The McCaughey Story

The McCaughey Story and Legacy

The Centre was named in honour of two Victorians - Dr. Jean McCaughey, the founding Patron of the Centre, and her husband Davis McCaughey. Both Davis and Jean McCaughey individually and together have made outstanding contributions to the development and communication of ideas and evidence contributing to the health, wellbeing, social justice and human rights of a diverse range of Victorian, Australian and international communities. Their commitment to 'knowledge for common good' is at the heart of all of the work of the McCaughey VicHealth Centre for Community Wellbeing.

Dr Davis McCaughey AC (1914–2005) was Master of Ormond College at the University of Melbourne from 1959 to 1979; Deputy Chancellor of the University from 1978 to 1979 and 1982 to 1985; and a member of the University of Melbourne Council from 1964 to 1967 and from 1976 to 1979.  In 1960 he was appointed as the Vice Chancellor's representative on the board of the Student Union at the time of anti Vietnam War protest and confrontation within the University. In 1971 he was elected foundation President of the University Assembly, created to provide a forum in which these problems could be discussed and resolved.  He was Chairman of the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics. He was inaugural President of the Uniting Church of Australia from 1977-1979.  Between 1986-1992 he was Governor of Victoria. Dr. McCaughey was a renowned speaker and author on a broad range of theological, social, and historical issues, with a profound commitment to combining ethical values with reasoned argument to strengthen human rights and social justice. Following his retirement from the role of Governor he continued to support the work of a wide range of community organisations. He was deeply concerned about the growing inequalities in our society and the widening gap between rich and poor. His many publications include 'Piecing Together a Shared Vision' (The 1987 Boyer Lectures) and 'Tradition and Dissent', MUP 1997.

Dr Jean McCaughey AO (1917-2012) was a Research Fellow at the Melbourne Institute for Applied Economic and Social Research between 1967 and 1977. During that period she worked closely with Professor Ronald Henderson on the ground breaking Melbourne Institute research program into poverty in Australia and was author of a number of publications including 'Who Cares? Family Problems, Community Links and Helping Services', Sun Books 1977. In addition to her many duties as wife of the Governor, Jean continued to make a major contribution to social research during the 1980s including as a Research Fellow at the Australian Institute for Family Studies and the publication in 1987 of 'A Bit of a Struggle, Coping with Family life in Australia', Penguin. She undertook a short practical study for Hanover Welfare Services on homeless families and published 'Where Now? Homeless Families in the 90's'. Subsequently, she was appointed to the Ministerial Committee on Housing. In 1990 she was co-founder of People Together, a community based social research and advocacy project involving many thousands of Victorians in the identification of key community social issues and concerns. She also served for many years on the Board of the Royal Melbourne Hospital and was Chair of the Council of St. Hilda's College at the University of Melbourne. She was the first Chair of the Key Centre for the Study of Women's Health in Society based in Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Science, the University of Melbourne.