

Olympic silver medallist—swimming

Hayley graduated in 1991, and during her final year, captained the Girls' Swimming Team.

In 1990, at only 15, Hayley became a household name winning 5 gold medals at the Commonwealth Games. She went on to win 2 medals in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics—silver in the 800m freestyle and bronze in the 400m freestyle.

Today, Hayley enjoys a career in the television industry, owns her own gift shop, and is the proud mum of 2 boys.

Mr Duncan Armstrong OAM

Olympic gold medallist—swimming

Duncan graduated in 1985 and held the title of Swimming Captain.

At 20, Duncan became an Australian icon bringing home a gold and a silver medal from the 1988 Seoul Olympics. He has won a number of prestigious awards including Young Australian of the Year, a Centenary Medal and a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).

Today, Duncan has a successful career in the media.

Mr David Wilson

Australian and Queensland rugby union captain

David graduated in 1984.

He captained the Wallabies 9 times throughout his Rugby Union career. David managed to win every international trophy available to an Australian Test player, which included Bledisloe Cup series wins in 1992, 1994, 1998, 1999 and 2000, a World Cup in 1999 and a Tri Nations Series win in 2000.

David’s injuries forced an early retirement at 35. He now works as a businessman for a global company.

Mr Jon Sieben OAM

Olympic gold medallist—swimming

Jon graduated in 1983.

He became a national name in his infamous David verses Goliath 200m butterfly swim at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Beating all odds, he took out the gold medal beating the race favourite, Michael Gross of Germany.

He was the Australian 50m, 100m and 200m butterfly champion and was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his services to swimming.

Today, Jon manages the Australian Mens’ Water Polo Team.

Mr Ian Healy AO

Australian cricket vice-captain and wicket keeper

Ian graduated in 1981.

Perhaps the most successful wicket keeper of all time, he played for Australia for more than 10 years. Missing just one Test over his career (because of a broken thumb), he collected 5 world records along the way.

Ian holds the record for the most dismissals by a keeper in Test history with his final tally of 395 made up of 366 catches and 29 stumpings.

Today, Ian is a television commentator, who is also involved in special appearances and speaking engagements. He is also the Chair of Aspirations4Kids, a not-for-profit organisation that assists Queensland school children facing hardship.

Mr Wally Lewis AM

Australian and Queensland rugby league captain

Wally graduated in 1977, and during his final year, captained the Boys' First XV Rugby Team.

Wally, also known as 'The King', is an inspirational former rugby league player whose feats on the football field have gone down in history. Wally‘s countless career highlights include captaining Australia 23 times, leading the Kangaroos on an undefeated Ashes tour, 31 State of Origin games and 33 Tests for Australia. In 2011, he was awarded the prestigious Queensland Great Award.

Today, Wally works as a sports presenter and NRL commentator.

Dr Andrew Liveris

World CEO, Dow Chemicals

Dr Liveris graduated in 1971.

He is a recognised global business leader, transforming Dow Chemicals from a cyclical chemicals manufacturing company into a novel enterprise. His achievements span across prestigious committees, including the Board of Directors for IBM and the Special Olympics, a member of the US President's Export Council, and the United States Council for International Business.

Dr Liveris received the Expatriate Achievement Award in 2008 and today he still holds the positions of President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for The Dow Chemical Company.

Professor Gary Roubin

Internationally recognised cardiologist and developer of the heart stent

Professor Roubin graduated in 1965.

He is internationally recognised for pioneering the development of stents for blocked arteries, and developing the techniques of carotid stenting and embolic protection devices.

His ground-breaking research helps millions of people around the world. ​

Professor Roubin is currently the Director and Physician in Chief of the Cardiovascular Service Line, Continuum Cardiovascular Centers of New York.

Dr Alan Laws

Internationally recognised doctor of anaesthesiology

Dr Laws graduated in 1953 as Dux of the School.

As a clinician-scientist, Dr Laws studied the effects of anaesthesia on breathing mechanics. He was heavily involved with the examination process and in 1977, was elected Chair of the Royal College Witten Test Committee.

He was later appointed Chief Examiner in Anaesthesia in 1980. Under his influence, examinations became more clinically orientated—a process which continues to this day.

Dr Laws passed away in January 1995.

Ms Norma Croker Fleming

Olympic gold medallist — athletics

Norma Croker graduated in the class of 1952.

Norma was the first Queensland woman​ to win an Olympic gold medal. In the months leading up to the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, she had a triumphant win against the world record holder for 110 yards. Following this, and with little formal training, her team won the 4x100m Olympic relay.

Norma passed away in August 2019, aged 84.

Air Marshal Ray Funnell AC

Chief of Air Staff Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) 1987–1992

Ray graduated in 1952, and the following year began his career with the RAAF as an Officer Cadet.

He had many different roles within the RAAF, such as being an Operational Pilot and the Vice Chief of the Defence Force. His career highlight came in 1987 when he was appointed Chief of Air Staff.

Retiring from the RAAF in 1992, Ray still involves himself with government defence and security projects in Australia and overseas, as well as immigration issues.

Professor Lawrie Powell AC

Internationally recognised researcher in liver diseases, and Director of Queensland Institute of Medical Research

Professor Powell graduated in 1952 and is now globally recognised for his contributions to liver research. He has won a gold medal from the Canadian Liver Foundation and in 1990, the Companion of the Order of Australia medal.

Professor Powell also influenced the successful development and planning of a new Comprehensive Cancer Research Centre at Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR). The Centre officially opened in September 2001, and at capacity can house almost 1,000 scientists and support staff. In 2002, he was presented the Queensland Great Award.

Today, Professor Powell is still involved with medical research projects with hospitals and universities.

Mr William Robinson AO


William graduated in 1951.

Winning 2 Archibald Prizes—in 1987 and 1995—William is a prominent painter in the art world. His national fame grew in 1983 when several of his works featured in Sydney’s Australian Perspecta exhibition. In 2004, William received the Queensland Great Award.

According to William, ‘An artist does not retire’ and he continues to paint today.

Mr Patrick Thomas AM MBE

Conductor and musician

Patrick graduated in 1949.

Recognised with awards such as the Member of the Order of Australia (AM) and Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), Patrick's long association with ABC Orchestras, and as guest conductor of many famous orchestras overseas, were a major part of his distinguished career.

He was the only Queenslander to hold the post as Chief Conductor of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra.

Patrick remained active as an author, poet, broadcast presenter, and was a Patron of the Music Teachers' Association of NSW.

In August 2017, Patrick passed away. He was aged 85.

Hon. William Hayden AC

Governor-General of Australia​

William graduated in 1949.

He had a successful career in parliament from 1961 to 1988, the peak of which was in 1989 when he took up the role of Governor General of Australia.

During his time in parliament, he successfully introduced Medibank—Australia's first universal health insurance system—and the single mother's pension.

The Honourable William Hayden​ retired in 1996 and now runs a cattle farm.

Mr Robin Gibson


Robin graduated in 1947.

He was known as the man who helped transform Brisbane, turning our eyes to the river and creating the bustling cultural hub.

His building designs include the Queensland Art Gallery, the Queensland Museum and State Library, the Queensland Performing Arts Complex (QPAC) and Brisbane's Queen Street Mall. Robin's work has been honoured on 27 occasions for meritorious architecture by the Royal Australian Institute of Architects. ​Mr Gibson passed away in March 2014, aged 83.

General Eva Burrows AC

World leader of the Salvation Army for 2 terms

Eva graduated in 1946.

In 1986, Eva was elected as General of The Salvation Army. Not only was she the youngest person ever elected, but was also the second woman to ever serve in this role.

General Burrows' policy accomplishments included the return of The Salvation Army to communist countries (which had previously banned its ministry), and the restructuring and separation of the International Headquarters and United Kingdom territories.

She had a willingness to spend time with people, no matter their status, and when she retired in 1993, she was known as the people's general.

She continued to work with Melbourne’s disadvantaged until she was 82. General Burrows passed away in March 2015, aged 85.

Sir Leo Hielscher AC

Pre-eminent public servant, past Head of Queensland Treasury, Head of Queensland Treasury Corporation, and Queensland Industry Development Corporation (Australia).

Sir Leo graduated in 1941.

He had a long and successful career in the public sector. Primarily working in finance, he was responsible for the development and funding of the state's renowned employees superannuation scheme. He has been acclaimed as one of the key figures responsible for transforming Queensland's economy over the past 40 years.

In 2007, Sir Leo was presented with the Queensland Great Award, and in 2010, was recognised for his achievements when the Gateway Bridge was renamed in his honour.

Mr William McLean

Australian and Queensland rugby union captain

William graduated in 1933.

He served 6 years with the Australian Imperial Force. Once home, he moved on to captain Australia and Queensland in rugby union. He captained five Tests for the Wallabies, and led the side to tour the United Kingdom in 1947–1948. The McLean family has played 77 rugby Tests between them.

William passed away in 1996.


Sir Sydney Sunderland

Medical researcher, university academic and government consultant

Sir Sydney graduated in 1929.

He was Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Melbourne University for many years whilst actively researching in the field of nerves and nerve injuries. Widely published, an international medical society was named in his honour.

Serving on many government health, university and military committees, he played a key role in the establishment of the Australian Academy of Science where he was one of 23 Foundation Fellows.

Sir Sydney passed away in 1993, aged 83.

Legends inducted in 2014

Legends are inducted into the program as we continue to recognise former students for their achievements. We inducted nine new Legends of State High in July 2014. The next Legends of State High will be inducted in 2021, our centenary year. 

Mr Brett Dean

Composer, violist and conductor

Brett graduated in 1978.

Based in Melbourne and Berlin, he is one of the most internationally performed composers of his generation.

With over 56 compositions, he won the Grawemeyer Award for music composition in 2009 for his violin concerto 'The Lost Art of Letter Writing', and received the Elise L. Stoeger Prize in 2011 from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, New York.

More recently, he was the Composer in Residence at the 2013/14 Grafenegg Festival.

Professor Martin Green AM


Professor Green graduated in 1965 as Dux of the School.

He’s had a successful career working on the development of silicon solar cells. In the mid-1980s, the Solar Photovoltaics Group, a group he established, succeeded in producing a 20% efficient silicon cell. Under his guidance, the group improved the performance of silicon solar cells by more than 50% from what had previously been considered a mature technology. His group holds a number of world records for solar cell performance.

In 2010, Professor Green was awarded the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Eureka Prize for Leadership in Science.

Mr Sterge Karas AO OAM

Refugee/Greek Ambassador/Consul

Sterge graduated in 1961.

Throughout his career, he has been heavily involved in, and is an advocate for, immigration law, current affairs and international relations. He is a committed Greek community ambassador.

Sterge became somewhat of a voice for asylum seekers, working as an independent merits reviewer for the Refugee Status Authority.

In 2012, Sterge retired and is enjoying life with his wife, Alexandra.

Mr Bill Sole OAM

Teacher and sporting contributor

Bill graduated in 1958.

After graduating with a B.Sc. Certificate of Teaching from The University of Queensland, he returned to State High to teach Mathematics, Science and Senior Physics. He was also heavily involved with our school's extra-curricular sports and is a life member of Queensland State School Swimming Association (QSSSA), with his Presidency spanning to several QSSSA committees.

Mr Sole was a long-time supporter of the school and our students - assisting with rowing, athletics, girls swimming and rugby.

In June 2018, Bill passed away.  He was aged 77.

​Hon Michael Bryce AM AE KStJ

Architect and designer

Michael graduated in 1955.

By 27, his drawings had made it to the Royal Academy of Arts (UK). After a stint in London, Michael returned to Australia and started his own architectural practice.

His most famous logo creation was the 2000 Sydney Olympic squiggle of the Opera House. Other logos Michael worked on include redesigning the Wallabies Rugby Union team logo, and logos for the Queensland Government, Harrods London, Fendi and Valentino.

Today, he has long standing involvement with the Air Force Training Corps, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), and St John's Ambulance.

Mr Denis Donnelly OAM

State High teacher and sporting contributor

Denis graduated in 1953, as the School Vice-Captain.

After graduating from the Teachers' Training College in 1954 and completing compulsory National Service, Denis returned to State High as a Physical Education teacher in 1961. By the late 1970s, he was teaching French, Senior English, Junior Science and Mathematics, while still being heavily involved in our sports programs—including rowing, rugby, athletics and cross country.

Denis has been awarded life memberships of the Commercial Rowing Club and the Queensland Secondary Schools Athletics Association.

In recognition of his contributions to the school, we named the annual 1,500m run The Donnelly Dash in his honour.

Denis continues to coach the junior rowers of State High.

Ms Barbara Patterson Blackman AO

Patron, philanthropist and writer

Barbara graduated in 1945.

She developed a passion for contemporary music and writing during her high school years. As a teenager, she was the youngest member of Barjai, an avant-garde writers' group in Brisbane.

During the early 1950s, Barbara was diagnosed with optic atrophy, which caused her to rapidly lose her eyesight. In her later years she was a campaigner for talking books and libraries for the blind, a producer for the Radio for the Print Handicapped, and was involved in the National Federation of Blind Citizens.

At the same time, she was active in a number of cultural and educational organisations. She has published poems, essays and reviews in a wide range of newspapers and literary journals. In 2004, Barbara pledged $1 million to Australian music.

In 2012, Barbara was recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours List for her service to the arts and community, and advocating for people who are visually impaired.

Dr Nicholas S Girdis CBE

Property developer/investor

Dr Girdis graduated in 1943, as School Captain.

Dr Girdis helped to reshape and preserve Brisbane's waterfront in the 1990s by turning a run-down ship-building area into the Dockside Precinct, Kangaroo Point.

He was also involved in the development of Fisherman's Wharf at Main Beach.

He led the campaign to raise $5 million for the restoration of the historic Customs House for The University of Queensland, and developed a 480 berth marina for the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron.

Today, Dr Girdis runs his own property investment and development firm, which has been involved in one of the largest office building portfolios in the centre of Brisbane.

Sir Douglas Wadley

Solicitor and company director

Sir Douglas graduated in 1920.

Sir Douglas was an all-rounder, a law firm partner, a volunteer of the Defence Corps and a board member, chairman and director of countless companies. He was also heavily involved in the Catholic Church as a member of the Business Advisory Board of the Catholic Leader.

Sir Douglas passed away in 1984. Following his passing, the canine pavilion at the Brisbane showgrounds was named in his honour and the Sir Douglas Wadley Handicap is a major event in the Queensland horse racing calendar.

Last reviewed 28 July 2020
Last updated 28 July 2020