Speakers Maurice & Fran Cutler,
MC: Australian, Journalist, Canadian official, etc. FC: Canadian Broadcaster, Far-sighted advocate,etc
As an 18 year old journalist at UP, Maurice Cutler became the first Australian to reach the South Pole in 1956 as part of a US Air Force expedition. (Mawson had been to the Magnetic Pole.) After 4 months in Antarctica, the US Navy took him to USA.
Since then he’s mainly lived in Canada and is perhaps the only living Australian to have met Hilliary, The Queen, Trudeau, JFK, Menzies, Chou En Lai, Nixon, etc. He returned to the Antarctic in 1958, and provided personal reports to Sir Douglas Mawson.
Especially notably in 1971, he was a member of the Canadian Trade Mission to China, being one of the first western journalists to enter China during the Cultural Revolution. He returned to China each of the next 2 years to cover the opening of the Canadian Trade Fair in Peking (meeting Chou En Lai for a second time), then to cover the first official visit by Prime Minister Trudeau.
In 1977 he joined the Canadian Public Service, initially working for the Finance Minister, then the Foreign Minister, later becoming Director of Public Affairs for the Auditor General of Canada.
Since partly retiring about 20 years ago, Maurice and his wife Fran have spent approx 6 months each year in Ottawa and Sydney (having a home in each). This avoided the harsh Canadian winters and enabled a lot more golf, whilst maintaining close involvement and interest in international politics along with their family both sides of the Pacific.
Fran has also had a remarkable career, especially noting she has been legally blind since mid 20s from a rare early onset macular degeneration. After graduation, she became a radio producer for CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Assoc). This led to many years as producer of a highly popular news programme interviewing foreign correspondents, a bit like PM, one of the first such programmes. Then she became director for Canada's North and Arctic regions, travelling extensively there, and later CBC's Director of Employment Equity. Concurrently she was on numerous volunteer and government advisory committees for the disabled, as well as Chairman of the equivalent of Vision Australia, President of Voice Print, etc. Since corporate retirement, she remains an active and passionate advocate on disabled issues. She was awarded Officer of the Order of Canada, one of the country's highest honours.
They have two sons (one a barrister and senior partner in a legal firm in Ottawa, the other is Professor of Political Science at UBC in Vancouver) and 6 grandchildren. Along the way, Fran taught skiing to a teenies class that included her sons and Justin Trudeau.