Peter and Valerie Duncan

Avondale patron’s prestigious award

Friday, June 28, 2019
Supporter of young adults with promise named in honours list

An Avondale Conservatorium patron has received the Member of the Order of Australia Award in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for 2019.

Peter Duncan’s post-nominal AM is for “significant service to business and manufacturing, to medical research and to sport.” He is co-founder and executive chairman of Pirtek. The fluid transfer solutions company sponsors the Enduro Cup for the Supercars Championship, the world’s largest one-day fishing event—the Pirtek Fishing Challenge—and, for a decade, the Parramatta Eels Rugby League Club. Pirtek’s success has enabled Duncan to leave a philanthropic legacy as co-founder of the Peter Duncan Neurosiences Research Unit at St Vincent’s Hospital and now as benefactor of the St Vincent’s Curran Foundation and the Garvan Institute of Medical Research. At Avondale, Duncan funds the Duncan–Kranz Choral Scholarship.

The conservatorium offers the scholarship to students who have a passion for music and a desire to sing with vocal ensembles Avondale Singers and The Promise. “The financial support allows us to perform across Australia and to run mentoring workshops for hundreds of school students,” says director Aleta King. “It also enabled recording of The Promise Songbook. We dedicated the album to the memory of the Duncans’ parents.”

Duncan married Valerie Kranz. Their parents, Charles and Sue Duncan and Alfred and Ethel Kranz, mentored people with promise—Charles and Sue sponsored young adults who wanted to complete tertiary education and Alfred and Ethel dedicated their lives to education, notably in Alfred’s roles as a Bible teacher at Avondale and as principal of the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Carmel and Longburn Adventist Colleges. Charles and Sue and Alfred and Ethel also provided support for the arts, particularly as performed by young Adventist musicians.

“Peter developed a passion for young people and their success early in his career,” says friend Dr Lyell Heise. “He followed in the footsteps of his father and now, through Pirtek, has helped many young people forge careers in business, engineering and management.” Heise describes his former Napier, New Zealand, parishioner as “self-effacing.” “He is dedicated to the idea that achieving things without fanfare and fuss is the best way to make an impact.” And giving? “It’s in his DNA. So, giving to causes is as natural as breathing.”

Duncan found receiving the award “incredibly humbling.” He notes how Pirtek has “allowed us to give back and contribute to the community.” As befitting his preferred low profile, Duncan adds the award is “a recognition of the work and support of many people, especially Val, who is sadly not here to share it with us.”

The Duncans were married 57 years. Valerie died on May 7 this year after being diagnosed with an aggressive cancer. The Promise performed at her funeral service.

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Brenton Stacey

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Brenton is Avondale College of Higher Education’s Public Relations Officer. He brings to the role a decade’s experience as a communicator in publishing, media relations, public relations, radio and television, mostly within the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the South Pacific and its entities. He is also co-convenor of Manifest, a movement exploring, encouraging and celebrating #faithfulcreativity in the Adventist Church.

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Emmerson Grey

Emmerson Grey is completing her Bachelor of Arts degree in communication at Avondale College of Higher Education.

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