Honorary Doctorate (April 2011)
Stephen Hamar Midgley AM and Mary Midgley were awarded Honorary Doctorates in April 2011 in recognition of their significant contributions to scientific knowledge in the area of freshwater biology and ecology (limnology).
Hamar and Mary Midgley are self-taught authorities on the freshwater biology and ecology of northern Australian streams and impoundments. They have lived on the Sunshine Coast for over 60 years commencing their work in the 1950s by studying Australian bass in the Maroochy and Noosa Rivers - work that continued through to 2001, at the ages of 81 and 79 respectively. Hamar and Mary Midgley pioneered: native fish stocking of impoundments with the official release of spotted barramundi into Borumba Dam on the Sunshine Coast; the use of knotless nets and anaesthetics for handling fish; transport of native fish over long distances; hormone-induced breeding of native fish; and the use of a catheter to sex fish. They were the first to: demonstrate Australian bass migrated to breed in brackish water; describe reproduction in the mouth-brooding spotted barramundi; identify that snub-nosed garfish can breed in freshwater; and identify that golden perch breed in winter in the Lake Eyre System. Apart from their scientific papers, the Midgley name exists in three species of fish and on the seminal Field Guide to the Freshwater Fishes of Australia. However, an important and lasting contribution to Australia, the Sunshine Coast, and the University is their database of fish, crustacea and molluscs, water chemistry and stream characteristics collected in a most disciplined way over 40 years. They have now entrusted this to the University in the interests of making their foundation work available for ongoing research.